NEWPORT, Maine — As a sophomore at Nokomis Regional High School, Stephanie Taylor had an enjoyable experience at a national Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps competition in Florida.
Taylor is hoping to make similar memories this coming year as a senior, and she and her fellow JROTC members are holding a yard sale over the weekend to raise money to attend the competition in Daytona Beach next April.
The competition features two days of weapons demonstrations and two days of flag brandishing, Taylor said.
“You have six instructors watching you,” she said. “They can even stand in front of you and have you keep on going. It’s pretty difficult.”
Taylor and her fellow JROTC members will be judged on a variety of things.
“They’re going to judge us on alignment, on every single person. Both of the weapon bearers have to be in sync,” she said.
The JROTC has made it a goal to come up with the funds by the end of the year.
“Our mission is to raise $4,000 by the end of December,” said Taylor, who is putting together the yard sale along with her mother, Pam.
The sale will be held from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday at the Plymouth Store.
The team typically travels to Florida by passenger van, Taylor said, and funds are needed to cover costs such as gasoline and lodging.
However, the long road trip of approximately 1,460 miles from Newport to Daytona Beach gives the team a chance to become more unified.
“That’s really good for the team because we have a lot of team bonding [activities] and we really get to know each other,” said Taylor.
The JROTC will be selling a little bit of everything in the yard sale, which will be held rain or shine.
“We’re going to be selling anything from little kid toys to antiques to yard stuff,” said Taylor.
Those aforementioned items are being donated by people in the community, Taylor said, and team members are also donating items, such as old clothes.
Taylor drew up the fundraiser idea from one of her family’s summertime traditions.
“We just sat down together and we thought about a bunch of different ways to raise money,” she said. “Our family, we go down to Warrensburg, New York, every year for this big yard sale. It gave us the idea to do a yard sale to raise money.”
Nokomis’ JROTC program currently consists of 60 cadets, but that number is expected to grow once the school year starts in September.
“We usually start out the year with around 70 cadets,” Taylor said.
Taylor is using her leadership and experience to organize the sale.
“We’re kind of just setting it up because we know how to,” she said. “The other girls are still pitching in.”
Two years ago, the Nokomis team came in 21st out of 50 schools in the competition, which Taylor says can be very intense.
The yard sale won’t be the only fundraiser the Nokomis JROTC puts on this summer. It’s also planning on a car wash and a bake sale to generate money for the trip to the Sunshine State next spring.
“We definitely want to go,” Taylor said. “All of our team has to work together.”