Local scouts attend opening weekend at Camp Bomazeen

(contributed photo)

by Chuck Mahaleris

Camp Bomazeen Director Bruce Rueger had one message for the Scouts and leaders who attended camp on their opening weekend of program for the 2021 season, “Welcome Home! Camp Bomazeen is open for the summer and we welcome you back!”

“This is very exciting for us,” Rueger, of Waterville, said. “I’m not sure if the staff or the Scouts are more excited that Camp Bomazeen is open but I know I am really eager for a great summer.”

Scouts from China, Winthrop, Augusta, Jackman and Skowhegan were among those in attendance for opening weekend on July 10 & 11. “We had one Scout who came all the way from Connecticut specifically to take part in Bomazeen’s unique Bushcraft program,” he said. Chris Bernier and his staff dress in 1840 period costumes to teach Scouts how their ancestors and Native Americans lived, cooked, and made craft items such as baskets and lanterns.

Meanwhile, other Scouts earned traditional Scouting offerings such as crafts, the new Scout program, Rifle Shooting and Canoeing Merit Badges but also Merit Badges not normally offered at a Scout camp such as Electricity, Finge rprinting and Welding. “Our staff are the very best and worked hard to meet the rigid requirements for safety and knowledge of subject set by Scouting. We have gotten off to a great start and look forward to a great 2021 season.”

Brock Merrill, of Fairfield, enjoying some down time at Camp Bomazeen. (contributed photo)

The camp planned to celebrate its 75th anniversary last summer, but Covid-19 put a hold on the festivities for an entire year and the pandemic made planning for this summer nearly all but impossible. “We didn’t know for sure if we would be able to hold camp this summer until just a few weeks ago or what restrictions we would be operating under, but when you see the Scouts having fun and learning and enjoying camp, it makes everything worthwhile,” Rueger said. Emma Hodgdon, of Palmyra, is working on the Waterfront at Bomazeen this summer. “I love being outdoors and working at Camp,” Emma said. “I like helping younger Scouts learn new skills and have fun.”

Brock Merrill lives in Fairfield but is a member of the Oakland Scout Troop. “My favorite part of camp is swimming,” he said during the perfect July day. The camp is located on Great Pond and boasts a sandy beach unrivaled at many such camps. Connor Poirier, of Augusta Troop #631, agreed. He has been coming to Bomazeen since he was a Cub Scout and was very much looking forward to refreshing himself in the pond.

There is another Scout weekend on July 16-18 followed by Family Adventure Weekend on July 24 and 25, and Cub Scout Day Camp the week of July 26-30. Rueger pointed out that this year, non-Cub Scouts can attend Day Camp at Camp Bomazeen. To sign up or if you have questions, please call Pine Tree Council at 207-797-5252 or email Bruce at bfrueger@colby.edu.

Nick Choate (far side of canoe), and Cameron Rossignol, both of China Troop #479, practice a canoe rescue during Canoeing Merit Badge. (contributed photos)

Camp Bomazeen prepares for season with help from Scouts

The LaBonte family, of Oakland, made the work day a family event: Scott, Garrett, Ruby and Rebecca LaBonte. (contributed photo)

The weather was ideal at Camp Bomazeen on Saturday, May 15, for a great Beaver Day-camp work day. Everyone who attended will get a commemorative patch of a beaver wielding a chain saw. Scott Adams, of China, organized the event.

“The pandemic prevented us from opening last summer so we have two years worth of work to get done before camp opens for the season at the end of June,” Adams said. “We rely on people coming into camp and lending a hand. We are so grateful.”

Along with removing leaves and brush from fields, the health lodge was also cleaned. Thanks to those who helped: Willie and Parker LeHay, Scott, Garrett, Ruby and Rebecca LaBonte. Scott Vernier, Chuck Mahaleris, Scott Martin, Susan and Russ Shoberg, Steve Craig, and, of course, Scott Adams and Henry. Lunch was provided courtesy of the Bomazeen Old Timers.

