Scouting Around: A Scout is Helpful

Coming off the heels of Halloween, a holiday when many youth go from person to person collecting as much candy as they can, it seems appropriate that we turn toward Thanksgiving, a time to express our gratitude for the blessings we have, and a time to think of others in need. In Scouting, we undertake service to the community in many ways. We may organize a work project to help our Charter Organization, clean up a community park, remove invasive species, collect food for local food pantries or clothing for those in need. Council wide projects like Scouting for Food help to reinforce the idea that a Scout is Helpful, and service expectations are built into rank advancement at most levels. Indeed, many schools and religious institutions expect a commitment to service and ask youth to document their work. How can you help insure that service and helpfulness is a part of your Scout’s experience?

Any parent can step forward and offer to organize service opportunities for the Den, Pack, Troop or Crew. As winter settles in, need becomes abundant. Ringing bells for the Salvation Army, helping with a Thanksgiving meal program, raking leaves for an elderly neighbor, collecting food and clothing for local shelters, collecting toys for those less fortunate, visiting with senior citizens in long term care facilities or sending cards with well wishes and many other projects can engage our Scouts and provide much needed service. Each Pack, Troop or Crew should consider ways to live our values and to be Helpful throughout the year. It teaches the importance of thinking about the needs of others and of the impact of personal action to reach out and help another person. It helps instill the value of community and the responsibility we each have to be part of a caring community, a building block for good citizenship. Moreover, it is rewarding and fun! After all, Scouting should be fun and engaging. This is an opportunity to spend time with your Scout and his or her fellow Scouts, to model helpfulness and to bring our Scout Law and Oath to life.

As our new Scouts struggle to learn and remember the words of our Scout Law and Scout Oath, experience can be a powerful teacher. We must look for other ways to teach the points of the Scout Law through example and involvement. As we gather to celebrate our blessings this Thanksgiving season, I hope we can share our good fortune, our strong bodies and minds, our time and talent with others, both for our own personal enrichment and for the sake of other people on behalf of Scouting. After all, it’s the Law!

Paul Shrode

The thirteenth in a series designed to help Scout families, Scouts and those new to Scouting better understand what Scouting is, how it works, and how to get the most out of the experience. For past articles, see back issues of The Guide.