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A holiday good deed

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By Amy Ryffel-Kragh

As they sat in the common area, 20 area residents awaited the arrival of the young boys with the big voices. With their holiday cheer and bright smiles, Cub Scout Pack 707 was coming to sing Christmas carols to the residents of the Quiet Oaks Distinctive Assisted Living facility.

And it wasn’t hard to tell that resident Betty Journalist was enjoying the holiday festivities. She smiled throughout the program and sang along to some of the familiar carols. At the end of the show, Journalist said she loved it.

Quiet Oaks resident Dottie Sheahan, who is the grandmother of Cub Scouts Trent and Reece Salmon, said she thought it was a nice. Her grandsons both played the piano and Trent also played the saxophone.

After the children finished singing familiar holiday songs, the boys handed out ornaments and reindeer candy canes they had made for the occasion. Journalist said she would hang some of the decorations from her wreath, while Sheahan prepared to hang the handmade ornaments on her tree.

The following evening, a smaller group of boys headed to the assisted living facility at Hampton Manor Gardens on County Road 484 to sing more carols.

About the Scouts

In addition to caroling, the scouts recently got a front row seat for a magic show. During their last Pack meeting, they were entertained by magician Greg Solomon. The magician picked a few boys to help him with tricks and gave them a few of their own magic tricks to take home.

The 71-member pack participates in a lot of other activities throughout the school year. As a fundraiser for the pack they sold popcorn at area stores like Publix at Heath Brook Commons.

In January, the group will head to Daytona International Speedway, where they will camp out in the infield of the track. During the summer, the scouts have a few activities like biking, hiking and camping.

Each Monday during the school year, Cub Scout Pack 707 meets at Ocala West Methodist Church. Jim Salmon, Cub Scout father, charter representative and committee chairman, said the cubs and their parents are introduced to scouting as being “fun with a purpose.”

In the Cub Scouts, which is part of Boy Scouts of America, the young boys learn and develop strong character, citizenship and healthy personal habits, among other skills. Sam Guess, assistant cub master for Pack 707, said the group is a great way for parents to have fun with their children, while instilling good values in them. Guess’ son, Sammy Jr., is a scout in the pack.

The first- to fifth-grade boys are divided into the Tiger, Bear, Wolf or Webelos dens. Salmon, whose wife Stephanie is the Bear Den leader, said that each rank in the cubs is age specific. For instance, the boys in the Webelos group are oldest group of boys and for them; the next step is the Boy Scouts.

When they accomplish a task in the club, the children earn badges and belt loops. To recognize them, there is an award ceremony each month. Parent, Michele Koenig, said the awards provide “immediate recognition.”

Koenig signed her son, Sebastian, up for Cub Scouts after the family moved to Florida from New York. She wanted to give her son an outlet to meet other children his age. “He really enjoys it. They do a lot of different things,” she said.

Angelique Langen’s boys, Patrick and Robert, transferred into Pack 707 this school year after moving to Florida from Atlanta, Georgia. She said the Cub Scouts teaches the boys about nature conservation and gives them responsibilities too. Her children love being a part of the scouts, she said.

Pack 707 is one of the largest Cub Scout groups in Marion County

In 2010, the Boy Scouts will celebrate its 100th birthday and a century of scouting.

For more information about Pack 707 call 843-0093 or e-mail jim@salmonsnsy.com. Girl Scout Troop 22 also meets at Ocala West Methodist Church. For more information call Jen 861-6228. For more information about the Boy Scouts call Phil 854-8609.