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Local cub scout pack ‘grows young men’

Each year, a group of boys gather and celebrate the accomplishments they’ve made in an effort to better their futures.

The Blue and Gold banquet celebrates the milestones that each Cub Scout has made. For one group each year, it takes on a special importance as fifth graders bridge over to Boy Scouts.

“We are growing young men,” Wendy Smith, Cub master of Pack 911 sponsored by First Baptist Church, said. “We’re helping boys to develop into proper young man.”

Smith said each year the pack does two main community service programs and at least three pack activities – a turkey shoot in November with a food drive, the Pinewood Derby and a toy drive for Blair E. Batson Children Hospital.

“We do these pack events to promote unity of the whole pack,” Smith said.

Currently, the pack has three dens. The ideal number for a den is 10 to 15 young boys. However, that does not prevent boys from joining. She said the biggest limiting factor is volunteers to be den leaders. Most den leaders are parents, but any adult can volunteer.

Smith’s own experience with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts began with her son, Steven, who moved up the ranks and is now an Eagle Scout. Her husband, Steve, serves as the Scoutmaster of Troop 911. “

“Cub Scouts is all about the kids,” she said. “It encourages teamwork in a family atmosphere. The family is very much involved.”

Smith said the biggest event is the Pinewood Derby where all are given the opportunity to advance to district. The boys are given a block of wood and tasked with designing, building and decorating the derby car. While Smith said the boys are helped by their parents for safety reasons, the boys themselves are responsible for the design.

“It teaches the boys how to start a project and see it to completion and then test it,” Smith said.

She added that the event also reaches the crossroads of sportsmanship and competition. The Pinewood Derby prizes for this pack are first, second and third in each den and to the top overall winner of the pack.

However, she said the boys are also helpful with each other to make sure that each entry meets the weight requirement. They will volunteer materials to use as extra weight or help remove weight.

“We pull together to support each other,” Smith said.

The turkey shoot, although competitive, requires less preparation for the boys. Paper turkeys are set up, and the boys are given popguns. Each boy is able to take 10 shots and whoever makes the most hits gets a small prize.

The boys also bring canned goods to donate to the First Baptist Church’s food pantry, and this year they collected approximately 175 cans.

“It teaches our young Cub Scouts the importance of giving to others,” Smith said.

Smith encourages the parents to keep the boys involved by encouraging the Cub Scouts to pick out his favorite canned food.

Smith said the Boy Scouts of Troop 911 help staff the events.

“The young Cub Scouts can interact with the Boy Scouts,” she said.

Smith said it also helps give the Boy Scouts the opportunity to develop their leadership skills.

“These Boy Scouts are my right hand,” Smith said. “I couldn’t do any of these event without their help.”

At the recent Blue and Gold banquet, they recognized 38 Cub Scouts who received their advancements and awards, and six of these Cub Scouts crossed over to Boy Scouts and are now members of Troop 911.

Smith explained that each Cub Scout begins by earning their bobcat rank. This first rank is achieved in the first meeting by learning the motto, salute and laws.

“They don’t have to memorize it,” she said. “They only have to have an understanding of it.”

After Bobcats, they progress to Tigers, Wolves, Bears and, finally, Webelos for their last two years of Cub Scouts.

At the beginning of each school year, the Cub Scouts recruit new members by inviting parents and student that are interested in the Scouting program to Cub Scout school night at the local elementary schools.