On Sunday, September 23, over 130 Cub Scouts from across NCAC came together at Great Falls Park in Virginia to celebrate 100 years of partnership between the National Park Service and Boy Scouts of America. Cub Scouts got up close and personal with a Great Horned Owl, Screech Owl, Barred Owl, Red Shouldered Hawk, and Barn Owl. They also were able to touch corn snakes, and observe other snakes feeding. Most Scouts also stretched their legs as they took part in hikes ranging from one to three miles along the river.
“Some of the best moments in Scouting take place in national parks,” said Andrew Turner Au, Park Guide at Great Falls Park. “My first experience as a Scout was in the National Park Service climbing Old Rag in Shenandoah Valley. I am tremendously grateful for what Scouting provided me when I was young and what it has taught me.”
Turner Au has been giving back ever since, creating opportunities for Scouts to explore NPS by promoting Eagle Scout projects at Great Falls, providing merit badge programs, offering rank requirement opportunities, and arranging other Scouting activities in the park, such as Cub Scout Day.
On this day, he was proud to report that nearly all Scouts completed the junior ranger book, earning the coveted Junior Ranger Badge. Scouts also did a good turn on their hikes by picking up litter and learning about Leave No Trace (LNT).
LNT activities were conducted by Scouts in Troop 55, and Cub Scouts received LNT certificates after reciting the seven principles from memory, watching an LNT video, and picking up ten pieces of trash. According to one volunteer on site on Sunday, the park hasn’t looked this clean in years.
Cub Scouts who stayed at the park the whole day earned the NPS/BSA patch for learning, helping, and inspiring others about the National Park Service.
“Each year Scouts spend more than 60,000 hours on volunteer projects to restore or enhance our national parks,” said Turner Au. “This service is not only integral to Scouting, but also provides a great benefit for NPS.”
For more information regarding Scouting or volunteer opportunities within Great Falls National Park, please contact Park Guide Andrew Turner Au at firstname.lastname@example.org. Special thanks to Park Rangers Cheryl Breese, Susan Finta, and Franice Sewell for their support of the Cub Scout Day program.