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Cub Scouts camp offers fun, learning opportunities

AJ Shukla, right, of Pack 215 (Williamstown) and Gabriel Byrne, of Pack 217 (Barlow), work together Thursday with peers at the Camp Arrow Cub Scout Day Camp to build the structure of a fire despite wet conditions at the Broughton Nature Preserve. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

In just three days, children ages 5-10 have filled greenspace at the Broughton Nature Preserve just outside Marietta city limits with triumphs, laughter and even a little fire.

“One of the goals of Cub Scouts is age-appropriate,” explained Bob Sheridan, a district commissioner for the Muskingum Valley Council’s River Trails District.

Sheridan was found Thursday leading the range where children didn’t throw away their shot at archery, BB guns, and with a sling.

“Popping those balloons with an arrow, that was so cool,” said Shawn Everson, 9, of Marietta. “It was hard, you had to pull back and hit the targets.”

“So even with archery, it’s the same equipment as the older kids, but our expectations are a little different, you’ll notice that the targets will move a little closer depending on age and size,” Sheridan added.

Savannah Nedeff, left, lines up her shot with a bean as Jackson Tucker reloads at the slingshot station Thursday during Camp Arrow Cub Scout Day Camp at the Broughton Nature Preserve. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

For Savannah Nedeff, 6, of Pack 207, slinging beans at the metal targets had her giggling.

“That’s my favorite,” she said.

And hitting the targets, Sheridan added, compounded the sense of accomplishment and fun which day camp strives to achieve for each attendee.

“What we try to do is teach the safety and basics of equipment they’re using, whether that’s parts of the rifle or the bow and arrow,” Sheridan explained. “The idea is we instill them with what it’s all about, so that if they want to develop that further, they have something to work off of.”

And working off of navigational, observational and critical thinking skills doesn’t have to center on bookwork in a classroom to be learned, the leaders explained.

Teamwork to shield a young fire from the wind was part of Thursday’s training at Camp Arrow Cub Scout Day Camp at the Broughton Nature Preserve. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

“Camp isn’t about badges, it’s about fun and opportunity,” said Camp Director Betsy Akeman. “But there are some activities here that do work into what is harder to accomplish in a den meeting.”

Things like an introduction to bicycle safety and responsible ridership.

“Basically what I go over here is how to change a flat tire, and check their bike before they ride,” explained Evan Maze, visiting camp Thursday from the Marietta Adventure Company with a bicycle in tow. “I hope they remember at least to check their bikes for anything loose before they ride and to always wear a helmet.”

Elsewhere at camp, a group of rising fifth-graders, with one little brother in tow, worked to build fires despite wet ground.

“A typical scout can make a fire with nothing but two matches,” Rick Nicholson challenged.

Aubree Boudreau, 8, of Parkersburg, reaches to touch a Ball Python held by We Love Pets employee Ethan Gerber at Camp Arrow Cub Scout Day Camp at the Broughton Nature Preserve on Thursday. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

Nicholson is known not only for fire at camp during his vacation time from Thermofisher, but also as the Iron Chef of the program.

Nicholson not only challenged the children to recite the three components of building a fire with friction, fuel and oxygen, but also to put the lesson into practice.

“What they don’t realize they’re also learning is teamwork, problem solving and how to communicate with each other,” he whispered.

“Burn, burn, burn,” he began to chant as the two groups saw early smoke rise.

But alas, back to problem solving yet again when the kindling didn’t catch.

Aaron Nedeff helps Jackson Tucker load a slingshot at Camp Arrow Cub Scout Day Camp at the Broughton Nature Preserve on Thursday. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

“Now you don’t want to overdo it and smother that,” guided leader Tom Byrne, as his son Gabriel, and AJ Shukla coordinated with their peers around one twig teepee.

But soon, success.

This, as the group used their hands to shield a stray breeze, reflect heat back within and grow that flame.

Then, after lunch, the group Thursday was visited by both scaly and fuzzy friends with Ethan Gerber, of We Love Pets in Marietta in tow to answer questions and teach the tactile learners.

“So constrictor means to tighten and a constrictor snake will essentially squeeze its prey, constricting blood flow until the heart stops and it goes to sleep. Then the snake can eat it,” Gerber explained with a Ball Python wrapped around a shoulder and arm.

Evan Maze, of the Marietta Adventure Company, goes over bicycle safety and maintenance with cub scouts Thursday. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

For Aubree Boudreau, 8, of Parkersburg, getting to touch the snake was the best part of her day.

For her mother Jeri Lynn Boudreau, seeing Aubree’s bravery and willingness to dive into scouting held a deeper meaning.

“I grew up down in southern West Virginia, and after dad got back from Korea he went right back to scouting. But my dad had all girls,” she explained. “One of the last things we talked about before he passed away … he said ‘I can’t believe I’ll finally have a girl be an Eagle Scout.'”

Now Aubree has about a decade to live up to that goal, but it’s one to follow in the footsteps of family.

To close out the afternoon, groups then varied between learning to write their names in braille, game times and other activities.

But tonight will conclude with a little more fire.

Quintin Gentry, 7, of Parkersburg, listens to the answer to his question about snakes during Camp Arrow Cub Scout Day Camp at the Broughton Nature Preserve on Thursday. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

We Love Pets employee Ethan Gerber explains how the Ball Python in his hand tastes the air to determine location Thursday at the Camp Arrow Cub Scout Day Camp at the Broughton Nature Preserve. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

Brantley Sampson, 6, waves a Camp Arrow Cub Scout Day Camp flag at the Broughton Nature Preserve on Thursday. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

Bob Sheridan explains the steps of archery to cub scouts Thursday during Camp Arrow Cub Scout Day Camp at the Broughton Nature Preserve. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

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