This is a great start to what sounds like it could be quite a scary story. It will be interesting to see where it leads. I believe you would hook young readers with this first chapter as they would want to read not only the ghost stories told around the campfire but also find out what is happening or perhaps lurking in the meadow. The "Dark Forest of Shadows" is a great name, it illicits a feeling of impending doom.
Just a couple of things I noted:
At the beginning of the second paragraph Mr Rodgers was going (to) give the special activity. The word (to) is missing. This sentence needs some clarification. Where is the special activity? At cub scouts? Or is the special activity the camping trip and they are just having an organisational discussion about the special activity? Sorry but I did not feel this was clear?
When Mr Rodgers is talking to the Ranger it seems a big jump from "chuckled" to suddenly being "rather annoyed" after only one brief protest from the Ranger. Perhaps they could have a slightly longer discussion/argument.
"Once upon a time" is not a strong opening sentence structure to a story, it is too over used and usually not recommended. Consider starting with something like "Malcom Rodgers was a ten year old cub scout member of the Webelos Tribe along with his four friends, Nicky, Johnny, Mark and Frankie."
"The boys got out of the van." Use a stronger/better word than got. Think about how they got out? Did they climb out? clamber? push each other with excitement etc
Mr.. Rodgers (delete the 2nd period)
Joey, Nicky, Mark, and Frankie - At the beginning you said the name Johnny, now in paragraph 7 he is Joey? Make sure the names are consistent.
summit,, (delete the 2nd coma)
Please consider my feedback as purely optional. Take on board whatever you like and feel free to trash anything you don't like.
Overall, it is a wonderful beginning to a great story and has great potential for a fascinating read. I look forward to reading more of this story.
This review was made by a member of Showering Acts of Joy. I hope my comments are helpful. Thanks for sharing your writing with me. Keep writing, keep smiling and have fun.