Tag Archive for: Scouts

Skowhegan scout given award for patch design

Roundtable Commissioner Christopher Bernier, left, of Winslow, presented Taylor Hayden, of Skowhegan, with the display plaque that features his original artwork and the first patch from the run of patches made based on the art. (contributed photo)

Taylor Hayden, of Skowhegan, is a Star Scout in Troop #485. He is 15 years old and attends Skowhegan Area High School. On Wednesday, September 13, Taylor stood before Scouting leaders from all over Kennebec Valley District to receive a plaque for his contributions to Scouting by designing the patch for the Spring Camporee which was held in May, at Camp Bomazeen, in Belgrade.

Taylor was pleasantly surprised when he learned that his had been selected: “It’s outdoorsy and very artistic in my way of drawing things,” Taylor said. He plans to hang the plaque in his living room where his other Scouting awards are displayed.

Taylor Hayden, of Skowhegan. (contributed photo)

Eagle Scout completes LifeFlight helipad

Kaleb Brown, the Senior Patrol Leader of Palermo Boy Scout Troop #222, recently finished his Eagle Scout project by installing a helicopter pad for LifeFlight. This is the only permanent, concrete pad between Augusta, Waterville and Belfast. This is a multi-community asset as the First Responders of Palermo, China, Somerville, and Liberty will have access to the pad.

Kaleb noted, “There is a need and I can help. People shouldn’t worry about access to higher care if they or someone they know is critically injured in a remote area. Having a designated, permanent helicopter pad for LifeFlight (not just a field or a road that is shut down) saves precious minutes. Those minutes are critical to a patient’s survival.”

They are holding a public ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, September 23. The pad is located at the ball fields, at 645 Turner Ridge Rd., in Palermo. There will be guest speakers, emergency vehicles, the media, and LifeFlight will be on the pad!

This project was a huge undertaking and required a myriad of volunteers, materials, and funds to be a success. With generous donations by local businesses all $20K was covered!

Auburn Concrete, Belfast Chamber of Commerce, Bob Bruso, Darryl Heroux. Don Salvatore, Hancock Lumber, Haskell & Sons Dusty Haskell, McGee Construction
Modern Woodman of America, Nathan O. Northrup Forest Products and Earthworks, Palermo Youth Athletics, Paul Keller State Farm, and Wooly & Grunts Farm.

Local scouts attend national event

Thumbs Up from Anthony and Connor: Anthony Fortin, of Troop #603, and Connor Poirier, of Troop #631, both of Augusta, gave the thumbs up as they began cooking breakfast for the contingent at the sub-camp campsite at the Summit Reserve. (contributed photo)

submitted by Chuck Mahaleris

The Boy Scouts of America Jamboree attracted over 13,000 scouts from around the world and over 5,000 visitors to the 10-day event in July including Scouts from Maine.

Over the course of the Jamboree, which takes place every four years, the BSA gathers together. Scouts and Scouters explored all kinds of adventures – stadium shows, pioneer village, Mount Jack hikes, adventure sports and more – in the heart of one of nature’s greatest playgrounds. With 10,000 acres at the Bechtel Summit Reserve, in West Virginia, to explore, and directly across from the New River Gorge National Park, there was no shortage of opportunities to build Scouting memories.

The 45 scouts and leaders from Pine Tree Council (which covers southern and western parts of Maine) took a bus to the event which was held at the Summit, making stops in Washington, D.C. Contingent Leader, Joan Dollarhite, wrote on July 17, at Camp Snyder outside Washington, D.C., “Tents are pitched, pizza ordered and eaten. We had a great ride and are looking forward to sightseeing tomorrow.” The scouts earned the money for the trip through many fundraisers.

From soaring high above the ground on a zip line to conquering high ropes courses and scaling rock walls, there was no shortage of adventures at the Jamboree. Local Scouts took on the challenge of the climbing wall, navigated their way through orienteering courses, tried new things like branding or welding, and braved the rapids during an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip.

