Cub Scouts Spend Week Digging Up Some 'Prehistoric' Finds
By BRITTNI BARNETT
Crouched down on their knees, boys in bright orange shirts dug furiously through a large pile of dirt nestled in the woods on The University of Texas at Tyler campus. Their eyes lit up as they called out, "Dude, I found something!" and "Keep digging, guys!"
Smiles erupted on their faces as they grasped various objects they unearth, such as shark teeth and plastic eggs, in their small, dirty hands.
The Okee Tuklo District of the Boy Scouts of America hosted its annual Cub Scouts Day Camp this week. About 150 Scouts in first through fifth grade attended the five-day camp, which wraps up today.
"We're trying to build our future through these young men," Camp Director Gary Ellard said. "Everything we teach them will help them in life. We're just trying to make a better boy out of them and get them down the right road to becoming a man."
Campers had the opportunity to participate in various activities including archery, fishing, leatherworking, woodworking and hiking.
Many of the activities incorporated this year's theme, "Prehistoric Adventures," including the "archeological dig" in which campers used shovels and sifters to find objects hidden in a dirt pile.
At another station, campers used a giant slingshot to launch tennis balls through a small hole cut into a large wooden dinosaur.
"I wanted to come because I heard about all the fun stuff we would do," 9-year-old Reid Banton said.
Proudly showing off his leather necklace, Banton proclaimed that his favorite activity was leatherworking.
"I get to hammer stuff," he said. "We learn how to do stuff the old-fashioned way."
A group of about 60 volunteers including parents, older scouts and students from UT Tyler helped monitor the various stations and activities.
Will Krogman, a biology student at UT Tyler, helped lead campers through a 1.5-mile hiking trail.
"I have this sheet that has a list of a bunch of really common plants like poison ivy, sweet gum and oak," Krogman said. "I will go around and show them, 'OK, this is an oak tree. This is poison ivy, don't touch it,' stuff like that. It's been fun. I like teaching them about plants and animals."
Krogman also said that each of the campers was encouraged to follow the motto, "Leave No Trace," meaning they pick up any trash they see along the way.
Ellard said the camp will set a record this year. Each camper will walk away with 11 belt loops, a type of award given to Cub Scouts who have completed certain activities.
"Cub Scouting is fun with a purpose," Okee Tuklo District Director John McDougald said. "The boys are having so much fun they don't realize sometimes how much they are learning. But it's a great method for us to be able to teach values to them."