Galloway Township Boy Scout Troop 26's newest Eagle Scout, Nick DellaVecchia, is a hard worker.

DellaVecchia and his fellow scouts spent more than 200 man-hours researching and crafting a hunter's aid at Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in Galloway Township last winter. On Sept. 7, DellaVecchia was promoted to the rank of Eagle in a Court of Honor at the Germania Volunteer Fire Company.

The new Eagle Scout, for whom the promotion was the culmination of 12 years in scouting, said it was gratifying to finally reach a goal he had sought for so long.

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"It's definitely surreal," he said. "I mean, it's great. When you put so much time into anything, and you finally see the end result - what you wanted - there's no better feeling."

To reach Eagle, a Scout must earn 12 required badges, such as first aid, camping and personal fitness, and nine more merit badges of his choosing.

The Scout also must complete an Eagle Scout service project that benefits his community. After the completion of these requirements, the Scout submits his body of work to the local Scout council for approval, at which point he is named an Eagle.

For his project, DellaVecchia and his troop made a range estimation and identification display, which helps waterfowl hunters at the refuge identify and gauge the distance of their quarry so as to allow for safer hunting. The display also includes hunting tips.

In addition to constructing the display, DellaVecchia, who is not a hunter, spent many hours planning his project through meetings with state government officials and Forsythe staff and raising money through presentations to hunting groups.

The complexity of the project might have made it difficult for other teens, but DellaVecchia made it look easy, said his mother, Charlotte.

"I was really impressed with how he handled the whole situation," she said. "Boy Scouts, again, leadership is a big thing. I think he achieved being able to be a leader from Boy Scouts."

DellaVecchia was highly involved at Absegami High School, where he graduated in June. He was a member of the track and football teams, a peer mediator and treasurer of his senior class.

Troop 26 Committee Chair James Brown, who has known DellaVecchia for more than a decade, said the driven young man he knows today is vastly different from the rambunctious scout he knew years ago.

"He was a typical 8-year-old kid who wanted to just play and not get a lot accomplished," Brown said. "Over the years he's grown into a young man who understand that hard work is a goal in and of itself."

DellaVecchia is now a freshman at La Salle University in Philadelphia, where he studies communications. He's not sure how he wants to apply his studies, but is confident he'll find his niche.

All told, DellaVecchia spent more than half his life as a scout. The weight of his accomplishment hasn't fully sunk in yet, he said, but it makes for a good feeling.

"It's a huge honor, it's something I've been pursuing pretty much my whole life," DellaVecchia said. "You can't put into words how much doing something like this accounts for in your life."

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