There were also demonstrations from the U.S. Coast Guard and motivational speeches given by Scott Pelley, correspondent for 60 Minutes and former news anchor and managing editor of CBS News who talked about bravery; and Lt. General and Eagle Scout, John Evans, who spoke to scouts about the importance of leadership.

Maine’s scouts not only found their adrenaline rush but also took part in programs designed to foster personal growth and build self-confidence. They also found opportunities to overcome mental and emotional obstacles as well and engage in team-building exercises that required communication, problem-solving, and collaboration. These experiences not only enhance outdoor skills but also cultivate character and resilience. The Jamboree helped to develop leadership skills.

They also took part in a massive good deed. Scouts at the National Jamboree assembled 5,000 “Flood Bucket” cleaning kits consisting of 15 items ranging from rubber gloves and scrub brushes to scouring pads and towels packed tightly into a 5-gallon bucket. These kits serve as essential “first aid” resources that provide flood victims with the practical and emotional support necessary to begin restoration of their homes and personal belongings. The completed kits, valued at $375,000, are being packed tightly into a five-gallon bucket and will be wrapped and transported to a warehouse and then distributed as needed to flooded areas throughout West Virginia as “first aid” resources for flood victims.

Anthony Fortin, of Augusta, attends Cony High School, and is a member of Troop #603. “I earned Radio, Sustainability, and Family Life Merit Badges; did some patch trading; soared across a zip line; had fun at the Camp bashes (parties); attended Catholic Mass with a thousand other Scouts; played the kazoo and the bugle; and met many new people from all over the country,” Anthony said.

Michael Fortin, committee chairman for Troop #603, in Augusta, also attended. “It was fulfilling to see all of the scouts have this amazing experience,” Fortin said. “Many of the scouts on this adventure did not know the leaders and conversely, we did not know most of them. Spending time together provided the leaders with the opportunity to get to know them and witness these young people on their scouting journey. The heat, humidity, and hilly terrain were challenging for us older adults to navigate, but we endured it all to ensure our scouts were safe and had an absolutely awesome time. We saw many examples of scouts who unselfishly embraced the Oath and Law and demonstrated what it truly means to be a Scout.”

Waterville scouts find new partner

Scouts pictured are Nicholas Tibbetts, Mason Pelletier, Micah Waldie, Xander Dunton, Elijab Benn, Isaac Benn, Joshua Knight, Tucker Waldie, Malahki Kornsey and Sam Bernier. All are of Waterville except the Benns who live in Westbrook. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

After 89 years of partnership with the Pleasant Street United Methodist Church, Waterville Boy Scout Troop began 2023 with a new Chartered Organization.

“Fortunately, we didn’t have to hunt too long as we found the Waterville Masonic Lodge #33 as our new Chartered Organization,” Scout leader Bruce Rueger said. A chartered organization is a community-based group whose objectives, mission and methodologies are compatible with those of the BSA.

It agrees to use the Scouting program to further its mission to serve young people. The partnership is intended to be deeper than, say, a sponsorship arrangement between a youth baseball team and a local business. In signing an annual charter agreement with the local council, the organization agrees (among other things) to follow BSA rules, regulations and policies; maintain and support a unit committee made up of at least three persons for each unit; and ensure appropriate facilities for regular unit meetings. “They celebrated our new relationship by presenting the troop with a new troop flag recognizing our 90 years as a member of the Boy Scouts of America.” The Scouts received their new flag on March 21, 2023.

Scouts leadership group completes training

Adam Wright, of Lewiston, Doug Woodbury, of Rockport, and Jon Martin, of Augusta, demonstrate round lashings. They learned the skill so they can then instruct their Scouts on the skill. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

Leaders from Cub Packs and Scout Troops around the area recently completed a variety of training programs. “It is encouraging to see so many scout leaders coming out to learn new skills,” said Walter Fails, of Farmington, who is the Chairman of Training for Scout Troops in Kennebec Valley District. “Every scout deserves a trained leader because trained leaders deliver better and safer Scouting programs.”

