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Cub Scout packs spend day, night at Natchez State Park

Michael Anders and Travon Mayberry blow out their flaming marshmallows by the campfire with Robert Hargon, one of the Cub Scout adult leaders, during a campout at Natchez State Park. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)
Michael Anders and Travon Mayberry blow out their flaming marshmallows by the campfire with Robert Hargon, one of the Cub Scout adult leaders, during a campout at Natchez State Park. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — The children of Cub Scout packs 158, 168 and 185 left the warm, dry comforts of home Saturday night to spend a night on the cold, damp ground at Natchez State Park.

But there was no complaining from the scouts about the conditions — in fact, the only complaining from the pack came from 9-year-old Cameron Wright when his mother told him the weather might prevent their camping trip.

“I told him we might not be able to go, because of the rain, and he got upset,” Ardell Wright said.

Wright began his scouts career three years ago as a timid outdoorsman, but now he has become a leader in the group.

“He used to be afraid of bugs and worms, but now he will bait a hook and fish,” Ardell said. “Now he likes to get with the younger kids and lead them. He likes being a big brother.”

Cameron said his favorite part of the experience was camping in his tent.

Chris Johnson helps Adrell Wright and Angela Anderson put up one of the tents. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)
Chris Johnson helps Adrell Wright and Angela Anderson put up one of the tents. (Ben Hillyer \ The Natchez Democrat)

“I love sleeping outside in the tent,” he said. “When somebody comes in the tent, you get to play with them. Your eyes get sleepy after a while, and you just go to bed.”

Cameron was one of several children that enjoyed mother nature Saturday. The packs spent time fishing, hiking, camping, playing games and shooting BB guns.

Ten-year-old Cameron Franz recently joined the Boy Scouts, and he said he enjoyed making new friends like Wright.

While the children were playing in the woods and having fun, scout leaders like Jim Hargon were trying to mix in a few lessons along the way.

“This gets the kids outside, and we try to prepare them for life,” Hargon said. “We don’t want them on the couch playing video games all the time. This is a family organization, and we get sisters, moms and dads to come out and have some fun.”

Pack 168 leader Shana Hargon said the scouts earned a few badges Saturday as well, and they played some educational and entertaining games.

Wright said one of the most important things he has learned in scouts is what animals to avoid.

“We learned about snakes — that they are dangerous,” he said. “Not corn snakes, but king snakes, vipers and anacondas are dangerous and we can not go near them. We also learned about bears, and they are vicious, big and round, and do not go near them.”

Wright said he was not too concerned about bears coming near his tent Saturday night, but if one did, he had a plan.

“I would run for my life,” he said.

Jim’s son Robert Hargon, who earned the title of Eagle Scout in 2009, also made an appearance to teach the scouts a few things about fishing and camping.

Jim said he was thankful that the Natchez State Park was a generous host to the scouts this weekend.