Troop 1941 is making their mark in and around the Tri-State area. This new Boy Scout Troop in Ashburn, VA has placed a focus on being a "troop of excellence." The boys have adopted a troop motto of "Where I Choose.." (promoting the fact that the boys plan and run the troop, with adult guidance).
The boys decided that every December they will focus on a "Service/Award" theme. This year they decided to help the homeless in DC. On a Friday evening in December they all met together and each brought an item for their giveaway bags. The 100 bags included a sandwich, water, garbage bag, scarf/mittens and a candy cane. They took a few hours to assemble them and also create handmade Christmas cards to go with them. Hours later they were ready to go.
Saturday morning they drove two vehicles into DC. The first two parks they visited were empty. They quickly became concerned that they would be eating sandwiches for weeks. Then they rolled up on 2 parks with approximately 600 people each. The adult leaders kept the crowd controlled while the boys distributed the bags. Every boy had "deer in the headlights" eyes. This was an overwhelming but very beneficial experience for these boys.
The cutest moment was when one of our scouts offered a meal bag, candy cane and Christmas card to a gentleman. The man took the bag and candy cane but asked, "Buddy, will you hold onto that card for me?" The scout held onto it tight. When one of the older boys asked him why he was holding onto a card he informed them that he was holding it for a man that is coming back for it. The older scout politely informed the scout that the man wasn't coming back, he just didn't want it, sweet innocence of a young scout.
Once they ran out of bags (we had a few cards left over) a woman came up and said, "I know you are out of bags but can I have one of these Christmas cards? That is all I want." This made the boys feel good that they spent the time making them.
After distributing their bags in DC, they gathered at a parents home to work on a Merit Badge, then bake Christmas cookies and cook dinner for their families. Later the families (parents and siblings) joined them for dinner, crafts and games. This was a nice "holiday" reward after a great day of service.
The boys have asked the adults to amend their current year calendar to include this service again at Easter time. They have already decided they will be increasing their bags to 400 and this time to include Easter Eggs.
I hope this article encourages your troops to find their special giving niche and to not be afraid to "shake it up, a bit".