Whole Lot Of Scouting Going On
Annual Food Collection Begins This Weekend
By Rick Hiduk
Scout Troop 96 committee chairperson Debbie Clouse informed Wyalusing area Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, parents, and potential new scouts who attended the Oct. 31 meeting at Wyalusing Valley Elementary School (WVES) that there are a lot of activities on the agenda for November and December, and she is hoping for high turnouts for each event, beginning with a local food collection and wrapping up 2011 with several holiday-themed activities.
Bear group leader Keith Pennay guided his third-grade-level Scouts through the opening presentation and posting of the colors, as well as the pledge to the flag. Logan Carter was unable to join his fellow Bear Scouts because he had tonsils removed earlier in the day.
The gathering was the first monthly pack meeting for the new school year conducted by Debbie and husband, Gerry Clouse, who serves as Scoutmaster. As it coincided with Halloween, Scouts displayed pumpkins on the stage that they had carved or painted during their weekly meetings as part of a contest and took home a bounty of treats. The gathering included a Bobcat Ceremony for the 16 boys who were accepted into Pack 96 and the distribution of beads earned by the older Scouts since their last pack meeting. Boy Scouts Jared Clark, Wesley Ballard, and Austin Clouse got some laughs out of the crowd with a series of jokes.
Debbie announced that the annual Scouting for Food drive would commence with the distribution of plastic bags on doorknobs throughout the community this Saturday, Nov. 5. The bags have printed instructions to inform residents that the Scouts will return on Saturday, Nov. 12, to retrieve filled bags of food that will be distributed to families in the Wyalusing area who are economically disadvantaged.
Troop 96 is one of nearly 200 troops and packs in the Twin Tiers-based Five Rivers Council who participate in the food drive, but Debbie noted that all of the food collected by the Wyalusing Scouts stays in the Wyalusing area. And, although she was satisfied with the more than 1,000 food items collected in 2010, she believes that the youths could do even better with a greater awareness of what the project is all about and whom it benefits.
The boys will pick up the donations between 9 a.m. and noon on Nov. 12 and hand it over to the Wyalusing Valley High School Leo Club, where it will be paired with food collected by WVES students and distributed to families in need prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
According to Leo Club faculty advisor Beth Trowbridge, the food distribution is coordinated under the umbrella of People Helping People, which is sponsored by the Wyalusing Lions and Lioness Clubs and supported by youth groups and area businesses, including Cargill. Approximately 30 students volunteer to sort and box the food and return to the school at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning to help carry the heavy boxes to waiting vehicles.
“Despite it being early morning,” noted Trowbridge, “the students are always pleasant and wish everyone a ‘Happy Holiday’ as they depart.”
Debbie Clouse added that a number of Scouts also help with the holiday food distributions. She looks forward to involving the new members with the project.
Although the Scouting year in Wyalusing is off to a solid start, new members are still welcome to join Pack 96. Scouts meet weekly in their respective age groups and get together on the last Monday of each month for awards and shared activities. Interested parents may call Debbie Clouse at 570-746-3797 for more information.