Clifton Park – Enrollment of a local Cub Scout pack doubled during the pandemic.
Its growth was due to a drop in enrollment in Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA programs across the country.
Cub Scout Pack 4044 covers about 70 kids in kindergarten through grades 5 from Clifton Park, Halfmoon and Mechanicville.
PAC chairman Ryan Fava said last year at this time there were about 36 Scouts.
Fava attributed the general decline in activities for children during the pandemic to the inclusion of girls in Boy Scouts organizations that started two years ago.
“If you look at the parents’ decisions, that’s what they do,” said Fava, whose daughter, 9-year-old Olivia, was one of the pack’s top producers in the popcorn fundraising effort.
“Do they go to a sports organization with other risks that maybe the COVID challenges could bring? Or maybe they will say that the activities are not even happening. We’ve been going strong the whole time. We are still a force here,” said Fava, whose 5-year-old daughter, Clara, recently joined the Cub Scouts.
Fawa said the organization has been consistently active and running a lot of community engagements. It recently put up door hangers asking for donations for a food campaign to benefit a local pantry and, along with another troop, held a public Halloween haunted hike.
On Sunday, in its first in-person meeting since December 2019, about 50 scouts arrived outside its faith-based sponsor, the Corpus Christi Catholic Church, to hand over 600 boxes of Camp Master’s gourmet popcorn, which it donated to local military members Were.
Scouts stood outside Stewart’s shops asking for donations for more than a month, according to Petra Holden, who helped run the program under the name “Popcorn Kernel”.
Popcorn is a traditional selling item of the Boy Scouts of America.
While other packs can raise money with bake sales and car washes, the popcorn pack is the 4044’s only fundraising vehicle.
“We like to get it done early and then get paid for the entire season, and out of 70 scouts, I believe over 50 have made enough for their season to be paid in full. sold popcorn, which would be worth $730,” Holden told .
Holden said that several Scouts, including Olivia Fava, are worth more than $3,000.
Master Chief Sgt. Richard Rueda accepted cans of popcorn on behalf of the local military.
Usually, popcorn goes to the Foreign Legion, but due to the pandemic, local donations were encouraged.
Rueda, whose sons are Boy Scouts, said this benefited the children being involved in the handoff.
“Now they get to see that it actually goes to the soldiers, and give it to the military, rather than just assuming that Camp Masters is going to make a military donation later,” he said. “To me, that’s about the best, having done it for many years.”
Elsewhere in the country, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were hit by an unprecedented one-year drop in membership, partly because of the pandemic, and partly by social trends that have been lowering their ranks for decades, according to the Associated Press. reported earlier this year.
While both organizations insist they will survive, the dramatic decline raises questions about how effectively they will be able to carry out their time-honored missions – teaching skills and teamwork, providing outdoor adventure and community service. to encourage
According to the Associated Press, membership of the BSA’s flagship Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA programs declined from 1.97 million in 2019 to 1.12 million in 2020, a 43% drop.
Records show subscriptions have since fallen to around 762,000, the news agency reported.
The Girl Scouts say that their youth membership fell almost 30% from about 1.4 million in 2019- 2020 to just over 1 million this year.
On Contact Correspondent Brian Lee [email protected] or 518-419-9766.
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