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Cub Scout Pack 55 transferring charter to new church
After 19 years with First Presbyterian Church, Cub Scout Pack 55 is transferring its charter to First United Methodist Church. To celebrate the transfer, a service will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 3 at First Presbyterian Church, 598 S. 7th Ave. A reception will follow the service.
The celebration falls on Scout Sunday, designated by the Boy Scouts of America as a day to recognize the contributions of young people and adults to Scouting.
Pack 55, the oldest continuing pack in the Yuma area, invites all current and past scouts who have been with the group, as well as all adults who have volunteered with them throughout the years, to attend.
"Through the years, almost 1,000 boys have been registered members of the pack, as well as over 100 adult volunteers," said Sharon Jessup, who along with Mike Jessup, founded Pack 55 in 1993.
David Pond was the first Cubmaster. Other adults who served in the early years include Penny and Terry Hagedorn, DeeDee Baumgarner, and Steve and Michelle Mendoza. Steve later formed a Boy Scout troop with Pack 55 graduates.
Since it was founded, three adults who actively volunteered with Pack 55 have died. They are Gary Smith, Enrique Delgado, and Dale Uden.
When Pack 55 was founded "there was no program for Cub Scouts in the north end of Yuma," Sharon said, noting it would become the largest pack in the Yuma area for a few years.
According to Sharon, the leaders of the pack followed the motto "no boy will be left out of Scouting because of financial need."
"From the beginning the pack provided registration costs, books and uniforms to any boy whose family needed financial help."
Pack 55 has included children from "every culture, religion, color and economic base," Sharon continued.
"In the early years of pack meetings, the Cubmaster relied on volunteers to translate for Hispanic families. Down Syndrome children have been involved in programs, as well as young people with autism. There are boys who have had a parent in prison, and there have been boys from families who have not had enough to eat."
That included two boys whose fathers were homeless.
"One of them came on a bicycle laden with aluminum cans," Sharon said. "They later moved from Yuma. The other’s son stayed with the program and went into Boy Scouting."
Pack 55 members are well known for posting 150 American flags on Elk’s Hill to mark annual patriotic holidays, Sharon said.
"The flags are a service to the community, and also a fundraiser. Tags can be purchased in remembrance or in honor of someone. These dollars contribute to program costs and helping families with financial needs."
Pack 55 actively participates in community service. The Scouts plant trees, visit nursing homes, assist the Yuma Community Food Bank and pick up trash. Each year they decorate Christmas cookies which are donated to Crossroads Mission. In 2012, the Scouts delivered 684 cookies to the mission.
The Scouts also build cars made of balsa wood for Pinewood Derby races, shoot rockets, visit police and fire stations, camp in the desert, and hike through the wilderness. The Scouts also learn how to cook outdoors, fish and read a compass.
The Scouts in Pack 55 have received numerous awards over the years, including Unit of the Year and first-place trophies for floats submitted in the Silver Spur Rodeo Parade. Many former Pack 55 Cub Scouts have gone on to obtain the rank of Eagle, the highest achievement in Scouting.
For more information about the service, call 782-9817.