Tag Archive for: Scouts

Central Maine scouts attend camporee in Cobscook/Moosehorn

Christopher Bernier, Camp Director of the Camporee, leading the opening ceremonies, at Cobscook, for the camporee. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

Scouts from all over Maine – with the largest contingent from Kennebec Valley District – garbed as brave knights, powerful wizards, elven maidens and stealthy rogues descended upon Cobscook Bay State Park, in Edmunds, for the 60th anniversary Cobscook/Moosehorn International Camporee on the weekend of September 16-18.

The event, organized by Christopher Bernier, of Winslow, and his staff, saw more than 100 Scouts and leaders competing in such themed events as Shield Decorating, Pennant Competition, Axe throwing, Catapult, “‘Tis Merely a Flesh Wound” (First Aid), Tug-o-War, Archery, mounted obstacle course to rescue the Princess, and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch (Shot put throw to destroy the evil stuffed rabbit).

Bernier said, “The Cobscook camporee has been in the works for a year and could not have happened without all of the staff who came together to pull it off. The weather cooperated and everyone had a blast.” Some traveled three hours or more to attend the highly-anticipated program that has become the longest, continuously-run annual Scouting event in the nation.

Declan Noyes, of West Gardiner, is a Cub Scout in Gardiner Pack #672. He said that his favorite part of the weekend was the Scavenger Hunt where each troop scoured the woods and the edge of Cobscook Bay looking for magic items of tremendous power or weapons to help them in their battles against evil. “I also liked looking out at the ocean,” he said.

Daniel Deprez, of Gorham, recently joined Troop #73 and this was one of his first Scouting events. “There was a lot of fun stuff to do,” Daniel said. “I’m having fun.” He dressed as a brave knight for the weekend’s challenges.

Isa Russell, of Randolph, is a member of Troop #2019. “I think dressing up in costume and being in character is my favorite part,” said the maiden of Scouting.

Other activities included cooking challenges and costume competitions.

Connor Files earns Eagle Scout rank

Eagle Scout Connor Files at the Skowhegan Federated Church.

by Chuck Mahaleris

Skowhegan has one new Eagle Scout after Connor Files received Scouting’s highest rank during a ceremony at the Skowhegan Federated Church, on Sunday, September 25.

Connor pinning the Eagle Scout Mother’s Pin on his mom Margaux Files after she had pinned the Eagle Scout medal on her son’s uniform.

“My Eagle Scout project,” Connor said, “included mapping trails in the Coburn Woods and installing an informational kiosk for the Somerset Woods Trustees.” Connor, son of Darren and Margaux Files, of Skowhegan, is 16 years old and attends Skowhegan Area High School.

State Senator Brad Farrin, of Norridgewock, was one of the 70-plus who attended the ceremony and praised Eagle Scout Files for his “excellence in skills development, leadership, personal growth, and community service” while presenting him with U.S. flag that had flown over the State of Maine Capitol Building, along with a legislative sentiment.

Connor loves to be outdoors. Besides Scouting, he enjoys downhill skiing, mountain biking, hunting and fishing. “Connor is an extremely hard worker,” said his father and former Scout Master Darren Files. “He is always eager to help. His mother and I never have to ask him to do something twice. He makes parenting easy. Sometimes teens find it difficult to balance everything they do. Connor does a great job finding the balance between work, Scouts, soccer, skiing while also maintaining high honors in school. We couldn’t be prouder.”

Eagle Scout Gage Morgan provided the Eagle Scout Charge to Connor and reminded him, “The foremost responsibility of an Eagle Scout is to live with honor. To an Eagle Scout, honor is the foundation of all character.”

Rev. Mark Tanner provided the invocation and benediction and praised Connor not only for his Scouting work but also for the care and nurturing way he interacts with both the younger scouts in the troop as well as his own brother, Nolan.

Connor said, “Scouting is a great opportunity not only to get kids out into the wilderness but also teach them fantastic life skills that will take you far in life.”

Photos courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris

Brothers Nolan and Connor Files show off some of Connor’s Pinewood Derby cars.

Scout leaders complete training

Nine scouting leaders completed the Youth Protection Training on Wednesday, September 19, at the American Legion Post, on Eastern Avenue, in Augusta. As stated in The Boy Scout Handbook, “Child abuse is a serious problem in our society, and unfortunately, it can occur anywhere, even in Scouting. Youth safety is Scouting’s No. 1 concern.”