Scouts help Scott Adams, of China, toss brush onto the trailer for removal and later burning. (contributed photo)

PHOTO: Four generations

Four generations posed for this photo recently. Center, mother Kassie Bisson, of Belgrade, holding daughter Brinley Bisson. Left, great-grandmother, Joan Hallee, of Waterville, and right, grandmother Angela Hallee, of Winslow. (contributed photo)

Local scouts rally in attempt to save Camp Bomazeen

(left to right) Dalton Curtis, Zachary LeHay and Connor Keimel

Submitted by Chuck Mahalaris

Scouts from across the area are busy working on a new and difficult project. If they are successful, there is no merit badge for them to receive but something even better. They hope to save their beloved Scout Camp – Camp Bomazeen.

Dalton Curtis, of Skowhegan, Dawson White, of Sidney, and Zachary LeHay, of Oakland, are some of the Scouts who have begun circulating a petition to save Camp Bomazeen. The Scouts visited leaders during the recent Kennebec Valley District Scouter Recognition Dinner/ Program Kick Off at Camp Bomazeen. They asked them to sign the petition that night and to ask if any Scouts in their Pack and Troop want to help collect more signatures in their area. The petitions will be presented to the Pine Tree Council Executive Board at an upcoming meeting. In July, the council executive board voted to sell the camp this year – its 75th anniversary since opening.

Life Scout Connor Keimel, of Troop #401, Sidney, is one of the Scouts taking part in the petition drive and said, “Bomazeen has been a camp that I have gone to for so many years. I have made so many memories here. It would be such a shame if other Scouts coming forward didn’t have the opportunity to go there.” Eagle Scout Dalton Curtis, of Troop #485, in Skowhegan, said he learned to swim at Bomazeen and he loves all of the aquatics activities. Zachary LeHay, a Second Class Scout, from Oakland, said that he enjoys the camp in all the seasons. He has taken part in winter camping trips there and week-long summer camp experiences. Star Scout Dawson White, of Troop #401, in Sidney, loves the shooting sports program at Camp Bomazeen. “I have never been to another Scout camp. I just love it and would hate to lose it.”

Dalton’s mother, Tammy James, said that he has been working hard on collecting signatures but it has been hard with Covid-19. “Some people aren’t really happy about us going to their doors even with masks on,” she said. “But he is continuing to work on his sheet and will be bringing it to the troop leaders’ meeting. He really has gotten so much from his time at Camp Bomazeen. He would live there if he could.”

Former Camp Bomazeen Director Bruce Rueger, of Waterville, praised the Scouts for their effort. “I was heartened to see the Scouts doing this,” Rueger said. “They clearly have formed a strong bond with the camp. I think that is what happens. You spend so much of your time camping at Bomazeen, taking part in camporees there, working on merit badges there, learning about nature, exploring the world around you and discovering things about yourself as you do – it becomes a part of who you are and you want to preserve it for others. Camp Bomazeen has given to them and generations that have come before them and now they want to give back when Bomazeen needs their help the most. Bomazeen has made a remarkable difference in so many people’s lives since it was given to Scouting by Dr. Averill in 1944. Some of our Scouts went on to serve in the military, help the needy and run large corporations. Peter Vigue, CEO of Cianbro, in Pittsfield, was a Bomazeen Scout in 1959 as was his son and grandson as well. ”

Chris Bernier, of Winslow, runs the Bushcraft Program at Bomazeen which is a living history program designed to teach Scouts skills such as Native lore, blacksmithing, outdoor cooking, muzzle-loading, basket-making, metal working, woodworking, candle making, to hide tanning. The program transports Scouts from today back to the pioneer days of the 1840s. Before joining the staff, Bernier was a Scout at Camp Bomazeen. “I think that the Scouts wish to do this it is a great way for them to practice citizenship,” Bernier said. “They see something wrong and they are peacefully trying to make it better. They wish to see an active change and to do so in this manner is practicing what they learned in their citizenship badges. In this case Citizenship in the Community – the community of Scouting for them and future Scouts.”

