What I’ve learned: Scouting in the Aloha State

In 2012, not long after moving to the Big Island, as the island of Hawaii is known, Truman Wold revived Troop 1, which is celebrating its 90th birthday this year. Based in tiny Pa’auilo (population 586), the 14-member troop now serves boys from across the northern part of the island and will soon be joined by a girls’ troop.

How did you grow beyond Pa’auilo?

We started getting Scouts from the neighboring town of Honokaa, and then one of those Scouts moved even farther away up to Waimea. We said, “Let’s find a more centralized location,” so a few years ago we moved the meeting place from the gym in Pa’auilo up to the Boy Scout camp, Camp Honokaia. We’re used to traveling big distances on the Big Island, so it doesn’t bother people that they have to go a little bit farther to get there.

What’s one good aspect about Scouting in Hawaii?

It’s temperate all year round, so we can go camping all year round with no problems. There’s lots of hiking along the shorelines; there’s beach camps; Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has tons of trails and campgrounds within it. And we’ve got our Boy Scout camp really close to us.

And what’s one challenging aspect?

If you want to go someplace, you have to get on a plane — even to get to another county. We as a troop looked at the options: Do we want to go to a camp on the mainland? Do we want to go to the Rocky Mountains? I thought, instead of us going to the effort of raising enough money, why don’t we just take advantage of what we have here on the Big Island?

Troop 1, with Pack 4001, and Truman in a cowboy hat.

What are your secrets to success?

First, keep regular meetings. Without regular meetings, it’s too easy for parents and Scouts to get off track. If it’s Tuesday, we’ve got a meeting. Second, do something fun at every meeting. For Scouts to want to come back next week, they’ve got to know that they’re going to do something fun. Third, I think one of the most important parts of our meetings is “current events,” where each Scout gets to talk about what’s important in their lives every week.

Tell us about the new girls’ troop.

We have one girl who was signed up through a troop in Waikoloa, which is very far away, and enough other girls who are interested that we’re able to start our own troop. We’ve got a Scoutmaster — she’s one of the moms, and she has been very active in Scouting already. She’s going to take that on, but we’re going to work together.

Any parting words of wisdom?

What I learned from my Cub Scout days is to do what you can with what you’ve got. Bring whatever elements of the Scouting program you can to the kids. If you’re missing out on something, don’t stress about it.

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