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IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Boy Scouts look at the journey from Cub to Eagle

Friday, June 27, 2014

By CONNOR DUNN, MATTHEW WILLIAMS and NATE BLANCHARD

Special to the Journal

Two Bedford teenagers and one from Goffstown, all graduating seniors and members of Boy Scout Troop 414, achieved the highest Boy Scout rank earlier this month.

Connor Dunn and Matthew Williams, of Bedford, and Nathan Blanchard, of Goffstown, were awarded the rank of Eagle Scout at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor held at the Bedford Presbyterian Church June 1. About 70 people attended, including Gary Backus, from VFW Post 8401, and John Graham, from the American Legion Post 54.

Here, in their own words, are the stories of who they are and the work they did to earn the rank of Eagle.

Connor Dunn biography

Connor Matthew Dunn was born March 23, 1996, in Manchester, to Steve and Debra Dunn. He grew up in Bedford with his younger brother Evan and older brother Bryan.

Connor joined Cub Scout Pack 114 of Bedford in third grade starting at the rank of Bear. He quickly fell in love with Scouting and achieved his Arrow of Light, continuing onto Boy Scout Troop 414 on January 17, 2007. Shortly after Connor joined Troop 414, his brother Bryan reached the rank of Eagle Scout. This set the bar high for Connor and gave him the motivation to eventually achieve his Eagle rank too. Just to “one up” his brother, he also earned a bronze Eagle Palm.

Scouting has helped Connor to grow personally and as a leader. He loves the outdoors and has attended countless campouts, his favorites being the ski trips, Chuckwagon, Monkey Trunks and the Pease Naval Air shows.

He spent every summer attending at least one Boy Scout summer camp. He loved attending Wah-Tut-Ca and Hidden Valley and Camp Bell.

He enjoys helping others and is known to routinely practice the Scout slogan “do a good turn daily.” His leadership positions included Patrol Quartermaster, Assistant Patrol Leader, Patrol Leader and Senior Patrol Leader at both Hidden Valley and Wah-Tut-Ca.

Outside of Scouting, Connor is a senior honor student at Bedford High School and is very active in clubs at school. This past year he was elected President of the Leadership Club and helped to organize and run the school’s annual Talent Show, raising over $2,000 for Families in Transition.

He is a Captain on Bedford Men’s Varsity Crew Club and has competed in many regattas in and around New England. Connor plans to attend the University of Rhode Island in the fall to study Marketing. He will also row crew with the URI Men’s Crew Club and participate in the Army ROTC program.

Camp Allen sensory garden service project

For my Eagle Project I created a raised bed sensory garden at Camp Allen in Bedford. A sensory garden is designed to help stimulate the five senses and provide a combined sensory experience.

Many gardens are created to be accessible to disabled as well as non-disabled people. There are many campers at Camp Allen that rely on wheelchairs to move around the camp on a daily basis, so it was very important that I made the garden easily viewable and accessible to those campers.

To personalize the garden for Camp Allen it was designed in the shape of a puzzle piece, the symbol for autism, which many of the campers are dealing with.

With the help from many Scouts, we created two 3-by-10-by-2-ft. wooden raised beds, which held the soil, rocks and plants that created the body of the garden.

We placed the two boxes about three feet from each other, creating a wheelchair-accessible walkway to make both sides of the raised bed boxes easy to view and access. We included fragrant plants to smell, touchable plants and smooth stones to feel, edible herbs and strawberries to taste. We added colorful plants and a cute water feature for visual effects, and wind chimes for pleasant sounds.

For a finishing touch, we edged the garden with gray bricks, creating the puzzle piece outline.

The garden is now an attractive and interactive place for the campers to enjoy. I am proud that I was able to create the Sensory Garden at Camp Allen for my Eagle Project. I’d like to thank everyone who helped me with my project and fundraiser. A special thank you goes to my family, Mary Constance, the campers at Camp Allen and all the Scouts who helped make my project a success!

Matthew Williams biography

My Scouting career started when I was in fourth grade. When my family settled down in a house in Bedford, I decided I wanted to become a Cub Scout. I started as a Webelo One and had a fun, but I was really just excited to become a Boy Scout. I remember hearing about the cool outings the Boy Scouts from troop 414 went on, and that just increased my excitement. In 2007, I crossed over to troop 414 and had a great first year.

My first campout as a Boy Scout was at Chuck Wagon. I was so mad when I found out you needed a fireman chit to light a fire and a totin’ chip to use a knife, because those are the only things you want to do when you’re a newbie.

Duncan Cate brought his eight-person tent, and all of the new Scouts slept in it together. It was a very interesting night.

In 2009 I became a patrol leader of the Viking patrol. I was the youngest patrol leader that year, so I was very surprised when we won third place in Klondike.

I was also elected into the Order of the Arrow that year, and participated in the Ordeal that fall with my buddy Zach Ruppel.