Scouts from several communities including Jackman, Skowhegan, Sidney, Oakland, and Augusta are working the petitions that they began circulating on August 12. They hope to convince the Scouting Executive Board to reconsider their vote to sell the camp and, if not, that they hope to convince whatever entity buys the property to allow the Scouts to continue to use it as they have for the past 75 years.

For those who would like to lend their name to the petition but would not like a Scout to visit due to Covid-19 concerns, email FriendsofBomazeen@gmail.com or send a message to the Facebook page Friends of Bomazeen. Be sure to include your name, town and what Bomazeen means to you.

Golf Fore Kids Sake set for Belgrade Lakes and Rockport

Photo courtesy of BBBSMM

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine (BBBSMM) invites local businesses, organizations and individuals to sign up to Golf Fore Kids’ Sake at two of Maine’s top golf courses, located in Belgrade Lakes and in Rockport, to support local youth mentoring. Teams are comprised of four golfers and registration includes course challenges and lunch. Funds raised will go directly toward BBBSMM community and school-based mentoring programs throughout eastern, central and coastal Maine.

BBBSMM Executive Director Gwendolyn Hudson said Golf Fore Kids’ Sake is among the agency’s largest fundraisers and is critical this year to help offset a substantial financial shortfall due to cancelled fundraising events affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“We are expecting a loss of $150,000 in funding this year due to rescheduled and canceled events. Funding is especially critical at this time to continue to support our most vulnerable children, our Littles, when they need their mentors the most,” Hudson said. “Whether you golf, sponsor, donate or volunteer, participating in Golf Fore Kids’ Sake this year will help keep kids connected.”

Both Golf Fore Kids’ Sake tournaments will feature pre-scheduled tee-times and lunch on the course to allow social distancing. The first tournament, Kennebec Valley Golf Fore Kids’ Sake, presented by Kennebec Savings Bank, will be held Friday, Sept. 4 at Belgrade Lakes Golf Club in Belgrade Lakes, Maine. Teams are accepted first-come, first-served. Sponsorship opportunities are available. To register or sponsor, contact Mae at 207.592.4616 or email mae@bbbsmidmaine.org.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine’s Midcoast 2020 Golf Fore Kids’ Sake tournament, presented by Machias Savings Bank, will be held Friday, Sept. 25, at Samoset Resort Golf Club in Rockport, Maine. This is also a pre-registered tee-time event. Sponsorships are available. To register or sponsor the Samoset event, contact Sophie at 207.236.2227 ext. 102 or email sophie@bbbsmidmaine.org.

Businesses can support Golf Fore Kids’ Sake by becoming sponsors, donating prizes, registering teams to participate or by donating auction items. Event volunteers are also welcome.  For more information, visit bbbsmidmaine.org or call 207.236.2227. END

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine creates and supports one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth in Androscoggin, Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Penobscot, Somerset, and Waldo Counties. By partnering with parents, volunteers and organizations, children in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs have higher aspirations, greater confidence, better relationships, avoid risky behaviors and achieve educational success. To enroll a child, become a Big, donate, or learn more about volunteering, call 207.236.BBBS (2227).

Area scouts receive recognition for patch design

Scott Adams, left, head of the Bomazeen Old Timers, of China, presenting check to Zachary LeHay, of Troop #401, from Sidney. (contributed photo)

New design to celebrate 75 years of Camp Bomazeen

Patch is the design from Dalton Curtis that will be used by the Bomazeen Old Timers to fundraise for their efforts to provide ongoing support for Camp Bomazeen.

Scouts Dalton Curtis, of Skowhegan Troop #485, and Zachary LeHay, of Sidney Troop #401, both received $75 prizes from the Bomazeen Old Timers on August 12 during a special presentation at Camp Bomazeen. The Scouts had drawn the two winning patch designs during the camp’s 75th anniversary season celebration.

