After nearly two years of challenges brought on by the pandemic, including the loss of a local program for younger Scouts, Scout Troop 220 and Cub Scout Pack 222 are back together again, meeting weekly at the Key Peninsula Civic Center under new leadership.
Amy Turk stepped up as Cubmaster Nov. 2 and began rebuilding Pack 222. She applied to recharter the younger group in December 2021, officially registering them with Scouts BSA, formerly known as Boy Scouts.
There were 48 Cub Scouts pre-pandemic, but “after Covid, nobody responded to come back, so essentially the pack was nonexistent,” Turk said, whose nephew began his BSA journey in Pack 222 and is now a member of the troop. “I didn’t want to see Cub Scouting die on the Key Peninsula because then the troop would fade away and there wouldn’t be any Scouting out here.”
Pack 222 includes children from kindergarten through fifth grade who rank up with age, changing dens depending on their grade in school. In sixth grade, they enter Troop 220 and rank up through adventures, or requirements, earning merit badges while working toward Scouting’s highest rank, Eagle Scout.
Without a pack, “the troop will die off because the kids will age out and if nothing is feeding into the troop, there won’t be a troop anymore,” Turk said. “I think with Covid, it made it very clear that being around people is important for our mental health.”
Turk said Troop 220 has a strong sense of community, with kids and families there for each other in times of need. Modifying activities to meet current guidelines and regulations, the group has stayed active and met regularly throughout the pandemic. They helped with the flag ceremony on Memorial Day at Vaughn Cemetery, completed a 22-mile hike on Sept. 11 from Cle Elum to North Bend, held fundraising car washes and popcorn sales, and gave back to the community with the Scouting For Food Drive. Troop 220’s new Scoutmaster, Diana Smith, is planning a snow camping adventure. “They have some fun things planned and they’re planning more because things have kind of gotten stale,” Turk said.
Turk originally encouraged her nephew, who has lived with her for five years, to join the Scouts because of the morals and values the program instills, as well as the leadership opportunities and adventures.
“Scouting is a way to make boys and girls better people,” said Nicholas Keeney, 14, Star Scout. “It’s also a great way to make friends.”
Although the Scouts are not a religious organization, they adhere to a moral code known as The Scout Law and recite the Scout Oath at each meeting.
“A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, all the things that you want your child to learn, and to have, to be a good human,” Turk said. “For me, that’s kind of the point of Scouting, to have these kids be able to go to an organization that is upholding a set ideal of morals and values.”
“Scouting is not easy but through the tough parts you learn how to be a leader and teach others, how to do first aid and save others, how to do various outdoor activities and skills, and so much more,” said Eagle Scout and Assistant Scoutmaster Robert Quill, 21, who has been with Troop 220 for 10 years and says he looks forward to another 10. “I have hiked over mountains and looked across Washington and along the coast and saw an almost endless ocean, participated in contests of Scouting skill and led the troop in numerous events, all while spending time doing service projects and giving back to the community.”
After the Cub Scouts program went co-ed in 2018, the Boy Scouts organization changed its name to BSA and began welcoming girls in 2019.
“They meet together but as far as outings and campouts, they’re going to be separate for that and there has to be a female Scoutmaster,” Turk said.
There have been between five and 10 kids at each Cub Scout meeting since Turk began working to rebuild Pack 222 in November.
“We are starting out very small but if we don’t rebuild the pack, then scouting on the KP will die out when the kids in the troop age out,” Turk said. “That would be so unfortunate as I believe Scouting is really valuable to kids, their families and the community in so many ways.”
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