Nate Stafford is saving lives one net at a time (and did I mention he’s just 13?)

Nate Stafford isn’t your typical 13-year-old.

While other kids his age worry about saving up for the next must-have video game, Nate has a loftier goal: saving lives, one bed net at a time.

This month, the teenage Boy Scout reached his goal of raising $10,000 to purchase 1,000 life-saving nets. The insecticide-treated nets are crucial in the fight against malaria in Africa.

Today, Nate was honored by the U.N. Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign and the Boy Scouts of America (partners since 2010) during a special reception at the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Tex.

Ever since I first heard about Nate on World Malaria Day in April, he’s impressed me — and countless others — with his maturity and dedication toward reaching his goal.

And he did it all while juggling schoolwork, sports, Scouting, summer camp, last summer’s national jamboree, family vacations, and more.

After all, he’s just a kid.

But listen to him speak, and you’ll want to see his birth certificate to be sure. Just consider this quote from his speech today:

“Some people said I couldn’t raise $10,000,” he told us. “But you know what? I did. And I hope this will inspire others to put their own ideas into action.”

Color me impressed. And I wasn’t the only one.

BSA Chief Operating Officer Wayne Brock (above, left) pointed out that Nate is exactly the kind of young man that Scouting helps develop. And as for Nate’s age? “I would’ve thought he was 25, 30,” Brock joked.

Nate was the star of the show today. But another message emerged: It doesn’t take a big step to make a big difference.

That was exactly Nothing But Nets Director Chris Helfrich’s point. Helfrich (above, center) just returned from delivering nets to Cameroon and saw firsthand the importance of a simple $10 net.

“By contributing $10, anyone — from a Boy Scout to a CEO — can save a life,” he said.

Find out how your pack, troop, team, or crew can get involved by clicking here.

And don’t miss the chance to hear Nate discuss Nothing But Nets in the video below.

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.