Scouts in Hampstead Troop 235 are raising funds for a trip to the World Scout Jamboree in South Korea in 2023.
When the World Scout Jamboree opens next year in South Korea, 11 local scouts will represent North Carolina. All but two of those scouts are from Troop 235 in Hampstead.
“Nine scouts selected from the same troop is a testament to what the troop as a whole wants,” says Assistant Scoutmaster Allen Wilson. “When they get together, all the different personalities and interests really combine to create an atmosphere of ‘we want to do more, we want to see new things.’”
The 11 scouts are from Troop 235, Troop 200 and Troop 1220. They are: Michael Holloman, 16, his sister Abigail Holloman, 14, Derek Wood, 12, Griffin Johnston, 15, Tyler Wilson, 13, Thomas Gallo, 13, Kelso Fargo, 14, Alexz Munroe, 13, Andrew Kraus, 13, and Luke Power, 16, and Noah Witkowski, 14. Read more about Eagle Scout Noah Witkowski at https://www.topsailmag.com/the-eagle-flies-high/
Scouts from more than 170 countries, including 500 scouts from the United States, meet up at World Scout Jamboree every four years. Scouts must be at least 14 years old and no older than 18, making attending a once in a lifetime opportunity. Only 36 scouts will represent Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. With 50,000 people expected, that means if a scout meets 100 people in a day, 99 of them will be from a country that isn’t their own.
Troop 235 is well known in the Hampstead and Surf City communities for its service and activities.
They were the only troop invited to assist at the February reenactment at Moore’s Creek National Battlefield, and a recent camping trip involved 22 scouts. In early March, they held a flag retirement ceremony consecrating more than 500 flags gathered from the community by eagle scout Noah Witkowski and other troop members.
As a group they are exhilarated and frightened by international travel. A few of the scouts have passports and travel under their belts, but most will leave the United States for the first time.
“It’s kind of scary because it’s so far from home, but exciting — it’s South Korea,” says Derek Wood.
Michael Holloman wants to meet and talk with people with different viewpoints, and Tyler Wilson says he has wanted to go to South Korea “almost my entire life. I don’t know why. It’s just one of those places you’ve heard a lot about, and you want to go.”
Scoutmaster Mark Munroe and Assistant Scoutmaster Rob Power have been accepted by Cape Fear Council as members of the international service team (IST). By summer unit leaders will be identified, and additional parents may be chosen as a member of the IST.
Meanwhile the troop and parents are busy with plans for next year’s trip.
“I’m thinking about how we’re going to get there once things are stable and we’re really going,” Michael Holloman says. “I want to play soccer/football with people of the world. My motivation to get there is the community aspect of the Jamboree. We’re all different but we’re all the same, all scouts.”
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people, seeing a new part of the world, learning about different cultures and creating memories that will last a lifetime,” Noah Witkowski says.
The scouts seek both corporate sponsorship and help from the local community to cover costs estimated at $100,000, including travel, passports, equipment and other miscellaneous costs. The troop launched a Facebook page, Troop 235 Goes World, which also links to a PayPal account. Some scouts already set up individual Go Fund Me pages, but 80 percent of the funds will be earned by the troop as a whole. They’ve already done a doughnut sale and a blood drive.
Coastline Captain Services will raffle off an ATV, valued at $8,600 in June and, a few local restaurants will give a percentage of their sales on a single night to the troop. More fundraisers will come later in the fall.
Photography by Wilson Wescott