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Scout’s honor: There’s a new pack in Claremont

Claremonters like their scouting, as evidenced by the runaway success of Cub Scout Pack 408. With membership edging 100 kids this year, it’s quadruple the size recommended for a single pack.

In fact, it’s gotten so large the organization can’t engage in vigorous recruitment. This includes garnering members from less represented local elementary school sites like Sumner, Mountain View, Vista and Oakmont.

Enter Amber Wasson, a local den mother determined to take the pressure off an organization teeming with Tigers, Wolves, Bears and Webelos! Oh my!

She recently earned her Wolf badge, an honor that requires scout leaders to undertake a project. For her project, she vowed to spearhead the creation of a new Claremont Cub Scout pack. Temple Beth Israel in Pomona has agreed to serve as the charter organization.

Ms. Wasson—supported by fellow den leader Walter Faustin and Charles Pickering, district executive for the Valle Del Sol District of the San Gabriel Valley Council—began recruiting in the summer. Their efforts continued with stops at several back-to-school nights.

“The response has been very positive,” she said. “I talked to the office managers and they are excited to hear about Cub Scouts recruiting at their schools.”

As a result, Pack 818 is up and running and looking for membership.

In fact, three dens are holding their first meetings post-haste and welcome all comers.

Would-be Wolf and Bear scouts—age 8 or in second grade and 9 or in third grade—and their families will gather at Sumner Elementary School at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, September 30 to learn about the new primary-level den.

People who need to show up late because of work commitments are still welcome. This den is actively seeking adults interested in leadership as well as participating kids. 

The Lions—a brand-new Cub Scout organization for boys who are 5 or in kindergarten—will meet this evening at 5:30 p.m. at Mountain View, followed by a 7 p.m. meeting of the Tigers (7 or in first grade), also at Mountain View.

Another good chance to join up would be a Raingutter Regatta set for Sunday, October 2 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Memorial Park. Participants will get a chance to make and race boats and pinewood derby cars and to learn more about the new pack.

For additional information on joining these dens or the new Webelo den, visit the Claremont Cub Scout Pack 818 page on Facebook, visit Claremontpack818.wordpress.com or email Ms. Wasson at AmberCWasson@gmail.com.

Ms. Wasson’s father was a Boy Scout, so when she began thinking about ways to best shape her son Aiden, now 8, she easily hit upon the idea of involving him in Cub Scouts. He started as a Tiger when he was in first grade and has now progressed to Wolf.

Some people like to start slow when it comes to an activity like Cub Scouts, because simply being a member takes a significant degree of commitment. There are den meetings every week or two, a monthly pack meeting and lots of additional activities. Ms. Wasson was undaunted and volunteered to be the den leader right away.

“It’s a family-based, volunteer-based organization,” she said. “I wanted to make sure it would be a really great experience for my son, and I knew if I volunteered I could make that happen.”

Ms. Wasson also knew she had the creativity it takes to engage the boys in her den. She was a visual merchandise manager for the Express clothing company before becoming a stay-at-home mom and also has a business creating custom pinwheels of all sizes, which have been used by everyone from wedding parties to contestants on America’s Next Top Model.

Scouting is a family affair for the Wassons.

Her older daughter Sasha, 21, will be serving as den leader for a Bear den in Pack 408. And her younger daughter Sophie, 4, reaps the benefits of scouting activities like family camping trips. 

Ms. Wasson likes that Aiden is learning to give back to the community. Recent service projects have included clean-ups at Higginbotham and Memorial parks and the Thompson Creek Trail. They also helped clean up rooms, toys and tables at the local AbilityFirst facility, which provides educational and enrichment programs for children with special needs.

Aiden has also had sheer fun in recent months, including adventures like zip lining, trying out BB gun-shooting and archery and visiting the Los Angeles Times newsroom. He also attended the STEM Nova academy for Boy Scouts held at Azusa Pacific University, and got a behind-the-scenes look at the animals at the Los Angeles Zoo.

“Cub Scouting is a really good opportunity,” Ms. Wasson said. “It brings families together and is a great way of getting the boys outdoors.”

It’s really an eye-opening experience when an entire pack gathers for an event like camping.

“It’s wild! Boys have a lot of energy,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun to see them grow and to hear the things that come out of their mouths.”

She also likes the core values inherent in the Scout Law, which include being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

“I use it a lot,” Ms. Wasson said. “If my son is not telling the truth, I say, ‘Come on Aiden. A scout is trustworthy.’ And he’ll be like, ‘Okay, mom. I know.’ It’s really good philosophy to live your life by.”

—Sarah Torribio

storribio@claremont-courier.com

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