Trail Magic: ‘Unemployed’ Scout Camp Director’s Long Trail trek raises $30,000 for programs threatened by COVID-19

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Trail Magic: ‘Unemployed’ Scout Camp Director’s Long Trail trek raises $30,000 for programs threatened by COVID-19

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 5:03pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine As it became clear that it would not be possible to operate a Scouts BSA resident camp safely this summer, Camp Director Clint Buxton, now unemployed, decided to turn a lifelong dream of a Long Trail through-hike into an opportunity to support the organization amid the pandemic.

Nearly four weeks and 272 miles later, the 61-year-old Richmond native stepped off the trail Thursday at Journey’s End having raised $30,000 to help offset a devastating operating shortfall, and inspiring hundreds of people across Vermont by his unexpected journey.

“This hike has provided me with much in the way of introspection,” said Buxton on Thursday after completing his northbound trek from North Adams, Mass. “I hope these last 27 days will inspire more youth and leaders to discover our green mountains just outside our backdoors.”

Buxton, who has led programs serving more than 500 youth annually at Mt. Norris Scout Reservation in Eden since 2017, had hoped to inspire Vermonters to adventure and find ways of giving back despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.

“Clint presented us with a quintessential opportunity to showcase what Scouting is all about. Our programs kindle purpose and passions within people, and a path to setting and achieving goals and overcoming obstacles. Clint epitomizes Scouting’s call to adventure and service,” said Mark Saxon, Scout Executive and CEO of the Green Mountain Council.

Buxton had been conditioning throughout the summer by hiking Camel's Hump and other favorite trails. But suddenly, with less than two weeks to go, he found himself taking a crash course in social media and grass roots community organizing.

Buxton quickly got up to speed and had a support team of friends and family behind him as he stepped onto the trail and adopted the trail name ‘Hawkeye’ in August. Along the way, dozens of Scout Packs and Troops linked up with Clint as he made his way toward the Canadian border. Others joined in virtually by hitting a local trail and posting their adventures with a ‘Flat Buxton’ cutout on social media using the #BuxtonHikesLT hashtag.

Saxon, who joined the council on August 1, said Buxton’s hike raised much needed awareness of the forced closure of the Green Mountain Council’s summer camp operations at Mt. Norris and Camp Sunrise in Benson. Over the course of his hike, more than 100 individuals and families joined Buxton in pledging a total of $110 per mile to help offset a $160,000 seasonal camp revenue shortfall which threatens the council’s ability to steward 1,200 acres of wilderness.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Buxton said, noting he is going to take a few days to decompress. “I’m not going to move much on Friday.”

The council is planning a homecoming celebration for Buxton on Saturday, October 17, following the final service day it is promoting as part of Buxton’s call to action. Interested volunteers are encouraged to visit www.scoutingvermont.org/BuxtonHikesLT to learn more.

Green Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America delivers programs that have been shown to promote pro-social values, leadership and resilience in youth. Headquartered in Waterbury, the Council serves all 14 counties in the state of Vermont. Annually, nearly 3,000 girls and boys participate in local Scouting programs that are made possible by more than 1,400 trained volunteers.

September 24, 2020, Waterbury, Vt. — For more information about the Green Mountain Council, please visit www.scoutingvermont.org.