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Cub Scouts make return to Sanibel Island

By Staff | Jan 13, 2016

The Cub Scouts celebrate during the Sanibel July 4th Parade. They include Den Leader Kara Stone, with Charles Stone and Nicholas Tison. PHOTO PROVIDED

For over the last 30 years, young boys who wanted to join Boy Scouts had to go off island to enjoy what the wholesome organization provides.

Not anymore.

The Cub Scouts Pack 1740 became indoctrinated by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the Southwest Florida Council to become Sanibel’s official group after not having one since 1981.

“Over the past several years, we had to travel off island for our Pack meetings, and logistically, that was tough to do,” said Den Leader Kara Stone. “We figured if we could bring it back to the island, it would give more opportunity to more boys.”

In Cub Scouts, Packs consist of boys in grades one through five. Each Pack is made up Dens, which consists of boys in the same grade and last year, the Sanibel first graders made up the majority of the off-island Pack.

“We had eight boys in Cub Scouts last year and probably could have had four more if not it being off island,” Stone said.

With Sanibel’s Pack 1740 in formation, there are now 11 second graders participating, along with a few more first and third graders, to equal 16 total.

“Our goal is to grow the other Dens and we want to grow strong as a Pack,” Stone said. “After grade five, they cross over to Boy Scouts, which are made into Troops. The ultimate goal when we start having a significant number out, that we can have our own Troop here, as well.”

For the Pack to be formed, it needed a Charter organization, which the Sanibel Community Church became. The Executive Officer of the new Pack is the SCC’s Pastor Daryl Donovan, while Youth Pastor Kevin Schafer is the Charter Organization Representative.

The Unit Commissioner is Sanibel resident Walter Jones, who is the liaison between the Pack and the Council.

The SCC already provided its facilities for weekly (three) Den meetings, so it was an obvious choice to become the Charter organization, as well.

The SCC also provided the inspiration for the Pack number, which is 1740, the church’s address.

“We provide the facility weekly and the Scouts then offered their services to help clean up the Church, including picking up trash after the Luminary,” Pastor Schafer said. “The boys are from different churches, as well, but we are glad to provide the facilities for them.”

Brian Boyd is the Cub Master, with Jimmy Stevens the Den leader of the first-grade Tiger den, Stone the Den leader of the second-grade Wolf Den and the local boy scout, Max Stone, serving as Den Chief to the Wolf Den.

The fourth and fifth grade Dens, in which Pack 1740 doesn’t have any yet, are Weeblos.

“The neat thing about Sanibel, is it’s an awesome place to have Scouts,” Kara Stone said. “There are so many cool things to do here, such as visiting ‘Ding’ Darling Wildlife Refuge, beach clean-ups, many places to have campfires, plenty of animals, a historical society, a library and bike paths.

“It’s just an ideal location.”

All those activities are beneficial for the Scouts, since they have to accomplish “adventures” to earn belt loops. Once a month, each Den has to complete an adventure, which is age specific and gets more detailed with age.

Currently, the third graders are working on “bear claws”, where they are learning how to use a pocket knife safely. Once they complete the adventure, they will earn their widdling chip card, where they can then use a pocket knife during a Scout activity.

Some of the second grade adventures include “Howling at the Moon”, where they are learning the Scout Oath and sign language, as well as going through an obstacle course blindfolded, with the help of a partner.

“They also have to put on an original skit, as well as how to build a campfire,” Stone included.

There will be field trips in the near future, as well, such as camping at a BSA camp this coming spring. A couple of the fathers will attend BSA Ranger Training, which includes lessons on how to teach archery and B.B. gun safety classes.

“All volunteers go through youth protection training through the BSA, as well,” Stone said.

Volunteering in the community is another important aspect for the Scouts. This past year, the Sanibel Scouts have volunteered at the Heart Association Walk, the Veteran’s Day Ceremony held at City Hall, Scouting for Food in February and other various opportunities for service.

“There is also a Journey to Excellence, which is through BSA guidelines where a Pack can gain the highest rank, which is a gold-star ranking,” Stone said. “We want our program to be great on Sanibel.”

The initiation fee for Scouts is $29 a year and the fundraiser the Pack runs is their popcorn fundraiser, which is held in the fall. The two bigger costs Pack 1740 is foreseeing will be purchasing a Pack trailer for camping trips and buying a Pinewood Derby track.

“We also help out any Scout who has any financial hardships buying the uniform or anything else,” Stone said.

Schafer, who has a son in Scout Pack, said he appreciates the opportunity because it does give the confidence and learning responsibility.

“It’s a lot about community and learning how to help each other out,” Schafer said. “It also provides adventure, which is phenomenal for the kids.”

The Cub Scouts enables the youth of today the ability to learn and be responsible in a community, all the while having fun.

“Like the Boys Scouts of America says, ‘Keep it simple, keep it fun,'” Stone said.

To volunteer as a leader, committee member or special skill teacher, or if your son wants to join Pack 1740, or to make a donation to the Pack, contact Stone at 239-223-4625.