CLAREMONT – Aubree Herzog, fourteen, spent part of the Labor Day weekend, her last respite before the start of the 2021-2022 school year, concluding a weeklong suitcase campaign for family youth welcome as part of her Eagle Service for the Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts of America) project, Herzog’s latest requirement to become the first woman in the Claremont area to achieve an Eagle Scout ranking.
Over the past week, Herzog has collected more than 50 suitcases – along with socks, underwear and personal hygiene items – donated by residents and local service groups including the Claremont Kiwanis Club, the Claremont Elks and the VFW Post 808. Herzog will donate the suitcases – each containing the basic necessities – to the New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) for youth entering a foster care placement. Home.
“I saw something online about how [foster youth] are always rushed in and out of homes without necessarily having time to get everything they need, ”Herzog explained. “So we had the idea of getting them suitcases, because many young people [around the country] must carry their belongings in garbage bags or plastic grocery bags.
Alex Herzog, Aubree’s father and scout leader of Troop 38, a BSA troop in Claremont, said Aubree’s project was primarily aimed at teenagers and tweens, as opposed to young children.
“The DCYF said it receives donations for small children, but almost nothing for teens or tweens,” Herzog’s father said.
Herzog said she exceeded her project goal of 50 suitcase donations, with some items still to come.
“It was really great to see the response from the community,” Herzog told the Eagle Times. “People really came together for the kids and my Eagle Scout project.”
Herzog is well positioned to become the region’s first female Eagle Scout since the organization opened its program to girls in 2017.
Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is considered a sacred honor within the Boy Scouts. Only 2% of Scouts achieve the Eagle Scout rank, which requires several years of commitment, badges in a range of physically and mentally rigorous challenges.
Through the Eagle Service Project, the Scout demonstrates leadership and initiative in choosing a way to give back to the community and overseeing coordination with contributing partners to bring the project to fruition.
The Eagle Service Project represents the final requirement for attaining Eagle Scout, the highest ranking scout in BSA.
Herzog, although an active participant in all 38 Troop meetings and activities, is not officially a member of the Troop, Herzog explained. BSA troops cannot be mixed. There are all-female BSA troops, although Herzog’s closest troop is in Keene.
Herzog is a “lone scout,” a BSA scout who is technically independent due to the lack of available troops.
Herzog said she didn’t mind the distinction.
“I was as much a part of [Troop 38] like other kids, ”Herzog said. “I was not excluded from anything. I just had a different title.
Herzog said she greatly values her scouting experience, which has helped her cultivate self-reliance and acquire a range of life skills.
“I love to learn new things,” Herzog said. “And a lot of things I would never have learned without Scouting.”
Herzog said she was drawn to BSA’s emphasis on outdoor skills and wilderness survival activities. Herzog’s older brother Prescott was also a member of Troop 38, earning his Eagle Scout badge in 2018.
Troop 38 meets Thursdays at St. Mary’s Gymnasium on Central Street from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The troupe is looking for new members aged 11 to 17. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 9.