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 www.greatneckcubscouts.com 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.

AOL Klondike Derby 2021

The sound of footsteps crunching through the leaves could be heard throughout the grounds of Schiff Scout Reservation on a late Saturday in January. Adhering to all safety precautions and guidelines, the Arrow of Light cub scouts (fifth graders), who are part of Great Neck Cub Scout Pack 178, recently completed the Klondike Derby. The host of this event is the Shelter Rock District of the Theodore Roosevelt Council of BSA. This much anticipated day of scouting and skills demonstration was completed at Schiff, a dedicated Scout camping site in Wading River. On this chilly yet sunny day, eight cub scouts pulled their handmade wooden sled, which had been mounted atop skis, throughout the park’s grounds. The scouts were asked by the “mayors” of various “cities” to demonstrate a multitude of cub scout skills—with no adult help allowed. Eventually, once these skills were successfully completed, the scouts finished their day at the “North Pole.”

The Cub Scouts completed many important life skills such as building a fire using only two matches, correctly answering many First Aid questions, demonstrating how to stop severe bleeding from an arm wound and building a makeshift stretcher, which they then would use to carry a fellow Scout down a path. Teamwork and communication were other areas of focus that day. These were demonstrated with a game of direction whereby a blindfolded Cub Scout was given instructions to pick up a bean bag while avoiding dangerous obstacles (tennis balls and hula hoops) by another Scout. Scoring for events was heavily based on outstanding teamwork, leadership and sportsmanship. There were four other Cub Scout packs from Nassau in attendance.

Prior to the Klondike Derby, throughout the cold months of December and January, the Cub Scouts held many safe outdoor meetings at various parks, such as Muttontown Preserve.

Here the Scouts practiced skills training under the guidance of their den leaders, Seth Kurpiel and John Pschenica. Some topics that were covered included first aid, trail signs and blazes, fire building, knot tying and lashings, map and compass orienteering, pace and distance measurements, Bear Bag preparation for camping, and folding the U.S. Flag. The Scouts also proudly put fresh coats of blue and gold paint the cub scout colors on the sled that was used; a sled which was actually built a few years prior by former Pack 178 Cub Scouts for the Klondike Derby and passed down for future generations of scouts to use.
Cub Scouts that participated hail from all four Great Neck public elementary schools: Elizabeth Guan, Sahil Gupta, Riley Kurpiel, Ethan Pschenica, John Rowles, Max Stolove, Caden Young and Charlie Yu.