At Camp Boma­zeen, in Belgrade, 20 scouting leaders from across Pine Tree Council completed the Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO) Training for Cub Scout leaders and the Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills (IOLS) Training for leaders in Scout Troops. The training courses were held over the weekend of May 5-7. Both programs provide an opportunity for leaders to learn how to offer Scouting’s outdoor programs safely. “We all had a great time sharing experiences and knowledge,” said Scott St. Amand, of Gardiner, who heads up Cub Scout Leader Training for Kennebec Valley District and was one of the trainers for the weekend. “It was great to see the camaraderie, and willingness to jump in and help each other learn new skills.”

Of those completing the leaders program, it included area IOLS Training: Christopher Bishop, of Whitefield, who is a leader in Troop #609 B(Boys), in Windsor, Jon Martin, of Troop #603 B, in Augusta, Stephen Polley, is a leader, in Vassalboro Troop #410, Shawn Hayden, of Skowhegan Troop #485 B.

Those locally completing requirements for the BALOO Training: Frederick Pullen, of Pack #445, in Winslow, and Christopher Santiago, of Pack #410, in Vassalboro. Santiago also recently completed more than 500 hours of online training to complete the District Committee functions. Chris Fox, of Mechnic Falls, is the Abnaki District Training Chairman and helped with the training at Camp Bomazeen.

Shelley Connolly, of Pittsfield, completed Short Term Camp Administrator training with Western Los Angeles County Council on April 29. Shelley is going to be running the Summer Camporee, at Camden Hills State Park, July 30-August 1, and she will be helping set up the schedule, program, etc., for the Scouts BSA Weekend at Bomazeen.

Vassalboro scouts hold Blue & Gold banquet

Tiger Cubs Declan McLaughlin, Lux Reynolds, Samuel Madison, and John Gray are awarded completed adventures and their Tiger Rank by their Den Leader Christopher Reynolds (yellow shirt) and Cubmaster Christopher Santiago. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

On Sunday, June 11, Vassalboro Pack #410 held its Annual Blue & Gold Banquet along with their Charter Organization, American Legion Post #126, at St. Bridget’s Center. The camping themed banquet saw the recognition of the 17 scouts within the unit as they advance in rank. It was a family celebration that discussed many of the highlights from the year and featured an Arrow of Light Ceremony, a Crossover Ceremony, and a Flag Day Ceremony.

Bear Cubs Maxsim LaCroix, Eli Richmond, Tucker Lizzotte, and Henry Gray are awarded their completed adventures and their Bear Rank by their Den Leader Lindsay Lizzotte. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

Webelos Scouts Christopher Santiago, Hunter Brown, and William Vincent are recognized for having completed their Webelos rank and the beginning of their journey towards the Arrow of Light along with Cubmaster Christopher Santiago. Photos courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

China’s Isaac Audette becomes Eagle Scout

Audette Family: Eagle Scouts Bert and Isaac, and Janet Audette, of China. (photos courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

In 2022, 35,533 young men and women earned the Eagle Scout rank, joining more than 2.7 million Americans before them. Less than 6 percent of all youth who enter Scouting attain the rank of Eagle but China’s Isaac Audette, 14, did just that and received his Eagle Scout medal during a ceremony at China’s Central Lodge #45 Masonic Hall, on Saturday, May 20.

“To earn the highest rank in scouting, a scout must spend a great deal of time and effort,” said Matt Bodine, who served as Master of Ceremonies for the Eagle Scout Court of Honor. Therefore, the occasion that recognized his accomplishment should be memorable. After a youth enters scouting, the Scout Law that he promises to obey begins to guide his life.”

Nick Choate, who will soon also receive the Eagle rank, said during the ceremony, “In the Scout Oath, the young Scout promises upon his or her honor to do their best to do their duty. first to God and their country; second, to other people, by helping them at all times; and third, to himself, by keeping himself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

Audette, who attends China Middle School, is the 48th Eagle Scout for Troop #479, since 1995. In order to earn the Eagle Scout rank, Isaac was required to provide leadership to others in order to complete a meaningful project in the community. Isaac’s project was to paint the unfinished interior of the new South China Public Library and build two outdoor bendings. Sanding and staining door and window trims were also completed as part of his project.

