In August 2014, the Scouting award ribbons displayed on the wall of Waterford's town office were taken down in order to archive them out of damaging light. They are now in their own "Scouting" binder in the Waterford Historical Society archive cabinet, which stands in the lobby of the town office.
Examining them led Helen Pike to interview Wayne Lewis, a former Scouting leader, about the ribbons and Scouting in this town, on September 5, 2014.
Wayne began by describing Scouting in the 1960s and early 1970s as connecting to a time and place that was "more Vermont than it is now." He added as an example, "We did a five-mile hike from the race track [that is, the old Northeastern Speedway track on Route 18] to Shadow Lake [in neighboring Concord], through the woods, using only a compass and a topo map."
Another activity he told Helen about was camping: "In the winter we did camp-outs in the snow near a pond off the Cross Road and worked on our merit badges."
In those years, Boy Scout Troop 36 held its meetings in the Community Room on Maple Street, which was the space now occupied by the Waterford town office and Lower Waterford post office. The reason the town office and post office weren't yet in that space reflects a long town tradition of those functions taking place in the home or business of whoever was Town Clerk. At that time, the Town Clerk was Mrs. Dorothy Kimball, and she was the last in that role to have the municipal offices in her home.
However, the Scouts also went to see Mrs. Kimball at her house, which was on Old County Road South, known today as the historic Johnson-Powers farmhouse. [Today it's owned by Roberta and John Gillott, operating as Crooked Mile Farm, producing goat cheese.] Wayne pointed out, "We used to go to Mrs. Kimball's house to get our hunting license."
In those Scouting times, both the Champlain Valley Fairground in Burlington and the Mount Norris Boy Scout Reservation in Eden Mills used to hold annual one-week Scouting events where Boy Scouts could work on their merit badges.
But the ribbons archived in today's Waterford office were identified by Wayne as not related to the merit badges. Instead, they are from three other places and events: (1) There's a 1967 ribbon for "Camping" issued by the Wide World of Scouting. (2) A pair of ribbons from 1969 and 1971 represent participation in Ski-O-Ree, an event held at the Lyndon Outing Club (LOC) on Lily Pond Road, where there are still a ski slope and T-ball field. (3) The 1971 Forest & Stream Camporee took place at today's Caledonia Forest and Stream Club on Field and Stream Road off Route 5 (Memorial Drive) in St. Johnsbury. Today the club property includes a shooting range and clubhouse, with season passes that used to be sold at Caplan's Army Store on Railroad Street in downtown St. Johnsbury (see http://www.caledoniaforestandstream.com for current information on the club). Wayne did not discuss the 1972 Klondike Derby ribbon from the Long Trail Council, but a Klondike Derby is a traditional Boy Scouting event and the Scouts' Green Mountain Council was still announcing such events until the 2020 pandemic cut off such activities.
The Waterford Historical Society greatly appreciates Wayne's time and efforts in giving us this window into Scouting's past in our town.