Initially, they were to receive $75 camperships to attend Camp Bomazeen but when the camp did not open due to Covid-19, Scott Adams, of China, head of the Bomazeen Old Timers, opted to present both Curtis and LeHay with their prize during the annual Kennebec Valley District Scout Leader Re­cog­nition Dinner/ Program Kick-Off.

Curtis had planned to work at Camp Bomazeen’s kitchen this summer and LeHay was planning to attend with his troop. Adams said the patches will be used to help raise money for the Bomazeen Old Timers, which is a group of camp alumni dedicated to help the camp.

Submitted by Chuck Mahaleris

Scott Adams, left, head of the Bomazeen Old Timers, of China, presenting check to Dalton Curtis, of Troop #485, from Skowhegan. (contributed photo)

FISHY PHOTOS: Brother & Sister Act

Hunter Hallee, left, 14, of Rome, displays the nice brown trout he caught while fishing with his maternal grandfather, Terry Greenleaf, of Oakland, and his sister, Megan Hallee, 11, displays her own brown trout. They were fishing on Great Pond, in Belgrade. Hunter and Megan are the children of Ryan and Rachel Hallee, of Rome.

Camp Bomazeen holds Klondike Derby

Camp Bomazeen photo credit: Camp Bomazeen, BSA Maine

Submitted by Chuck Mahaleris

Camp Bomazeen, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, hosted the 2020 Scout Klondike Derby on February 1. Approximately 100 Scouts and leaders attended the frosty fun time on the shores of North Pond where Scouts competed in challenges that were both fun and designed to test their Scouting knowledge.

Camp Bomazeen Director Julie McKinney served as the chairman of the event. “What a Great day! Weather was just right. So many smiles,” she said. “It went nicely. We had Scouts from the Skowhegan, Augusta, Winthrop, Gardiner and Waterville areas take part including both boy and girl troops.

It was great to show off camp and how much fun it is in all of Maine’s seasons.” She said that Scouts were part of a patrol and each patrol pushed a dog sled from one of ten stations to the next competing in challenges such as lashing, first aid, fishing, etc. The sled carried all the gear they had brought that they would need to complete the challenges. “Water boiling was a challenge for some of the Scouts as some didn’t know how to get the fire going outdoor on the wet ground in a short amount of time.

“Tomahawk-throwing was a huge fun event that everyone loved and slingshot shooting was a hit as well,” she said. McKinney praised the Scouting volunteers who helped plan and run the event. One of the leaders of the event was Scott Adams, of China, who said that his Scouts in Troop #479 “had a good time. It was a great event.”

North Pond Watershed Protection plan phase one a success

photo: Google satellite view

by Linda Rice,
Secretary of North Pond Association

The North Pond Association, in partnership with the Seven Lakes Alliance, received a 319 Grant awarded in the fall of 2018 for $80,000. This grant money along with matching funds was to be used in 2018 and 2019 to implement projects initially recommended in the North Pond Watershed-Based Protection Plan. The NPA is proud to say that it has successfully completed the Phase I projects. Charlie Baeder from Seven Lakes Alliance was, and is, the project manager and without him, the following accomplishments would not have been possible.

In 2018, the Maine Department of Transportation matched funds to add riprap and pre-seeded erosion control blankets along Rte. 137, specifically on the shoreline property belonging to 170 Lake View Drive. The DOT was also tasked in repairing or replacing some culverts along Lake View Drive. Continuing the 2018 projects, the town of Smithfield matched $15,000 to stabilize a 300-foot-long embankment on North Shore Drive with riprap, seeding and hay. Approximately 225 feet was completed. Finally, in 2018, a thorough survey was conducted by Seven Lakes Alliance Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) and NPA at Pine Tree Camp to confirm erosion sites that could be mitigated with Best Management Practices (BMPs) beginning in 2019.