State Representative Katrina Smith, of Palermo, was on hand for the event and presented Isaac with a Legislative Sentiment noting his accomplishments.

Troop #479 Scoutmaster Christian Hunter, himself an Eagle Scout, reminded Isaac of his responsibilities. “As an Eagle Scout, the eyes of all scouting, the eyes of the world, will be upon you. The traditions and standards of Eagle Scouts are high. May you live up to those traditions and standards, always guided by the spirit of scouting.”

Hugs for Pops: Eagle Scout Isaac Audette hugs his grandfather, David “Pops” Singer, after presenting him with one of his Eagle Scout Mentor Pins. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

One of the highlights of the ceremony came when Isaac presented one of his Eagle Scout Mentor Pins to his grandfather David “Pops” Singer. “This person has been by my side and is hands down one of the most influential people in my life,” Isaac said. “He has taught me many things including fishing, metal detecting, magnet-fishing, and sparking a passion for cooking at a young age. We love trash talking each other about basketball teams even though mine always comes up on top.”

Dan Bernier receives scouting highest award

Eagle Scout Benjamin Bernier, left, and his mother Jennifer Bernier, stand on either side of Dan Bernier after he received the District Award of Merit from Luanne Chesley, right, Kennebec Valley District Advancement Chairman. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

Waterville attorney Dan Bernier wears a suit when providing expert advice to clients on matters such as estate planning, probate law, litigation and government relations. But he was wearing his Scout uniform when he received the District Award of Merit on Wednesday, May 10, at the Pleasant Street United Methodist Church, in Waterville.

The District Award of Merit is the highest honor a local Scouting District can bestow upon a volunteer Scouting leader. Kennebec Valley District delivers the Scouting program in Franklin, Kennebec, Lincoln and Knox Counties. Based on the Scouting demographics of the area, Kennebec Valley District was allowed to present two District Awards of Merit this year.

Garth Smith, of Winslow, received one earlier this year but Bernier was not able to attend the district dinner and received his award during the monthly Scouting Leaders’ Roundtable.

Bernier became active in scouting in 2006 when his son, Ben Bernier, joined the program as a Cub Scout in Waterville Pack #436. Dan became Cubmaster of the Pack and then when Ben moved on to the scout troop, Dan joined as well. In Troop #436, Dan Bernier held several positions during the years including Chartered Organization Representative, Committee Chairman and eventually Scoutmaster – a position he still holds. Dan has been active in Kennebec Valley District helping the Bushcraft program at Camp Bomazeen and assisting with efforts to grow the Bomazeen Old Timers which is an entity formed to provide support for Camp Bomazeen.

Dan Bernier was named Scouting’s Unit Leader of the Year in 2015 and has earned the Scoutmaster’s Key.

Kennebec Valley District Advancement Chairman Luanne Chesley, of Vassalboro, made the presentation of the award to Bernier highlighting his work outside of scouting especially with the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce.

“Dan is without a doubt a deserving individual,” Chesley said. “He is a man who works very hard in the background for the benefit of many scouts. It is a great honor that we honor him tonight.”

Bernier feels that scouting is valuable today because of its strong, outdoor program. “The big thing about scouting is getting kids outside and exposing them to a lot of things in the outdoors that they don’t normally do anymore that they used to do.” Waterville Troop #436 recently visited the sites of the Battle of Lexington and Concord on Patriots’ Day. “We meet on Tuesday night at 7 p.m., at the Methodist church. People who want to join can contact me at dan@bernierlawoffice.com or the office number 877-8969.”

Waterville scouts at Nobscot Reservation

Waterville Troop 436 with the Minuteman Statue in Concord. Xandr Dunton, Elijah Benn, Tucker Waldie, Samuel Bernier, Joshua Knight, Micah Waldie, Tobias Crocker, Malahki Kornsey, and Isaac Benn. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

Friday, April 14, found Boy Scout Troop #436, of Waterville, spending the weekend at Nobscot Scout Reservation, in Sudbury, Massachusetts. Early Saturday morning, they headed to Lexington to hike the 10-mile “Sons of Liberty Trail” to the North Bridge, in Concord.

