The requirements to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout include being an active troop member for at least six months, earning 21 merit badges and planning, developing, and giving leadership to others in a service project helpful to a religious institution, school, or the community. Berano’s Eagle Scout project consisted of designing and constructing four rest and reflection benches for the Steep Rock Association's 400-acre Macricostas Preserve in New Preston. Its features include Judea Garden, Meeker Swamp and the scenic overlook known as Waramaug’s Rock, which offers panoramic views of Lake Waramaug.
“He chose Steep Rock as the beneficiary of his Eagle Scout project, not only because he loves the preserve, but also as a nod of thanks to The Gunnery as Steep Rock was founded by Gunnery graduate Ehrick Rossiter,” said Berano’s mom, Kristina.
Rossiter, who graduated from the school in 1870 and is known as the architect of many of the elegant country homes surrounding the Washington Green, purchased 100 acres in the Shepaug River Valley in 1889, with the intention of saving the wooded hillsides from being timbered. In 1925, he donated the land to ensure its preservation. Today, Steep Rock’s holdings total 2,700 acres.
Mike Giapponi, Trails and Preserve Coordinator, keeps Steep Rock’s preserves safe, accessible, and sustainable, and worked directly with Berano on the new benches, which he said were a huge improvement. “The benches that were there were deteriorating. He did a great job fixing them up and making them beautiful. The people who come here now can sit and reflect as they take in the view of the hayfield.”
Since achieving scouting’s highest rank, Berano has been recognized with citations from around the world from the Vatican, President Donald Trump, former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, jazz great Wynton Marsalis, most branches of the U.S. armed forces, the State of Connecticut and the Town of Litchfield.
Berano’s favorite citation was from Marsalis, according to his mom, who noted that Elijah played trumpet in The Gunnery Jazz Band. He will be attending Bentley University in the fall. He is the 51st Eagle Scout from Bantam Troop 29.