Scouting runs in Hoffman family
PENN TWP — Charlie Hoffman attaining the rank of Eagle Scout is something of a family tradition.
The 14-year-old girl’s father, Zachary Hoffman, and her brother, Henry Hoffman, also are Eagle Scouts.
And scouting seems to run in the family. Charlie’s grandfather, Raymond Hoffman, became involved in the Scouts through his son, Zachary. Charlie’s aunt, Amy Hoffman, is the secretary and treasurer of Charlie’s Troop 683 in Cabot.
Charlie Hoffman, an eighth-grader at Knoch Middle School, said she got set on the scouting path by her brother Henry.
“It’s pretty much because my brother did, and I just always enjoyed tagging along with them,” she said.
Also tagging along was her aunt, Amy Hoffman, who served as Cub Scout den mother “to help my niece” and moved over to Scout Troop 683 when her niece did.
When scouting admitted girls starting in 2018, the troops were segregated by sex. Troop 683 is made up of 11 girls, Amy Hoffman said.
“The boys’ troop has to be separate from the girls’ troop,” she said, and that includes campouts and other events.
Charlie said the beginning of her scouting career was made harder because of the coronavirus pandemic, its attendant restrictions and related shutdowns.
“It was a difficult first year because of COVID. We were doing Zoom meetings, and there were special rules in place,” she said.
But once restrictions were eased, she said she was quick to take advantage of her father’s experience and getting tips on becoming an Eagle Scout.
“For my Eagle project, I re-created the one my dad did when he was an Eagle. It’s a mobile bowling alley. I made it for Magnolia Place,” Charlie said.
The bowling alley is 10 feet long by 3 feet wide and uses a 4-pound rubber ball to roll at the plastic unweighed pins.
“I built it in 72 hours,” Charlie said. “I did it with my brother and my friends and my dad and grandpa as well.”
In addition to her project, Charlie amassed 52 merit badges, including the 21 needed for Eagle Scout rank, in her three years as a Scout.
“She’s the first female from Knoch High to become an Eagle Scout,” her grandfather said.
Charlie said she remembers the skills she learned earning the badges.
“Like the cooking merit badge,” she said. “I had to hike and then prepare a meal for several people, cooking on the trail while preparing meals for camp and for home.”
It paid off, said her aunt. Members of Troop 683 eat well.
“We had stir-fry. We have good foods. The boys eat hot dogs three times a day,” Amy Hoffman said.
She also attended last year’s Technology Merit Badge Academy For Scouts, an annual event at Butler County Community College. It ended with Charlie qualifying for a chemistry merit badge.
Charlie then got another goal in mind, membership in the Order of the Arrow, which is made of Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Scout Law in their daily lives and maintain and promote camping traditions.
“You have to be elected by 50% of your troop and lead a camping trip. You have to sleep under the stars with very little talking or eating during the ordeal weekend,” she said.
After that, her aunt said Charlie could try to earn bronze, gold or silver Eagle palms, pins acquired by earning six merit badges in three months. There still are 86 merit badges remaining to be earned.
Whether she scores more merit badges or not, Charlie intends to stick with scouting.
“I like the cooperation there is. I like working together with people,” she said even if occasionally “sometimes I have to explain I’m a Scout who’s a girl, not a Girl Scout.”
As for her non-scouting future, Charlie said she may attend Butler Area Vocational-Technical School in the hopes of becoming a graphic designer.