Child abusers are out there and come in all shapes and sizes, and too often are people youth know and trust. Scouting has the tools and information Scout leaders need to help them keep youth safe so they can enjoy the program. Youth Protection training is required annually for all registered volunteers of Pine Tree Council. It is valid for one year, after which you must take the training again to remain eligible to serve as an adult in Scouting.

Why does Scouting ask its adult members to retake YPT every year? Because it’s important that this topic remain top of mind for every adult registered with Scouting. Karen Norton of Harpswell, a member of the Council Training Team, led the course.

Those completing the course were: Becky Blais, Philippe Blais, Josh Demers, and Douglas Mason, who are leaders in Augusta Cub Scout Pack #603; Charles Fergusson, of Troop #609, in Windsor; Jeffrey Morton and Michael Fortin, of Augusta Troop #603; Kennebec Valley District Vice Chairman Chuck Mahaleris, of Augusta, and Kennebec Valley District Executive Michael Perry, of Livermore.

The training, which is also offered online, will be provided in person several times this Fall to ensure all leaders have an opportunity to learn how to recognize the signs of abuse, how to react, and to whom should they report. Scouting leaders are mandatory reporters in the state of Maine.

China schools benefit from local boy scouts

Bryson giving the safety inspection and assigning tasks to the scouts, left to right, Scouts Isaac Audette, Brady Newell, Sam Boynton, Bryson Pettengill, Nathan Choate and Assistant Scoutmaster Aiden Pettengill. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

Bryson Pettengill’s Eagle Project was to create Zen Spaces at both the China’s Primary and Middle schools. He wanted to give back to the school and after discussions with his parents it was clear that children with special needs or social anxiety needed a safe environment. He realized the schools didn’t have one on the playgrounds. In researching online, he made the spaces as natural as he could because things found in nature provide calming stimuli.

Scouts Sam Boynton, left, and Remy Pettengill were assigned to put the picnic table together for the Middle school location. (photo courtesy
of Chuck Mahaleris)

The purpose of an Eagle project, which is a capstone assignment at the end of the Boy Scout advancement ladder, is to demonstrate leadership. There is no quantity of hours required for an Eagle project. The Scout need only demonstrate leadership in the task; therefore, it must be complicated enough to require the assistance of other Scouts.

A good Eagle project is one that gives the Scout an opportunity to organize his fellow Scouts into action. Most Scouts find this to be a challenging task, as it is unlike anything they have ever done in Scouting – and for many, unlike anything they’ve done outside of scouting as well.

These spaces would include “Buddy Stumps”, a Zen sand garden, picnic tables, calming plants, checker/Tic-Tac-Toe boards and building blocks/logs made with natural elements. Studies show that nature benefits children’s mental health because it is a natural calming stimulus. Spaces were built at both schools.

Bryson had to work with the principals from both schools to obtain approval for the project and for the location for Zen spaces at each school. He then had to get the approval for this project from the Troop #479 committee by scheduling a time to present his project. He had to schedule a meeting with the project coach for Kennebec Valley District of Pine Tree Council for the final approval before he could start the project.

He asked for help from his fellow Scouts in Troop #479 and other volunteers and scheduled a work date of July 9, 2022.

Bryson is the son of Lee and Danielle Pettengill, of South China and will be entering the eighth grade this year.

Scout Bryson Pettengill with the completed Zen space at the Middle School. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

Eagle Scout Ryan Martin receives much praise

Scoutmaster Garth Smith, right, presented Ryan with the Eagle Scout certificate. (Photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

Submitted by Chuck Mahaleris

Leaders of government and civic organizations heaped praise on teenager Ryan Steven Martin during his Eagle Scout ceremony held on August 25, at the Winslow Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #8835.

Eagle Scout Ryan Martin, left, received a Certificate of Recognition from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Winslow VFW Post #8835 Commander Wayne Vashon made the presentation. (Photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

“I am so grateful and honored to have been invited to this event tonight to honor Ryan Martin,” Winslow Town Manager Erica LaCroix said. “My cousin is an Eagle Scout and I understand what a huge achievement this is. I’m amazed at how many Eagle Scouts are actually in this room with us but look at how many others are here and have never achieved that status. It is truly a great accomplishment.”

Ryan received a Legislative Sentiment and U.S. flag that had flown over the State House, in Augusta, from State Senator Scott Cyrway, of Albion, and State Representative Cathy Nadeau, of Winslow. “Your hard work is commendable and exactly what our nation needs,” Cyrway said.

Ryan also received certificates of recognition from both the American Legion and the VFW but it was his Scoutmaster Garth Smith who presented him with his Eagle Scout certificate.

