Ready… aim… fire

Cub Scouts go back in time at annual Cuboree

by Alan Hodge

Sons of the American Revolution members (from left) Tom Phlegar, Ray Maxson, Jim Wood discuss Revolutionary War history with Pack 19 Cub Scouts Anthony Fabian, Nate Kincaid, Granville Caldwell III and Branson Duncan. (Alan Hodge/MIM photo)

MIDLAND – Cub Scouts from the Mountain Island area and other parts of north Mecklenburg County recently suited up in their red and blue coats, donned a fake musket or two and took a three-day peek into Revolutionary War life.

The Hornets Nest District 2012 Cuboree brought nearly 600 Cub Scouts, parents and adult leaders from 20 different churches and packs to mingle with Revolutionary War reenactors, members of the Sons of the American Revolution and other experts well versed in 18th century life skills at the Belk Scout Reservation near Mint Hill.

“We worked for a year getting everything put together,” said event organizer Mark Giacomin from Pack 23, based at Christ United Methodist Church. “We wanted an event that would be fun, but still teach kids some things about the American Revolution they might not learn in school. Scouting is not just about tying knots.”

Cub Scouts from Pack 70, located at Paw Creek Presbyterian Church, took a trip back to the 18th century during this year’s Hornet’s Nest District Cuboree, held at the Belk Scout Reservation near Mint Hill. From April 27-29, Pack 70, along with hundreds of Cub Scouts from the Charlotte area, participated in a living history weekend that featured three days of Revolutionary War reenactments and activities, including cannon demonstrations. Picture from left are: Pack 70 Cub Scout Malik Albright, event organizer Dwayne Thompson, Cub Scout Jordan Albright, event organizer Mark Giacomin, Cub Scout Justin Cobb and Revolutionary War reenactor Charles Myers. (Alan Hodge/MIM photo)

Giacomin prepared for the event by sewing his own red, white and blue Revolutinary War uniform, complete with brass buttons, knee britches and a tri-corner hat. He even created a crimson British war uniform for fellow organizer Dwayne Thompson, also from Pack 23.

Activities included lessons on writing with a quill pen and ink, reading a compass and map similar to those used by George Washington’s troops and listening to a lecture about North Carolina’s state flag.

“This is hands-on history,” Giacomin said.

A group of Revolutionary War reenactors from the 2nd N.C. Regiment set up an encampment complete with canvas tents and 18th century furnishings for the scouts to tour. Known as the official N.C. Revolutionary War group, members came from as far away as Raleigh and South Carolina to take part in the Cuboree.

The reenactors brought a cannon and muskets to fire for the scouts. Reenactor Charles Myers, of Ninety Six, S.C., helped demonstrate the historic weaponry.

“Any time we work with kids it’s important,” Myers said. “It gives them an experience that can make a difference in school. They never forget the sound of the cannon.”

Taking up the wooden muskets, the scouts took turns learning how Revolutionary War soldiers drilled and created battle formations.

Eleven-year-old Cub Scout Justin Albright from Pack 70 based at Paw Creek Presbyterian Church said he had a blast, literally.

“Boy, those big guns sure are loud,” he said. “When they shoot the cannon, it’s awesome.”

Albright’s fellow Pack 70 comrade, 6-year-old Christopher Parks, said he was drawn to some of the quieter activities.

“I enjoyed learning to write with a feather,” Parks said. “It’s nice.”

When they weren’t immersed in the war, Cuboree participants also shot bow and arrows and BB guns, played the 18th century game of wheels and hoops and made crafts. Afterward, everyone feasted on hamburgers in the mess hall, decorated with flags from the Revolutionary War period.

“We got many compliments on the event,” Giacomin said. “It was truly an educational weekend where everyone learned something about the past.”

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