Cub Scout Pack 496 grow­ing

Lions, Tigers and Bears, oh my!

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Front Page -

STEVENSVILLE — Boy Scouts of Amer­ica an­nounced ear­lier this year that the or­ga­ni­za­tion was go­ing co-ed­u­ca­tional af­ter more than 100 years as an all-boy or­ga­ni­za­tion. Cub Scout Pack 496, spon­sored by the Kent Is­land Elks, Lodge 2576, held its first Pack meet­ing of the new school year Tues­day, Sept. 25, inside Hauer Hall at the lodge. Pack en­roll­ment jumped from 80 reg­is­tered chil­dren to cur­rently 150, 30 of those are girls.

Most of the girls are in the younger ages, be­gin­ning now with the new­est youth group known as Lion Cubs, who are able to en­roll at age 5 (kinder­garten). The pre­vi­ous youngest group was Tiger Cubs, which be­gins at age 6 (first grade). From there, the Cub Scouts progress in age/school gradeap­pro­pri­ate pro­grams to the next list­ing as “Wolf Cubs” (se­cond-graders), then Bears (third-graders), and so on.

The largest num­ber of girls cur­rently en­rolled in Pack 496 are in the Lion and Tiger Dens, with numbers be­tween the boys and girls be­ing al­most equal. There are a few older girls scat­tered among the Bear, Wolf and We­be­los Dens.

For more than 20 years, Boys Scouts of Amer­ica have per­mit­ted girls to join the Scout­ing Ven­ture and Ex­plor­ing pro­grams. These have been for youth in their teens, and those pro­grams fo­cus on high ad­ven­ture and ca­reer ex­plo­rations for both males and fe­males. This is the first time, how­ever, that girls have been per­mit­ted to be­long to Cub Scout and Boy Scout units, which now opens the door for girls to meet the same re­quire­ments at the boys to earn the Cub Scout Ar­row of Light and Boy Scout Ea­gle Scout awards, the high­est awards at­tain­able in BSA.

As most out-of-school ac­tiv­i­ties for chil­dren, Scout­ing has al­ways been con­sid­ered an en­rich­ment pro­gram, adding to ex­pe­ri­ences and ed­u­ca­tional ac­tiv­i­ties not cov­ered in schools in gen­eral. Pa­tri­o­tism and moral val­ues, such as re­spect for the Amer­i­can flag, learn­ing and recit­ing the Pledge of Al­le­giance, prayer, and be­ing “morally straight” con­tinue to be sig­na­ture val­ues em­pha­sized through­out Scout­ing.

For many years, Scout­ing has run back­ground checks on all adult lead­ers and vol­un­teers to pro­tect the chil­dren and pre­vent, best they can, any peo­ple who would taint the Scout­ing im­age from be­ing in­volved.

Stephanie Mitchell, who serves in the mil­i­tary, is the mother of two young chil­dren. She had no hes­i­ta­tion bring­ing her daugh­ter, Mered­ith, age 5, to be­gin her ex­pe­ri­ence as a Lion Cub.

Mitchell said, “I grew up be­ing a Girl Scout. An as­so­ciate of mine is all-in on sup­port­ing his chil­dren in Scout­ing. Scout­ing does some awe­some stuff, and I think that’s great!”

Chris Corchiarino, who has three daugh­ters, was also present with his daugh­ter, Tiger Cub El­lie, age 6. Corchiarino said, “I’ve heard great things about what chil­dren learn in Scout­ing. El­lie’s in­ter­ested in learn­ing.”

Not ev­ery­one has wel­comed the co-ed­u­ca­tional Scout­ing move­ment ini­ti­ated by Boy Scouts of Amer­ica. In a Bay Views ques­tion ear­lier in 2018, shortly af­ter the an­nounce­ment that Boys Scout or­ga­ni­za­tion was tak­ing the pro­gram in an all-gender en­com­pass­ing di­rec­tion, adults were asked how they felt about it. One woman said, “I’m not say­ing I’m against it, how­ever, there is some­thing to be said for or­ga­ni­za­tions that pro­mote ‘broth­er­hood’ and ‘sis­ter­hood’ sep­a­rately among boys and girls!”

Boys and girls meet sep­a­rately dur­ing den meet­ings, and the na­tional Scout­ing or­ga­ni­za­tion has re­quired that women must lead the girls den meet­ings. That has not been a re­quire­ment for boys dens in the past. Both adult men and adult women have been per­mit­ted to lead.

The un­der­ly­ing rulein Scout­ing has al­ways been to make events fun, and that re-en­forces learn­ing as a pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. The chil­dren are taught it’s okay to be loud and rowdy, when it’s time for that. How­ever, there are many other times when its time to be quiet and learn to be re­spect­ful and fo­cus on the ac­tiv­ity at hand.

Dur­ing the first Pack meet­ing, two guest speak­ers, both pi­lots, Mary­land State Po­lice heli­copter pi­lot Mark Bruno, and Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice pi­lot Dfc. Wil­liam Schep­leng, spoke to the chil­dren about their jobs serv­ing the pub­lic. The chil­dren were well or­ga­nized and quiet, sit­ting in their age-group dens and su­per­vised by den lead­ers and par­ents. A ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion fol­lowed, and many chil­dren raised their hands.

Up­com­ing Pack meet­ings at the Elks lodge in­clude: Oct. 23, Nov. 27, Dec. 18, Jan. 26, Feb. 24, March 26, April 30 and May 21. Meet­ings be­gin at 6:30 p.m.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Many of the 150 chil­dren (a new record), both boys and girls, mem­bers of Cub Scout Pack 496, spon­sored by the KI Elks, Lodge 2576, in Stevensville, are shown at the first Pack meet­ing held inside Hauer Hall, Tues­day even­ing, Sept. 25.

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