If money talks, this gesture by some Scouts in Washington speaks volumes.
The youth leaders in Troop 400 wanted to find a way to welcome Troop 440, a new Scouts BSA troop for girls. These are separate troops but share a chartered organization: Redeemer Lutheran Church in Spokane Valley, Wash.
The Troop 400 patrol leaders’ council voted to donate $1,000 of their troop funds to help Troop 440 get off the ground.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” says Zach Runolfson, senior patrol leader. “There were Scouts in need, and we were in a position to help them out.”
The funds will help Troop 440 buy uniforms, gear and supplies so they can start strong and grow.
Emily Breeding, senior patrol leader of Troop 440, thanked her fellow Scouts for their generosity.
“Your actions remind me that a Scout is a friend to all,” she told Troop 400. “A Scout is a brother to other Scouts. You guys keep showing everyone what it means to be a Scout.”
Scout-led troop, Scout-led decision
Troop 400 is a boy-led troop. All decisions, even the one about donating $1,000 to another Scout unit, come from the boys. The adults serve as advisers, and their advice on this idea? Go for it.
Their former Scoutmaster, Terry Fossum of Kicking & Screaming fame, was so impressed that he shared the news with me.
Troop 400’s current Scoutmaster was pretty much in awe, too.
“We try to teach these boys to serve first, and sometimes we wonder if it sinks in,” Robert Blegen says. “However, it is clear that focus on others — the ‘help other people at all times’ in the Scout Oath — is part of this troop’s DNA.”
More about the Scouts’ decision
Joshua Hall, patrol leader of the Phoenix Patrol, offers some more insight into the troop’s thinking.
“The decision to give the girls’ troop funds was not an immediate yes or no vote,” he says. “We made sure that every Scout there was informed on whatever information that we might need to make our decision.”
After all the Scouts knew how the funds would be used — and that they were allowed to use the funds in this way — they took a vote.
The tally, Joshua tells me, was an almost unanimous “yes.”
The adult perspective
Eric Lobdell, chartered organization representative for both troops, applauded the boys’ decision.
“The church’s senior pastor and our executive officer were both thrilled with the prospect of the boys’ troop passing funds to the new girls’ troop to help them get started,” he says. “It is a wonderful act of generosity and truly speaks to the values that Scouting has long instilled in young men — and now young women, too.”
Kevin Hall is committee chairman of Troop 400 and Troop 440. He calculated how much money Troop 440 initially would need but wasn’t present when the Troop 400 patrol leaders’ council made its decision.
“I was blown away,” he says. “They decided to give more than what I presented as our immediate startup costs. It is evident they wanted to see the new girls’ troop succeed.”