Cub Scouts is all about “Fun With Purpose,” according to Cub Scout Pack 38 Cubmaster Dan Fehler.
At the Bicycle Rodeo last June at Northrup Elementary School the boys had fun testing their skills on their bikes and “pack riding” around a large, circular course. Experienced adults also gave lessons that are important to bike owners, such as properly fitting a helmet, patching an inner tube, and correctly locking up a bicycle.
As a parent, Fehler has seen boys come to scouting from all over the spectrum. “Some are highly skilled with sports, and love nothing better than a fast-paced kickball game, and love taking on the challenge of trying their skills at tennis or volleyball,” he observed.
“Some boys love nothing more then digging in a book, reading about nature, history, citizenship, or valuable life skills.
“Some boys love trying new things and earning every last award on the list. Some boys have varying degrees of learning disabilities and comfort in different social settings, which means they would love their smaller Den meetings, or may feel lost at our larger Pack meetings. Some boys are ready in Kindergarten, some come in 5th grade, but any boy can join at any time.
“In all cases, we try to provide activities that any boy can enjoy and excel at.”
Last year Pack 38 held two family camps, one in the fall and again in the spring, at Phillipo Scout Reservation in Cannon Falls, Minn. “We rent a shelter/lodge with a wood stove and gas cooking ranges, and pitch our tents around the outside and ‘camp,’ explained Fehler. “The closeness of Phillipo (its a 40-minute drive) and having a shelter (with sleeping mats) available make it very accessible to first-time campers. If we have trained leaders available, we can reserve am hour or two at the Archery or BB Gun ranges. And we try to take every opportunity to get the boys to try things for themselves, like learning how to correctly start a campfire, how to cook their own camp dinners, and most importantly how to clean up the campsite and ‘Leave No Trace’ when we are finished.”
Pack 38 enjoys a different activity once a month, usually local. “We take short hikes in our local parks. Finding the cave at Minnehaha Falls is always fun, even when you learn about geology,” said Fehler.
“We take local tours of police and fire stations (rotating every few years so boys who have been in the program multiple years don’t see the same place again and again), and visit museums (like the Hennepin Overland Model Train museum last November). Sometimes we have a guest speaker come in and talk to our pack, like the Mad Scientists of Minnesota or the Raptor Center. Sometimes, its just as simple as a sledding day at Sibley Park with all of your Cub Scout friends.”
The pack also participates in service projects, such as building care packages for St. Joseph’s Home for Children, and holding a sock drive for St. Stephen’s Human Services.
There are some activities that are part of every year. In September the pack marches in the St. Helena Autumn Daze Parade. The Pinewood Derby is every March. Each boy gets a block of wood and some wheels. While learning how to safely use tools they cut, sand, and hammer the kit into something that looks like a car. There are special awards at the race for being creative and having the best paint job.
CHALLENGES FOR WEBELOS
The older boys in 4th to 5th grade, the Webelos, take on more challenging activities to get them ready for joining a Boy Scout Troop. These include hiking up to three miles, learning about poisonous plants and venomous animals in Minnesota, and taking more initiative in deciding/planning their own adventures, according to Fehler.
“At this age boys are starting to chafe at anything that smacks of ‘kid stuff’ and are ready for greater independence,” Fehler noted.
When they turn 11 or earn their Arrow of Light, they are ready to join the Boy Scouts of Troop 38.
SKILLS TO BE A BETTER CITIZEN
Fehler most enjoys seeing the boys in his pack demonstrate leadership qualities. “That can mean anything from helping another scout who is having trouble, listening when its time to listen (knowing that the time to be loud is usually just around the corner), and showing confidence and fearlessness in front of a group of boys their own age,” said Fehler.
“It takes guts to stand up in front of a crowd and tell a knock-knock-joke or lead everyone in singing a silly song, but these will be the skills that will make a boy a better scout and a better citizen.”
Pack 38 has Pack meetings once a month, usually on the third Thursday, 6:30-7:30 p.m., at St. Helena Catholic School (3200 E. 44th St.). The November Pack meeting will be on Nov. 21.
Pack meetings are designed for the whole family to participate in, with large-group games and activities, pointed out Fehler. Pack 38 also has Den Meetings once or twice a month (depending on the age of the boys). Den Meetings are small-group activity focused. In K-1st grade, a parent should attend the Den Meeting with a scout, but they can drop them off at older grades.
The next weekend activities include Roller Skating on Saturday, Nov. 23, and participating in “Wreathes Across America” at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery on Saturday, Dec. 14.
Pack 38 charges a one-year registration fee for new scouts, and most of the activities are paid for through the Fall Popcorn/Christmas Wreath Fundraiser. Camping and some activities may have an additional cost.
The Boy Scout Troop 38 at St. Helena Catholic Church dates back almost 90 years, and Fehler believes that the Cub Scout Troop started shortly after the national launch of the program for younger boys in 1930.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information, contact Dan Fehler at Cubmaster 38.com or 612-724-6284. Check out www.BSAPack38.org.