For 13-year-old William Olmstead, when the pandemic started last spring it forced a lot of changes: school closures, no more traveling vacations, and an end to his all-time favorite activity–camping out every month with his Boy Scout Troop, Wilton’s Troop 20.
William was determined to keep his scouting spirit alive even if he could no longer join in-person troop scouting activities. So he started camping out in his own front yard. At first it was just a few nights a month, just like with Troop 20. Then every week.
And then on April 2, 2020, William started sleeping every single night in his tent. He had to move the tent every few days to keep from permanently killing the grass in any one spot in the yard. Many nights William’s brother, Oliver (a Cub Scout with Wilton Pack 17), would join him and occasionally so would his mother or father.
But when the weather started to cool off in the fall, William usually found himself alone in the tent. And when the snow started falling and nighttime temperatures dropped as low as 20 degrees below freezing, William found himself alone in the tent almost every night. But he was undeterred. He merely moved his tent under the back porch deck to avoid the heaviest snow loads. He also added three blankets and a knit cap to his bedtime routine.
At the six month milestone the family held a celebratory dinner and William got to select all his favorite dishes.
William loves how quiet it is in the yard and how much wildlife he can hear through the thin nylon fabric of the tent walls. Whether it is the crickets chirping, the owls hooting, the coyotes howling or the frogs croaking, there is always some part of nature to sing him to sleep.
Sunday, April 4 will be extra special this year for William. It is Easter, it is his Mother’s birthday, and it will mark one year and one night sleeping in his tent! When asked how he chose the “year and a night” goal, William replied, “I wanted to set a record no other Wilton Boy Scout could even come close to, and a year and a night sounds much more romantic than just 12 months!”