They made us walk in pitch black to our campsite, so Zack and I made sure we stuck together so we could set up our tarp and blankets next to each other.  

The following year our troop decided to switch to patrols by age. I was patrol leader for the second half of that year, following Connor Dunn. It was fun being in a patrol with all of my friends, but we didn’t get nearly as many things done.

The next year I left my patrol and became the Troop Quartermaster. This job helped me with my responsibility and maturity exponentially.

Because my troop follows the three-deep leadership method, I was part of the senior patrol. The three-deep method means that if the Senior Patrol leader and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader aren’t there, it would be my responsibility to step up and take charge of the troop.

The year later, I became Senior Patrol Leader. I was in charge of everything the troop does. Every single thing our troop did was planned and run by myself, with some help from the patrol leaders council. It was a lot of work to be SPL, but I learned a lot about leadership and essential communication skills with adults.

Throughout the years, Scouting has helped me develop into a better leader, a better worker, and just a better person.

Legacy Park Nature Trails service project

The Legacy Park Nature Trails are trails that people can come to, to walk and see nature. Since the old bird houses have fallen, there haven’t been many birds in the area. I constructed several bat and bird houses for the trails to help the bird population grow and to make the trail more enjoyable to walk on for the community.

To fund the project I had a bake sale at Harvest Market in Bedford. I gave out baked goods and hot apple cider/hot chocolate with donations.

Despite the large amounts of people giving a small donation and taking large amounts of food, it was very successful.

Even though I reached my goal for fundraising, I decided to give away the leftover baked goods at the Presbyterian Church service the next morning. It was one if the best choices I’ve ever made and not because of the extra money I received.

My total fundraising amount was $340.00! My materials cost me a lot of money because of the large number of bird houses I made, but I was able to keep my spending below $340.00.

All in all, it was a great project, and I had lots of fun doing it. As a result of my project, my bird houses gave the birds a place to live and brought them back to the trails for the community to see.

Nate Blanchard biography

I started Scouts in first grade as a tiger cub in Pack 102 in Goffstown. At first I didn’t know any of the boys, but instantly made friends.

As the years went on, my dad became a leader, and we went on a lot of trips. I remember Battleship Cove, Camp Carpenter and many other activities. Then I got the Arrow of Light and bridged up, I have finally come to the next big step.

When I went to my first Boy Scout meeting in troop 102, I was at the bottom all over again. I was the small kid and the newbie. Like before, I quickly made friends.

I went to Klondike Derby every year, and we went to Camp Bell every year. I remember the first year program at Camp Bell, and I had a blast. Whether it was the obstacle course, horseback riding, even the snorkeling and kayaking.

As the years went on, the troop started to get smaller and a lot of the guys started to work and weren’t able to go on many campouts and meetings.

Eventually I decided to move on, and I visited a few different troops. I chose troop 414. I loved going on the campouts every month, like when we went to Camp Allen or when we had parent-son weekend.

I went to Hidden Valley with Troop 414 for the first time and had a blast. As the years went on I went up ranks and learned knew things, I took different leadership roles in my patrol. Mr. Evans and Mr. Baker gave me the final push to try and achieve the rank of Eagle.

Here I am. I have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, and I have a lot of people to thank for their encouragement. So thank you to all my friends and family for supporting me and helping me to get Eagle Scout Rank.

Camp Allen tables service project

For My Eagle scout project, I built two handicap-accessible tables for Camp Allen. When I first spoke to Camp Director Mary Constance, she was thrilled that I wanted to do an eagle project for her.

She told me about multiple projects that could be done, but the table project stuck out to me. I found it to be the most beneficial and would help out a lot of people in wheelchairs who can’t eat at regular picnic tables.

I have helped out in a lot of eagle projects and fundraisers in the past and have learned a couple of things. When I was trying to think of ideas for the table and how to make it handicap-accessible, I thought of extending one end of the table far enough to where a person in a wheel chair could fit underneath. I also decided on putting wheels on one side, which would make the maneuverability of the table much easier.

With the help of my dad and my brother, I was able to cut out all of the pieces for the table and assemble the table to make sure everything fit.

Then when it came to painting the table, Granite State Plumbing and Heating allowed fellow Scouts and I to use their warehouse for a dry, ventilated place to paint the tables.

Once we were done painting the tables, we brought the painted pieces back home and assembled them for the last time. Then in February 2014, I delivered my project to Camp Allen.

I would like to give a big thanks to Harvest Market for allowing me to have my Eagle fundraiser at their store. I also want to thank Mast Road Grain and Lumber, who gave me great discounts on their lumber, and Sherwin-Williams for giving me discounts on paint and supplies.

I would also like to thank Gerry Perron President of Granite State Plumbing and Heating for allowing me to use some of his warehouse space to paint my tables. Last but not least, I would like to thank Mr. Baker for being my Eagle advisor and my parents for keeping me in Scouts, and all my friends and family who encouraged me to make Eagle Scout.

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