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Learning how to be a Scout

Lawrence Primary School students earn badges, gain civic awareness

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More than 100 kindergartners, first- and second-graders attending the Lawrence Primary School at the Number Two School are receiving a hands-on, interactive introduction to Cub Scouting.

Meeting on Tuesdays after school, the children take part in a variety of activities that include learning the Scout Law and the Scout Oath, and incorporating science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, learning.

Using the Scoutreach program coordinated by the Boy Scouts of America’s Theodore Roosevelt Council in Massapequa, a Scouting professional, volunteer parents and one Scout are helping the students gain an awareness of community service, while earning Scouting badges. The fee for the entire school year is $10.

“The Scoutreach program is unique because it delivers the aims and mission of the Boy Scouts of America to youth that otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience what Scouting has to offer,” said Meredith Riordan, the program’s cubmaster and the creator of the curriculum that is used in the schools.

It is a non-traditional Scouting program, but one that focuses on simple but vital life lessons, like cleaning up after oneself to preserve the environment, and how to properly salute and fold the American flag. The young Scouts will also take part in the Pinewood Derby, a racing event for unpowered, unmanned miniature cars. The Scouts build the cars, usually from kits containing a block of pinewood, plastic wheels and metal axles.

Scoutreach coordinator Kristin Lindman said that the Scouts, including Bill Scanlan, the council’s district executive, approached the Lawrence School District and met with Superintendent Dr. Ann Pedersen at the end of last school year.

“The program was designed for underserved communities that don’t have traditional [Cub Scout packs],” Lindman said. “We designed the program for one activity for the whole group and something for each rank, so they’re all able to advance through the entire school year.” Last year, Scanlan also assisted the Marion & Aaron Gural JCC in establishing Cub Scout Pack 1818, geared toward accommodating Orthodox Jewish boys.

Pedersen contacted Atlantic Beach resident Pamela Makaea, whose son, Carson Libbey, is a Star Scout with Troop 121 in East Rockaway, on a path to Eagle Scout, the highest Scouting honor for boys. The top honor for Girl Scouts is the Gold Award.

“Working with the Cub Scouts has been a joy and a challenge, as we have large groups from each grade,” said Makaea, the den leader for the kindergarten group. “We’re so happy that so many children are interested in Scouting, because we really believe that it leads to very positive experience for those who make the Scouting journey.”

Carson is the assistant den leader for the kindergarten group, and his aunt Victoria Simao is the second-grade group den leader. Sean Rowley is the first-grade den leader.

Lindman noted that because of financial issues, the Scoutreach program forgoes the traditional uniforms. In Lawrence, red vests are being made for the young Scouts, with the help of Lawrence High School students. “It builds camaraderie despite the age gap,” she said.

There are roughly 450 Cub Scouts in 10 different packs taking part in the Nassau County Scoutreach program, Lindman said. The Theodore Roosevelt Council is one of the country’s oldest, and recognized the nation’s first Eagle Scout — Arthur R. Eldred — in 1912. “I love this program,” Pedersen said. “It’s so good for kids.”

Scout leaders are always needed. If interested, call the council office at (516) 797-7600.