December 30, 2022

Two Windham teens earn Eagle Scout rank

By Lorraine Glowczak

Earning the rank of Eagle Scout is a meritorious achievement that takes years of hard work, service, and dedication. This type of commitment and enthusiasm has helped with the successes of well-known individuals who obtained Eagle Scout statuses, such as director Steven Spielberg, pianist and TV host John Tesh, and astronaut Neil Armstrong.

To earn the rank of Eagle Scout, Landon Schmuck, left,
and Cameron Dempster of Windham had to plan, develop,
and give leadership to others in a service project helpful
to a community institution or organization. 
According to the US Scouts website, around four of every 100 boys that join Scouts attain the rank of Eagle Scout, making it less than 1 percent of the male population that earn that rank. As of Saturday, Dec. 17, two motivated Windham teens are now among the elite group as Cameron Dempster and Landon Schmuck celebrated their long-sought-after Eagle Scout milestone in a ceremony at the Windham Veterans Center.

Both teens have been in the Scouts since age 6, where they started together as Tigers in Windham’s Cub Scout Pack 805. At 11, they officially transferred to Boy Scouts joining Windham’s Boy Scout Troop 805.

Dempster, a senior at Cheverus High School, achieved his rank by building and providing landscaping improvements at Gambo Soccer Fields in Windham. Schmuck, a 2022 Windham High School graduate currently a freshman at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, built a feral cat house for the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook.

Schmuck’s love of animals led him to build a feral cat house for the untamed cats so they could maintain their independence from human intervention as much as possible.

“I volunteered at the Animal Refuge League while doing a project in high school,” Schmuck said. “Since I enjoyed that experience so much, I wanted to do something to help the organization and the animals that live there. Our troop had worked on previous Eagle Scout projects there, building cat houses. This gave me the idea to ask them what they might need the most.”

Schmuck had to provide a blueprint of the idea and get an estimated price for the materials. Once they knew the estimated costs, fundraising ensued to purchase the wood, the roofing materials, and the tools.

“We raised the money we needed by holding a bottle drive at the refuge league,” Schmuck said. “We used that money and donations from the kind people who wanted to support the shed.”

Schmuck and about 12 other volunteers spent about 15 hours building the feral cat house.

“But counting planning and all the hours put into it, I spent around 40 to 50 hours on the project,” he said.

Dempster's five-part project at the soccer fields also took about 15 hours of hands-on work. His project included painting the kick wall that was vandalized, sanding and repainting the snack shack as well as other landscaping improvements.

“I also added two picnic tables in the snack shack area to provide additional seating for people and trimmed back 250 feet of treeline that was overhanging one of the bigger fields," Dempster said. "I also installed speed limit signs to help prevent any accidents with vehicles and small children using the area."

Dempster chose to do this project because GSF is where he started playing soccer. “Soccer is a very big part of my life, so I decided to give back to the kids who will find to love soccer as much as I do.”

As with Schmuck, Dempster needed to find the funds to purchase materials for this project. This included paint, paint rollers, paint brushes, picnic table kits, wood sealer, eight pressure-treated posts, 14 bags of concrete, a drill operated by a skid steer and “no dogs allowed”, and speed limit signs.

“When the government supplied the stimulus money to kids, I put that money away and got it approved by Scouts BSA to use it,” Dempster said. “Sherwin Williams donated the paint, paint brushes, rollers, and wood sealer. Lowes discounted the wooden posts. Windham Youth Soccer Association sourced and supplied the actual signs for affixing to the posts.”

The newly ranked Eagle Scouts are looking forward to their futures. Schmuck will be returning to Ogden after visiting with his parents, Robert and Andrea, also of Windham. Upon graduation from Weber College in about three years, Schmuck hopes to work with large animals, with the goal of working at a zoo in Australia.

Dempsey, lives in Windham with his parents, Stuart and Fiona, and will graduate from Cheverus this spring. He is currently exploring options to further his education, applying to several schools in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and New York. His intended areas of study are finance and political science. <

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