Red-plaid tablecloths on the tables, skillful scouts serving between tables, briskly working hands in the kitchen — the traditional Scout Banquet was taking place by the American Hungarian Friends of Scouting.

After a three-year absence, on February 26, 2023, the ceremonial hall of St. Emeric Church was filled again with guests arriving for the scout banquet. This event is one of the fund-raising events of the AHFS, the proceeds of which will be used for this year’s two large-scale programs of the Hungarian Scout Folk Ensemble: the summer Carpathian Basin ethnographic educational tour and the late autumn 50th anniversary gala performance.

If we were to look at this event only in terms of numbers, we could still call it a success. In fact, 251 servings were consumed in the hall, 48 were purchased for takeout and 32 were delivered to homes using the “Scout Patrol” service. That’s a total of 331 servings, which is an outstanding number looking at the average in recent years.

But the success of the scout banquet isn’t the only thing that’s showing. Its great virtue is that it creates time and space to meet, talk and celebrate. The unity of the Scout troops and the development of the leaders are also celebrated at this time. This year, too, the certificates of appreciation were awarded to scouts who completed one of the degrees of leadership training in 2022. On this occasion, 12 cub/brownie scout leaders, 2 scout patrol leaders, 1 assistant scout troop leader and 2 scout troop leaders lined up on the stage to receive their recognition from Krisztina Nadas, the Cleveland Hungarian Scout District Commissioner, and to receive the hearty applause of those present. Then Paul Szentkiralyi, the president of the AHFS, called Ilona Gulden-Solomon , this year’s recipient of the White Stag Award, on stage. In his introduction, Szentkiralyi said that the purpose of this award is to recognize the effective and outstanding scouting work of their scout leaders and adult scouts in Cleveland. Ilona’s award read as follows: “The American Hungarian Friends of Scouting expresses its gratitude for your sacrificial and effective scouting work for the Hungarian scouts in Cleveland: for your services in leadership positions in Girl Scout Troops 33 and 34, for organizing the Christmas programs, for teaching the opening dance of the scout ball for ten years, for leading the Hungarian Scout Folk Ensemble for two years and for organizing their 50th anniversary gala performance. Ilona helps where she can!”. In her acceptance speech, Ilona emphasized the role of her parents in her becoming a part of the scouting community, her husband’s support in her ability to continue to serve, and her joy that she is now also connected to the scouting program through her children.

After the brief program, a series of delicious foods were put on the tables, in the preparation and serving of which approximately 40 people took part. The driving forces behind the team were Judy Gyorky and Krisztina Tabor, deep-rooted Cleveland scouts who have been successfully organizing this task together for nearly 10 years. Enthusiastic scout parents, scouts, friends and acquaintances gathered several times this year at their call to support this event with their volunteer work.

This event was successful in all respects, thanks to which the folk ensemble got closer to the implementation of its programs, the scouting community expressed its appreciation for the work of the scout leaders, and once again gained certainty that everything can be accomplished much easier by working together.

The photos from this AHFS event can be viewed in this album.

The video of the event, in Hungarian, can be viewed here.

Orsolya Pásztor

the author is a fellow of the Kőrösi Csoma Sándor program to the AHFS.