Cub Scout Pack 496 growing
Lions, Tigers and Bears, oh my!
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.
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.