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Cub Scouts host Blue and Gold banquet

February 12, 2014

BY MARY GARRISON
editor@dailytimesleader.com

The West Point/Clay County Cub Scout program is gaining momentum, and on Monday about 20 of the group’s young cubs moved up through the ranks at the organization’s annual Blue and Gold Banquet, held at the American Legion.
Cubmaster Stacy Berry said about 65 attendees — made up of scouts and their families — turned out for the affair, despite concerns of icy weather. It was a successful venture, she said, with 13 Tiger Cubs (the youngest rank of Cub Scouts, starting at age 6) qualifying to advance to Wolves, and seven Bears — which begin at about third grade — advancing to the highest Cub Scout rank, Webelos.
“It was a really good turnout,” Berry said. “I was glad. … This is the first year they’ve really come back. … We’re just really getting on our feet again.”
Berry said the group is steadily gaining momentum, following a temporary lull in activity, stemming from a change in leadership. The group’s former Cubmaster had children involved with the program who moved up in the ranks beyond cubs, Berry said, prompting the leader to move on as well.
Berry took over operations officially in January.
“Obviously, I can’t do this all by myself,” she said. “Evelyn Estrada is instrumental in everything I do. Without her none of this would be taking place. She’s done an amazing job. … We couldn’t do this without parent participation. If not for those parents, our program wouldn’t be what it is, regardless of what I do. … It’s a 100 percent volunteer program. No one gets paid anything. … They do so much.”
And they do, according to Boy Scout Troop No. 15 Committee Chairman George Purnell.
The group, which teaches boys ages 6-11 basic character development, leadership and learning how the community works around them, serves as a feeder organization into the Boy Scouts, Purnell said. It’s a busy endeavor that includes activities such as visiting various civic, law enforcement and emergency response agencies in addition to various arts projects. Cubs earn pins, patches, badges and ranks to motivate them through the stages of advancement and eventually on to Boy Scouts should they continue the program, he said.
“With the older boys, the focus switches to a higher level of service to the community and a higher level of understanding how the community works around them and their role in it, culminating in Eagle Scout achievement,” Purnell said. “Their final project to become an Eagle Scout is one of service to the community. … We’ve done things like painting the downtown hydrants. … We put the flags out for memorial holidays. Our older guys go hiking and camping, they go to court. They go to the airport and learn to get their aviation achievement. They get badges for cooking. It’s more focused on taking care of yourself.”

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