MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII — Prospective members came to play on the water slides, munch on snacks and meet the leaders of Cub Scout Pack 225 during the pack's annual water roundup and membership drive at Riseley Field aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Aug. 22, 2015.
This is the only recruitment event of the year for the pack, which consists of boys ages 7 to 10 years old and meets weekly. Because the pack is made up mostly of military children, many have left due to their parents making a permanent change of station move. In addition, others have moved on to be Boy Scouts. However, it seems recruitment went well this past weekend.
Kayden McIntyre competes in a water relay during the Cub Scouts Pack 225 annual water roundup and membership event at Riseley Field aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Aug. 22, 2015. “They're a high quality unit,” said Richard Galluzzi, the district executive for the Boy Scouts of America Aloha Council. “I see all the good they do for both the kids (who) are involved and also the community. It makes me happy to come here and see how it benefits the community and the base (to have a Cub Scout pack). I think it's a big asset.” The cub scouts do many different activities throughout the year, learning new skills, visiting new places and eventually moving up in rank in the Boy Scouts of America. The pack, which meets weekly, has many military children as members. Volunteers from Marine Corps Base Hawaii support the pack and the scouts, which helps the overall mission of the base, to take care of the families aboard the installation. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Kristen Wong)
“I'm extremely excited,” said Irene Zaborowski, the pack's committee chair. “It looks like we're going to have a huge pack. We have a ton of events planned.”
Zaborowski, a Fairfax, Va., native, has been involved with the pack for four years, ever since her son joined the Cub Scouts as a Tiger.
“I was seeking an extracurricular program that offered volunteer service (and instilled) good morals in kids,” she said. “The scouts offered that.”
Among the events, there will be an overnight campout for multiple Cub Scout packs called the Cuboree. The Cub Scouts also incorporate service projects and fundraisers into their year, such as beach cleanups, bake sales and canned food drives.
In February, the pack celebrates the organization's founding at its annual blue and gold banquet, promoting the boys who've earned their next rank. Another major event is the Pinewood Derby in March, which is held in conjunction with the annual Boy Scouts Aloha Council Makahiki event at Ala Moana Beach Park. The boys build and race their own cars at the derby.
“The most rewarding aspect for me is seeing them grow and develop life skills that they're going to carry with them for the rest of their lives (such as) good self-esteem (and) being a helpful citizen,” she said.
Zaborowski commented that there are similarities between military and scout values. She said many scouts join the military, and many of the parents involved in the pack are former scouts themselves.
“These kids are resilient because (many of them) deal with deployed parents and the stresses of being a part of a military family,” she said. “We're a very close group because we're used to that in the military — a group approach to raising kids.”
Ashley Wilson, of Dayton, Ohio, has been involved with the pack for little more than two years. She led the Bears and Tigers dens last year, and continues to support the pack before she leaves the island this year.
Wilson's co-worker, who was a den leader, encouraged her to help volunteer with the pack. She started out as an assistant den leader, then underwent training and eventually became a den leader. She described her time with the pack as a learning experience.
“I love them like they are my own nephews,” Wilson said. “It's amazing to teach them and see them grow as people ... especially because I don't have kids of my own. I've always been ‘Aunty.'”
In one instance last year, Wilson remembered supervising the boys as they were earning their whittling chip. She said she was impressed by how the boys demonstrated responsible use of pocketknives, but could still enjoy themselves.
Wilson said she will miss the scouts. She said the most memorable moment during her time with the pack was watching the Cub Scouts officially reach their highest level and transition into the Boy Scouts. She said she felt a sense of accomplishment in helping them achieve their goal.
“I hope the next pack in Virginia has the camaraderie and love that this pack has,” Wilson said.
Richard Galluzzi, the district executive for the Boy Scouts of America Aloha Council, calls Pack 225 a "high-quality unit."
“I see all the good they do for both the kids (who) are involved and also the community," he said. "It makes me happy to come here and see how it benefits the community and the base (to have a Cub Scout pack). I think it's a big asset.”
Galluzzi does monthly visits and supports the pack. He officiated relay races at the annual water round up.
“(Cub Scouts is) a moral development program,” Galluzzi said. “We're there to turn these young men into good people. There (are) not a lot of programs out there that teach the same quality of values that scouting does and I think that's why it's important that scouting is on this base.”
The Honolulu native has been at his current position for little more than two years, and is a former Eagle Scout.
“(Boy Scouts) allowed me to grow into an ethical adult,” Galluzzi said. “(The organization taught me the) importance of giving back to others, conducting myself and holding myself to a high moral standard (which is) very important for our society to have.”
Volunteers from MCB Hawaii support the pack and the scouts, which helps the overall mission of the base, to take care of the families aboard the installation.
By U.S. Marine Corps Kristen Wong
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