NAUGATUCK — The Boy Scouts of America will celebrate its 100-year anniversary this summer. Troop 102 of Naugatuck is only a little bit younger than the entire organization. It will turn 95 this year.
And its members don’t want to pass up the opportunity to attend the national celebration. The 2010 National Scout Jamboree, which the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has pegged “the best, most exciting, fun-filled, safest jamboree ever,” will converge at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. and transform one of the largest military installations on the East Coast into a bustling temporary city of some 300,000-400,000, according to Mark Ouellette, Troop 102 Committee member.
“Last time, it became the second largest city in Virginia,” said Francis Ouellette, Mark’s son and a Troop 102 member. And indeed, the two largest permanent cities in Virginia, Virginia Beach and Norfolk, have populations of about 425,000 and 234,000, respectively, according to census.gov.
“There’s going to be rock-climbing, rifle-shooting and aquatics [such as canoeing, kayaking and SCUBA diving],” said Austin Wagner, another Troop 102 member. “We’re going to be camping out for two weeks.”
Sounds like any young man’s dream, doesn’t it?
But Troop 102 can send only six members, due to BSA regulations, and as Mark Ouellette readily concedes, it’s “quite an expensive trip,” and will cost the boys some $1,700 each.
So you know what that means: fundraising. But don’t shutter the windows and lock the doors just yet.
Troop 102 is moving away from traditional fundraising, which involved buying from large chain distributors and suppliers of fundraising goods.
With some of those companies, “You don’t get what you’re paying for. … They’ll charge you $20 for a can of nuts this big,” Ouellette said, forming a softball-sized cup with his hands. “There’s no good profit margin for the boys.”
That’s why Ouellette approached Edward Hughes, owner and operator of Edible Dreams, a Spring Street gourmet bakery, and asked for his help.
Troop 102 scouts will sell Hughes’ wares, including homemade cheesecake, fresh pies and hot cross buns, for distribution just in time for Easter. They’ll keep between 30 and 50 percent of the price, depending on the item, Hughes said.
He mentioned that recently, Hop Brook School had gone through Yankee Candle for a fundraiser and had netted only 10 percent of the goods’ costs.
“The prices are reasonable, people will get them just in time for Easter … and we’re promoting local business while promoting our [Boy Scout] troops,” Ouellette said.
This isn’t the first time Hughes and Edible Dreams have gotten involved in fundraising. He’s worked with such organizations as the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Naugatuck Historical Society, and the Naugatuck Garden Club to help raise funds. He said he’s donated $6,300 worth of goods over the last year alone.
“It’s good publicity for us,” he said, “but also people get to try it; they eat it, they like it, and it brings the customers to us.”
The Troop 102 scouts will raise funds individually, for their own accounts, to put toward the jamboree or other scouting-related expenses like summer camps fees and supplies.
They’ve already started selling to neighbors and family members.
“They’re glad it’s not frozen,” Wagner said. “It’s fresh. It’s good to support local business.”
Anyone wishing to purchase Edible Dreams baked goods to benefit Troop 102 can contact Mark Ouellette at (203) 720-0428 or order directly at the bakery, which is located at 51 Spring St.