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Meet Somers' Leader of the Pack

SOMERS, N.Y. - Cub Scout Master, Chris Swee, was never a scout himself and got involved only when his older son was in first grade. That was over ten years ago and Swee is still leading the pack.

“Cub scouting is very family oriented,” Swee explains. “At least one parent of every child must be involved in every activity. With the youngest scouts, it’s often two parents.”

Swee’s Pack 11 took a hike around Pelton Pond at Fahnestock State Park last weekend. “It’s a good introduction to scouting and the outdoors,” he says. “For a lot of these boys, it’s their first hike, their first organized outdoor event. It takes about 45 minutes.”

A sidelight of the day’s event was the rain gutter regatta. Each cub had made a balsa wood boat, complete with mast, rudder and keel. “It’s a kit,” Swee explained. “For a lot of them, it’s their first experience building something.”

At the pond site the boys raced their boats down the water-filled gutter. “It’s not a competition,” but it was lots of fun.

The other piece of equipment for the hike was a big walking stick. Swee had inherited one from a previous scoutmaster. So every cub’s first assignment of the day was to go into the woods and come back with a similar walking stick.

Cub scouting begins in first grade and goes through fifth. The grades are called Tiger Cub, Wolf, Bear, Junior Webelos and Senior Webelos. In sixth grade the boys move up and become Boy Scouts if they want to.

There are two Cub Scout packs in Somers: Pack 1 and Pack 11. Pack 11 has 11 dens. Each den has between six and 12 members. The dens meet two or three times a month. The packs meet once a month, in the Primrose cafeteria. Since each pack has close to 100 cubs and parents and siblings also come to pack meetings, there are close to 250 people packed into the Primrose cafeteria.

Swee’s biggest reward as a Cubmaster is “getting those little guys to stand up in front of 200 people to give their den reports. They even use a mike. I don’t know how many parents have ever gotten up to speak in front of 200 people.”

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