Snowmass Cub Scouts learn while having fun

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun
The boys of Cub Scout Pack 224 of Aspen and Snowmass Village meet at the Elks Lodge recently. The lodge is the pack's sponsor, and the boys meet there as well as the Snowmass Chapel.
Courtesy photo |

As is often the case when walking up to Snowmass Chapel, the chorus of children’s voices and screams serves as the greeting. But as soon as an adult put up two fingers, the noise fell to just a murmur and the Cub Scouts got ready for their lesson that day.

This was Dec. 12, and the scouts were working on their citizenship badge. The first lesson, one that probably many former scouts remember, was learning to properly raise, lower and fold a flag.

The fourth- and fifth-grade boys are Webelos, and their den is one of four that comprise Cub Scout Pack 224, of Snowmass Village and Aspen. The pack started four years ago with six boys, and now there are close to 40.

“How do you become a citizen? What is a right?” Assistant Cubmaster Robert de Wetter, whom many know as the senior pastor at Snowmass Chapel, asked the boys when they moved inside. Part of good citizenship is service to others, de Wetter said. In addition to their assignment to help out around the house — without being asked — over the next week, they were preparing to serve a meal at the Aspen Health and Human Services Center. They also collected and delivered food to Lift-Up, a regional food pantry, right before Thanksgiving.

“It’s great for the boys to see that there are real challenges in this valley,” de Wetter said.

Sponsored by the Aspen Elks Club, the dens have various meeting places, including the Elks Lodge and the Snowmass Chapel, and the entire pack meets once a month. Boys from grades one through five are currently involved.

De Wetter’s son, Peter, and Cubmaster Greg Balko’s son, Nate, are both Webelos. Both men were also scouts; Balko achieved the organization’s highest honor of Eagle Scout.

“It’s a great thing for the boys of the upper valley,” de Wetter said. “First of all being with parents doing something outside, constructive, non-electronic … and doing something fun together, kind of the way it used to be 40 years ago.”

The boys love being outside, and they enjoy the service projects, de Wetter said. One of their projects that involved both was planting trees in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Using tractors and tools, they planted trees 10 to 15 feet tall with the help of the U.S. Forest Service.

The scouts’ next big activity will be building wooden cars to race in the Pinewood Derby, one of the best-attended events on their calendar. In the past, the scouts partnered with packs from Basalt and Glenwood Springs, but this year the Aspen/Snowmass pack is building its own track at Aspen Elementary School.

De Wetter credits the boys’ enthusiasm with the rapid growth of the club.

“I think the boys have gotten really excited, and then their friends get excited,” he said.