You’re never too young to start a habit of serving others.
That’s the powerful example being set by a Cub Scout den in Pack 41 of Billings, Mont., part of the BSA’s Montana Council. These 9-year-olds have shown a devotion to community service that’s truly inspiring.
They call it Service Saturdays. On one Saturday morning each month, the members of the Bear den (and their parents) gather to give back.
They’ve hosted a bingo game at a nursing home, planted trees, made sandwiches for the homeless and much more. One act of selflessness each month, every month.
“These experiences have strengthened our den,” says Monica Hill, their den leader. “We see all the good things we can do with our time and energy.”
How they do it
This all began when Hill and her fellow parents began working out a den calendar and realized that several of the boys participate in sports. They have practices during the week and games on Saturday afternoons.
“We decided we could do service activities on Saturday mornings,” she says. “That way our den could stay connected with each other and our community.”
With that mandate from the families in her den, Hill became the den’s “superintendent of service” — a title I just made up but that seems entirely fitting.
Hill spends time calling local nonprofits and businesses to “ask if my group of energetic 9-year-old boys can come do service.”
Who would say no to that? So far, nobody has.
The nursing home was so thrilled that they asked the den if they’d visit several times a year.
What the Cub Scouts think
Do the Bears mind giving up a Saturday morning of Minecraft and cartoons to participate in a service project?
Not only do they not mind; the boys love it.
“They love getting together, no matter the activity,” Hill says. “They are excited about everything I sign them up for.”
In the coming months, the Bears will paint over graffiti in a bike tunnel, clean out horse stalls at a barn and paint fingernails for residents at a nursing home.
While the Bears see these projects as fun and new activities with their friends, Hill understands the deeper meaning.
“Kids are often underestimated,” she says. “They need to be shown how to be part of a community. They need to know that they have the ability to make a difference. Scouting provides all of these opportunities.”