This October, Sound View Camp and Cub Scout Pack 222 partnered to help tourists and scouts alike experience the natural beauty of the Key Peninsula.
The Cub Scouts and camp staff worked together to welcome over 250 visitors during the Oct. 5 KP Farm Tour. Sound View Camp opened its gates during the event to display its “mini farm” and garden, as well as its forest trails and waterfront. Cub Scouts and parents at the event helped host an assortment of carnival games, direct visitors to parking, and lead tours of the camp facility.
Although KP Scouts are a common sight at many community events, the work with Sound View was originally unplanned. “The scouts have been coming here for years,” said Sound View’s Site Manager James Goodman. “Last year they just kind of ended up here at the same time as the Tour, and they were willing to help out, so it became a partnership.”
This year, the scouts intentionally scheduled their campout on Farm Tour weekend. The collaboration ensures that the camp receives volunteer help at one of their biggest community outreach opportunities. In return, the Cub Scouts get to experience the trails, forest and waterfront of the camp, and scout parents get easy access to showers and heated cabins.
Pack 222 Den Leader Amy Walker said that although Sound View isn’t far from home, it’s still an impressive sight for Cub Scouts taking their first steps into the wilderness. “I feel like long-term KP residents already know how beautiful it is out here, but some families are either new to our area or have never been this far on the Key Peninsula,” she said. “There’s a lot of new kids in my den who have never been here before, and they’re just blown away by what a beautiful place we have in our own backyard.”
Despite spending the weekend at a facility with a kitchen and cabins, Pack 222 opted to use the weekend to build classic scouting skills. “They’re still doing things in a traditional way, cooking things over the fire, roughing it,” Goodman said. “They’re making it a true Scout weekend.” Outdoor education and wilderness survival make up a large part of Pack 222’s annual campouts, but according to Walker the Scouts also try to leverage the skills of their leaders to explore topics like science and law enforcement.
Current and former Scouts on the KP speak highly of the program’s educational and practical value. KP native and Eagle Scout A.J. Hollaway, who is currently pursuing a career in aviation, credits the Scouts with helping him build essential skills for flight.
“As a pilot now, navigation is a big part of flying,” he said. “Looking back at all I learned about reading maps, using a compass, and just staying directionally aware, it sure helped me when I got started.”
The Key Peninsula has been home to Scouts since the 1940s, although the currently active group held their first event in 1996. Modern-day Boy Scout groups on the Peninsula consists of Pack 222 for students through fifth grade, and Boy Scout Troop 220 for older students. Scouts of both groups regularly serve at community gatherings, food banks, fundraisers and annual events. Evidence of the Scouts’ volunteer commitment can also be seen in the Eagle Scout projects that have enhanced public spaces like the 360 Trails and the Red Barn Youth Center.