Great Neck Cub Scouts Compete in The Annual Klondike Derby

On an unusually warm muddy winter February day, scouts of the Arrow of Light (AOL) den from Great Neck Cub Scouts Pack 178 came together to compete in the annual Klondike Derby at Muttontown Preserve in Oyster Bay.

The Klondike Derby, typically held in colder temperatures, is hosted annually by the Shelter Rock District of the Theodore Roosevelt Council of BSA in which Cub Scouts in patrols compete in scout related team building challenges. The scouts are tested on their skills including leadership skills, teamwork, U.S. Flag folding, various knots, fire building, map and compass navigation. All the challenges are completed by the scouts without any adult assistance.

Two months prior to the event, the AOL den, consisting of Great Neck fifth graders, started preparing for the Klondike Derby. The preparation was guided by their den leader, Julienne Kawai and assisted by Pack 178 Committee Chair Wen Wu and Steve Chen. The AOL den diligently updated last year’s “sledge” and built an additional sledge with a US flag motif, which will be passed on to the future scouts of Pack 178.  Together, the scouts practiced flag folding, knot tying (square, two half-hitch, taut line and bowline knots), lashing, fire building skills, first aid skills and compass skills. Included in their preparation, the scouts participated in an outing with Great Neck BSA Troop 10, who helped the AOLs learn how to tie Alpine Butterfly knots.  

Split into two patrols, the Treacherous Tigers and the Spicy GOATS, they competed against each other along with two other cub scouts packs from the North Shore area.  Given a map of “cities” (campsite) within Muttontown Preserve and a compass, the two patrol leaders with their assistants led their patrol racing to the cities while pulling their sledge full of equipment. At each city, the mayor of the city gave the patrols a challenge on various scouting skills in order to earn nuggets (points) based on how quickly and successfully they completed it. Challenges included answering various first aid questions, making a makeshift stretcher out of two poles and a blanket and using various rope and knot skills to lift their sledge securely off the ground.  Another task was to build a small fire with firewood stacked at a maximum height, start it without matches, and have flames reach a certain height without adjusting the original fire structure built.

At the end of the day, the two patrols came together and cheered each other on as they all worked together while having fun and building lasting memories with their fellow scouts.  This competition solidified their bonds and prepared them for the challenges that await them at Boy Scouts.

The Arrow of Light scouts are finishing up their requirements and will bridge over to the Great Neck BSA Troop 10 in early March.

The Cub Scouts were from all four Great Neck public elementary schools – E.M. Baker, J. F. Kennedy, Lakeville, and Saddle Rock – and Buckley Country Day School.

Great Neck Pack 178 is always happy to welcome new Scouts. Any girls and boys from Kindergarten through fourth grade should visit for more information.

Pack 178 Community Service

Even the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t stop the Pack 178 scouts from helping those in need in our community. Here are some snapshots from community service activities! *All proper safety and health protocols were observed.

On November 21, 2021, the Webelos and AOLs joined the Great Neck Rotary Club, Great Neck Chinese Association and other civic organizations for their annual Turkey Drive for Thanksgiving. Scouts brought their awesome attitudes and amazing smiles (under their masks) and helped make this event great!

On November 21, 2021, scouts cleaned up fallen leaves at All Saints Church in Great Neck. It was hard work, but a lot of fun, too! A scout is clean, kind, and helpful.

As a part of the pack meeting on December 16, 2021, scouts put together 100 First Aid kits. Each First Aid kit contained different-sized band aids, an ice pack, a tweezer, a pair of disposable gloves, gauze, and a roll of tape. Each scout made 2 First Aid kits – one for themselves when they go hiking and camping, and the other to give to another person. About 50 kits were donated to St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church in Great Neck.

Good job, scouts! We’re proud and thankful for your service to our community.

Invasive Species Removal Community Service

This past weekend, the Cub Scouts along with other members of the community, helped remove invasive species from Kings Point Park. Under the direction of William McGirr of Great Neck Park District, the scout learned about invasive species and how to identity two types of species: Garlic Mustard Weed and Japanese Knotweed. The Scouts had a lot of fun while doing a great thing for the local ecosystem.

Thank you to the Great Neck Park District for hosting us.

Annual Pinewood Derby 2021

The sound of kids running around Parkwood pool was plentiful at Parkwood Aquatic Center as the Great Neck Cub Scout Pack 178 recently put on their annual Pinewood Derby. With the help of the Great Neck Park District, the Great Neck Library and the Great Neck Public School’s Elementary Remote Program (ERP) program, a day of racing was enjoyed by all.

Though this year was a bit different this exciting event was successfully executed through community cooperation which symbolized what’s great about Great Neck.

Adhering to all safety precautions and guidelines, the cub scouts completed the Pinewood Derby and Bear Carnival. This much anticipated day of scouting and racing involved 20 volunteers and more than 40 scouts and 40 ERP children competing in races with their handmade wooden cars. The scouts were competing against one another in two sessions followed by two sessions involving children attending the Great Neck public schools remotely. The event included the remote children to show community awareness as people are still facing the pandemic.

The Cub Scouts, Bear Den, provided games for the children to compete in when they were not racing their cars. The games included paper airplane contests, an obstacle course, and a scavenger hunt. The Bear carnival is annual requirement that the bear den most complete. The obstacle course was the imagination of John and Larisssa Pschenica, who put together balance beams and other fun obstacles that adhered to the outdoor nature of the scouts.

The building of the Pinewood Derby cars involves starting with a wooden block then cutting the block and adding a car design. The cars are then painted and weighted. Separate sessions were held for ERP families to construct their cars. With the help of South High School teacher, John Motchkavitz, the wood blocks were cut. The Great Neck library stem lab participated by holding computer aided design sessions for the children to design car spoilers and other fun items. This was courtesy of Great Neck Library Youth Services Coordinator, Adam Hinz, and Emerging Technologies Librarian, Chris Van Wickler.

Pack leaders Sewell Tang and Julienne Kawai made sure the event was a smashing success handing out prizes each session for the fastest car while special guest, legislature representative Ellen Birnbaum, picked the “most creative car design”. Additionally, the parks commissioners, and several library trustees attended the event to show support for the community outreach.

Special thanks to all for showing your commitment to the Cub Scouts. Cub Scout volunteers at this event included Seth Kurpiel, Jennifer Murphy, Tal Sarraf, Steven Chen, Wen Wu, Liz Tang, Mary Park, Wei Chen, Chin Tang, Ronen Sarraf, Stephen Perrault and Craig Cutler.

Kate Goldberg coordinated the ERP effort with help from the ERP committee (Rachel Doppelt and Julie Lam-Leong). As part of the event, Goldberg handed out milkweed seeds to highlight efforts to protect the Monarch Butterflies. While Pat Blaha provided logistical support from the Great Neck Parks.