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Webelos get taste of Boy Scout program with campout, ‘ree'
The Yuma County Fairgrounds was a beehive of activity Saturday morning as 9- and 10-year-old boys learned about gemstones, tied knots and practiced using carpentry tools.
In another area, boys were enthusiastically walking the “bear walk.” The point? “That exercise can be fun,” explained leader Harold Maxwell. “Find something you're passionate about doing,” he advised, pointing to his still fit 80-year-old father who enjoys hiking, “for an active, healthy life.”
The occasion was the fall Webelos-ree — a play on the word “camporee,” explained coordinator Joanne Stover. The event is held twice a year for boys in the fourth and fifth grades as they make the transition from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.
The Webelos-ree provides an opportunity for Webelos to participate in an outdoor activity and earn required Webelos activity pins. And it gives them a taste of what to expect as they enter into Boy Scouts, Stover said.
Even better, several Boy Scouts helped with the event to show the younger boys what they can look forward to as they advance in the scouting program.
Stover said about 60 boys participated. A number of them spent Friday night camped out, where they learned about cooking outdoors, enjoyed an evening campfire and built camaraderie as they played tag. They also got to observe Jupiter through a telescope.
“No sitting in front of a video game,” Stover said.
Saturday, each boy could choose to work on four activities to complete Webelos pins and begin work on others. The list included outdoorsman, readyman, scientist, naturalist, athlete (partial), craftsman (partial) or artist (partial).
Science leader Pierre Bouque told the boys about the various gemstones he had brought to show them and answered their eager questions about how they were made. As the grand finale for the science activity, the boys made bottle rockets to demonstrate what they had learned about air pressure.
“What the boys are experiencing, they will remember later as they start studying this stuff in junior high and senior high,” Stover said. “Some of these boys really get it. It's exciting to see the light spark. There's a saying that if you touch one child, you've succeeded. This is a good example.”
She explained that the last part of the Boy Scout oath is: “To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
“All the activities center around that.”
The Webelos-ree was truly a community effort, Stover said. The fairground was opened up to the boys at no charge, and a docent from the Conservation Garden assisted with the naturalist activity.
A number of Cub Scout and Boy Scout leaders readily responded to her call for volunteers. Home Depot provided a sizeable donation of supplies.
“A big thank you to the great community support for the program,” Stover said.
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6853. Find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YSJoyceLobeck or on Twitter at @YSJoyceLobeck.