Scouting family supports Long Trail trek by beloved scout leader
By LEE J. KAHRS
LONG TRAIL/BRANDON — What does a Boy Scout leader do when there’s no work and money to raise? Take a hike.
Clint Buxton, 61, is the longtime volunteer director of Vermont’s Mt. Norris Reservation Boy Scout Camp in Eden. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Green Mountain Council to close its camps this summer and Norris was suddenly ‘unemployed’, he decided to realize his lifelong dream of hiking the 272-mile Long Trail. He did it in 27 days with the help of the Carrara family of Brandon, who have been involved in scouting for many years.
In the process, Buxton raised more than $30,000 to help support Vermont’s outdoor Scouting programs, and he successfully encouraged dozens of boys and girls to join him during his trek both on the Long Trail and virtually at trails closer to home.
“Not only did I have help from the Carrara’s,” Buxton said, “they were inspiring to me.”
Scouting family ties
Jeff and Sarah-Lynne Carrara and their four children are an active scouting family and the backbone of scouting both locally and statewide. Jeff is the Scoutmaster of Troop 110 in Pittsford, and was Assistant Scoutmaster before that. He is also a member of the Order of the Arrow, a distinguished group who exemplify the values and goals of the Boy Scouts, and has worked at Vermont’s only other scout camp, Camp Sunrise in Benson.
Sarah-Lynne Carrara is the Cubmaster of Pack 110 in Pittsford. She is the Charter Organization Representative of Troop 2019, the new all-girl scouting troop founded in March 2019. She also serves as a committee member of Troop 110 and on the Ethan Allen District as District Activities Committee Chair.
Their oldest son, Keith, 15, has been a member of Troop 110 since 2016 and holds the current rank of Star Scout. He is a Senior Patrol Leader and like his father, a member of the Order of the Arrow. Keith has also worked as a counselor in training at Camp Sunrise during the summer in 2018 and 2019.
Daughter Christina Carrara, 14, is a member of Troop 2019 since its founding in March 2019, and currently holds the rank of Tenderfoot.
Daughter Lucia Carrara,11, is a member of Troop 2019 since crossing over from Pack 110 in March 2020, and is currently working on Scout rank.
Their youngest, Jon Carrara, 7, has been a member of Pack 110 for three years and is in the Wolf Den.
So when Buxton stood up at the Green Mountain Council meeting on Aug. 16 and announced his plan to hike the Long Trail, Sarah-Lynne said she and her family knew they wanted to be involved.
“It was put together quickly, but it was well done and inspiring,” she said. “A lot of scouts met him along the trail.
Send off and support
The scouts rallied and had two weeks to help organize Buxton’s trip. Sarah-Lynne put herself in charge of technology and some logistics, organizing supply drop offs and setting up the Council website pages so supporters could find information about the adventure and how they could be part of it (http://scoutingvermont.com/buxtonhikeslt).
She also organized the Facebook page and posted updates along the journey, giving Buxton a crash course in posting to the Facebook page during his hike.
On Aug. 29, Sarah-Lynne Jeff, Keith and Jon drove down to North Adams, Mass. to see Buxton off on his journey.
“We hiked a little bit with him,” Sarah-Lynne said. “Jon didn’t want to turn back.”
The on Sept. 5, Jeff and Keith (along with other Scouts who have named the group Buxton’s Backpacking Buddies) left from Wallingford to catch up to Buxton on the trail and hiked 27-miles with him over Killington to the Route 4 Long Trail parking lot just below Pico.
“It was challenging but they did it,” Sarah-Lynne said. “Definitely rewarding.”
There were others scouts and families from the area gathered in support of Buxton, including Brock and Sarah Quesnel and Ed and Kari Gelbar from Troop 116 in West Rutland, and Ethan Allen District Executive Billy Gillam, also of Troop 116 in West Rutland. They along with Sarah-Lynne provided a BBQ dinner at the Route 4 crossing on Sept. 7.
A week later, Sarah-Lynne and Jon rode up with Gillam to Jonesville to see Buxton at the road crossing there.
Then on Sept 24, Sarah-Lynne headed to northern Vermont with Gillam and Calvin Coolidge District Executive Francesca Arato to see Clint as he crossed Route 105. She and Arato then hiked from the Journey’s End Trail Head parking lot to Journey’s End, the northern terminus of the Long Trail, and met Buxton there, hiking back out the 1.3 miles to the parking lot with him.
Buxton was overwhelmed by the team’s efforts.
“I never envisioned when I stood up at the Council meeting, that I would have that kind of support,” he said. “I thought it would be a few people along the way, but this was above and beyond what I imagined.”
Inspired to up a deficit
The point of the hike was to raise money to close a funding gap left when the scout camps were closed this past summer. The Green Mountain Council lost $160,000 in revenue due to the pandemic, Sarah-Lynne said.
“Any funds we’ve raised will go toward that deficit,” she said. “We’re planning to open the camps next summer, and we’re just hoping for the best.”
For his part, Buxton said that while raising the $30,000 was inspiring, it was the greater goal of leading by example that drove him on his journey.
“It was inspiring because that’s what I was out there for, to inspire young people to use this amazing resource we have in our state,” he said. “My job was just to walk. I wanted to get the kids out there, especially after COVID has robbed them of so much of their lives.”
Buxton again reiterated how grateful and impressed he is by the dedication of the Carraras and the rest of the scout leaders from this area of the state. “All these folks from down south were tremendous,” he said. “That area of our state was very kind to me. It was wonderful to have them with me.”