The hurricanes of this summer and fall don’t often appear in the headlines anymore, but people in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Puerto Rico are still working to recover from wind and flood damage. And of course, Scouts have been deeply involved in recovery efforts. Councils located not far from the disaster areas have organized crews to remove drywall and soggy carpet. Philmont Scout Ranch has sent workers to Sea Base to help restore facilities. And Scouters around the country have opened their wallets to support groups like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
So what you can your troop do? Assuming you’re in Peoria, Pittsburgh, or Portland, it might look like there’s not much you can do that would make a difference.
Fortunately, the BSA has come up with a couple of good options. The first is to donate to the BSA Emergency Assistance Fund, which helps rebuild Scouting in affected communities. The other is to connect directly with a unit in need and to help them replace lost equipment, flags, uniforms, and books. For more on both of these options, visit the BSA’s Disaster Relief web page.
I’m especially intrigued by the idea of units helping units. I think tangible projects like that are more meaningful to Scouts than simply giving money, and I could easily see two troops becoming long-distance brother troops as a result. That said, money is very much needed, and it would be neat for a troop to earmark a portion of popcorn profits, for example, to support the Emergency Assistance Fund.
For all the damage they cause, natural disasters offer us in Scouting the chance to teach what it means to help other people at all times. How are you doing that this season?
Need more great troop program ideas? Check out the new edition of The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook, which is now available in both print and e-book formats at https://www.eaglebook.com/products.htm#scoutmasters.