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Zak Wood focuses on the target as he pulls the nock of an arrow to his cheek. Archery is one of many events at the annual Cub Scout Day Camp at Point Mallard. About 180 cub scouts from 15 dens attended the camp this year.
Daily photo by Emily Saunders
Zak Wood focuses on the target as he pulls the nock of an arrow to his cheek. Archery is one of many events at the annual Cub Scout Day Camp at Point Mallard. About 180 cub scouts from 15 dens attended the camp this year.

Cub Scouts prowling Point Mallard
Annual day camp provides youths with chance to learn archery, cooking and science

By Catherine Godbey
cgodbey@decaturdaily.com · 340-2441

Tiger cubs, bobcats, wolves and bears are prowling the grounds of Point Mallard this week. These mammals can be seen roaming around the picnic shelter and the banks of Flint Creek.

No need to be alarmed, though, because these Tigers, Bobcats, Wolves and Bears are Cub Scouts.

After months of planning, Mike Ponder, camp director, and Zonya Ponder, program director, welcomed 180 Cub Scouts from 15 dens to the annual Cub Scout Day Camp.

Mike Ponder said this week offers the scouts — all from Morgan, Limestone and Lawrence counties — a time to try new activities and learn important lessons while having fun.

This week the scouts will develop skills in activities such as archery, crafts, science and cooking, as well as shooting BB guns.

With so many activities to participate in, some of the scouts have trouble identifying a favorite. Nine-year-old Aaron Crawford said, “I like archery and BB shooting and crafts and science. Oh yeah, and cooking. I like everything.”

Crawford has trouble pinpointing a favorite activity, but for 9-year-old Daniel Necaise, one activity interests him more than the others. “Cooking, that’s my favorite ... because whatever you make, is what you eat,” Necaise said.

On Tuesday, Necaise, and the other Cub Scouts, cooked and ate their own noodles, all without the aid of fire. A no-burn order issued by the state fire marshal’s office for Morgan County banned the scouts from building a fire. The drought is to blame.

How did the scouts make noodles without a fire?

“We used propane,” Zonya Ponder said. “The boys were amazed they could make Ramen noodles without a fire.”

Steve Harper, the camp security director, said, “The No. 1 objective of camp is to have fun and hopefully teach them lessons along the way.” Zonya Ponder is attempting to accomplish this by associating activities with certain values. One of the activities planned for the scouts teaches the lesson of knife safety. “By making shapes out of soap, the boys will learn the correct way to use their knives,” she said.

Safety is one lesson the boys learn on their journey to becoming upstanding citizens, Zonya Ponder said. “Scouts teaches the boys that they can make a difference in the community,” she said. The boys are taught how about good citizenship daily with themes that include pass a smile, leave no trace, do a good turn, and clean a park.

The Cub Scouts see examples of good citizens every day at camp in the parent volunteers and their den chiefs, Zonya Ponder said.

“We are truly blessed with the volunteers ... for many of us these camps are our family vacations,” she said.

“They love the kids, that’s why they’re here,” Harper added. “They see that the program works in these young kids.”

Along with the parent volunteers the den chiefs, who are boy scouts, also model good citizenship for the cub scouts.

Aaron Wells, 8, discussed den chiefs, saying “They are very good people who help and teach us.”

Samuel Segars, 13, said, “I’m out here cause it’s fun helping out the scouts. ... I’m also learning about leadership and patience with younger kids.”

Next year many of these same Tiger Cubs, Bobcats, Wolves and Bears will roam the Point Mallard grounds again.

“I tried it out last year, and now I’m here every year,” Thomas Ramey said. “I even gave up family reunion in Virginia to come this week.”

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