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Cub Scouts keep Ironton woman lively

For the last 17 years, Ironton resident Carolyn Burwell has been a mother figure to countless boys who file in every week to Cub Scout meetings at the First United Methodist Church. You may even say she's been a bit of a father figure.

Burwell, 74, is the Cub Master for Pack 104, a position that used to be the domain of men.

Burwell's own children were in scouting when they were growing up. She served as den mother for sons David and Louis during their scouting days. Daughters Karen and Nancy were in Girl Scouts.

Knowing the value of scouting, she approached the Rev. Paul Cocklin, then-pastor of First United Methodist Church about starting a cub scout pack.

When others in the church were too busy to take on the responsibilities, Burwell decided to do it herself.

"The first year we started, we had five boys," Burwell said. "Four went to on be Eagle Scouts. It's been a joy to see the kids come up through it (scouting) and learn what they can do with themselves. The ones that are serious about it can really learn a lot."

Burwell has presided over the annual Pinewood Derby and shepherded boys on too many fishing trips and hikes to tally.

"The first time we took them fishing, I was a little leery about the fishing hooks, but it went just fine," Burwell said.

Over the years, Burwell has watched little boys walk into those cub scout meetings, and has watched young men progress through the ranks of scouting and leave with a sense of accomplishment and leadership.

"I remember one fellow, he had his wedding wearing his Marine uniform," Burwell said. "When he saw me he saluted me as a Marine would salute. I saluted him back as a cub scout would."

Burwell said scouting's fundamentals are as true today as they were 17 years ago when she put on that pack master uniform.

"Scouting is about three things: God, family and country. If you get those three things in your life, you're going to be all right."