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Friday, Jun 2, 2023

Boy scouts hurl pumpkins, fundraise

On Sunday, Nov. 8, Boy Scouts and their families gathered around a trebuchet at Weybridge Gardens to hurl leftover pumpkins from Halloween and the harvest several hundred feet. Middlebury Boy Scouts from Troop 536 held the event to raise money, reuse the trebuchet they built last spring and have fun launching pumpkins.

The Boy Scouts encountered a few problems before they could get the event rolling. The first few pumpkins were too moist and exploded in mid-air. Then, the trebuchet temporarily malfunctioned and hurled pumpkins toward the ground. After several attempts, however, the Boy Scouts were able to fix the trebuchet to successfully hurl pumpkins toward a wooden target across the field.

Scout Master Mike Bowdish was pleased with how many people attended the event, considering that the troop advertized mostly by word-of-mouth and through a Facebook group.

“[The turnout] was better than I anticipated,” Bowdish said.

The troop charged $2 to launch one of its pumpkins and $1 to anyone who brought their own pumpkin. The person who bought the pumpkin was entitled to pull the large rope and initiate the hurling.

The troop only made about $50, but no one seemed to be focused on the proceeds.

“It was more or less to have fun,” Bowdish said.

The boy scouts made the trebuchet last spring for a medieval event they held to raise money.

“We built it originally for that and then we saw online that they hurl pumpkins with them,” Bowdish said.

As the high school-aged Boy Scouts set up the trebuchet before each hurl, the younger Cub Scouts watched in admiration.

Cub Master of the Pack Hardy Heffernan commented that the Cub Scouts look up to the older Boy Scouts and emulate them in their own way.

“[The Cub Scouts] build catapults with plastic spoons to throw marshmallows,” Heffernan said.

Looking at the enormous trebuchet, father of two Boy Scouts and Proctor dining hall employee Randall Bushey joked, “Don’t you want one of these in your backyard?”

The owners of Weybridge Gardens, sisters Audra Ouellette and Kris Bowdish, were thrilled to host the event.

“A neighbor and troop leader Don Mason approached me about having it here and I said, ‘That sounds like so much fun!’” Ouellette said.

Weybridge Gardens was recently open to the public for corn maze season. Ouellette hopes to hold other events and fundraisers on the farm in the near future.

“We’ve done a couple of fundraisers here to support young people,” Ouellette said.

The Boy Scouts meet weekly in Middlebury and usually hold an event every month. Next month, they plan to go camping. As for the trebuchet, it will be tucked away in Bowdish’s garage for the winter.