KEESEVILLE — Scouting is making a revival here with a newly formed Boy Scout troop joining an established Cub Scout pack.
Pack Leader Kenneth Ackley said it was an easy decision for him to volunteer to take on the leadership role. While he works full time as a nurse for Urgicare in Plattsburgh, he wanted to see his son Skylar stay in scouting, so he stepped up to start the new group.
He was overseas in the military for much of his son’s early life, so scouting is another activity for them to do together, he said.
“It gives me more time with my son,” Kenneth said. “I like to think it makes up for some lost time.”
Although the Cub Scout pack was started five or six years ago by Robin Pray, Kenneth’s group marks the first time in 10 years that Keeseville has had its own Boy Scout Troop.
Ten boys and five adults are involved so far. They gained two leaders and four boys when the AuSable Forks troop disbanded, and two leaders and one boy from Peru have also joined.
The group, which has been chartered for two months, will be recruiting at AuSable Valley Central School soon.
Ackley said scouting teaches the boys respect, basic first aid, survival skills and how to deal with bullying.
“Respect is one of the cores of scouting. And it’s not just about respecting others, but it’s also about respecting themselves. If you can’t respect yourself, you can’t respect others.”
Committee Chairman Rick Weertz expanded on the life skills the scouts learn, among them financial management and personal fitness. They also are heavy on volunteering and being good citizens.
“The Scouts focus on citizenship and our role in the community and the nation,” he said.
It has also given Skylar, 11, the confidence to do things he would not have before. He particularly enjoys the first-aid lessons he has learned in scouting, and last month, Kenneth’s wife, Judy, fell while he was at work and his son took charge and helped her — even bandaging her foot.
Kenneth said that before scouting his son may have wanted to help but probably wouldn’t have known what to do. He now has the confidence to take control of a situation.
BOYS GUIDE ACTIVITIES
At the Boy Scout level, most of what the pack does is run by the boys themselves, according to Kenneth. The scouts set up their own fundraisers, training and outings, with the adults there to help guide them. They even run the meetings — in fact, Skylar was excited about a meeting he and a friend recently took charge of together.
And he agrees that joining scouting has given him more confidence.
Eagle Scouts are currently building ramps at the doorways of the Keeseville Country Garden Apartments.
In February, they will participate in the Winter Klondike at the Willsboro Rod and Gun Club, an event that includes first aid, compassing, winter survival skills and an overnight stay.
“It’s a great opportunity to get them outside and away from video games,” said Weertz.
“We combine outdoor activities with volunteer work and giving back to the community — it’s fun with a purpose.”
HOW TO JOIN
Cub Scouting is for boys in first through fifth grades, or ages 7 to 10, according to the Boy Scouts of America website.
Boys who have earned the Arrow of Light Award and are at least 10 but younger than 18 years old or who have completed fifth grade can join the Boy Scouts.
Keeseville Boy Scout Troop 8005 meets from 6 to 7:30 p.m.Tuesdays at Keeseville Elementary School.
The group may be looking to move the location, so Leader Kenneth Ackley suggests contacting him first before attending a meeting. Reach him at 834-2013.