Focusing on the issues

To the Editor:

During the primary, I was approached by a candidate, who after “introducing and pitching” themselves asked how I would vote.

I replied that while at the time I had not made up my mind, I would vote for candidates who said nothing negative about their opponents ... but rather focused on their own strengths, accomplishments, intentions and vision. I believe one of these candidates is Terrie Wood. Terrie focuses on what needs to get down and how to do it ... rather than denigrating her opponents.

I encourage my fellow voters to do decide likewise.

Peter F. Eder

Darien

Scoutmaster supports new cabin for Scouts

To the Editor:

I am the new Troop 35 Scoutmaster and am writing in support of the proposal to build a new Scout Cabin. Troop 35 is the second Darien troop formed when T53 became too large to function efficiently. This change was not anticipated when the current cabin was built.

Our troop understands how fortunate we are and we appreciate the foresight of our benefactor of many years ago, Andrew Shaw, who saw the tremendous value of Scouting for our community and gifted the Darien Boy Scouts his property. Even 100 years ago it was easy to see the importance of a program like Scouting.

For over 100 years boys in Darien have been Scouting with the unique asset of their own land and cabin, creating a central home for their program and all its activities. It is this home, the heart and core of our program, that makes Darien Scouting so special for our town and the success that it is today.

With our cabin we have a place to keep all our camping gear and supplies together rather than in people’s garages, basements, etc. It is also where we hold all our weekly meetings, leadership meetings, advancement reviews, Board of Reviews, Family Court of Honors, Eagle Court of Honors, training sessions, merit badge fairs, special events, administrative work and so forth. Having one place to do all of this reinforces the fact that we are a significant part of our community and that the community values the good work that we do every day. The Scout motto is “Do A Good Turn Daily.” Having our cabin saves us excess time and energy looking for places to meet, plan and store everything, thus we are very lucky to be able to really focus in on what is important, like serving our community and building character and citizenship in the town’s youth. We are confident this is why Darien Scouting has flourished for over a century.

As you probably know by now, the cabin has structural issues that need solutions, and we have outgrown the current cabin that was built for one small troop. As a result of FEMA regulations, the only cost-effective path forward is to build a new building.

This new building will not only address all of our needs: more meeting areas so we can have patrols break out into quiet areas during meetings, capacity to store all our camping gear in one place, new technology for modern day life, accessibility for Scouts with special needs, etc., but it will also be an attractive and fitting improvement to our neighborhood and a place we will all be extremely proud to call our home. We are very excited about the new building for us and for our future Scouts.

Michael W. Towell

Troop 35 Scoutmaster

Support new Scout cabin project

To the Editor:

I am the Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 53 in Darien and am writing to encourage you to support the proposed cabin project.

In the mid 1990s, when the current Scout Cabin was on the drawing board, Darien school enrollment was under 3,000 students. For the 2017 school year, the Board of Education reported preK-12th grade enrollment of 4,781 students. This is over a 50 percent increase since planning for the current cabin started. This is also a much larger group of Scout-aged youth than the design of the current cabin anticipated.

Over that same time, Scouting in Darien has blossomed to include two Boy Scout troops, four Cub Scout packs and a coed STEM venture crew for high school age boys and girls. Even as Scouting has seen declines in enrollment nationally, Darien stands out among its neighboring towns in the higher percentage of the Scouting-aged student population participating in a Scouting program.

I think the cabin has undoubtedly been a big part of this success in Darien. It provides a home for these units, and attracts adult volunteers. With volunteer leaders, more kids participate and the cycle reinforces itself. However, we have simply outgrown the structure.

The one meeting room, one conference room and small office simply cannot adequately handle the number and variety of patrol planning meetings, boards of review, advancement meetings, and gear organization that often need to go on simultaneously. We make do with what we have currently, but with needed large repairs overdue, this project is the right answer. Scouting has been a vibrant part of Darien for over 100 years, and this project will help ensure that we can continue for at least another 100.

Grant Evans

Troop 53 Scoutmaster

New Scout cabin the best way forward

To the Editor:

Darien is fortunate, and still today, one of only a handful of communities in the United States to have dedicated land and a cabin for use by Scouts.

The property is owned by the Andrew Shaw Memorial Trust, established in 1926 by town leader (and later first selectman) Andrew Shaw, who donated land on West Avenue and established the trust to provide a foundation for Darien Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts.

Through a strong program, active volunteers and a stable home, Scouting in Darien has flourished, developing boys’ character, citizenship and self-reliance. All boys (and now girls!), ages 6 to 18 are welcome to join. Typically, a youth spends 10 years in Scouting, much of that time actively engaged in leadership training, character-building activities and community service. In fact, over 40 non-profit organizations have benefited from Darien Scouts’ volunteer projects.

Major challenges face the trust. Significant growth in Scouting since the current cabin was built has resulted in a critical need for meeting and administrative space. Structural damage to the Cabin and major repairs require substantial investment. And the cabin’s location along the Stoney Brook places the cabin in the FEMA flood plain, and FEMA regulations limit the dollars that can be spent on renovation.

Scouts are thrifty. After careful evaluation of alternatives with architects, site developers, and environmental consultants, the trust concluded that we must relocate and rebuild the cabin on our property. We do not undertake this project lightly — it is the only responsible way forward.

We ask for your support of the proposed new Scout Cabin.

Joellyn Gray, ASMT trustee

Todd Morgan, ASMT trustee

Richard Williamson, ASMT trustee

Thanks Scouts

for generosity

Editor’s note: This letter was originally sent to Charles Cope, but it also is being printed in this publication at the author’s request.

To the Editor:

Mr. Charles Cope

Scout Leader

Darien Boy Scouts Troop 53

20 Bridle Trail Road Darien CT 06820

Dear Charles,

I wanted to thank you and the members of Darien Boy Scouts Troop 53 for your very generous donation of household goods to the Darien Human Services Department. The generosity of your members was overwhelming! With your donations, we were able to stock the shelves of our Household Goods closet which helps eligible Darien families and individuals with much-needed cleaning supplies, paper goods, and personal grooming products. We really appreciate the continued support that the Boy Scouts of Darien have shown to the town and our residents.

Your organization’s thoughtfulness and generosity is much appreciated by both our office and the clients we serve.

Ali Ramsteck, LCSW

Director, Darien Human Services