Cans

Mark Webber, scout master for Boy Scout Troop 4 in Mankato, says the troop is out roughly $500 from the theft of aluminum cans from three collection corrals around town. The scouts use the money raised to help fund trips to Camp Cuyuna in northern Minnesota.

Thanks to some area thieves, a few local Boy Scouts might need to tweak their motto a little.

Instead of simply “Be prepared,” they might want to add, “Be prepared ... to pay your own way to camp.”

The scouts in Troop 4 got a lesson recently that not everyone abides by ideals such as “honor,” or “integrity,” or “honesty.” Because when they checked their aluminum can collection corrals, three of the four had been pilfered.

“It’s probably our primary fundraising besides the pancake and spaghetti feasts and hot dog sales that we do,” said Mark Webber, Troop 4’s scout master.

It started several months ago, Webber said, when cans started disappearing. They’ve got four collections spots around the area, and all but one has been looted.

Collection spots at the downtown Mankato Hy-Vee, near the old Bandana Brewery, and near the Lor Ray Deli each have been hit. Their corral near Westwood Marina has not been hit yet. In each case, Webber says, the bins were about full.

What’s lost, you ask? It’s just a few cans, you say?

“We use it for going to Camp Cuyuna,” Webber said. “The boys go up there for a week.”

Every boy gets an opportunity to break apart the bags and do their part in turning them in for the cash. Whichever scout does the work gets the money and uses that money to fund their trip to camp.

Cuyuna, in north-central Minnesota, is a true Boy Scout’s paradise. The Twin Valley Council owns the property and provides scouts with as much fishing, swimming, archery and camping as they can squeeze into seven days.

Webber estimates the loss to their fundraising efforts to be about $500.

To avoid theft in the future, they’ve been picking up the cans more often. But they’re resigned to a sad fact of life, one they’ve used as a teaching tool for the 21 kids that make up Troop 4: No amount of preparedness can keep a determined thief from stealing, even if it is from the Boy Scouts.

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