Boy Scout Russell Olsen, 18, performed a Native American tribal dance in Brookfield with fellow members of the Quinnipiac Dancers. The troupe performed at St. Joseph‘s School. With Olsen is 2-year-old Dean Paquette.
Eighteen-year-old Russell Olsen, in a brightly colored costume and a headdress he made himself, performed with fellow Boy Scouts in a choreographed Native American tribal dance last week in Brookfield, when the town's Cub Scouts celebrated the 75th anniversary of the organization.
The Quinnipiac Dancers are 13 to 18 years old and members of an elite group of Boy Scouts known as the Order of the Arrow. They came from Hamden to perform in St. Joseph's School for an enthralled audience of 200 people, most of them Cub Scouts.
"The kids were great and asked a lot of questions about the dancing and Native American culture," said Olsen, who began as a Cub Scout himself.
The organization, created in 1930, prepares boys in first through fifth grade to become Boy Scouts through programs in character development, citizenship and personal fitness.
The Quinnipiac Dancers performed a Native American tribal dance at St. Joseph‘s School in Brookfield.
Cub Scouts may become Boy Scouts when they turn 11 and have received the Arrow of Light Award, which "basically means that the boy is on an enlightened path and is headed in the right direction in life," said Andrew Malcolm, a Cub Master for the past two years.
Malcolm became involved when his older son, Stephen, who became a Boy Scout this year, first joined the Cub Scouts. He now works with 48 Cub Scouts, including his younger son, 7-year-old Jonathan.
"I really enjoy working with the boys. We have a great time and there is nothing more satisfying to me than the look on their faces when they accomplish something," Malcolm said.
The celebration also included a pizza dinner and awards for the Pinewood Derby races, for which each den makes a wooden car and races it against other dens.
There was also a contest for the most realistic Native American-themed cake. The winning cake had a blue Jello river, asparagus trees and a campfire made out of Twizzlers and pretzel sticks.
Awards for the contest were provided by local businesses, including Brookfield Bowling Lanes and Pasta Garden restaurant. The New York Yankees donated tickets for the graduating Cub Scouts to see one of their games this spring.
Throughout the year, the Cub Scouts participate in a number of activities geared toward bringing the boys, their leaders and their families together.
"We've had fiesta-themed parties with a mariachi band. We have a family picnic every year and we also hold a Scout Olympics," Malcolm said.
Malcolm and his pack chose the anniversary celebration's Native American theme. Five-year-old Alex Loranger attended with his brother Sam, a 6-year-old Cub Scout.
"I really liked the tribal dancers and I got to dance with them," Alex said. "I like doing the Scouts because I get to be with my brother, and next year I am going to be a Cub Scout, too."