By Bettina Thiel Woodbridge Town News Correspondent
Pictured: Alfredo Canepari is carrying the box with retired flags at a flag burning ceremony organized by Boy Scout Troop 63. Next to him is troop leader Ted Pocwierz. (Photo supplied by the family)
Boy Scout Troop 63 is planning to build a pavilion at Camp Whiting, the troop’s camp site off Route 69. The pavilion will be in honor of, and named after, Alfredo Canepari, a 16-year-old troop member who passed away last July after a year-long battle with leukemia. Scout leaders Robert Tucker, an architect, and Charlie Whiting appeared before the Board of Selectmen February 11, to outline the proposal and get the selectmen’s blessing. The town owns the land, but granted use of it to the troop with the condition that the scouts maintain the land and carry insurance.
Hundreds, probably thousands of kids had their first camp experience here, “close enough to home,” said Bob Tucker at the selectmen meeting. There is a wooden cabin, but currently no shelter for outdoor activities. The pavilion will look like the Rotary pavilion behind the Center Road playground, only smaller in its footprint. It will be a rectangular concrete slab with six wooden posts carrying a roof structure, but no walls. Details are yet to be determined, as the project will need to get Wetlands approval before they can start fundraising for the project.
Alfredo, a junior at Platt Tech, loved all outdoor activities and Scouting in particular, said his mother, Donna Canepari after the meeting. He started in first grade as a Cub Scout in Pack 902 before crossing over to Troop 63 in fifth grade. Charlie Whiting, one of the troop’s longest-serving leaders, was Alfredo’s role model. Even when Alfredo was just a Cub Scout, he announced that he wanted to be a Scout “as long as Mr. Whiting”.
Alfredo was a child who always thought of others, his mother said. When he was turning 7, he asked for gifts to be donated to Toys for Tots. He helped out whenever the Scouts needed volunteers. Any type of Eagle Project – he was there,” she said. He also was invited to serve in the Owaneco Lodge 72, where he was elected the chapter’s vice chief of administration for the 2013-2014 year.
Scouting was Alfredo’s life, Canepari said, adding that having the pavilion named in his memory is a great honor. Alfredo’s valiant battle with leukemia shook up the whole community. He had been in remission after a bone marrow transplant obtained from his older brother, Vincent. But in May of last year he was found to have relapsed and passed two months later. “This pavilion is a perfectly fitting tribute to a Scout,” said Selectman Laurence Grotheer. The vote was unanimous.
People who would like to donate toward the project can send a donation to Troop 63 Treasurer Ellen Feichtner, 20 Morris Road, Woodbridge, CT 06525.