In 2019, second year of the Phase I Protection Plan, at least 19 erosion sites at Pine Tree Camp were repaired by the YCC including adding erosion control paths, crushed rock drip lines, armoring drainage ditches and a rain garden. The NPA’s financial support of the YCC as well as Pine Tree Camp’s monetary contribution for materials for those projects were the grant match needed to set Pine Tree Camp on the right course to slowing down erosion and runoff and protecting the water quality of North Pond. Also, the NPA contracted Lynch Landscaping to finish the 170 Lake View Drive project by planting 57 plants along the open guard-railed embankment and stabilizing the new plantings with erosion control mulch (ECM). Affectionately referred to as the “guard rail garden,” by the end of the summer of 2019, a once eroding bank was covered with common juniper, service and snowberry shrubs, sweet fern, fragrant sumac along with wildflowers including morning glories and ornamental grasses. Meadow Lane on the Serpentine Stream in Smithfield was perhaps the largest project in 2019. Significant areas of this private road were repaired. Rick Labbe donated heavy equipment and was the contractor on this project. The road itself was crowned and resurfaced and multiple ditches and culverts were repaired or added. The property owners on that road along with the East Pond Association and the NPA contributed thousands of dollars in matching grant funds to mitigate some of the erosion and run-off issues on Meadow Lane. Last but not least, the town of Smithfield was able to riprap the last 75 feet of the embankment on North Shore Drive.

The last two years yielded remarkable results thanks to the participation of the Maine DOT, town of Smithfield, and the Seven Lakes Alliance YCC. Above and beyond those accomplishments, dozens of property owners on the shores of North and Little ponds also played an important part in helping to control erosion. Over four dozen BMPs were installed on private properties either by YCC, landscaping contractors or by the owners themselves including rain gardens, buffer plants, ECM, riprap, dripline edges, infiltration steps and much more. With a little help from the NPA through their Watershed Financial Award program, thousands of dollars were contributed by these lakeside landowners to help protect the water quality of our pond.

Great news! The NPA has been awarded a second DEP Grant of $118,758 as part of our Phase II North Pond Watershed Protection Project to be implemented in 2020 and 2021. The NPA Watershed Steering Committee along with our Project Manager, Charlie Baeder will be meeting this winter and spring to plan erosion control projects throughout the North Pond Watershed. This second grant (as well as the first) was made possible in part because the NPA hired Jennifer Jespersen from Ecological Instincts to write the grant proposal to the DEP.

Funding for this project was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. The funding is administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in partnership with the EPA.

Camp Bomazeen to break out new logo for 75th season

Eagle Scout Dalton Curtis (left), of Skowhegan Troop 485, and Second Class Scout Zachary LeHay (right), of Sidney Troop 401, drew the two new patches. (photo source: Camp Bomazeen)

New patch design by Eagle Scout Dalton Curtis.

Camp Bomazeen this summer will have special patches designed by local Scouts to help commemorate its 75th season. Eagle Scout Dalton Curtis, of Skowhegan Troop #485, and Second Class Scout Zachary LeHay, of Sidney Troop #401, drew the two patch designs which will be used this summer at Camp Bomazeen. The Scouts will each receive a $75 campership to Camp Bomazeen from the Bomazeen Old Timers but Curtis may not need it as he has applied to be a part of the 75th anniversary staff.

In 1945, Waterville Scout Richard Chamberlain named Camp Bomazeen after the brave leader of the local Norridgewock Abenaki tribe.

For the 75th anniversary, Camp Bomazeen opened up the patch design to a Scout and had two top selections. Dalton’s design will be used for the 75th commemorative merchandise. The second design, rendered by Zachary will be used for the patch Scouts receive for attending camp this summer. Christopher Bernier, who runs the Bushcraft area at Camp Bomazeen, provided the finished renderings based on the two designs that will be used for production.

New patch designed by Scout Zachary LeHay.