21 Stories for Scouts to descend Kodak Tower

By on March 20, 2018

9th Annual Rappelling Event supports local Scouting Programs

karenSeneca Waterways Council Boy Scouts of America, along with event leadership, announced a big change in view for its 9th annual 21 Stories For Scouts rappelling event.  This year, rappelling enthusiasts will take to the side of the Kodak Tower to rappel over 300 feet, beginning their descent under the iconic Kodak letters and landing at street level on the Monroe Community College Campus.  This “extreme” fundraising event is open to anyone interested in the challenge of rappelling skyscrapers or who wishes to fulfill a bucket list.

All participants must pre-register online at 21storiesforscouts.org and raise $1,000 in either a single contribution or through collected pledges. For a Parent/Child or Scoutmaster/youth Scout team to rappel together, it’s $1,500 for the experience.  A corporate team with five rappellers can take to the ropes for $4,000.  The only requirement is the participant must weigh 100 pounds.

Event organizers noted that there are many ways to participate and make a difference in a Scout’s life: be a rappeller, sponsor a rappeller, rappel as a company team, “Toss Your Boss,” or make a general donation. Companies are also encouraged to participate with employee teams of five or more rappellers and use the event as a team building opportunity.  The team goes through training together and will share a common experience through their rappel.

Back this year is “Little” Joe Aiello.  Aiello made history two years ago when he became the oldest rappeller at the age of 89. He then broke another record by raising more than $41,000 himself to support the Scouts. “Little Joe” said he’d rappel again when he turned 95 but he decided not to wait and returns this year to rappel the Kodak Tower at the age of 91 noting that, if he can do it (twice) at his age, anyone can do it.

Stephen Hoitt, Seneca Waterways Council Scout Executive/CEO said, “This is not a typical fundraiser like a gala or golf tournament.  We specifically chose rappelling because it so closely ties in with Scouting.  It’s not about the rappel itself, but more about the challenge it presents by stepping outside your comfort zone. It’s the same with our Scouts.  We encourage them to challenge themselves to achieve things they didn’t think they were capable of doing.”

This unique event has become a common site every May in Downtown Rochester when dozens of individuals would rappel the First Federal Plaza building to support the Boy Scouts.  Moving the event to the Kodak Tower gives past rappelers and would-be rappellers this year an exciting new challenge of doing something never before done at the Kodak Tower.

In reference to the building change, Hoitt added, “The past eight years iGordon Corporation and First Federal Building hosted the event, and we are extremely grateful for their support. We’re thrilled to partner this year with Kodak and RG&E/Avangrid for our ninth year. This year we looked to add to the momentum by offering people the opportunity to rappel another iconic Rochester skyscraper, and what’s more iconic than the Kodak Tower. Kodak and the local Boy Scout Council have a long history that goes back decades as Kodak sponsored Boy Scout Troops and Exploring Posts for young men and women.”

“I’m honored to be serving as this year’s chairperson for the event,” said Dave Bullwinkle, Chief Financial Officer, Kodak and 21 Stories for Scouts Event Chairperson.  He added, “Kodak has a rich history of supporting our community and this event provides a unique opportunity for furthering the development of youth in the Rochester and surrounding areas.”

Scouting provides opportunities for personal growth, character development and leadership training for nearly 11,000 youth in 420 Scouting programs across Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates Counties including, urban Scouting programs, serving nearly 1,250 youth in the City of Rochester including 34 after school programs. Proceeds from the event support the council’s ability to keep Scouting available and affordable to all families regardless of economic or social background.

“We are pleased to support inspiring initiatives like 21 Stories for Scouts which offer a number of vital programs to young people across the Greater Rochester area,” said Frank Reynolds, Vice President of Gas Integration & Asset Management Planning, RG&E/AVANGRID “It is through partnerships like this one that the Avangrid Foundation and RG&E are able to strengthen and enhance the quality of life in the communities we serve.”

Seneca Waterways Council was one of the first Boy Scout Councils in the country to host an extreme rappelling event with Over The Edge, a Canadian company that organizes extreme rappelling events throughout North America.  Currently, only three Boy Scout Councils offer this experience, with Seneca Waterways Council’s event being the longest running, at nine years.

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