By Amanda Eggert EBS Staff Writer

BIG SKY – Twenty-six Cub Scouts between first and fourth grade are taking part in Big Sky’s first Boy Scouts of America troop. Herb Davis, Cub Master of Pack #3610, said the program is a natural fit for Big Sky.

“[It] mirrors what Big Sky is all about, as far as recreation and quality [of life goes],” Davis said. “It’s great to see Big Sky have a program like this.”

The Cub Scouts on May 14 hosted their first big fundraiser, a gear sale held at Ophir Elementary School.

“We made a few hundred dollars net and got some exposure,” Davis said. “More importantly, there were some community members that were very generous in donating equipment like tents and packs—things you can always use as an organization. That in and of itself was a success.”

Boy Scouts work on outdoor proficiency—activities like knot-tying and knife skills as well as shooting, cooking and first aid. They also tackle experiments and projects that fall under the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) umbrella.

During the program’s early months—the troop started in January—the Cub Scouts focused on soft skills that could be conducted indoors like teamwork and character building.

Now that the weather’s nicer, Davis is looking forward to spending more time in Montana’s wide-open spaces. “Just getting the boys outside is better for everybody,” Davis said, adding that they might go mountain biking one day and work on outdoor survival skills while hiking on the next outing.

“Our philosophy is to expose them to as many things as we can,” said Davis, who himself participated through Eagle Scouts, where he learned about climbing and mountaineering during a trans-Sierra backpacking trip.

Jennifer O’Connor, the den leader of the Webelo program and committee chairman for the troop, is working on establishing a co-ed Venturing Crew for ninth through 12th graders. Venturing crewmembers focus on high-adventure activities like sailing, hang-gliding, rafting, cave spelunking and mountaineering in addition to community service.

O’Connor encourages community members—male or female, with or without prior Boy Scout experience—to donate their time to the organization.

“We are short on volunteers and leaders and would love to find some community members interested in being leaders, committee members, guest speakers or to share their special skills,” O’Connor wrote in an email to EBS.

The Scouts held a cookout and flag ceremony at Buck’s T-4 Lodge on June 22. The older scouts cooked a Dutch oven meal, while the younger boys worked on sportsmanship and character fundamentals while playing challenge games outside.

The Rotary Club of Big Sky is Pack #3610’s charter organization.