Scouting for Food brings 2.9 tons of food to the Watertown Food Pantry

Pack 30 and Troop 30 worked together Saturday to collect, deliver and sort 5904.9 pounds of food for the Watertown Food Pantry.

“It’s incredible what the scouts can do,” said Food Pantry Director Kathleen Cunningham, watching the operation.

Scouts flyered their neighborhoods, asking for donations to the food pantry to be left where scouts could pick them up. Then the morning of Nov. 19, scouts fanned out across Watertown and picked up nearly three tons of food and personal items for the Food Pantry.

Once delivered to the United Methodist Church at 80 Mt. Auburn Street, the thousands of cans of beans, soups, boxes of pasta and other food needed to be sorted to a scale the food pantry can actually use. For that, Troop 30 used the help of volunteers from the Pennacook Lodge Order of the Arrow, the Eastern Massachusetts branch of scouting’s honor society. They offered a day of cheerful service, helping to sort tons of food.

Scouting for Food is a national program of BSA Scouts, supporting pantries across the U.S. The Watertown food drive mobilizes helpful neighbors to keep the Watertown Food Pantry fully stocked through May.

The Watertown Council on Aging administers the Watertown Food Pantry, which provides food assistance to any Watertown resident in need. The food pantry is open on only Tuesdays, 10 am to 2 pm.

Deion Howe celebrated in Eagle Scout ceremony

Deion Howe was celebrated in an Eagle Scout ceremony held on the lawn of the Walker Beacon High School, with most of the festivities happening on his Eagle Project.

Deion, a senior at Beacon High School, created the “Beacon Chill Space,” a patio for students to relax outside, as his Eagle Project.

The ceremony was officiated by Ethan, a Star Scout working on his Communication badge, and kicked off by Noah, a new scout who played Reveille on the trumpet.

Deion presented pins to his parents, and pins to two mentors, Scoutmaster Doug Syer and Assistant Scoutmaster Ian Clark.

Deion received his Eagle Rank on April 12, after a board of review with officials from scouting’s Sons of Liberty district. To earn the rank of Eagle, he needed to earn seven ranks and at least 21 merit badges.

Deion’s ceremony wrapped up a week of events: Tuesday he was honored at by Watertown’s councilors who presented him a citation; Thursday was a court of honor, where scouts earning their ranks and merit badges then learned to sew them onto their shirts.

Deion, who first joined Troop 30 in 2015, first earned the Swimming merit badge, the first of six water-related merit badges he’s earned. He was the first scout in Troop 30 to earn the National Aquatics Award, and he reports his favorite badge ever was the Scuba merit badge, despite the requirement that he answer 109 pages of questions and get both certified in CPR and scuba diving, who merits recognized outside scouting.

Deion works particularly well with kids with special needs, and has served as Den Chief, mentoring Cub Scouts who eventually joined his BSA scouting troop. He has served as Quartermaster, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader and now as Senior Patrol Leader, the scout who leads the entire troop.

Through scouting, Deion became a regular volunteer at the Watertown Food Pantry. He’s become a babysitter specializing in a particular kind of kid, and is currently training to be a lifeguard this summer. He will be attending the University of Massachusetts in the fall.

Crossing over to Troop 30

Pack 30 on the left. Troop 30 on the right, with a bridge built between them.

Nine scouts from Pack 30 arrived on Saturday at Rock Meadow in Belmont with their families, ready for their last action as Cub Scouts: They were going to cross over to BSA Troop 30.

Pack 30 scouts walked with Cub Scoutmaster Taylor Boas to a hill where Troop 30 was waiting, with the U.S. and troop flags flying in the wind.

Using planks labeled with the points of the Scout Law — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent — the BSA scouts built a bridge for Cub Scouts to literally cross over to their side. “This is your first step on the bridge to Eagle,” Troop 30 Scoutmaster Doug Syer said, and after remarks from den leaders Stephen Lipscomb, Steve Owens and Alex Bush, each scout crossed the bridge with his family.

Troop 30 in Watertown exists to offer all kids the opportunity to learn outdoor skills, conservation, citizenship and public service. To learn more, contact us at WatertownTroop30@gmail.com.

Troop 30 competes at Klondike

The Banana Bandits carry Gus on an A-frame they made at the Sons of Liberty-Flintlock districts 2022 Klondike Derby.

Two patrols join winter skills competition

Troop 30 traveled to the T.L. Storer Scouting Reservation with two patrols to compete in the 2022 Klondike Derby. Scouts from the Baconator and Banana Pandits patrols loaded sleds they pushed to stations throughout the camp. They threw hatchets, drilled holes in ice, demonstrated first aid skills and and showed they could haul logs with timber hitches.

Watertown Food Pantry packed with 5041 pounds of scout-delivered food

The scouts of Troop 30 and Pack 30 delivered 5041 pounds of food Saturday, filling the shelves of the Watertown Food Pantry with everything from apple juice boxes to ziti pasta.

