Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook

Archives Celebrating 75 years of scouting
Cub Scout pack, leadership have longevity at St. André Bessette Parish

March 27, 2024

By Darcy Fargo

In their 75 years of scouting affiliated with Catholic Churches in Malone, Cub Scout Pack 8061 has survived a lot of challenges and changes, but one thing, the pack’s leadership, has remained consistent for most of its existence.

On March 4, the pack celebrated its milestone anniversary at its annual Blue and Gold Banquet.

“February is the birthday month of the scouts,” said Pack Leader Pat Sauther. “We try to have our Blue and Gold Banquet in February or as close to February as we can get. It’s something we look forward to.”

The event is a “celebration of scouting,” Sauther said.

In addition to receiving pins and awards marking the completion of “adventures,” the Blue and Gold Banquet, attended by both scouts and their parents, includes dinner, a short skit performed by older pack members – Webelos and Arrows of Light, and a favorite annual tradition, the “cake bake.”

In the cake bake, scouts make and decorate cakes according to chosen themes, and prizes are awarded. Cakes at this year’s banquet centered around scouting and the pack anniversary, as well as the eclipse and outer space.

The Blue and Gold Banquet was opened with a prayer led by Father Steve Murray, pastor of St. André Bessette Parish, and was closed with a prayer of blessing led by Leadership Council Member David Petrelli.

Sauther said pack leadership has worked hard to keep the pack, comprised of dens of Lions (kindergarted), Tigers (first grade), Wolves (second grade), Bears (third grades) and Webelos/Arrows of Light (fourth and fifth grades), running for its 75-year existence.

“Last year, we started in June with three kids,” she said. “Throughout the summer, our pack committee got together and worked to do some recruiting. We put up fliers around the schools in Malone, and we held a sign-up night, and we got 10 new kids. But we needed den leaders, too. We had only one experienced leader, Norma Jean Bruso, returning. We put the question out to the parents, and a few said, ‘ok. We’ll give it a try.’ I’m very proud of them. They weren’t very familiar with scouting, but they went with it, and they’re doing a great job.”
Sauther has been with the pack for 68 years of its 75-year existence.

“I’ve been involved since I was 18 years old,” she said. “Immediately after I graduated from high school in 1956, (the parish pastor) called me one night in October and said, ‘I have a den of Cub Scouts here.’ I said, ‘what are Cub Scouts?’ He said, ‘boys who need a leader.’ I’ve been with them ever since.”

In her 68 years with the scouts, Sauther said a lot has changed both with the scouts as an organization and with the scouts in the pack.

“The projects we do are different than what they were even 20 to 25 years ago,” she said. “In some cases, the ideas are the same, but we’re presenting them differently. And we’re constantly doing new projects. And now we’re a family pack, and we have both boys and girls, and the kids have less experience with the outdoors and camping than they used to. Back when I started, we also weren’t competing with all these sports and other activities.”

Despite the changes, Sauther said the part she enjoys most has been consistent since she first started as a leader.

“It’s the satisfaction of seeing these kids growing and learning,” she said. “I get to see them grow in scouting, and I get to see them grow all around. I’ve seen boys who were in my oldest daughter’s class at school who were my Cub Scouts. I’ve seen them go through scouting to be Eagle Scouts. It’s been very satisfying. It’s really rewarding when you see them grasp a new concept or skill. They have that moment of ‘I know how to do that now,’ or ‘I got it!’ You can see it in their eyes. That’s the reward for me.”

The mom of four girls and two boys, Sauther said her boys participated in scouting, with the oldest, David, continuing until he was 16. David later helped the pack as a volunteer for some years before he became ill and passed away at age 59.

While Sauther has also been involved in the Altar Rosary Society at St. André Bessette Parish and in other organizations and volunteer projects, she said scouting has had the most profound impact on her life.

“I told my kids, when I pass away, I want to be buried in my uniform,” she said. “So much of my life has been in my uniform. I find scouting very rewarding. It’s not because of the awards I’ve received, but it’s because I’ve been able to watch these boys and girls grow into young men and women. That’s rewarding.”

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.