By Robert S. Hughes

Scouting has long been at the core of community in Dhahran and other Aramco communities.

75 Years of Scouting in Dhahran
Life skills and structure are key learning points at camporee.

Half Moon Bay provided a majestic backdrop for a major milestone recently, as some 35 Aramco scouts gathered for a camporee to celebrate 75 years of scouting in Dhahran.

Boy and Girl Scouts from Dhahran’s Troops 1 and 966 cooked pancakes, fired arrows, built rafts, tied knots and discovered hidden treasure via geocaching. The two-night camping adventure also provided plenty of opportunity for stories and skits around the camp fire, as well as for important scouting skills to be honed and relationships to be cemented. 

Thurston Williams, scoutmaster of Troop 1 and an instructional designer with Aramco’s Technical Services Professional Academy, explains that the camporee marks the platinum anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America’s 1947 chartering of Aramco’s Scouts of Dhahran. 

“It’s been a rich experience for all the scouts that have passed through the Aramco community,” Williams says. “It’s a testament to Aramco’s support and the wonderful environment here that so many of our scouts have earned the highest rank of Eagle. We are very grateful for the relationship and we look forward to many more years of providing this experience to the young people in our community.”

75 Years of Scouting in Dhahran

Super Scouting Support

Dhahran’s scouting community is supported by the Central Community Services Department, which provides facilities, equipment, and access, as well as encouraging membership and participation.

Community Services supervisor Leena E. Elnigoumi says: “We recognize Dhahran’s scout troops as a tremendous value add in the community. Congratulations for 75 years of continuous practice, which is testament to the quality of the program, the commitment of the leadership structure, and the ability to grow dynamically throughout generations.”   

Michael Dille, an HR professional in Aramco’s Executive Compensation Group, is scoutmaster for Troop 966. “The skills the Scouts are learning on this camporee help propel them on their journey to become an Eagle Scout.”

“Scouting has huge benefits, helping to prepare kids for both work and life in general. It has a really positive impact on family life here in Dhahran.”

— Michael Dille

75 Years of Scouting in Dhahran
Scouts cooking on the beach at Half Moon Bay.

A Stack of Pancakes

Max Palmer, an Eagle Scout, and member of Troop 1, says: “So far the best part of the camporee is the competitions. I’m also excited about the cooking — we’re having a dessert competition and we plan to make a stack of pancakes with maple syrup, Oreos, and Fruit Loops.” 

For his Eagle Scout project, Palmer produced a sign to educate people living in the Dhahran community about native birds. He researched and photographed the birds himself, constructed the sign by working with fellow scouts, an experienced carpenter, and a printer, and erected the sign for all to see.

Ruben Williams, the senior patrol leader of Troop 1, says. “I’ve been in the Boy Scouts for two years and before that I was in Cub Scouts. We’ve come together for this camporee to get to know each other better, have fun and learn some more scouting skills – as well as to celebrate 75 years of scouting in Saudi Arabia.”

75 Years of Scouting in Dhahran
Scouts gather on the beach at Half Moon Bay.

Scouting Spirit

Owen Dille says: “I’ve been in the Boy Scouts for around three years. I’m trying to get my Eagle Scout award, and I’m helping out today. I think the camporee will be super fun as we get to build rafts and go geo-caching. It’s all about getting together and bonding with people from different troops.”

Betsey Hawkins is the scoutmaster for Troop 966 G — a troop of girl scouts with the patrol name Cherry Blossoms. She says: “We’re here celebrating 75 years of scouting in Saudi Arabia. The competitions and activities of the camporee will help us learn skills, have fun and encourage unity around the scouting spirit.”

Elnigoumi adds: “It makes Community Services proud to know that we can play a part in developing young scouts into mature and responsible citizens who will make our community a better place for years to come.”

— The Arabian Sun: December 13, 2022