LOGAN — Dozens of little blue and silver rockets soared into the cool autumn sky on Saturday, November 7 at Camp Chief Logan, one of the main campgrounds of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Buckskin Council.
About 40 Cub Scouts and their families in the Chief Cornstalk District attended this Cub Fun Day, getting a taste of being “rocketboys” as they built their own rockets with family and friends and set them off with the help of Camp Chief Logan
Aquatics Director James Sutphin, his wife Danielle and District Executive Alex Seletyn. (Both Sutphin and Seletyn are Eagle Scouts, the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouts.)
Cub Fun Day is a semi-annual event hosted by District Commissioner Jackie Cook and his wife Beverly. They are planning to host another next February, he said.
“It gives the cub scouts a day to learn about the Scout camp, make new friends, and get out and enjoy nature while having fun,” Cook said.
Besides building and launching rockets, Cub Scouts and their families at Cub Fun Day were treated to tractor-pulled wagon rides, fishing, and a free lunch with plenty of hotdogs, chips, cookies, and beverages.
Deputy Ashley Keadle from the Boone County Sheriff’s Department presented a demonstration with her dog, Leika, a 2-year-old Dutch Shepherd who was imported from Holland as a puppy and began training at 8 weeks old to be a drug dog.
Leika can detect marijuana, meth, heroin and crack cocaine, help catch “bad guys” on the run, and work as a track dog to help find someone lost in the woods, according to Keadle, who takes care of her at home and at work.
“She can be a puppy at home, but when she’s at work, she has to do her job,” Keadle said.
During the demonstration, Keadle displayed Leika’s obedience as well as her prowess in detecting drugs with the use of a synthetic form of marijuana (not the real drug).
The packet of faux drugs had been placed in one of four boxes that Keadle had Scouts Ryan and Seth Mollohan place on the floor. Keadle herself did not know which box contained the packet before Leika successfully sniffed it out.
The Scouts asked many questions about Leika, including why all her verbal commands are in German. (It helps avoid confusion about directions, such as if Keadle were giving commands to a would-be criminal that included words like “Stop!” or “Get down!”
Leika obeys the German words for tasks like sit, stay, down, etc. and she is learning non-verbal hand signals as well.)
In the afternoon, Troop 289’s Joe Gero led a wilderness hike, during which he pointed out and discussed many different kinds of leaves, trees, and other foliage as well as birds, insects, and animals.
Gero, who has a degree in Biology and is one of the rangers for nature activities at the camp, explained that some plants in nature are edible, like dandelion leaves and plantain (scientific name: plantago major L., not to be confused with the banana-like plantain). He also warned that some can be harmful, like poison oak or poison ivy.
In addition to the activities at Cub Fun Day, there were two drawings for prizes. Blaine Elkins won a marshmallow crossbow, and Ian Shriver won an R/C Model Car.
“I wish more kids could come out and enjoy our activities,” Cook said. “On the district level, we have two family camps, two fun days, a week of day camp, and a weekend in June for the newly promoted fourth and fifth graders, called Webelos Weekend.”
Besides participating in these special events, every week the Cooks personally travel to six different Cub Scout packs, comprising about 110 Scouts at elementary schools across Boone County.
There are about 250 Cub Scouts district-wide, Cook said.
Cook, Seletyn, and District Chair Kem Abraham form the “Key Three” of the BSA Chief Cornstalk District. They are responsible for all the Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs in Boone, Logan, and Mingo Counties in WV and Pike County, KY, Cook said.
Christina Herrell is an educator in Boone County and a stringer for the Coal Valley News. She can be reached by email at [email protected]