Local 'mama bear' rebuilds Sisters Cub Scouts pack


Last updated 3/19/2024 at 3:18pm

Photo by Matt Van Slyke

Clif Weldon, cubmaster and Jennifer Hooson, den leader, with three young scouts.

Sisters Cub Scouts are emerging from hibernation, happy to have their own den again.

"I'm so excited to announce that the Sisters Cub Scout Pack 139 is officially back up and running!" said Jennifer Hooson, drumming up support on Facebook community pages. "Boys and girls K-5th grade welcome, all faiths welcome, LGBTQ+ friendly, neurodivergent friendly. We really do welcome all and we are a safe place to learn and grow."

Hooson rallied former scouts and sponsors to resurrect Pack 139 after the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This was an active, thriving pack, up until COVID, and it basically folded," explained Clif Weldon, cubmaster for the newest iteration of the pack, and Hooson's stepfather. "We have their flag, a little bit of money, and some equipment that was in a storage unit, and we just got to the point where we're official as a pack again."

The pack will celebrate its new beginning and the birthday of scouting on Wednesday, February 28, at 6 p.m. at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, 121 Brooks Camp Rd., off of Highway 242 just west of Highway 20.

Families of 5- to 11-year-olds are invited for a taste of the fun and adventure awaiting the Cub Scouts this spring and summer.

"We do small, age-appropriate activities, and then we have our big outings," said Wayne Williamson, a Cub Scout dad and member of the pack's committee. "We're going to make a fire station visit, where they learn about fire safety. We're going to go on a hike, and then the big event is in August: we'll go to a camp down by Klamath Falls. You spend three days – a lot of fun, and kind of a highlight of the year," Williamson said.

"We are the Sisters Pack 139, no longer just a den out of Redmond. So I'm really excited about that," Hooson said.

How it (re)started

Hooson, a true "mama bear" determined to bring back the pack for her own "cubs," is the driving force behind the program in Sisters

"I really, really wanted it for my kids," said the den leader and mother of Declan Jamie and Adreano, 4, a cub scout-in-training. "I just kept pushing and pushing, 'Let's just set a date. Let's start having meetings.' We're doing a Join Night at the end of this month, so now we're trying to get more people in, but we needed to first get established as a pack."

The effort required a sponsor, which she found in Dell and Lee at the Episcopal Church. Hooson brought in Roger Detweiler to fill another key position.

"We've set up a committee to help facilitate the path, and I'm the chair of that," said Detweiler, who became an Eagle Scout, then took a little time off – about 65 years. "I was in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts as a kid. I attended the national and international Jamborees. I was 14 at the time. That was a great experience for me. I'm 81 now, so I'm just going to do what I can to help."

Roger answered Hooson's Nextdoor Neighbor post seeking a volunteer.

"He showed up ready to go, and it's been fantastic. He's taken control of awesome committee stuff that I don't even know what to do with," Hooson said.

Weldon, also a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Eagle Scout, brought up his sons in scouting.

"I was Cubmaster for several years, Scoutmaster for several years. Both my sons became Eagle Scouts. Yeah, I've been doing this for a long time," he said.

Now he's back, ushering in a third generation: his grandchildren.

"We also needed another committee member. Wayne and Destiny Williamson stepped in on that, and then I'm under them as Den Leader," Hooson said. "That whole committee had to come together for us to be able to become official."

The Williamsons are new to the area and to scouting. They're helping their kindergartner, Anthony, build a circle of friends.

"We don't know anyone. We like the activities the Scouts do. We like the way that Jennifer is inclusive, so we joined, and we like it. She posted something on Facebook, to the community site that my wife looks at to see what's going on, and we went to the meeting and joined up. Now we're committee members," Wayne said.

"We're new here, so it's nice to meet people," said Destiny. "I love the sense of community."

How it's going

A core of four are hoping to bring in more. The families have kids under six.

"It's educational, it's active, it's social," Weldon explains. "It's structured in a way that every kid who tries can earn badges, rise in rank, and move on. It's a real contrast, for me, between that and sports, where not everybody gets to win. In scouting, everybody gets to succeed.

"We just finished the Pinewood Derby. We made cars and we entered four cars. They all got a medal. It was pretty cool," said Weldon, noting the support Sisters has received from derby hosts Redmond Cub Scouts Pack 27.

Last week, as a community service project, the scouts cleared snow and helped clean up the Sisters Habitat ReStore, where Weldon works.

Photo by Matt Van Slyke

Andreano, 4, shoveling snow. He's a Cub Scout-in-waiting.

"We do these fun activities and they vary. It might be games that are designed to have children interact and get some social skills while having fun. It might encourage some physical activity that keeps them fit and teaches them good life habits. But it's all fun-oriented; a fun way to teach them values," Wayne said. "You can come mid-program and just do what's next, and everything's cool."

Families can register any time, but the sooner they join, the more likely new Cub Scouts will be able to participate in spring hikes and the three-day summer camp.

The Sisters pack is now accepting boys and girls in kindergarten through 5th grade. All volunteers undergo Youth Protection training and follow a strict and robust incident-reporting system. There are more than a million Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in America.

The group meets every other Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Episcopal Church. The cost to join and cost of uniforms are each less than $150.

To learn more, enroll, or volunteer, call 541-617-5336 or email Jennifer Hooson at [email protected].


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