At Thanksgiving time, one would expect to see many words written about what a wonderful time it is to reflect on what we truly are thankful for: our families, friends and the things we value most. This year, however, I’ll leave that to others, and pass on the story of a new Cub Scout friend of mine, Spencer Richard.
I don’t want to speak for Spencer, so I am including a recent speech he gave about why service is so important to him. After spending time with Spencer and his family, all I can say is I am thankful — thankful that our program has allowed amazing young men like Spencer to spread their wings and give service to their communities in unbelievably inspiring ways. What you will see below is just part of Spencer’s community service resume. It is one that would likely be an aspirational vision for much older Scouts, Venturers and adults.
Without Scouting, I’m sure some of what Spencer has inside of him would have come out, but Scouting has allowed it to flourish at an age that is remarkable.
I hope that your family has a blessed Thanksgiving, and thank you all for providing leadership to create inspiring stories like this one. Your dedication is appreciated, and I truly am thankful for all of our Scouting leaders.
Hello, my name is Spencer Richard and I am 10 years old. When I was in the 2nd grade, we did a project with another school using Skype. It was called the Kind Kids Club. We did nice things for each other and our school.
After we finished this project, I decided I wanted to do more nice things so I asked my mom if I could start a club of my own. I called it Making Smiles. The purpose of my club is to make people smile. The way we do this is thru service projects. Some of my projects have been:
- Collecting cans of food for the food shelter and backpack program (which we are doing right now).
- Making police survival kits to let our officers know how much we love them.
- Creating an Easter egg hunt at my church for our Shepherd table meal.
- Making cards and giving out cookies at the nursing home.
- Hosting a bake sale to collect donations for shoes for kids in Guatemala.
- Making activity bags for my church worship service.
- Filling backpacks for the homeless through Operation Backpack.
- Making care packages for kids who are sick.
- And we are hoping to sponsor an angel tree for Christmas or adopt several families.
I wanted to do something for my school though. My mom showed me this idea on the internet to do a bench that people could come sit on if they needed a friend. They didn’t have to tell anyone why they wanted to sit on the bench and they didn’t have to have a reason why they wanted to sit there. They just had to sit down and a classmate could see them and come ask them to play.
I liked the idea, so we started collecting money to purchase the benches. Donations were made from my Scout troop, my church and family and friends. Once we had what we thought was enough money, my mom contacted Scott Triplett with Advantage Signs. He donated the benches to me for just the cost of the supplies.
To create the design that is on the back of the benches, I got the whole school involved. I had them draw pictures of what being a friend meant to them and what the buddy bench was all about. From those drawings, I selected my favorites.
The benches were able to be installed in early March, so my school decided to dedicate the month of March as Stop Bullying Month in my honor. Since being installed, I have seen a lot of kids using the benches and making new friends on the playground. I also have sat with kids on the benches and made new friends.
My club motto is: A simple act of kindness can change a life forever. Please be sure and look me up on Facebook. We are always looking for new smiling faces and people that want to help!!