By Michelle Brooks
The Webelos II Den from Cub Scout Pack 96 in Russellville recently went on an 11-mile hike with the Boy Scout Troop 96.
They saw birds and horses and other animals. But the long hike with the older boys took more time and was more physically intensive.
When these 10- and 11-year olds cross over to become Boy Scouts at the blue and Gold banquet Feb. 23, that will become a regular expectation.
"It's going to be different and a lot harder," said Skyler Smith, 11.
All five boys are looking forward to more camping trips.
This den, including Smith, Ryan Colter, 11; Brandon Zumwalt, 10; Cooper Basnett, 10; and Justin Schrimpf, 10, has transitioned from Tigers - the youngest of cub scouts - to Wolf, to Bear and to Webelos.
They will be the youngest again when they cross over to Boy Scouts.
But they like being with each other and doing activities together, so it shouldn't be an issue, they agreed.
"I can't wait to cook my own meal," Schrimpf said. Basnett is looking forward to building fires.
And Colter is eager to shoot bows and guns.
"I feel happy that I'm going to be a Boys Scout," Basnett said.
As Cub Scouts, they have made woodworking projects, like Zumwalt's stool or Basnett's tool box.
"It's cool getting to build stuff," Smith said.
They've also studied and done other activities to earn pins and badges necessary to advance through the ranks and into Boy Scouts.
"When you get done with stuff, you feel like you've accomplished something," Smith said.
At Camp Loco in Lake Ozark this summer, they will be working and serving rather than competing and learning.
"We'll teach kids and be role models for the younger ones," Smith said.
Similarly, the older Boy Scouts will be peer mentors for this group.
They will participate in the Veteran's Day assembly and other patriotic activities in which Troop 96 participates. And they will learn more citizenship and responsibility as they advance through the older scout traditions.
"Growing up is good and bad," Smith said. "You get a lot more responsibility, but when you behave properly, people take you more seriously."