This is the second food drive for the scouts in 2021. The first, in May 2021, saw scouts collect 5186 pounds of groceries, cleaning supplies and personal items from Watertown neighbors. That makes the total 10,227 pounds for the year.

Our two Thanksgiving traditions are about community: The first is a turkey meal cooked in the woods, the second is our Scouting for Food Drive benefitting the Watertown Food Pantry. The combined efforts of the Troop and Pack consistently create the largest one-day food drive in Watertown every year.

“I can tell you, the scouts really hold up the food pantry,” said Kathleen Cunningham, Watertown Food Pantry director as the last of the over-filled food bins were put away. “Not only are they bringing in food, they’re going to their neighbors and getting the residents involved.”

Scouts distributed flyers in their Watertown neighborhoods and on Saturday morning, filled their parents’ cars with boxes and bags of groceries. Xavier Owens, a Cub Scout in the Webelos Den, collected 691 pounds of food in his family car.

At the United Methodist Church, the home of both the scouts and the Watertown Food Pantry, scouts from Troop 30 and the Arrow of Light Cub Scout den unloaded cars with thousands of pounds of food and then sorted them on the lawn. Patrol leaders Ethan and Tage organized the sort so tuna was separated into one bin, baked beans into another, and all the different soups got their own bins. While their team sorted tomato sauce from canned tomatoes, other scouts ran unsorted bags from cars to the lawn and yet others brought sorted carts of food into the basement-level pantry.

Service, community engagement and leadership development are essential to the BSA scouting program as youth lead their own activities. While Scouting for Food is the biggest drive of the entire Watertown organization, smaller acts of service are preformed throughout the year, including park cleanups and coat drives, and individual projects created and managed by the scouts themselves.

For more information on how your boy, girl or non-binary child can become a scout, contact us at watertowntroop30@gmail.com.

What a week at summer camp!

With everyone healthy and COVID-tested, Troop 30 traveled to Yawgoog Scouting Reservation for a week of serious fun, a lot of merit badges and an appearance from a dinosaur.

Yawgoog is a very large and more-than-a-century-old camp. It’s actually three camps, with Troop 30 staying at Sandy Beach, the newest of all camps. That’s a quick explainer to show you the achievements of this very young troop — 75% of our campers are first-year scouts.
-Took first and second place in the All-Yawgoog regatta
-Took fourth and fifth place in the mile footrace across all three camps
-Had two scouts complete the mile swim
-Won the Sandy Beach basketball shootout
-Competed in the Sandy Beach superhero costume contest

All our scouts passed the beginner swimming test, even the two who came to camp as non-swimmers. Ten passed the BSA swim test, a first-class rank requirement.

Troop 30 scouts earned merit badges in everything from archery to riffle shooting to orienteering. It has been a fantastic week.

Celebrating Eagles

Eagles with Watertown connections: State Rep. Steve Owens, USMC Private First Class Michael McNamara, Patricio Pino, Troop 30 Scoutmaster Doug Syer, and Sons of Liberty District Chairman Steve Sookikian, whose childhood scouting experience was Troop 222 at St. Stephen’s Armenian Church.

In a ceremony highlighting the Eagle Scouts with Watertown connections, Troop 30 celebrated celebrating Patricio Pino, Watertown’s newest Eagle.

The event was held at the Lowell School, where Patricio attended grade school.

On his way to the rank of Eagle, Patricio chose a service project where he worked with Troop 30 and Pack 30 to collect coats for homeless veterans.

The June 26 ceremony featured area Eagle Scouts, including Sons of Liberty District Chairman Steve Sookikian, State Rep. Steve Owens, who is also a Pack 30 den leader, Troop 30 Scoutmaster Doug Syer and U.S. Marine Private First Class Michael McNamara. Rep. Owens welcomed Patricio “to the club” of Eagle Scouts.

A proclamation from the Watertown Town Council was offered by Town Councilor Vincent Piccirilli, who has known Patricio since he was 3, moving to Watertown from his native Peru.

Patricio Pino started joined Watertown’s scouting tradition when he was in first grade, joining Pack 30 as a Tiger Scout. In Cub Scouts, he learned teamwork and joined in outside activities, until in 2014, he crossed over to Troop 30.

Patricio’s favorite activity in scouts was the Thanksgiving trip, where the entire troop roasted turkeys in the woods and served dozens of Cub Scout families a meal they could all share together.

As he progressed in scouts, Patricio earned leadership positions, eventually becoming leader of the Baconators Patrol, then Assistant Patrol Leader, and finally he was elected Senior Patrol Leader in October 2020. The hardest part of scouting, he said, was learning to lead fellow scouts in Troop 30.

To earn the rank of Eagle, Patricio needed to complete 21 merit badges and a final merit badge project. He originally wanted to collect coats for a village in his native Peru, but the pandemic halted those plans. He instead collected winter gear for American veterans living in Boston.