Cubs Cross Over to Boy Scouts

Local Scout pack graduates

They wore uniforms instead of choir robes, but the nine boys who stepped over a physical and metaphorical bridge from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts in the “Crossing Over Ceremony” on May 22 at the Community United Methodist Church were devoted to the step they were making, as shown by the proud smiles they also wore.

The nine boys from across the Coastside who made up Half Moon Bay Cub Scout Pack 263 had worked for the preceding two years to earn the Webelos Badge as well as the Arrow of Light, the highest award available to Cub Scouts. The term “Webelos” is derived out of the phrase “We be Loyal Scouts” and refers to Cub Scouts age 10 to 11.

To earn the Arrow of Light, Cub Scouts must complete requirements for both the Webelos Scout B adge and eight additional activity badges.

The Coastside is home to two Cub Scout packs (first- through fifth-grade boys) and two Boy Scout troops (sixth- through 12th-grade boys.) Cub Scout Pack 263 and Boy Scout Troop 263 meet at the Methodist church in Half Moon Bay, Cub Scout Pack 255 meets at Farallone View Elementary School and Boy Scout Troop 255 meets at the Half Moon Bay Yacht Club. The boys come from around the Coastside.

The May 22 early-evening graduation ceremony was led by cub master Chris Courtney and den leaders Rich Graff and Brian Ginna.

In time-honored scouting tradition, two members of scouting’s honor society, the Ohlone Lodge No. 63, performed the crossing over ceremony. Dressed in traditional Native American attire, they guided the boys across a low, curved, symbolic bridge to the other side where they were welcomed by members of the two Boy Scout packs.

(Graduating Cub Scouts could join whichever Boy Scout pack best fitted their schedules and needs.)

Each time a boy passed over the bridge, an arrow was shot into a target to symbolize the scouting journey.

The Cub Scout Pack 263 had been disbanded but was reorganized in September 2010 under the guidance of Boy Scout Troop 263 leaders. It started at the time with eight boys, a number which grew to 12 by the following year. Now the pack consists of 37 boys, from which three to eight fifth-grade boys graduate each year to the Boy Scouts.

The Scouting experience, even at a young age, gives boys a foundation for their futures, said adult pack leader Amy Ramsey, mom of a May 22 graduate.

After spending years together as Webelos in Cub Scouts, the boys can be thought of as a “band of brothers,” she said. “I know that having this Scouting band of brothers will be instrumental in giving him strength to make good choices, courage to stand up for justice and encouragement to do their best in all things,” she said. “The Cub Scout program has brought us together as a family.”

The boys agreed.

New Boy Scout Patrick Ginna, 11, described his experience as “hanging out with friends, helping the community, having a good time helping the community” and focusing on things he loved, like camping. By helping the community, he continued, he meant taking part in Cub Scout projects like helping pick up trash in public places, or participating in food drives for the needy. He will join Boy Scout Troop 255.

“A lot of it is about the moral compass,” said his mother Julia, citing the trash pickups and food collection. “Being a good citizen, friend and neighbor.”

His fellow Cub Scout Noah Courtney said that his Cub Scout experience had taught him about how to be respectful, do good deeds and be kind. “To be prepared and do my best,” he summed up, adding that he hoped that Scouting might lead to future job opportunities.

Another new Boy Scout, Marston Graff, said that scouting had given him a sense of respectfulness and awareness of opportunities to help people. He and Courtney will join Troop 263.

“The focus is on teaching them to be good kids and to be active members of the community,” said mom Erica Courtney.