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Columns

St. Charles Park District: Scout out good times at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center

Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, 3795 Campton Hills Drive, St, Charles, offers an array of scouting activities.
Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, 3795 Campton Hills Drive, St, Charles, offers an array of scouting activities.

Scouting can be an important part of the life of a young boy or girl, and programs at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in St. Charles can help children involved in Cub Scouts or Girl Scouts achieve their scouting goals.

Through innovative and entertaining activities that meet their program’s curriculum criteria, scouting programs at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center can cover everything from insects to the environment, recycling to restoration, and let Scouts traverse the diverse terrain around the Discovery Center as they learn about woods, wildlife and everything in between.

Girls and boys from kindergarten and first grade through fourth or fifth grades can participate in Daisy, Brownie or Junior level programs for the Girl Scouts and as Lion, Tiger, Wolf or Bear Cubs and Webelos in Cub Scouts.

Along the way, they will work toward definable goals in various areas of expertise.

Cub Scouts pursue merit badges, while Girl Scouts complete leadership Journeys.

Naturalist assistance for individual Girl Scouts working on Bronze, Silver or Gold awards or Boy Scouts striving for Eagle Scout rank can also be arranged at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center.

“We are happy to work with each organization to provide the program content they need,” said Laura McCoy, nature programs supervisor at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center.

“We’ll provide real hands-on examples of the kinds of things that are happening in their own backyards, and if they encounter the things they see here at Hickory Knolls on campouts or other field trips, they’ll hopefully have a little more knowledge about how to understand and relate to them.”

By having a troop or a den meeting at Hickory Knolls, Scouts and Scout leaders not only get to enjoy an entertaining change of scenery from their usual venues, but they also get to apply practical knowledge gained through their specific program work while hiking or exploring the center’s grounds and amenities.

“We typically spend an hour inside doing hands-on activities but a lot of the Scout program requirements specify an outdoor hike as part of the program, so troops and dens will schedule extra time for that, too,” McCoy said.

“That flows very well for the Scout leader and allows the Scouts to work on a couple of additional things that might go above and beyond the specific program requirements.”

Scouting adventures can be arranged in one of two ways. Scout leaders can schedule a guided program conducted by Hickory Knolls staff. These typically last for one hour and cost $50 for 15 Scouts. The programs are offered after school on Mondays through Fridays, Thursday evenings and on select weekends. The second option is to arrange for a self-guided program. Curriculum and materials for each program can be used on- or off-site for a 24-hour period at a cost of $15.

“There is a real benefit to a scout troop or Cub Scout den leader in working with us at Hickory Knolls for these science-based activities and experiences,” McCoy said.

“We can provide a turnkey checklist of required activities for Cub Scout badge achievements and adapt programs to fit Girl Scout requirements for their Journeys.”

To schedule an adventure or to find out more about the scouting program activities at Hickory Knolls, call Laura McCoy at 630-513-4393.

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