Cub Scout leader Brandon Dorsett, said his Pack 80 troop in Cortland, went from 36 kids to two because of the pandemic.
He’s eager to get the word out that the Boy Scouts are meeting. And not only that, but girls can join too.
Pack 80 and two other Cub Scout packs, children ages kindergarten to fifth grade — did a canned food drive in Cortland and Cortlandville, to benefit Catholic Charities.
Dorsett’s son Lincoln is one of two troop members in Pack 80. He wants people to know about scouting.
“This is the thing. We are starting to get kids back,” he said.
The three troops, Pack 80 of Cortland, Pack 1 of Homer and Cortland and Pack 4052 of Cortland, met on Saturday to gather canned food in Cortland’s southeast end, getting organized at the Department of Motor Vehicles on a cold morning.
They had left announcements on April 10 at people’s houses that they’d be collecting food on Saturday. They asked that donations be put out on front porches.
Dorsett’s Pack 80 meets at 6 p.m. Mondays at Beaudry Park.
“We’re meeting at parks. We used to meet at schools,” he said.
But the schools do not want the Boy Scouts to meet in the building, he said, because of COVID-19.
“We are a boys and girls group now,” Dorsett said of his cubs “One of our groups here is all girls now. I think it’s great, that’s good,” he said of girl involvement.
Cub Scouts opened to girls in June 2018. Packs can be all boys, all girls or mixed, according to the Taughannock District of the Baden-Powell Council of the Boy Scouts of America website, which includes Cortland County.
Dorsett’s Pack 80 is mixed, Brian Cornwell’s Pack 1 is all girls and Tiffany Price’s Pack 4052 is mixed.
People can email membership@TompkinsCortlandScouts. org to find out details on joining a pack.
Cornwell, the troop leader for the all-girl pack, has about 15 girls who are active.
“We meet every two weeks because of the pandemic at Homer Congregational Church, 28 S. Main St.,” he said.
“We’re thankful for everyone who has donated,” he said. “We don’t have a goal. Just come out and do our best to come out and help the community,” he said.
Tiffany Price of Cortland is a cub master of Pack 4052 in Cortland. The boy and girl group meets virtually. Price has four kids in her Pack 4052 right now.
One of her den leaders, Mike Homrighaus of Cortland, has been meeting at his house in a small face to face group. Mike’s wife, Cathy, is committee chair of Pack 4052. The Homrighaus’ have two children they are working with.
“We are very small,” Cathy Homrighaus said. “We are rebuilding.”
“Several of our families decided to shelter at the start of the pandemic,” said Mike Homrighaus. “We temporarily have lost several kids. Now as things are opening up, we are starting to get them back.”
“The food drive is pretty much in Cortland and Cortlandville,” said Cathy Homrighaus.
The couple and two children, Mason and Zooey Condie, siblings, were canvassing the Randall Street neighborhood Saturday.
Mason, a third-grader, joined the Boy Scouts last year. His sister, Zooey, joined this week “About two days ago, I think,” said the 7-year-old.
Mason’s favorite activity at the Boy Scouts was carving and whittling, which he learned from Mike Homrighaus.
Last week’s canvassing was hot work, Mason said.
“We had to walk around a lot,” Mason said.
“We were tired,” Zooey said.
“It was much nicer, last weekend,” said April Coolidge, assistant den leader for Pack 1, who was trekking on Central Avenue with Cornwell, fellow parent Doug Gellatly, and children.
“I got up at 8 a.m.,” said Jude Gellatly, 7. “Not happy.”
Still she has enjoyed the pack’s activities: “Just doing the stuff we do … we go to the church and do meetings and do cub scouts.”
The girls were all wearing their Boy Scout uniforms, which included the Bobcat badge. It means a scout has mastered the cub scout oath, law, sign and handshake.
Amelia Cornwell, 7, of Cortland said of being in the Cub Scout troop: “It’s pretty nice.”