Park Rapids Scouting program faces challenges

Fundraising, recruiting and finding a place to meet indoors are issues COVID-19 has made more complex for Scouts BSA Troop 58 and Cub Scouts Pack 58.

Members of Park Rapids Cub Scouts Pack 58, gathered Aug. 31 at Heartland Park for a family meeting, are (from left) Alex Lof, Klayton Selander, Ethan Cox, Colton Nilson, Kryton Nilson, Reed Mykland, Elliot Cook, Devin Donarski-Borg, Ryan Cook and Jason Donarski-Borg. (Robin Fish/Enterprise)

Park Rapids Scouts BSA Troop 58 and Cub Scouts Pack 58 are starting a new Scouting year amid uncertainties about fundraising, recruiting and even where they will meet.

Cub Scouting

“The issues we’re discussing are basically ongoing all the time, irrespective of the (COVID-19) pandemic,” said Pack 58 committee chair Tom Weston. “We’re always trying to raise funds for activities. We’re always trying to recruit more kids to the organization. That’s nothing new, but with the limitations of what we can do, where we can go and how we can do it, that is much more complicated.”

Some fundraising activities have been canceled, such as the Pack’s traditional summer cookout. After a Pack meeting Monday at Heartland Park to discuss their fall popcorn sale, it seems that fundraiser will go forward.

But, Weston said, “door-to-door isn’t going to be well supported, for obvious reasons.” Also, some places where they’ve set up popcorn displays in the past aren’t going to work out this year. “So, it’s really going to be more word of mouth, and there is online stuff that we’re trying to get the word out about,” he said.

The Pack’s membership drive won’t look the same as usual, either, since they can’t recruit from inside the schools. A fall meeting to sign up new Cubs and parent leaders will likely be held outdoors.


“We’ve got to go a month at a time here, now, and see how things at school play out,” said Cubmaster Dustin Lof. “Coming up in two weeks, we’ve got our recruiting night. We’re going to do it right here (at the park), kind of an open house style. We’re going to try to keep it in small groups.”

“That’ll be about the last thing we’re going to be able to do outside, because if nothing else, it just gets darker,” said Weston. “We’d normally meet at Riverside Church, but they’re not open for much of anything now, nor is anybody else.”

“As soon as it gets cold, I don’t know if we’re going to be able to get into a building or not,” said Lof.

Weston said the Pack is always on the lookout for adult leadership as well as new kids. “We’re always looking for new ways, new places, fundraisers of all different kinds,” he said.

Cub Scouting is about “having fun with a purpose,” he said, noting that as children progress through the age levels, they learn about sportsmanship, getting along with people, learning to make things and how things work.

Scouts BSA

Meanwhile, Scouts BSA will also be raising funds for its activities for the year, including a high adventure trip to the Florida Keys that was canceled this summer.

Troop fundraisers include an annual wreath sale. “We’re putting that together right now, trying to figure out the logistics of that,” said Lof. “Usually, we would go door to door to businesses and solicit sales that way. I don’t know how keen people are going to be on that.”

Lof said Troop 58 members had an anxious summer, watching while plans were “canceled, postponed, changed and changed again” before they “were finally able to get out and be Scouts.”


A July trip to Camp Wilderness with Scoutmaster David Zinniel and Leader Mike Lichter gave seven Scouts an opportunity to earn a total of 26 merit badges, leaving “only a few loose ends to tie up for a few more,” said Lof.

A few weeks later, a slightly different group of seven Scouts traveled to Voyageurs National Park where, Lof said, “they were able to again stay distant from the COVID-19 but not from the fish” while taking a motorboat trip to a secluded island.

Scouts Jacob Lof and Ethan Tate returned home from that trip for just one night before leaving for a National Youth Leadership Training event at Camp Parker in Nisswa – an outdoor experience led by youth who previously completed the course themselves.

Dustin said the experience equips youth with life skills to become “servant leaders.”

Pulling it together

“The Cub Scouts are adult leader managed,” said Weston. “Most of the Boy Scout programs, the it’s primarily the Scouts running it with leadership in the background.”

Donations and fundraising revenue help provide patches and insignia for the Scouts’ uniforms, trophies and awards, he said. They may also subsidize trips to camp, winter activities, Pinewood Derby cars, summer rocket projects, rent of a storage shed and membership dues for adult leaders.

Weston recalled that the Scouts’ sponsoring organization, the Park Rapids Rotary, has been very supportive.

For more information, visit the Cub Scouts’ website at or its Facebook page, “Cub Scout Pack 58 Park Rapids MN.” For Troop 58, visit “Boy Scout Troop 58 Park Rapids MN” on Facebook. If interested in joining Scouts, visit


Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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