For his Eagle Scout project, Ryan led a team to build benches and chairs which are now located around the Town of Winslow for the enjoyment of the public. LaCroix said, “The benches and chairs that you did for your project will be enjoyed for years to come by both residents and visitors alike. Wonderful work and the town appreciates that you chose us to benefit from your service. We wish you all the luck in your future and we hope to keep you in Winslow for a very long time.”

Ryan, son of Diane and Steve Martin, just graduated from Winslow High School in the spring and will begin classes at Husson University, in Bangor, shortly, where he is enrolled in the 5-year accelerated program for Accounting and MBA for financial management. “My ultimate vision in life,” Ryan said, “Is to be the person who helps those around them and shows others their full potential. I have tried to do this throughout my life up to this point whether it was serving as Senior Patrol Leader for the troop or just being that stranger at the store who helps someone load their groceries. I will always hold the Scout Oath and Law close to my heart where all core values should be in life.”

State Senator Scott Cyrway, left, and State Representative Cathy Nadeau presented Legislative Sentiment to honor Ryan from the entire Legislative body. (Photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

Cubs learn about outdoors

by Chuck Mahaleris

Warden Service Sgt. Josh Bubier shows Scouts the pelt of an animal that lives in Maine’s woods while parent Chris Vincent and Cub Scout Hunter Brown listen. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

Cub Scouts in Vassalboro Pack #410 enjoyed meeting with members of the Maine Warden Service recently. Sgt. Josh Bubier and Warden Jake Voter took time the first week of August to discuss with the Cub Scouts the important role the Warden Service plays in protecting Maine’s unique natural outdoor heritage. According to Cub Master Christopher Santiago, the pair spent time talking about a day in the life of a game warden, what it takes to become a warden, introducing us to K-9 Koda, and showing the Cubs many different animals found here in Maine including: bobcat, red fox, raccoon, moose, black bear, otter, muskrat, possum, weasel, and fishers.

The Cubs enjoyed the entire presentation but were especially fond of meeting Game Warden K9 Koda – a four-legged hero. In May, Koda and Voter located a missing person, rescuing a 77-year-old woman who likely had spent two nights in the woods in Bremen just a few days after Koda and Voter found an 11-year old girl who had gone missing.

Santiago said, “What a great night for our Pack! A huge thank you to Sgt. Bubier and Warden Voter. Thanks to all our den leaders and parents who got the majority of our boys out to this event. We have a recruiting event at the Vassalboro family movie night which is on Saturday, August 20. I will be there around 7 p.m., and we have a recruitment event at the Vassalboro Community School open house on Tuesday, August 30 at 6 p.m.”

Vassalboro Pack welcomes parents and families of boys grades K-5.

Interested in Joining Scout Pack #410? Please contact via email: VassalboroCubScoutPack410@gmail.com.

All photos courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris.


China Boy Scout earns Eagle Scout status

Eagle Scout Kaiden Kelley

by Ron Emery

On Saturday, June 11, Troop #479, of China, honored an Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor held for China resident Kaiden Sawyer Kelley, at the China Masonic Hall. Family, friends and Scouts attended the ceremony marking the advancement of this young man to the highest rank in Boy Scouts.

Kaiden joins a group of Eagle Scouts who have completed community service projects with the help of fellow Scouts and other volunteers. Each Eagle candidate must plan and supervise an Eagle service project to demonstrate his capacity and willingness to exert his leadership ability in activities that are constructive and worthwhile in his community.

Kaiden’s Eagle Project had two parts. The first part was the maintenance on a local park trail. Talbot Cemetery Trail within Thurston Park had a large tree removed that was covering the entrance of the trail. The path to the gravestone had the trailblazer refurbished and additional signage was added to the trail. The second part was visiting Maine State Parks and taking 360-degrees pictures. These images were compiled on the website MaineParks.org and are available for anyone who wishes to visit Maine State Parks from home.

Kaiden and his family created the Eagle Scout Ceremony and invited other members of Troop #479 to take part in this celebration. Assistant Scoutmaster Matt Bodine was asked to be moderator for the ceremony. Pastor Ronald Morrell, Sr., gave the invocation. Scouts Isaac Audette and Bryson Pettengill posted the colors.

Kennebec Valley District’s Membership Chair Chuck Mahaleris called the Eagle Court of Honor to Order.

Assistant Scoutmaster Ron Emery introduced the special guests. Chuck Mahaleris brought greetings from Senator Susan Collins and read a letter from her. Other letters of sentiment were received from U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree, as well as many others.

Kaiden is the son of Kern and Michaela Kelley, of China, and will be a senior at Erskine Academy, and will graduate in 2023.

Read more stories about the Scouts here.

