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 www.greatneckcubscouts.com for more information.