Thursday, Aug 4, 2011
Jewel Cave National Monument hosted a Cub Scout Belt “Loopalooza” event on Saturday, July 16th. The special event was made possible through an impact grant by the National Park Foundation and provided Cub Scouts ages 7 through 13 with an assortment of outdoor experiences and learning opportunities related to environmental education and site interpretation.
Through a festival of sorts, participating scouts interacted with resource professionals toward the successful completion of belt loop awards and related patches that complemented the protection, preservation, and conservation of public lands.
“With over 40 Cub Scouts attending and over 45 parents, grandparents, and siblings of scouts, we are pleased with the turnout,” said Bradley Block, event organizer and chief of interpretation. “The event showcased a unique educational opportunity of learning experiences and enhanced partnerships.”
Cub Scouts were able to select five athletic or academic belt loops of interest and take part in 45-minute sessions that included several hands-on demonstrations or engaging fitness activities.
“The purpose of the event was to introduce Cub Scouts to various public land agencies through fun and lively stations. A priority for the National Park Service is youth engagement, and we believe this special event hit the mark,” Block said.
Several nearby public land agencies and non-profit organizations surrounding Jewel Cave assisted with the successful event. Devils Tower National Monument, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Wind Cave National Park, Black Hills National Forest, Custer State Park, Custer YMCA, Custer Boy Scout Troop 25, and the Black Hills Boy Scouts Area Council all provided presentations or logistical support for the event. The belt loop stations included astronomy, geography, geology, heritages, hiking, maps and compass, physical fitness, science, weather, and wildlife conservation.
The grant provided the necessary funding to secure ten canopy tents, one large registration tent, publicity banners, station signs, belt loop awards, scout patches, storage tubs, and coolers.
“Without the generous support of the National Park Foundation, this event would not have happened,” said Block. “Through the grant, we have the equipment necessary for future years, as well as for additional special events at Jewel Cave.”