Cub Scout Pack 61 Now Welcomes Girls, Kindergartners; Youth Development Program Teaches Life Skills, Empathy, Good Citizenship

Scouts ‘Bust Their Little Butts’ Selling Popcorn; Goal is $30,000
By Monique M. Demopoulos | Jul 17, 2019

Stafford Township — Cub Scout Pack 61 out of Manahawkin is preparing for its only annual fundraiser, the “Trails End Popcorn Sale,” with heaps of optimism. The official “Pack Kick-Off” begins in September, but these motivated little cubs will begin their popcorn sale the first week of August.

Cub Scouts is a family-oriented youth development program within Boy Scouts of America, tailored to nurture the needs of younger children. Cub Scouts focuses on activities designed for “character development, spiritual growth, good citizenship, sportsmanship and fitness, family understanding, respectful relationships, personal achievement, friendly service, fun and adventure, and finally, preparation for Boy Scouts.”

Traditionally, Cub Scouts applied to boys age 7 to 11 years old. However, Patricia Delikat, committee chair of Pack 61, announced they are, as of this year, welcoming kindergarteners as well as girls into the program. “We’re excited to have girls on board. Despite some differing opinions, we are definitely growing,” Patricia said encouragingly. She hopes to see some girls this fall.

Patricia’s husband, Cubmaster Joe Delikat, said the cubs learn skills through repetition. “We teach them the basics, like Leave No Trace principles and how to respect the outdoors, how to use the buddy system, and how to tie knots. … This year they will learn how to safely use and carry pocket knives.”

The cubs also learn outdoor survival skills on camping trips, where they observe adults setting up and breaking down camp, building fires, preparing and cooking food, etc. “That way, when they are Boy Scouts, they know how to set up their own camp and kitchen, they plan and cook all their own meals, they build their own fires and plan their own hikes. Our goal is to get them to that point,” Joe explained.

Every month, cubs are awarded advancements during their monthly pack meetings. Joe explained this provides the positive reinforcement they need to keep striving to be the best scouts they can be. “The goal is to raise responsible and respectful children who can survive and do things for themselves,” he said.

In this vein, the cubs also learn the importance of service. “Then they’re off to the races, helping their community, scouting for food, participating in beach cleanups. We are reinforcing basic principles you need in life, like respecting the outdoors and helping those in need,” Joe continued.

Each year, Cub Scout Pack 61 also has the opportunity to see service in action. Last year, Joe said, the pack took a tour of the Tuckerton Volunteer Fire Co. They also had the opportunity to witness Stafford Police Officer Chris Smith and his K-9 helpers, Ollie and Raven, perform a demonstration.

“This year they will learn a little about crime scenes and forensics,” Joe said. “We’ll set it up like a ‘whodunnit,’ kind of like the game Clue. We will teach them how to check for fingerprints, and they will use what they learn from the police station to figure it out. The boys came up with the idea; I’m just making it happen.” Joe explained he wants to teach his cubs that real heroes are not television characters, but everyday people working to serve their communities, “like scientists, paleontologists, police officers and doctors.”

Without pushing them, Joe aims to instill values in these cubs, “slowly getting them to realize what really matters in the world,” through exciting and fulfilling activities. If being healthy and doing the right thing is rewarding, the cubs will want to earn their merit.

“You have to think like a kid. If my son is having fun, I know it’s a winner,” he said. To that end, Joe strives for pack meetings to be interactive and entertaining. For example, their Pack Kick-Off this September will feature a Jenkinson’s Aquarium presentation with live penguins. These activities are made possible through fundraising, which is spearheaded, say the Delikats, by these determined young cubs during the Trails End Popcorn Sale.

Patricia said they sell about nine different assortments of popcorn, “so there’s a little something for everyone.” For those who do not partake in popcorn, Trails End also accepts military donations. “A big thing for us is selling popcorn for our troops,”  Patricia said. “Our boys love promoting that.”

Apart from selling to friends and families, one of their strategies is “show and sell,” whereby the cubs set up a table in front of Lowes or Walmart. According to Patricia, the cubs work as a team, taking hourly shifts.

The majority of their sales, however, are “wagon sales.” The Delikats’ son, Joseph Jr., is earnestly dedicated to his daily wagon mission through the neighborhood. “Joseph is so outgoing. He’s our little salesman,” Patricia said. “This little boy would get out of the swimming pool, and every night from 5:30 until 7:30, he would pull his wagon through the neighborhood with my husband and I.”

Last year’s goal was to sell $15,000 worth of popcorn, explained Patricia. The cubs far exceeded expectations, making a whopping $27,500, of which their unit receives 45 percent commission. “That’s a 180 percent increase in sales,” Joe said with admiration. Joseph earned $5,092 of that himself. Patricia also congratulates Paul Mastrangelo, Gunner Myhre (son of Stafford Mayor Greg Myhre), Christopher Raylman and Lewis Henderson for their extraordinary efforts. Each of them earned between $1,000 and $2,000. “If you ask any of the scout parents who participated, these guys were busting their little butts,” Patricia praised.

The cubs earn gift cards when they meet specific benchmarks in popcorn sales, which is trivial in comparison to what Pack 61 achieved last year. Patricia said they earned a private overnight “camp-in” at the Philadelphia Zoo. “They set up their sleeping bags in one of the large rooms, and had a nighttime snack. Then they were treated to breakfast and a private tour of the zoo,” she explained. She said they also earned free beach camping in Barnegat Light.

According to Patricia, cubs who earned $1,000 or more were also treated to an entire day at Great Adventure with their families. “But the most awesome thing is the scholarship,” she continued. “Scouts who sell over $2,500 during the qualifying year earn 6 percent of their total sale every year into a scholarship account as long as they are a participating scout.” Joseph Delikat Jr. and Paul Mastrangelo both earned this scholarship, which will accrue every year they are participating scouts until they turn 18.

A goal of $30,000 in sales was set by the cubs themselves for this year, Patricia said. They hope to build a new state-of-the-art derby track this year. “Every year they are given a block of wood to construct their own derby cars to race,” she explained, “and they’d like to have a new track to race on.” For next year, they are planning a trip to the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum in New York City.

As Patricia watches her son develop confidence and social skills, she believes this fundraiser is enriching for youth development. “My son has learned how to speak persuasively, and he can handle rejection. Most of our neighbors were wonderful, but even with people declining, he has learned so much about how things are earned,” she said. “The life skills they learn are priceless.”

Finally, Patricia expressed heartfelt gratitude to her community. “We know this is not the cheapest popcorn. When these little boys are knocking on doors, every sale is for them, not the product. The support in this community is amazing – $27,000 worth of popcorn!”

Cub Scout Pack 61 is chartered out of Beach Haven Moose Lodge in Manahawkin. “They sponsor us, take care of our trailers, sheds, insurance, everything. They’re fabulous,” said Patricia.

Pack 61 is having two recruitment events this summer. The first, on July 21 from 1 to 3 p.m., is the Rain Gutter Regatta, a boat race at the Beach Haven Moose Lodge. On Aug. 24 from noon to 2 p.m. is the Pop Rocket, which is a free recruitment event. Those interested in registering with Pack 61, or simply seeing what Cub Scouts is all about, are encouraged to show up to the Ocean Acres Community Center and enjoy games and snacks, free of charge.

Those wanting to find out more about the fundraiser, or to join, are invited to email Shawna Lindley at welcome@cubscoutpack61.com.

— Monique M. Demopoulos

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