Throughout the history of the Boy Scouts of America, you will find a continuing theme of service to others. That concept has been carefully baked into our DNA for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, we seek to instill in young people the concept that service to others – without expectation of reward – is part of being a good citizen. And I’m proud that through Eagle Scout service projects, Scouting for Food and numerous other activities, Scouting makes a remarkable impact on the communities we serve.
We have seen some really creative Scout service projects in our communities recently, including: a peace pole erected by Scouts near the train station in Tamaqua, Penn.; working with a national soft drink company to set up plastic bottle recycling bins at a county fairground near Newnan, Ga.; Scouts from Stafford, Va. traveling to restore coral reefs off the coast of a Caribbean island; and moving tons of rock to help prevent soil erosion near Santa Clara, N.M.
But these communities and the countless others we serve are not the only ones that benefit from such projects. Those doing the work also stand to gain. When our youth engage in service activities, they learn peer leadership and teamwork, and they see the results of their labor and what it means for others. Plus, there is a unique bonding that happens when working together on projects that help others. When you labor together, you truly get to know others’ strengths, skills and talents in a very different fashion.
Last week, before our leadership team meeting, our management staff participated in a day of service at BSA Camp Wisdom in the Dallas area. Camp ranger Dan Minnick welcomed us and proudly showed off his great camp and then told us of its history. We then built chapel benches, installed them and hauled away the old ones. It wasn’t a huge project, but we got hot, sweaty, muddy and we had a lot of fun. More important, though, I know the bonding and fellowship we experienced will be more fulfilling, enduring and life-impacting than what we would have achieved by participating in most other types of team-building activities.
I’m interested to hear about some of your most memorable service projects and the results you achieved. Where have you made an impact by helping others?