Robert Miccolis is an Upper Darby native, who had followed a job out of state. A few years later, he, his wife, and two sons moved back to the area, settling in Wayne in 1983. While living here in Radnor Township, his family grew by one more, adding the youngest of the Miccolis family, Robert’s daughter.
Over the next two and a half decades, Miccolis found his calling as a family man, coach, leader, and community advocate for recreation, wildlife, and the betterment of Radnor and the world around him.
He has more than 20 years of community volunteer experience, as an active scout leader, a local trails, parks and recreation enthusiast, a recreational youth sports coach and as a member of various community and school committees.
Miccolis has been involved with the scouts for the span of what has proven to be an entire generation. When his sons entered as cubs, Miccolis was merely an active parent. Over the years, Miccoli has helped to coordinate a yearly camping trip for the troop, visiting places from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to Maine.
Over the years, his work with Radnor Troop 284 has grown into a family tradition of community building. His two son’s Eagle Scout projects literally built pathways and bridges in the township, including the trails in the and and a bridge over Darby Creek there.
Years after his sons graduated from scouts, Miccolis is still involved. Scounts who graduated along with his own children are now back as scoutmasters and troop leaders, with sons of their own.
Over the past 25 years, Miccolis has had a hand in coaching for each of his children, his brother’s children and the hundreds of other kids who participated in Radnor’s soccer, baseball, softball and basketball programs.
Miccolis’ involvement grew from a coach to community organizer when he co-founded the Radnor Athletic Association in 1995, a 100 percent volunteer initiative. He also co-founded the Radnor Youth Basketball League and the Gryphon Volleyball Club, at the request of his daughter over a decade ago, he said.
Through his coordination as president, the Radnor Athletic Association has been able to help the community’s many sports teams and associations “work towards common goals,” he said, giving “the volunteers a place to come together and organize on significant issues.”
But it’s not all ball fields and batting cages. Miccolis has helped to transform the presence of Radnor sports on the web as well, when he helped to establish RadnorSports.com, a website used by the area’s many sports associations for information and community links.
Over the years, Miccolis and the organizations he works with, including the , have been integral in seeing concepts through to fruition, including the Radnor Trail, and other walking, biking and hiking paths around the area.
“The organization got started to put a walking bike trail over the trolley line,” said Miccolis. “Now it’s extremely popular. We’re trying to get more pedestrian and bicycle friendly routes.”
But it’s not for a lack of challenges. With more than two decades of involvement and progress come contentions as well. Not everyone is always behind Miccolis’ perceived community improvements.
“It’s never a slam dunk,” he said, “People who live adjacent to any of the developments and the improvements are always a challenge. They come out against the change and think it’s going to have a bad impact on their immediate surroundings."
But neigh-sayers haven’t stopped him before, and they don’t seem to be slowing him down now.
“My main hope is that I can show others that they can do these things,” he said. “Especially at the local level. There are so many people that come out to complain, and just frustrate the people trying to get the positive stuff done.
“I see the benefits, and how people appreciate the facilities after they’re done,” he said. “They heavily use these areas. Everything I’ve been involved with has been extremely popular.”
While serving as a volunteer in 2001, Miccolis was chosen as a spokesman for a Revision planning committee. It was his work with this organization, and the “Give Grass a Chance” committee that led to the realization of what is now a natural grass field that has been in use for the past three years by the schools and more recently, the community.
In its most recent iteration, Miccolis’ unofficial neighborhood green-space campaign has focused in on the ’s bid for field space in Memorial Park, in which the private school plans to install a field and lights at its own cost. The space would be available for both students and neighbors.
As public servants go, Miccolis’ work would no doubt put him in the running. But even after all these years, somehow, he’s managed to stay out of office.
“I’ve been asked from time to time,” he said, but “I get much more enjoyment out of the youth sports and the scouts and working with young people than I do reading legal documents.”
At Home and Abroad
Miccolis’ career as an actuary, doing consulting work for large corporations with complex tax issues and his work as a member of the International Actuarial Association has actually taken him all around the world, including a recent trip to Croatia with his wife.
Now at the age of 60, looking back over the past few decades, Miccolis remembers the exchange students that he and his wife have hosted, one from Japan, and one from France.
He speaks enthusiastically about the work his children have continued in the non-profit community; specifically, about a young refugee from Zimbabwe that his daughter initially met during a trip to South Africa.
The Miccolis family has followed his saga, including “a harrowing story of his attempts to get a passport,” said Miccolis, who traveled to Africa in March 2010, to meet him in person.
Micollis also helps to financially supports the young man in his journey of helping others through a foundation he started in order to help other refugees.