Tristan Morton earns second of four medals

Fr. Skehan pins Tristan with the second of four medals “Parvuli Dei”. (photo courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

Tristan Morton of Pack #603 was recognized by the Catholic Council on Scouting at a Mass in St. Mary Church, on Wednesday, April 27. The Mass was led by Father John Skehan and attended by the students of St. Michael School, in Augusta, where Tristan attends the fourth grade. After blessing the award, Fr. Skehan pinned Tristan with the second of four medals “Parvuli Dei” that follow Catholic Scouts as they mature in the understanding of the church and their faith. Reverence is one of the 12 moral elements of Scouting. Pack #603 is chartered at the American Legion Post #205, Augusta.

Augusta scouts observe Scout Sunday at St. Mary’s

Front row, from left to right, Jacob Blais, Willow Mudie, Scarlotte Mudie, Elizabeth Blais, and Tom Carey. Back, Fr. John Skehan, Anthony Fortin, Ian Martin, Connor Poirier and Tristan Morton. (contributed photo)

Augusta Scouts from Scout Troops #631 and #603 joined with Cub Scout Packs #684 and #603 at St. Mary’s Church, in Augusta, on February 6, as part of the annual celebration of Scout Sunday.

Scouts joined parish leaders in distributing bulletins to parishioners, assisting with the offering, altar service, and recited both the Scout Oath and Law for the assembled congregation. Fr. John Skehan officiated and made the Scouts feel very welcome.

“Not every family attends the same church, but every Scout is taught to respect the religious freedom we enjoy in the United States. Our Scouts, today – on Scout Sunday, participated in this Catholic Mass and through this experience learned to appreciate the Catholic Faith,” said Scout leader Jeff Morton. “St. Mary’s Church and Father John opened their doors and hearts to our scouts. We were welcomed, allowed to participate, and learned so that our scouts can better understand their community and its religious culture.

Diversity, and tolerance are fostered through understanding and respect – this is what Scouting teaches.” According to District Chairman Joe Shelton, the BSA asks its members to affirm a belief in God. That doesn’t mean the Boy Scouts of America tells its members which religion to practice. Scouting provides youth members with opportunities to deepen their personal faith through programs such as the Scout Sunday event, leadership positions in their troop such as chaplain, and the religious emblems program. Scouts have a “Duty to God” and the Scout Law’s 12th and final point is that a “Scout is Reverent.” Lord Robert Baden Powell, founder of the worldwide Scouting movement, said in 1908, “No man is much good unless he believes in God and obeys His laws. So every Scout should have a religion.”

Longtime Boy Scout leader steps down

Scott, left, and his wife Priscilla. After 32 years as Scoutmaster of Troop #479, he is now serving as the Troop’s Committee Chairman and as the Treasurer of the Bomazeen Old Timers as he tries to save the Scout camp he loves. (photos courtesy of Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

As 2021 is now in the rear view mirror, we can not let the year pass without recognizing one milestone that took place. Scott Adams stepped down as Scoutmaster of Scout Troop #479 in China, a position he held since August 29, 1989.

When Scott Adams became Scoutmaster of Troop #479, there were only four Scouts including his son Matthew. Thirty-two years later, Troop #479 remains one of the healthiest Scout Troops in Kennebec Valley District and can boast having seen 44 Scouts from their troop earn their Eagle Scout rank. Adams is remaining active as the Committee Chairman of Troop #479 and as the Treasurer of the Bomazeen Old Timers which is working to prevent the camp from being sold.

Scott Adams and Greenbar Bill. (contributed photo)

Adams has recently received his 60-year Scouting Veteran pin. He was a Scout in Troop #479 in 1966 under Scoutmaster Preston Mosher. “I joined because that was the thing to do,” Adams recalled. “The Scouting program was much larger back then. My two best friends were in the troop so I joined, too. I was into sports so cooking and camping were all new to me. I enjoyed Scouting but didn’t stay with it as a youth,” he said. But rejoined the program in 1984 as a member of the Pack Committee for Albion Pack #410. The next year, his son Matthew joined the Cub Scout program and Scott has not left it since. When the family moved to China, Scott and Matthew joined Pack #479 which was struggling and being reorganized. Scott and other adults stepped up and the “Pack took off.” Scott served as Den Leader and then Webelos Leader. When Matthew crossed over into Boy Scouts, Scott went with him. Three other Scouts crossed over as well and they made up the entirety of the troop at that time as it had been inactive for most of the year. Scott became Scoutmaster, received training for the position, and focused the program on the youth and getting them into the outdoors each month. “Our first camping trip was to my hunting camp in Unity,” Scott said. “The Scouts slept in tents but there was a cabin with running water if we needed it. We had a latrine but they learned how to dig their own, anyway. Scouting is about getting the kids into the outdoors. If you get them outside and show them that they can enjoy themselves out there, they will stay with the program. The longer they stay in the program the more they will learn about Citizenship, Character, Fitness and Leadership Development. We’re teaching life-long skills but doing it in a way that they enjoy it.”

