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Columns

Hometown news correspondent  reporting for duty

Hancock Eagle Scout headed to jamboree

What do a 15-year-old Eagle Scout from Hancock and a 90-year-old Eagle Scout from Peterborough have in common? I will tell you about my chance meeting and reflect on my time at the 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree over the next few weeks.

My name is Stephen Baird of Troop 8 in Peterborough and I am a Hometown News Correspondent for the 2013 National Boy Scout Jamboree which is being held at “The Summit” in West Virginia from July 15-24. You may remember that I also wrote an article from the 2010 National Jamboree held in Virginia. Hopefully, my journalism skills have improved!

In April, I had the honor of meeting Mr. Chet Soule of Peterborough, who became an Eagle Scout in 1937. He presented me with a 1937 National Jamboree neckerchief, which he received when he traveled to Washington, DC for the first Boy Scout Jamboree. This Jamboree was supposed to be in 1935 but a polio outbreak moved the Jamboree ahead two years. About a month after meeting Mr. Soule, I was able to chat with him for more than an hour as I asked every question I could think of that pertained to his time in Boy Scouts and as a World War II veteran. He is an amazing man who remembers so many details. I hope to share some of these with you as I tell you about my Jamboree experience 76 years later.

As I prepare for travel to the Jamboree, I think about the nice comfortable bus that I will travel in with the other Boy Scouts representing NH. (Another local Eagle Scout who will be attending is Joey Zullo of Peterborough.) Mr. Soule’s journey to the Jamboree was by train. He said, “It was the only way he could get there and once there used taxis to get from place to place.”

President Theodore Roosevelt was in attendance in 1937 although Mr. Soule didn’t meet him. But Mr. Soule did meet FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. There were more than 33,000 scouts in attendance. This year’s Jamboree could exceed 45,000 scouts for the first time. Who will be there? Will I find a way to interview interesting people like astronauts, scientists, writers and others? I hope so.

I do know that I will be whitewater rafting while at the Jamboree and feel lucky to have received a slot in this program. My other preferred activities are scuba, 3-D archery, Ziplining and Technology Quest. I can only tell you that Mr. Soule was not offered any of these choices in 1937. What do you think his choices were?

Now I’m off to pack!

Stephen Baird lives in Hancock.

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