Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Successful End to a Successful First Scouting Year

This past weekend culminated in the official graduation of our Tiger Cubs into the Wolf Cub Scout program. It was a proud moment for all the Cub families, and especially proud for me to have helped them get this far.

But first on Saturday, the day before the graduation, we met a group of our fellow Pack families at Dutch Gap Boat Landing in Chester for the annual James River Clean Up Day. For something I meerly was able to 'advertise' via email, we had an impressive group of 36 people registered to participate in the event, and the vast majority of them actually showed up! I was quite pleased with how our Pack was ready and willing to take part in the cause, and VERY pleased that about half the participants were from our own Tiger families. For the parents of our boys to be so committed and involved really speaks for the future of the boy's continuing on with the Pack. It was quite hot, even at 9am when we got started, but the boys were so pleased to be scrambling around the river banks with their friends that I dont' think they even noticed the heat! It was a great day and a great turn out, and thankfully we wound up finishing much earlier than the 1pm scheduled time. A local Boy Scout troop even grilled us some much-needed lunch before we all head home for the day. Or to the pool, in our case!

After that eventful morning and afternoon, I hung out at home to finish up a bunch of details about the upcoming Graduation on Sunday. I had been working on the special howling wolf neckerchief slides for a week or two and they were all painted and ready, but I couldn't help but give them a few extra sprays of clear coat to try and help protect the finish. I was very pleased with the way they all turned out, and judging from the thanks and compliments I've recieved, i think the boys and parents were pleased as well! The slides were a surprise gift and were a BIG hit! I also made some additions to what I would say during the crossover, rewrote an opening ceremony I found online to suit the occasion, and came up with some stuff to say about the Year of Celebration patches that all the boys would be getting that day. Yes, it was a lot of work, but graduation only comes once a year and I think it should really mean something to the boys, so I went out of my way to make it special.

On Sunday, in 164 degree heat (I have been known to exaggerate a little sometimes, but not this time!), we held the graduation and crossover ceremony. Our Tigers, who have almost no real flag ceremony experience, did a great job with the opening after only one hasty practice run. I had to put the biggest boys in charge of holding the flags, because BOY those things are heavy! They did a great job, all of them, and I was very proud at their willingness and accomplishment!

The graduation moved along nicely, probably thanks in part to the heat. We presented our Tigers with their awards (including some that had earned the Leave No Trace patch with the previous day's environmental service) and gave the boys the picture frames they had decorated at the last meeting, filled now with a photo of their Den. Then we had all the parents stand on one side of a makeshift bridge with the new yellow neckerchiefs and howling wolf slides while the boys stood on the other and removed their orange Tiger neckerchiefs. Then each crossed over and their parent helped them don their new neck wear. At the end I had the new Wolves, parents and the whole Pack welcome the boys into the Wolf Den with a big howl. Cheesy maybe, but it sure made everyone smile!

After the rest of the Dens crossed over and the special 'thank yous" were given to some of our valuable committee chair people, we were all sweating buckets and ready for the pool. Well, ready for cake and ice cream, THEN the pool. Having the graduation on the pool grounds to be immediately followed by a pool party was the perfect idea for a great ending. I don't think I've ever had cold water feel so good, and I don't think either of my kids got out of the water for longer than it took to jump back in again.

Looking back to last September I can hardly believe that I hesitated to take on the role of Leader. Yes, we had a rocky start while we were all still figureing things out, and yes, it has been a very large commitment for my time, but it is one of the most rewarding and exciting things I have ever done. I am so proud to be a part of shping these boys' lives and would not miss this experience for the world. I'm so happy to have had such a great ending to an overall successful first year, and am truly looking forward to even better ones to come.

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