This is the time of year when millions of Americans gather and prepare feasts to express gratitude and celebrate the realization that we have a lot to be thankful for. For me, that usually inspires me to think about our volunteers, youth, families, partners and professionals – all of whom make up the foundation of our Scouting movement.
Yet this year, I am also thankful for something that is hard to explain in words, but also hard to ignore at many Scouting gatherings, events and even social media posts. I call it momentum.
Within the Boy Scouts of America, we are witnessing momentum in our movement that is inspiring and exciting. From welcoming nearly 65,000 girls in Cub Scouts to realizing that changes we have made are making Scouting something that more time-pressed families are able to do together because it is a foundational experience for their sons and daughters. As fall turns to winter, we are seeing the culmination of service projects from packs, troops, crews and ships nationwide, just as we begin to feel the buzz and excitement build ahead of February as hundreds of leaders are taking steps to stand up troops to welcome even more Scouts into Scouts BSA.
Just last week it became clear to me that the momentum we are feeling is also palpable in Scouting communities around the world. Scouting organizations like ours in the 169 countries that belong to the World Organization of the Scout Movement are also seeing enthusiasm for the power and values of Scouting. Scouts all over the world are living out the principles of the Scout Oath and Law as they come together to take on some of the most challenging issues facing the global community. From helping support communities plagued by conflict to identifying ways to address resource scarcity, Scouts worldwide have officially tallied over one billion hours of service, and now have set out to do even more, pledging four billion hours by 2030.
That ambitious goal is important; because we live in a world that needs Scouting more than ever.
In a world that is devolving into conflict, we must rise to a higher expectation and find a way to come together.
At a time when it is easy to hide from problems behind a screen, we have to choose to be brave and take action to improve and support our communities.
In a moment when we could be tempted to focus on how many things we can accumulate, we must remember that service is the greatest gift that we give – both to others and ourselves.
We simply must harness the power of this moment and build on it every chance we get because we know that the values and leadership skills taught through Scouting are important for children today and for the leaders we need to move us forward tomorrow.
We should look at the gift of momentum with gratitude and vow not to squander the opportunity to do good in the world.
This moment is too important to our organization, to our members, our communities, our country, and yes, the world, too.
Yours in Scouting,