How one couple cultivated Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts at Lipscomb Elementary

When Bill Dieterich’s 13-year-old son, Ben, entered Lipscomb Elementary eight years ago, they went to Cub Scouts join-up night.

“It was just me, my son and one other boy,” he says.

But Dieterich, who was a Boy Scout while growing up in Irving, wanted his sons to grow up in scouting. So he took the lead and formed a Cub Scout pack, which eventually grew to six boys the first year. They mostly tagged along with the Cub Scouts at Mount Auburn Elementary School that year.

But now, with Dieterich’s 11-year-old son, Jackson, going into sixth grade, Pack 42 includes almost 50 boys and 20 adult volunteers. Plus, Dieterich and his wife, Sarah, have started a Junior Girl Scouts troop.

And their meetings are creative.

Recently, they had a night of Harry Potter-themed activities, including a “sorting hat” rigged with a two-way radio inside, a game of the fictional sport quidditch, and a potions class in which the kids got to mix and make chemical reactions.

“It was the talk of the school the next day,” Bill Dieterich says. “And that just brings in more Cub Scouts the next year.”

Scouting teaches kids to follow directions, work as a team, serve the community, and think for themselves, he says.

“I wanted to keep my kids out of trouble,” he says. “I’ve never heard of a gang member that used to be a Boy Scout.”

And the Scout groups encourage parents to be involved as well, Lipscomb principal Yolanda Gonzalez says.

The Deiterichs won’t have any more kids at Lipscomb next year. When school starts back in August, it will be the first time in 25 years that the graduated fifth graders from Lipscomb will start as sixth graders at J.L. Long Middle School. The school had been prekindergarten through third grade since the ’80s. But some neighborhood parents had been reluctant to send their kids there because after third grade, they were sent to Eduardo Mata Elementary School for fourth and fifth grades before moving to Long for sixth grade.

“Parents like having the continuity of having one school for all of elementary school,” Gonzalez says.

So two years ago, the school retained its graduating third graders over to fourth grade, and this year they had fifth graders for the first time in years.

Recently, the Cub Scout pack raised $180 to place two stone lions — Lipscomb’s mascot — at the entry of Lipscomb to symbolize the transition from Lipscomb to Long.

Dieterich, who also started a Cub Scouts pack at Mata when his older son was a student there, is moving on to help out with Boy Scouts Troop 325 at Long. Sarah Dieterich will stay on one more year to help organize the Scouts groups at Lipscomb.

But they’ve created a scouting tradition at the school.

“They’ve trained young parents to get involved,” Gonzalez says. “So they’re passing the reins.”

— Rachel Stone

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