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The founding premise was simple: Gather hundreds of Cub Scouts and their families for an evening that combines the mainstays of childhood, such as playing games, watching movies, and sleeping beneath the stars. Mehl says this event imparts


some of the core values of Scouting. “Through family camping, Cub Scouts learn to respect each other’s privacy and get along in close quar- ters,” he says. “We keep packs together in groups, but their camping area borders other packs, so they also learn how to meet new people.” Organizers spent nearly a year


getting ready for the first Drive-In Cub Camping event in May 2005. They recruited 20 adult volunteers to assist them, and they asked members of several Boy Scout troops to attend to help campers pitch tents and pump up air mattresses. Next, organizers planned Cub Scout-related activity stations, including woodworking and knot tying, to take place before the movies were shown. With tickets priced at an afford-


able $8, organizers hoped for a sell-out crowd at the inaugural event in 2005.


Despite a slight drizzle, Glen Waidelich helps Jessica Henderson and her son Tyler set up a tent in the Shankweiler’s field.


But just a week before the registra- tion deadline, they had sold only 75 percent—not enough to cover the fixed costs of nearly $5,000 for the theater rental, craft materials, portable latrines, patches, baseball caps for volunteers, public-address system, and breakfast. “There was some talk of extending the deadline, but that would have set a bad precedent,” Kies says. “We decided to stick to the deadline no matter what, so parents would learn for the next time.” A flurry of last-minute ticket sales


boosted attendance just high enough for the event to break even. But in the end, the event’s turnout was the least of Kies’ worries.


THE PLANNING COMMITTEE miscal- culated the size of the theater, setting aside too much space for tents and not enough for cars. Halfway through reg- istration, no parking spaces remained, so hundreds of people parked in an adjacent field and toted their equip- ment 100 yards into the theater. Also, vehicles and tents didn’t


32 S COUTING ¿ January• February 2012


Chris Clark (in blue) helps James Moorehead— both from Pack 145 from Washington, N.J.— break down a tent in the rain on the morning after the event.


mix well from a safety standpoint. Visibility was poor in the waning sunlight, and some cars moved as boys darted between the tents. Then there was the weather. Temperatures fell to an overnight


low of 40 degrees—not unusual for early spring in eastern Pennsylvania—


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