CUB SCOUT PACK 914 has a tradition this time of year - giving thanks. No turkey or stuffing is involved. The pack's form of thanks requires gloves, trash bags and lots of energy. These boys say "thank you" by cleaning up.
Pack 914 recently thanked Jeffers Hill Elementary School by cleaning the fields around the school.
"Every fall, the Scouts pick up trash as a thank-you to the school that provides their meeting place," said Meg Feroli, mother of Scouts David and Danny Feroli.
The boys began the tradition four years ago, when they started meeting at Jeffers Hill. This year's cleanup, which took place Nov. 4 under the direction of Pack Cub Master Steve Riggin, brought out 25 Scouts, 13 parents and two siblings.
Participating in the cleanup were James-Spencer Lundh, Max Weinberg, Jason Riggin, Stephen Fox, J.R. Aponte, Steven Parker, Curtis Victor, Sabir Aissi, Daniel Hunt, Josh Victor, Peter Hunt, Kyle Arney, Nick DiSina, Talel Aissi, Armani Veguilla, David Fox, Matthew Burt, Michael Keane, David Feroli, Danny Feroli, Ben Bidas, Cameron Johnson, Tyson Wendland, Josh Gaimaro and Teddy Carney.
Much of the trash consisted of snack wrappers, papers, bottles and juice boxes. Fifth-grade Scout Matthew Burt, son of den leader Jeff Burt, noticed that the most prevalent items of debris were those "little straw wrappers from juice boxes."
He also cleaned up quite a lot of glass, and was thankful for the latex gloves the boys wore for protection - although he admitted that blowing up the gloves like balloons was also fun.
On the whole, the crew took its job seriously. According to Feroli, the boys formed a "police line" that stretched across the fields and scoured every inch of ground in search of trash. Their diligence did not go unnoticed. Steve Zagami, principal of Jeffers Hill Elementary, is appreciative of the boys' efforts.
"It makes our environment not only look aesthetically pleasing, it makes it a safer place for our children at recess as well," he said.
The cleanup culminated in a feast fit for a Scout - hot dogs on the grill and cold drinks. This was Danny Feroli's fifth year cleaning up with his pack. And what was his favorite part of the day?
"Actually, when we got the hot dogs," he said.
Fifth-graders at Dasher Green Elementary were recently invited to a stargazing party. However, it was not Britney Spears or Leonardo DiCaprio they were viewing, but constellations, planets and the moon in the night sky.
About 50 people, mostly fifth-graders and their parents, gathered in the field between Dasher Green and the east Columbia library on a slightly cloudy evening this month.
They were joined by Cathy Imhoff, Forrest Hamilton and Mark Kochte, astronomers from the Johns Hopkins University Space Telescope Science Institute.
Using a 6-foot-long, 2-foot-wide telescope, the astronomers guided the pupils' view from Jupiter, to Saturn, across the moon's craters and on to several stars and constellations.
According to Joan Ford, secretary to Dasher Green Principal Susan Goglia, the telescope was "powerful enough for us to view two stars together, one appearing white and one appearing blue."
Thanksgiving 1989 stands out in the mind of Guilford Elementary School Principal Andy Barshinger. It was the year he and his wife decided to forgo the usual visiting with relatives and take their young sons to Disney World.
"It was a very exciting Thanksgiving adventure for us all," Barshinger recalled.
The idea for the unconventional Thanksgiving came to him because the children seemed to be the right ages (8 and 10) and as a "reward for the kids doing well," he said.
But it wasn't all flying elephant rides and spinning teacups.
Barshinger and his family managed to take time out for a proper turkey dinner at their hotel's restaurant.
Although going to Disney World did not become a Thanksgiving tradition for the Barshinger family, they have fond memories of that "different" year. Barshinger doesn't rule out doing it again some day, even though the boys are grown.
But for now, he says he is thankful that they can gather at his house for Thanksgiving each year, "even if it isn't in Disney World."