Friday, June 8, 2018

Cub Scout Pack 805 will stay active all summer by Elizabeth Richards

It may be almost summer, but Cub Scout pack 805 in Windham isn’t slowing down. Current projects on the horizon include: an astronomy event, a movie night and cookout, an end-of-summer celebration at Sebago Lake State Park, delivering scout-made bird feeders to Ledgewood Nursing Home and planning a town clean-up day with the help of John Scott from Scott’s Disposal.

Cub Scouts have some slingshot fun
Cubmaster Tony Sweet said the pack has been quite active over the past year, with individual den activities and pack events. Activities included: den clean-up projects at Lipman Park, a food drive, a camp out at Camp Gustin in Sabbatus, an overnight at Evo Rock Gym, a bowling event, and a trip to Plimoth Plantation. Sweet said his goal as Cubmaster is to offer plenty of activities throughout the year so that the kids really get something out of their Cub Scout experience. The pack has nearly 65 scouts, and is always looking to grow, Sweet said. 

The Pack Committee is working hard to build a buzz and recruit new participants. The summer events are designed not only to bring the current members of the pack together, but to invite new kids to check out the organization. Anyone interested in finding out what Cub Scouts is like is welcome to come, Sweet said. Events will be advertised on the pack’s Facebook page, and they will also try to get word out on the town Facebook page, as well as signs at the rotary and in the community, he said.

Sweet became involved as leader in the pack last year. At first, he said, he was simply looking for something that his son, AJ, would enjoy. AJ is on the autism spectrum, Sweet said “So finding something that was going to be good for his special brain was something that we wanted to do.” Cub Scouts fit the bill.

After initially offering to help his son’s Den Leader, Sweet found himself quickly assuming the role of Den Leader, Assistant Cubmaster, and finally Cubmaster. He agreed to take on the task because of the positive experiences he – and his son – had with Cub Scouts.

“I’ve had great fun with it, and AJ’s made a lot of friends, which was hard for him at first,” Sweet said. Now, he said, AJ has a group of boys he connects with.

As Cubmaster, Sweet oversees all the dens and plans full pack events with the help of the committee. He is also still the leader of his son’s den. His wife, Torrey, is the treasurer and committee chairperson for the pack. When he began, Sweet said, the committee was small. But now, they have a full committee and some very involved Den Leaders. Participation is rising, and parents have been pleased with events and activities.

One of the most satisfying aspects, Sweet said, was seeing the progress AJ, and other children, have made. He strives for the pack to be a constant for kids; something they can rely on and get something out of. He enjoys watching the older children help the younger ones and watching the kids learn to be safe, responsible and respectful with each other and in the community.  “It’s an amazing thing to see. I’m hoping that by doing some things we’ll get the pack out there in the community’s eyes. We’re trying to really make Windham and our home a better place,” he said. 

Cub Scout Pack 805
To that end, the pack is trying to do more public outreach and build community relationships. They are looking into a scout program called, “Adopt a School” where they choose a school to help with yardwork, clean up, fundraisers, and more. The pack recently moved their charter to St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, where they can get more involved with events there as well.
Sweet said he got into leadership to help his own son but seeing the impact that he can have on other kids makes him feel amazing. “I really try to make a positive impact,” he said. “[I’m] trying to get more kids in because I know how important it is in this day and age, that kids really have positive experiences and positive role models.”

Scouts have given AJ a place he can challenge himself and make connections with other boys, Sweet said. Part of that is the easy acceptance the kids have for each other’s differences, said Torrey. 

Tony said the kids – and parents – are quick to offer encouragement when someone is struggling.  “When one is having a hard time, they’ll boost each other up,” he said. “It’s amazing to see from my point of view. To see it from a dad of a kid with special needs, to see other parents who struggle see the same thing happen – you can’t put into words how it feels,” he said.  Those connections make him want to be a part of the pack for many years to come.

Pack 805 typically meets on the third Monday of each month at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church. Individual den meeting times vary.  For more information or to get involved, contact Tony Sweet at, 207-831-9397 or search Pack 805 Windham Maine on Facebook.

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