|Josh Lake, 11, with Cub Scouts Den 7024, says planting trees at the Clear Creek Cemetery is “helping out the Earth and helping out Camp Verde.” VVN/Bill Helm|
Race Armstrong, 9, with Cub Scouts Den 7023, waters the tree he planted at the Clear Creek Cemetery on April 30. Armstrong was one of several scouts working towards earning his Leave No Trace badge, by planting a tree and promising to periodically water and tend to the tree.
CAMP VERDE - Leave no trace.
This is an adage of Cub Scout dens 7023 and 7024 of Camp Verde.
The scouts, living up to their pledge to leave no trace, planted three trees at the Clear Creek Cemetery on April 30. Not only did the scouts add trees to the cemetery's landscape, but they will also return to water the trees, to track their growth and to maintain the area surrounding the trees.
"Part of the boys' requirements every year is to plant a tree," said Teddy Armstrong, volunteer parent with dens 7023 and 7024. "For the boys to advance in the scouting program, there are certain requirements they need to pass. Planting trees is one of the requirements. There is a badge, the Leave No Trace badge, and maintaining these trees will help them earn this badge. Then they can come back and keep up the area. Leave No Trace means to leave the area better than how you found it. That is one of the Cub Scout mottos."
"And it makes the Earth beautiful," said 9-year-old Race Armstrong of Den 7024.
"I like the whole scouting program," volunteer Deanna Boggess said. "It teaches the children some amazing things, like cooperation and doing a good turn daily."
According to Linda Callahan, president of the Clear Creek Cemetery Association, the cemetery relies on volunteers and donations. But in her two years as president, this is the first time she can recall children becoming part of the cemetery's volunteer process.
"I thought it was awesome that the boys would be willing to get involved with anything to do with the cemetery," Callahan said. "Most people see it as a bad place, and it is not."
Josh Lake, 11, with Den 7024, says he enjoyed himself at the cemetery. "It's helping out the Earth and helping out Camp Verde," Lake said.
Matthew Geyer, 10, with Den 7024, said, "I like planting trees because they're giving everybody air."
"The boys get to work together," Armstrong said. "There's a lot of bonding time with our leaders and the boys. Life's really crazy right now. You don't get to do stuff like this anymore. Kids are too busy doing other things.
"We get to help our community directly," Armstrong said. "For the boys to actually get out and do it hands-on is building character. The focus of the Cub Scouts is building character. Living in a community is not enough. You have to contribute."
"Responsibility to self and to community."