Christian Hunter, who earned Eagle under Scoutmaster Adams, became the troop’s new Scoutmaster in February. “Looking back it is hard to believe all that Mr. Adams did as Scout­mast­er,” Hunter said. “Mr. Adams planned at least one campout and service project for the troop every month to keep the troop active and to help every scout in have the opportunity to advance in rank. At outings, Mr. Adams always kept the troop on tight time schedule to make sure we could get the most done in a day as possible, but still have some time to have some fun. Also at every outing we had delicious food and plenty of it. Scouts learned to cook in the outdoors. Mr. Adams was an excellent teacher, as Scoutmaster, and taught me and all the other Scouts in our troop many important lessons. Mr. Adams taught us how to plan outings, how to do everything in the Scout Handbook, and how to support and take care of our community. If you had a question about anything, Mr. Adams always had the answer, and would explain it to you so that you would understand. He always made sure to test us on the skills he had taught us, to make sure they would stay with us and help us as adults.”

Adams always kept the program flexible to accommodate the busy schedules of the Scouts. “We had a camping trip scheduled,” he recalled. “But only four Scouts signed up. When I asked, I found out that there was a dance they all wanted to go to on Friday night. No problem, we left for the camping trip early Saturday morning instead of on Friday night. Instead of four Scouts, we had 16 take part.”

There were two events he stressed that all of the Scouts take part in each year: Scout Sunday service at China Baptist Church and Memorial Day services. Adams explained that Pastor Ron Morrell would let the Scouts lead many aspects of the service on Scout Sunday. “One year we had 26 Scouts in the church choir on Scout Sunday,” he said. He also, over the years, brought the Scouts of Troop #479 to camporees both local and all over the nation, and to two that were held in Canada.

Scott Adams. (contributed photo)

Bomazeen Camp Director Bruce Rueger had nothing but praise for Adams’ dedication and appreciates his work with the Bomazeen Old Timers. “Scott is the most passionate and effective Scout Leader I have worked with in the program,” Rueger said. The Old Timers raise funds throughout the year to provide camperships for youth in the area to attend Camp Bomazeen and to purchase building material and supplies for the camp. “I can’t even begin to imagine where the camp would be without all of his work.” Now Rueger and Adams are working together to keep the camp from being sold so that Scouts from Waterville, Skowhegan and Augusta areas will continue to be able to use it for decades to come. “Bomazeen to me is what Scouting is all about,” Scott Adams said. “I will challenge anyone to come up with a waterfront and camp that is better than at Bomazeen. People do not realize the treasure that they have. It is simply outdoor camping at its best.”

Kennebec Valley District Chairman Joe Shelton was recruited by Scott. “Scott has been a steadfast member of his community through Scouting, Masons, Fire Dept. and Community support,” Shelton said. “I’ve known Scott since 2010 and he will help anyone who asks. If he can’t help he will find someone or someway to help. In the end Scott will do whatever he can for anyone who asks! I’ve never seen him turn anyone away that deserved his insight, guidance or assistance.”

Adams’ advice after more than three decades as Scoutmaster to others in the Scouting program: “I like to think that we had a program run by the Scouts. We always tried to make every kid feel welcome and give them an opportunity to succeed. Having a strong outdoor program made all the difference.” He said that sometimes life sent challenges to his Scouts. “I had a Scout who told me he had to quit. I asked why and he said that he was failing in school and needed to quit. I told him that he did need to focus on his school work but when he was ready, Scouting would be waiting to welcome him back whether that was in two weeks, two months or two years. He could pick up where he left off.”

Scott’s wife Priscilla has joined Scott on his Scouting journey. “He is always willing to help everyone,” she said in December 2021 during a regional Scouting leaders’ meeting where Scott was drawing the winning tickets for the latest Bomazeen Old Timers’ raffle. “He has always put just as much time and energy into the family as he has put into Scouting.”

Scoutmaster Hunter said, “Taking over as scoutmaster of Troop #479 is a huge undertaking because Mr. Adams was an excellent leader. There is no way I’ll ever be a Scoutmaster like Mr. Adams, but with the skills he taught me I will do my best to fill his shoes.”