Cub Scout Pack 23 recently held their first in-person Pack meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. They met in the parking lot at the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center at staggered times, which allowed everyone to stay within the State of Connecticut COVID-19 guidelines for outdoor gatherings. About 60 scouts and their parents attended.
Though the 85-member Pack (70 boys and 15 girls) normally meet indoors at North Mianus School, due to COVID-19, meetings are being held outdoors as weather permits.
The meeting started with an opening ceremony, which included the presenting of the flags by the color guard, which includes Webelos scouts, who are in grades 4-5, and the recital of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
The Pack includes scouts from North Mianus School, International School at Dundee, and Greenwich Country Day School.
Cindy Andrews DiPreta and Rich DiPreta have been Cubmasters of Pack 23 five years and have two scouts – Christopher DiPreta (Scout BSA (grade 6) in Troop 5) and Charlotte DiPreta (Webelos Scout (grade 4) in Pack 23). The Pack, which includes 70 boys and 15 girls, meets on the third Thursday of each month at North Mianus School.
After the presenting of the flags and the recital of the Scout Oath and Scout Law, the group enjoyed a scavenger hunt, which took scout families to 12 separate locations around town, each site having some historical significance.
These clues led to the First Congregational Church, the Ferris-Feak House, Greenwich Point, Sound Beach Volunteer Fire Department, the 9/11 Memorial at Cos Cob Park, Grass Island Dog Park, Bruce Museum, WGCH 1490 AM Radio Station, Greenwich Council Scout Shop and the Pomerance Property, where Ernest Thompson Seton lived. (Seton was one of the founders of Boy Scouts of America.)
At each location, a Scout leader, prominent figure, or Greenwich Council Board Member held a sign with one of the 12 attributes of the Scout Law: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent.
Scouts were challenged to write down the word being displayed at each location.
The last clue led to North Mianus School, where everyone received personalized “Pack 23” masks.
“We are committed to running our Cub Scout program this year,” said Cindy DiPreta, who explained that each grade K-5 has its own Den, and all the Dens make the Pack. “Our primary concern is the health and safety of our scout families. But we’ve found new ways for our Pack and our Dens to meet safely.”
The plan is to hold a fun an educational meetings while keeping everyone safe.
“We thought for our first meeting, why not do a drive-by scavenger hunt where everyone stays in their own car,” she said. “Scouts can learn about town history in a socially distant manner and have fun while doing it.”
“When the pandemic hit in March, we moved all of our meetings to Zoom,” recalled Rich DiPreta. “It was all so new then. While video conferencing is a good alternative, we are planning on having outdoor, in-person meetings whenever possible.”
“Not only was our Pack meeting successful, was much enthusiasm from both parents and scouts,” he added. “We saw the scouts’ parents also really have fun, and it brought out quite a bit of competitive spirit!”
“Also, many families noted that the scavenger hunt brought them to several locations in down they never knew existed or learned a few new facts about Greenwich. The parents were also thankful be out of the house seeing our Pack families in person again in a safe environment.”Rich DiPreta, Cubmaster of Pack 23
“My son, Niels, and I had a great time,” said Rich Oellrich. “I grew up in town and still learned something new. Mostly, it was fun to be out and about with our fellow scout families, many of whom we haven’t seen in person since March.”
The Scouting year, which runs parallel to the school year, is just getting started.
For more information about scouts and getting your son or daughter involved can be found at: www.greenwichscouting.org/programs.