Heart Of A Scout


Kaitlyn Starry, Staff Writer

The wind was picking up as the sky started to darken. You could hear the rumbling of thunder in the air and could smell the dense cold rain about to fall. There were ten people all dressed in their warmest clothes; hoodies, jeans, and if you were lucky, a rain jacket. They had expected the rain to come earlier but didn’t expect it to be so soon. Besides, they still had guests to entertain. A group of three younger girls from the cub scouts had come to join them to experience the scouts. The troop was to make a feast in the woods, so in preparation, they had tied a tarp to four trees, each tree to a corner.

On November 11th, Bella Damboise, a GHS student and the Senior patrol leader of Troop 99G joined the Cub Scouts (scouts for younger kids) in 5th grade and has been in the program since. In 2019, Bella became one of the first scouts of troop 99G. Along with Bella are nine other girls. Campouts usually span a weekend once a month, and this trip was the same, though it felt longer. The scouts have been doing this program for years and this was not their first camping trip but it was going to be one of their most memorable.

“Scouts is a fun program for kids who want to get outdoors and experience things they might not have been able to do without the program. We meet at Stark Hall.” Bella said when asked about the scouts. After bringing up the schedule, she responds “We have campouts once a month on Fridays from 6 pm to Sundays at 11 am.”

The tarp was big enough to shelter them, with two tables, three adults, and a campfire. The girls had expected three younger cub scouts to join them for a few hours, playing games and roasting marshmallows but that’s when the first sprinkles would graze the tarp above keeping them dry. A few hours later the wind picked up and the younger girls were told they would be leaving the site. The wind howled, pushing the tarp this way and that. While a handful of people moved a table that felt as heavy as a grown elephant, the table weighed only 100-200 pounds. After twenty minutes of struggling they had finally gotten it into place under the tarp. That’s when they heard the loud snap overhead.

The tarp had been gifted to the troop by a parent of one of the scouts, and it became useful for keeping supplies dry. The scouts from troop 99G go through very challenging tasks to meet requirements to rank up and camping out is one. Being able to do efficient things outdoors helps to rank up.

According to Bella, on how to join, “You would come to a meeting and meet all the scouts, then when you’re ready, you fill out a form with information about it. This form can be done online.” Steven Damboise, who is the Scoutmaster of the troop agreed with this statement saying “Going to as many troop meetings as you want then once you feel comfortable and wish to join you fill out paperwork which can be digitally signed.”

The tarp was blowing in the wind without the back left corner attached to the tree. The whipping noise of the tarp hitting the wind sounded like a wave crashing against rocks in a hurricane, it was deafening. One of the girls ran and told one of the three adult leaders about the tarp when the back right corner reached its limit and ripped at the seams. The tarp was holding on by the front corners and hope.

The troop had been planning out the camp out for over a few weeks and Bella and her Assistant Patrol Leader helped her in planning what the group would be eating for the time out. Most of the camp out locations are found through different methods, usually getting checked over with the Scoutmaster.

“We go to state parks, Camp Carpenter, and Hidden Valley.” Bella expands on the matter of where they stay and what they do. “At camp outs, we cook, build fires, hang out, talk, and become better people.” These skills help them get merit badges as well. Bella says these are  “Badges that work on different life skills, they can be put on a sash.”

Nearby the campsite was a building that looked like a castle on the outside, with tall doors and taller walls. This would soon house the rain-soaked people and supplies. During the ordeal tents were taken down, supplies moved, and a carport tent was put up to roof the turkey, and side dishes that still needed to be cooked while the wind was still picking up and they were losing sunlight.

Camp Carpenter was made in 1929 by the Boy Scouts of America and has 250 acres of wooded land. Troop 99 has been around since 1916 and in the 2000s had gained Troop 99G, but Troop 99G is one of the biggest girl troops in the state of New Hampshire. They do food drives for people in need, and they do many events for millennial running.

To make new people feel more comfortable “We make them feel comfortable and answer questions if they have any” is what Mr. Damboise said. “We learn things like first aid, knots and lashings, map and compass, fire building, and leadership,” Bella responds when asked about what activities happen at meetings and camp outs.

After setting up the precautions the troop started the fire for the turkey and lounged around to replenish stamina. Then it was time to start the sides. Each side would take around 15-20 minutes and with more than 6 sides each person would have to work twice. The rain made the work cold and tireless but with each goal in mind of each scout, they vigorously worked until the food was done cooking. Each scout had helped put things away once the diner was done, it was 9 o’clock when they had all finished and gone to bed. In the morning they would have to pack up and wait for their parents to pick them up after the fun ordeal.

The program has brought people together, created friendships for people, and allowed others to have hands-on experience in real-world situations, how to survive them, and how to get help in them. Camp outs always include everyone, you might have to do dishes, help put things away, pitch a tent, or make the food for the meals.

Mr. Damboise says that scouts are a “Program that aims to teach youth to be good people in their lifetime.” When brought up what scouts can do for someone’s future, Bella said “Becoming a better leader, leaders of the future with experience.”. Bella comments about her first camping trip experience that made her love scouts, “My first camping trip was euphoric, we camped in tents and made foil packs on a campfire.”