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To the Editor:

My son and I have been lucky enough for the last five years to be a part of Pack 170, here in Sandy Hook.  I volunteered to be a den leader when I signed my son up back in first grade thinking this will be easy enough.  As with most of my predecessors before me, when I got the first Tiger Cub Scout Handbook and saw the amount of requirements and belt loops and badges that these boys needed to accomplish in their first year, I stood and stared at it for hours like a deer in headlights, thinking “What did I just sign up for?”

There was no backing out now – if there were no leaders then there would be no den – we couldn’t have that now could we! So it became a ritual every year in my household when we got the new handbook for the following year, where I would look at it and say “Aaaaargh – where am I going to find the time to do all this….. How am I going to teach the boys all this stuff (half of which was new to me, too) and sound like I knew what I was talking about?” In the end, I would call another leader and my nerves would be restored and all I had to remember that the most important thing was that the boys would have fun and if they learnt/remembered anything on the journey then that would be a bonus.

Well, over the last few years we did have a lot of fun and we learnt a lot of things (bonus!), but we had tears and tough times too.  And with those tough times, leaders shine and I cannot think of a more amazing and inspiring bunch of leaders, families and kids to have been surrounded by during the aftermath of 12/14.

I thank Pack 170 for all the amazing fun times – camp outs (Cullens/Deer Lake), rocket launches, Pinewood Derbies, bonfire and hay rides, sleepovers on battleships/museums/armories, carol singing, community clean ups, space derbies, raingutter regattas, getting pied in the face and for the Penguin Song.

I thank Pack 170 and the Connecticut Yankee Council for all the strength and support it provided when we needed it the most – they were there whenever they were needed.

But most of all I thank Pack 170 for the most amazing families and friendships that both my son and I have made over the last five years.

We will miss you and thank you for preparing us for the road ahead with the Boy Scouts.

Yours in Scouting

Nick Waaler

Pack 170 – Den 5

186 Berkshire Road, Sandy Hook             February 2, 2015

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