“Along the way we visited many stops including the capture site of Paul Revere and Merriam’s Corner. We had lunch while watching a reenactment of one of the skirmishes that occurred as the Minutemen chased the British back to Boston,” said Scout leader Bruce Reuger, of Waterville. Scouts participating were Joshua Knight, Samuel Bernier, Malahki Kornsey, Tucker Waldie, Isaac Benn, Micah Waldie, Elijah Benn, Xander Dunton and Tobias Crocker. Leaders were Daniel Bernier, Shawn Benn, James Kornsey and Bruce Rueger.

All live in Waterville except for the Benn family who live in Westbrook. Shawn Benn is an Eagle Scout from Troop #436 and is active with his sons in the program.

The following morning the troop headed home to Waterville but stopped in Marblehead, Massachusetts, to hike the 2-mile long “Spirit of ’76 Trail.” “Along the way we visited many historic buildings, the birthplace of the United States Navy, the home of the first commander of the U.S. Marines, Fort Sewell, where the USS Constitution was protected from British warships and one of the oldest cemeteries in the country. The hike began and ended at Abbot Hall where the famous painting “Spirit of 76″ is housed,” Rueger said. “Unfortunately, Abbot Hall is only open on weekends during the summer months.”

Cub scouts pitch-in on Earth Day

Cubs in Pack #445, in Winslow, walked several miles collecting trash around town on Earth Day. Shown here are Ashish Dabas, of Winslow, Able Byroade, of Albion, Lorelei Pullen and Freddie Pullen, of Winslow, Easton Vigue and Colton Vigue, of Albion, Ryder Johnston, of Albion, Alex Parsons, of Benton, Simon and Elliot Giroux, of Winslow, Gavin McGowen, of Benton, Owen Clark, of Winslow, and Josh Collins, of Waterville. (photo by Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

Cubs Scouts in Winslow Pack #445 spent Earth Day- Saturday April 22 – picking up trash around town. Sabrina Marie Garfield, Den Leader for the Wolf Den, organized the project as a way of teaching the Cubs that they have a responsibility to make their community a little better than they found it. The Wolf Den is made up of boys and girls in grade two and they cleaned up litter from more than four miles in town including around the elementary, middle and high schools; Fort Halifax park; Norton Street Playground area; near the town hall; Halifax Street playground, monument and cemetery; the Crummet Street trail; and along Monument Street.

Lorelei and Freddie Pullen collecting trash, in Winslow, on Earth Day. (photo by Chuck Mahaleris)

Since 1910, conservation and environmental studies have been an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America. Scouts have rendered distinguished public service by helping to conserve wildlife, energy, forests, soil, and water. Past generations of scouts have been widely recognized for undertaking conservation Good Turn action projects in their local communities. Through environmental explorations, Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturers, and Sea Scouts visit the outdoors and discover the natural world around them. Many natural resource careers are born in Scouting.

There are meeting plans, badges and awards for every level of the scouting program to remind youth about their role in protecting our natural places. Some include the Distinguished Conservation Service Award, the Sustainability Merit Badge, and the Cub Scout World Conservation Award. At all levels of Scouting, they learn “Leave No Trace” methods.

Garfield said, “We had a lot of volunteers. Most of the kids cleaned up their assigned areas and then chose to move on to do other places, too. Then after we were all done and they were hanging out and playing or heading to their cars to go home, the kids were still happily cleaning up trash they saw as they went. They were very proud of their hard work as they should be. They all did a really great job.”

“We chose Green Up Day to help the earth and help keep animals safe,” said Cub Scout Freddie Garfield. “Trash affects the earth and earth affects nature and the animals, and people are animals, too, so it affects all of us.” Young or old, everyone can do something to lend a hand.