WEST PITTSTON — Three months after graduating from high school, Rosalie Messina dedicated her life to Scouting. Now, and for the past 38 years, the Cubmaster is reaping the benefits to her hard work and dedication to the organization.
Rosalie, 58 of West Pittston, was recently named the grand marshal of the 45th annual West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival Parade by the festival committee. The annual parade will begin at noon on Saturday, April 30. The festival itself will be held on Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1 along Susquehanna Avenue in West Pittston.
At first, Rosalie declined the honor, she said. But after giving it some thought, she felt it was a great way to promote her pack.
“I told them I’m too young,” she laughed. “They said I had to since I’ve been with the Scouts for so long. I am very excited to do it and looking forward to it.”
Rosalie is currently a Cubmaster for West Pittston’s Troop 302, sponsored by Corpus Christi Parish, and leads a group of 10 Cub Scouts. Her husband, Patrick Messina Jr. is a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts. Once the children leave the tutelage of Rosalie, they go to her husband for the next step in the program.
The couple has one son, Patrick Messina III, 37, who works in maintenance at Wyoming Area. Rosalie’s husband is the head of maintenance at Wyoming Area.
In 1977, Rosalie graduated from Wyoming Area Secondary Center. Three months later, she found herself starting her Scouting career. She and Patrick married in August 1977, and she was a leader by September. Nearly four decades later, she’s still involved.
Over the years, Rosalie said she has done a lot of training to earn her Cubmaster status. She’s received the Training Award, her first; the Den Leader Training Award and the Den Leader Coach Award. She’s also received the SLD Award, which involves two camping weekends of training in order for her to take the Scouts on outdoor adventures.
Rosalie also received an award for an 11-mile hike and camping she did in Gettysburg.
Through it all, she said, she sticks with the Scouts because of the kids. Each month, the Scouts get together to receive awards, which Rosalie hands out.
“They make me laugh so much,” she said. “They always want to go for awards — that’s the best part. You see the expression on their faces.”
For the past few decades, Rosalie has worked the Scouts’ food stand at the West Pittston Cherry Blossom Festival. The proceeds from the stand help the Scouts take trips and hold different events throughout the year. In June, the group will do a community project. Also, they may visit Francis Slocum State Park for overnight camping, as well as a trip to Knoebles.
The group goes camping or hiking at least once a month with the fathers. Rosalie stays over as much as she can to keep an eye on the pack.
“I put my heart and soul into everything I’ve done in Scouting,” she said.
Through the Scouts, Rosalie was trained by the Diocese of Scranton to present Catholic Religious Awards in her pack and help other packs. Through this, the pack takes gifts to nursing homes and banners are presented at Immaculate Conception Church, where the Scouts then receive the awards.
During her time as a Cubmaster, Rosalie has seen many of her Cubs become Eagle Scouts. She said they always mention her when they are giving a speech and that means the world to her.
“I start crying,” she said. “It makes me proud to know I have accomplished something with them when they were in the Cub Scouts.”
Outside of Scouting, Rosalie is currently involved in the West Pittston Crime Watch. In the past, she was a vice president and president of the Women of the West Pittston Moose Lodge.
Parades are something with which the Scouting organization is very familiar. Rosalie said the troop participates in as many events as they can with their banners. When the parade finally does roll through West Pittston, Rosalie will be in a vehicle waving to all the children, she said.
“I’m going to get in that vehicle and I can’t wait to pass out candy to all those little kids,” she said. “That will be exciting.”
The parade will begin on Exeter Avenue across from Cenera Auto Parts and finish on Susquehanna Avenue and the festival grounds near the river. Anyone wishing to enter a vehicle, float or marching unit are asked to call Ralph Salerno, parade chairman, at 570-780-0231 or email [email protected].