McGregor and Monona Cub Scout packs combine

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Girls can join for the first time

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Sept. 6 was “Join Night” for local Cub Scouts, and nearly 40 MFL MarMac students in kindergarten through fifth grade showed interest in joining the program.

“This is the biggest turnout we’ve had in years,” noted Larry Geisler, chair for Monona’s Pack 38.

Participation was boosted by transfers from Marquette-McGregor Pack 32, which, this year, will combine with Monona.

Numbers, as well as the loss of long-time pack sponsor Erwin Ruff, facilitated the change, said Neil Dodgen, who was a McGregor Cub Scouts leader for many years and is the current membership chair for the area.

Dodgen said McGregor and Monona will still maintain separate Boy Scout troops, however.

But the consolidation isn’t the only factor driving increased participation.

“This year, for the first time, we’re signing up girls,” Dodgen said.

Around 15 girls arrived at the meeting to learn more about Cub Scouts, which at nearly 1.7 million kids strong, is the largest Boy Scouts of America program.

“It’s a great program and a good way for young people to develop moral character and service and learn a trade,” Dodgen explained. “It’s also a great family-based program—a good way to spend time with your kids.”

The Cub Scout pack, whose name Geisler said will likely be changed to MFL MarMac, will be led by Cubmaster Danielle Friedlein. The sponsor will remain Living Faith United Methodist Church, with pastor Deb Parkison as the representative.

Like other packs, the local one will be split up into dens of scouts, based upon the scouts’ grades in school. Kindergarten Cub Scouts are considered Lions, while first graders are Tigers, second graders Wolves and third graders Bears. Scouts in fourth and fifth grades are Webelos.

For this year, at least, the girl participants will be in dens of their own, Dodgen said. They will wear the same uniforms as boys.

To advance through the ranks, Scouts in first through third grades must earn at least seven belt loops. Belt loops are earned by completing different “adventures” that test their skills and abilities. Scouts in fourth and fifth grades must earn seven pins to advance in rank. The goal is to reach the “Arrow of Light” rank.

“The Arrow of Light is the highest rank you can earn in Cub Scouts,” Dodgen said. “It’s the equivalent to an Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts.”

The local pack meets on the third Sunday of each month, at 6 p.m., at the Monona Community Center. Sometimes, though, meetings involve activities in the community or outdoor outings, Geisler said. The dens meet separately two to three times per month. 

Each year, before Thanksgiving, the pack helps out at the Clayton County Food Shelf. Scouts also volunteer at the election night Belgian waffle supper at Living Faith, in Monona. Each March, the annual Pinewood Derby is held.

Later this month, the Cub Scouts annual popcorn sales will begin. Geisler said individual Scouts, on average, have sold around $600 in popcorn in recent years.

“It’s how we support the unit,” he added. Twenty-five percent of sales goes to the unit, with 10 percent of that directly into the Scout’s account.

If you’d like to learn more about Cub Scouts or missed the opportunity to sign up, contact Geisler at (563) 539-4340.

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