Our New Yorker of the Week is going above and beyond the call of duty to instill integrity in children across our city. John Schiumo filed this report.
Rooting for teammates, building a campfire, adventuring outdoors – these are among the many experiences that teach the cub scouts of Pack 422 about selflessness and responsibility.
Values they develop thanks, in part, to cub master Maureen Riley.
"The scout program is really awesome," Riley says. "I mean, I don't think the boys can get anything like that anywhere else. With us, it's do your best, try your best, and you've accomplished a lot by doing that."
Maureen understands that firsthand. Her four sons were scouts.
"My youngest son was in the fourth grade and they were going to lose the scout master, because her son was leaving the unit," Riley recalls. "So I said I would take it over."
That was 23 years ago.
And the Bronx native hasn’t looked back.
Today, she still volunteers her time to organize programs for these first to fifth graders based in Gramercy.
"I love cub scouts because it’s a true place to express yourself," says cub scout Zachary Nemni Jones. "And we have an amazing leader, Maureen Riley, who sets up all these amazing events, and she always cares for the kids. In my opinion, she’s a phenomenal lady."
"She's like our mother, she cares for us all," agrees cub scout Matthew Valentin. "She's strict but she's also very caring. She'll give you another chance if you need them."
She's like a mother – and that's why parents say Maureen is the ideal model of leading by example.
"The thing that’s so amazing about Maureen is that she does it for the kids," says parent Kate McMahon. "She does it for the boys, because she knows they get a lot out of it."
"My son has been a cub scout for four years now," says parent Juliette Jones. "I’ve seen him take an interest in developing his outdoor skills, his leadership qualities. He’s become a better citizen."
And so, for guiding hundreds of cub scouts like they were her own sons, Maureen Riley is our New Yorker of the Week.