Kids hold on to baby chicks on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, during the annual Forest Park Cub Scout Pack 109 Scales and Tales event at the Howard Mohr Community Center in Forest Park, Ill. | ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer

Kids and their families gathered at Mohr Community Center, 7640 W. Jackson Blvd. on the evening of Sept. 22 to see some zoo animals and find out what Forest Park Pack 109 Cub Scouts have to offer.

Pack leader Steve Rummel, who also serves on the Forest Park School District 91 Board of Education, said Snails and Tails has been their biggest recruitment event for the past few years. He and the other pack leaders estimated that around 60-70 people attended it this year, which put them well in line with the average attendance. Rummel said they were pleased to see many kids express interest in scouting. 

Pack 109 is open to kids in kindergarten through fifth grade. The pack is divided into “dens” based on grade level. Scouts learn outdoor skills, go on camping trips and take part in volunteer activities and events. 

The pack organizes Snails and Tails with the help of the Kiwanis Club of Forest Park. Rummel said all animals at the events are domesticated, and the exact animals brought each year vary based on where they are in their breeding cycles and other conditions. He emphasized the families in attendance didn’t necessarily have to be interested in scouting, but they were always happy to answer any questions. 

While Snails and Tails took a year off in 2020 due to the pandemic, it returned in 2021, and the number of attendees matched what they had before. 

In an interview before the event, Rummel said that 70 people – 40 kids and 30 parents and guardians – registered for the Sept. 22 event. 

“It was a popular event before COVID-19,” Rummel said. “I think [in 2021] we had similar numbers. I think people were really ready to get back out. This year, it’s the same thing.”