Person of the Week
Kevin Fry: Scouting a Course through COVID
When it comes to scouting, Kevin Fry is a lifer. (Photo courtesy of Kevin Fry)
Kevin Fry remembers that right after their first child was born, he told his wife, “You know what this means, right?”
Years later Kevin is involved with Cub Scout Pack 7 in Clinton, just like he predicted.
Pack 7 is open to boys and girls from kindergarten to 5th grade. The pack is hosting a BBQ event on Tuesday, June 15 for people who are interested in scouting to come find more information. Interested parties should contact email@example.com to RSVP or with more questions.
Kevin is actually the pack master, a position he’s held for two years. As master, Kevin often speaks with different dens and leaders in the region, helps coordinate pack activities, and finds outside speakers to come speak with the kids.
“When you first get involved in this, you don’t realize what a commitment it can be,” Kevin explains.
Kevin credits Assistant Pack Master Monique Hunter for helping him with the duties.
“We get together in the early summer and start planning out the events for the whole year, then about in November or so we again get together to plan out rest of the year,” Kevin says.
The kinds of activities that are planned for the kids include camping trips, parties and ceremonies, hiking trips, and hosting speakers from outside organizations.
“We’re constantly looking to try out new things,” Kevin says, noting that the kids have seen speakers ranging from Civil War reenactors to geologists to nutritionists.
“Obviously that got very different due to COVID,” he adds.
Even with COVID-19 affecting how the pack operated, Kevin says they still found a way to persevere.
“In the beginning, for the first month or two we had to do some things via Zoom and Google Classroom,” Kevin says.
However, Kevin says as summer approached the pack was able to combat Zoom fatigue by getting the kids outdoors regularly.
Noting that the pack always followed department of public health recommend guidelines, Kevin proudly says, “We were definitely able to do some new things.”
Kevin says the pack significantly increased the offered outdoor programming and the kids took full advantage.
“COVID in general affected scouting overall, but I’m happy to report we still had all of our cubs make rank by the end of June. It was phenomenal,” Kevin states. “I’ve had parents come up to me and say, ‘Thank you putting together a program that’s active and inclusive during COVID’ and it’s great.”
Scouting is something Kevin has been involved with for years. Kevin joined when he was a kid and worked his way up to being an eagle scout.
Of his motivation to get back into it when he had kids, he says, “I wanted to give back again and give back to a unit.”
For Kevin, it’s the giving back that is the best part.
“The most rewarding thing is seeing the cubs having fun. If the leaders are doing a good job, the cubs are having fun,” says Kevin.
As an added benefit, Kevin gets to lead the pack while his son is a cub and is able to watch him go through the ranks.
“That has made me really happy,” he says.
Kevin does admit that being a leader is not always easy.
“The most challenging part for me is dealing with the different personalities. It teaches me to be more patient and more diplomatic than I sometimes am,” Kevin explains.
Serving others is some that runs in Kevin’s blood. His father was a firefighter in Philadelphia for close to 30 years, a career Kevin has followed in.
“I saw how much he enjoyed it, the service aspect and teamwork especially,” he says. “I always saw a lot of similarities between scouting and public service, too.”
Kevin has been a firefighter in various locations for close to 25 years and is currently a shift captain for the Mashantucket Pequot Fire and Emergency Services Department.
Kevin grew up in Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia and first moved to the area in 1998 to go to school. After living for a period of time along the shoreline, Kevin and his family settled in Clinton 11 years ago.
“We knew it was a smaller town and the schools were good, had affordable houses, and affordable taxes,” he says. “I think the biggest thing is it’s such a small community and it translates to our pack, too. Everyone knows everyone—it really is like a big family. People are willing to jump in and help here.”
In his spare time Kevin can be found camping, coaching baseball, fishing, and spending time with his wife Samantha, his son Nate (a Bear rank) and Garrett (a soon-to-be Lion rank).