Every other Thursday since November, nearly a dozen members of Cub Scout Pack 134 have gathered at Grace Lutheran Church in the Logan community.
They talk about the typical stuff on the minds of 6- and 7-year-old boys: superheroes, cars and basketball. Then they open their meeting for Boy Scout business while their den mothers look on.
Although the pack has only been in existence for five months, talks to launch it began two years ago, before most of these kids were even in kindergarten.
It’s been the collective effort of the United Way, the Boy Scouts and neighborhood adults – all with the goal of providing opportunities for the boys in the economically struggling community.
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“It took us a bit,” said the Rev. Donald Anthony of Grace Lutheran Church, who serves on the United Way board and its Community Investment Council. “We recognize the importance of having positive role models for the boys and young men in the community, and we believe the Boy Scouts will do it.”
Funding through the United Way to Central North Carolina Boy Scouts of America’s outreach program provided the starter kit – uniforms and training resources – to get the pack off the ground.
For many adults in the Logan community, it’s not just an opportunity for their kids to go camping or earn badges, it’s a stitch closer to restoring the neighborhood.
For many years, the historically African-American neighborhood was self-contained, with its own grocery store, dry cleaner, swimming pool and movie theater. As a result, residents knew each other well and watched over neighborhood children, even if they weren’t their own.
“There are a lot of people here that still remember that,” said Anthony. “That feeling is still there.”
But some believe that bond loosens with every new family who moves in.
“Times have changed. People are more to themselves. You barely know who your neighbors are,” said Marquita Coleman, who grew up in the community.
Coleman, 34, serves as the pack’s Cub Master, with the help of den mothers Latisha Young and Kai Barnette. All three women have sons in the pack.
Coleman hopes their efforts will help make the neighborhood closer.
“It's about us trying to get them together and let them know we care about their future and about getting to know their families and their friends,” she said.
Earlier in the month, Pack 134 took a trip to Selma, Ala., to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the marches that procured the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
The experience, funded by the United Way, brought together all ages from the community.
Logan resident James Barrier, 66, who also serves as the pack’s commissioner, took the trip with the children and enjoyed the opportunity to explain why the marches were so important.
“They’re little kids, so they didn’t quite understand exactly what was going on,” he said. “They asked questions and we answered their questions. I felt good about it. I was happy to be able to be there with the younger kids.”
Lisa Thornton is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to go?
Cub Scout Pack 134 meets every other Thursday at Grace Lutheran Church, 58 Chestnut Drive in Concord. The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. March 26. For information, go to www.scouting.org.