One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the spirit of generosity that never fails to show out in full force. It just seems like the brisk air and long, dark, twinkly nights are synonymous with giving. In true alignment with the season and with the values of Scouting, This year, just like in years past, Scout Shops across the country are participating in Giving Trees.
The Giving Trees are in each Scout Shop and work just like the classic “Angel Tree,” but for Scouting! The tickets are designed to benefit Scouts who need a helping hand in purchasing their uniform and Scout gear. You can find a Giving Tree near you at your local Scout Shop.
This annual event started with one person’s spark of an idea that she had while participating in Wood Badge. While she was attending, she noticed instances where leaders were not in full uniform for ceremonies, and she also noticed that these leaders seemed to hang back toward the back and participate less.
She started to connect some dots and knew that if adults reacted and felt that way, that kids must feel that way too. She decided to do something about it, so that no one would feel excluded just because of a financial roadblock. In her words, she “wanted young people to get the most out of our program.”
Enter in the Wood Badge ticket she wrote down: “Scout Shop Giving Trees.” Her original intention was to have one in each of the stores in her region, but when other leaders heard the idea, it blew up. Now, for the fifth year in a row, all local Scout Shops, plus some council stores have Giving Trees in the stores.
In true Boy Scouts of America form, Scout families are always ready to Do A Good Turn. Not only are people ready and willing to give to Scouts who need some supplies, but there is also a consistent group of volunteers, members and customers who do a “final sweep” to make sure that any tickets left are taken care of so no Scout is left behind.
If you are looking to get involved and to spread the gift of generosity, find your nearest Scout Shop and pick up a ticket. If you know a Scout who could use a Giving Tree ticket, talk to your local leaders and council members this month.
Cheers to the season of giving and to each of the hearts that each gift brings so much joy to. May each of our hearts be filled by sharing generosity with our communities this year!