Troop turns trailer theft into opportunity to give back

April 23: Find an important update to this post, below.

Scouts work hard to save up and purchase gear used for monthly campouts, events and more.

So when Troop 444 of Littleton, Colo., learned that its new trailer filled with about $25,000 worth of equipment had gone missing in late March, the Scouts worked quickly to take action.

The group set up a GoFundMe account and attracted the attention of several local news stations, which broadcasted their story to the central Colorado area.

The response to their misfortune was stunning. And, thanks to this generosity, these Scouts are paying it forward to other units in need.

Here’s how. 

Boulder, Colorado-based brand Kelty donated $25,000 worth of camping equipment to the troop, including backpacks, tents and more. Another retailer, Bass Pro, donated a $5,000 gift card. One family gifted the troop with a massive, brand-new trailer and others in the area chipped in with cash — totaling more than $3,500!

After they received such an outpouring of gifts from their community, the boys in the troop were shocked when police located their original trailer with only $2,500 worth of gear missing. And Bass Pro, Kelty and the generous donors didn’t want their gifts returned.

Faced with an overflow of gear and cash, it didn’t take long for the Scouts to once again take action. Except this time, they were the ones helping those in need. The troop has adopted a Denver unit that will receive a trailer, gear and money to support their Scouting activities. The Denver Area Council will also disperse excess gear to other units with specific needs.

It’s pretty awesome to hear how this troop not only made the best out of a bad situation, but they’ve found a way to share their good fortune with others.

Keep it up, Troop 444!

In response to your comments, I reached out to Mark Moshier, team leader of the BSA’s Fund Development Department/Fundraising, for some clarification. His response is straightforward: Only the local council has the authority to solicit funds in the name of the BSA. The Unit Money Earning Application provides a great source for guidance on permissible fundraising activities and is available from your local council or online at this link (PDF)

This troop not only provided us with a great learning opportunity, but also an example of how to turn a bad situation into a way to do something good. —Gretchen Sparling