Breckenridge Cub Scout pack celebrates 30 years, adapts to pandemic
BRECKENRIDGE — When Travis Opheim became pack committee chair, he wanted to know how long Cub Scout Pack 187 had been in Breckenridge. Along with the rest of the pack’s leadership, Opheim went to Denver to find out the history of the program. It turns out Pack 187 has been in Breckenridge since February 1990 — for 30 years.
“What Scouts do is a lot of outside activity, character building, things like that,” Opheim said. “It just fits well with the mountain community up here. Everyone wants to get outside they want to be active, they want to learn about nature and things like that. I think that’s why we’ve been successful for 30 years.”
On its face, Cub Scouts, which is the feeder program for Boy Scouts of America, allows kids in kindergarten through fifth grade to get outside and learn about the outdoors. However, parents and Scouts in the program would say there is much more value in the program.
“The big thing is tying their individual achievements to a greater goal,” Opheim said.
Throughout the program, Scouts learn about trustworthiness, resourcefulness, bravery, teamwork and more by working to earn badges. They participate in community service activities, fundraisers and team-building trips.
“It provides a curriculum in their books that gives him a good focus on things that I wouldn’t necessarily always be thinking to teach him myself,” said Jeremy Slaughter, whose 9-year-old son, James, is in the program.
In addition to being a parent involved in the program, Jeremy is Pack 187’s cubmaster. He said being the cubmaster allows him to connect with kids in the community and act as a mentor.
“I enjoy helping the kids and watching them grow, seeing them learn around other kids,” he said.
In the three years that James has been a Scout, he’s been able to learn a lot about being outdoors and working with others.
“It’s a place where you can go on adventures and play with different people and get to know different people,” James Slaughter said.
Cub Scouts has been especially important during the pandemic. As with any program, Pack 187 had to find news ways to do events and activities.
In a normal year the pack hosts around seven events in addition to its regular bimonthly meetings. When the novel coronavirus hit, the pack had to adjust its annual pinewood derby, which takes place in March, so that the event would be safe for everyone involved.
Since then, the pack has largely been virtual with den meetings held through Zoom. However, it has started to do more meeting outdoors with all of the Scouts wearing masks, Opheim said.
Since the dens — the groups within the pack — are made up of 10 or fewer Scouts, the program is now able to safely continue.
“It’s been amazing for us just how adaptable the kids have been,” Opheim said.
Being able to get the Scouts together and with their friends has been great for keeping spirits high during the pandemic, Jeremy Slaughter said.
“It gives them something to do, something to focus on,” he said. “It provides an outlet for them. It kind of builds a team aspect, going through something together … and finding a way to move forward through it.”
The pack’s next big event is a Halloween celebration and Advancement Ceremony for the Scouts on Sunday, Oct. 18. During the event, Scouts will be given new badges, with some moving up to the Boy Scouts.
Opheim said anyone is welcome at the event which will held be in person starting at 4 p.m. at the Breckenridge Elementary School playground.
“We’re open for new memberships so we are inviting anybody who is thinking they want to sign up,” he said.
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