Pack 323’s Great Rocket Launch Soars to New Heights

In the heart of the Moon Valley community on the north side of Phoenix, Cub Scout Pack 323 has been soaring to new heights for over four decades.

With their unique blend of tradition and community spirit, they have captured the hearts of young Scouts and families, making their mark in the world of Scouting.

Pack 323’s journey began in 1980, mirroring the growth of the Moon Valley neighborhood. Leslie Newell, the Cubmaster of Pack 323, fondly reminisces about the pack’s beginnings, “We try to be an active unit and give back to the community that fosters us so well. We’re a family pack, and the Lookout Mountain Elementary School PTO is our charter organization. It’s a wonderful time.” With 62 registered Scouts and a period of remarkable growth, Pack 323 is thriving!

Every year, the Pack organizes the highly anticipated “Great Rocket Launch.” Over three years, this event has grown from a small gathering to a grand spectacle. Leslie Newell is thrilled to see how the event has evolved., “We had no idea when we started talking about a rocket launch way back in early 2021 that it would turn into such an amazing event.”

The Great Rocket Launch’s third edition saw an impressive turnout, with nearly 80 participants gathering at Coyote Basin Park from dawn until early afternoon. An impressive feat, considering they had to stage four brackets to accommodate the enthusiastic rocketeers.

This year was packed with excitement! The Scouts designed and launched their rockets, and the results were nothing short of spectacular. Newell shares some of the highlights:

  • First-time rocketeers experienced the thrill of launching their creations into the sky.
  • The Scouts showcased incredible creativity with custom paint and design jobs.
  • Some rockets even carried eggs, and scouts had a blast checking for “survivors.”
  • Custom crayon-themed rockets, complete with 3D-printed pieces and wraps, added a splash of color to the event.
  • Chief rocketeer Kris Bliznick wowed the crowd with his custom rocket designs, including some made from dollar-store candy dishes.

Safety First! Organizing such a thrilling event isn’t without its challenges. Months of planning and preparation ensured the Great Rocket Launch went off without a hitch. Safety was a top priority. The event was well-organized, with cones marking designated areas, safety glasses for all participants, and strict adherence to safety rules. Thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers (Kris, Garrett, Bill, Brandon, Craig, Angela, Bob, and Aaron.) who worked tirelessly to ensure the launch ran smoothly. The wind presented an added challenge, but quick thinking and adjustments saved the day.

The variety of rockets at the Great Rocket Launch was astounding. The Scouts built rockets suited to their age and skill levels, offering a diverse display of creativity and innovation. Leslie Newell details their selection:

  • Lions created colorful crayon rockets.
  • Tigers launched egg lofters.
  • Wolves soared with pencil rockets.
  • Bears took to the skies with Nova Payloader rockets.
  • Webelos and AOLs tackled Guardian and Super Neon rockets.

In addition to these kits, Scouts brought their unique designs to life, showcasing their personal touch through custom fin placements, stickers, and imaginative paint jobs.

The third annual Great Rocket Launch was nothing short of exhilarating. Unpredictable winds provided a new dimension of excitement as rockets darted and dipped through the sky. The custom-made “spill holes” in parachutes added an element of suspense, as parachutes opened at the last moment to save the rockets. One particularly memorable moment was the egg-carrying rocket that left everyone in suspense.  

As we conclude, Leslie Newell reflects on her journey as a Cubmaster, “I never expected to be Cubmaster. I never expected to launch a small army of rockets, either! But the joy I’ve felt from being in Scouting, leading Scouts, and staging events that will live large in little memories for perhaps even decades to come certainly has been a privilege.”   

For Leslie and the members of Pack 323, Scouting is all about creating lasting memories and empowering the next generation. With events like the Great Rocket Launch, they continue to inspire. So, if you’re considering adding a rocket launch to your pack’s calendar, Leslie has one piece of advice, “Go for it. It will most definitely be a blast! (And that’s not even close to my worst Cubmaster pun!)”