Once you open your eyes to the power of the Scout Slogan, you’ll start seeing opportunities to “Do a Good Turn Daily” everywhere you look.
For proof, look no further than A.J. Blevins, who showed remarkable kindness on a recent trip with his family to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
On Memorial Day weekend, A.J., a First Class Scout in Troop 149 of Mariemont, Ohio (Dan Beard Council), was preparing to climb to the park’s highest point with his dad, Adam.
But on the steep half-mile walking path to the top of Clingmans Dome, A.J. noticed something that concerned him.
An older man, who appeared to be alone, was walking slowly toward the top. He seemed to wobble a bit as he made his way along. Most people would’ve just continued walking. Most people, in fact, probably didn’t even notice this man at all.
But A.J. isn’t like most people. He’s a Scout. And so A.J. told his dad that they should go over and ask the man if he needed any assistance.
“We should always ask if people need help,” A.J. says. “Sometimes they won’t ask for it themselves.”
And so began a wonderful tale of compassion and kindness — a true story that should remind us all to slow down, take life one step at a time and help others in need.
Friendly and courteous
A.J. and Adam learned the man’s name, Dave, and age, 69. Dave hadn’t climbed Clingmans Dome since he was 8 and reached the top on a trip with his parents and little sister.
Wanting to make sure Dave reached his goal, A.J. and Adam offered to walk with him.
At first, Dave protested, warning that he was slow and might not even make it to the top.
“We’re not in a hurry,” Adam told Dave.
As they walked, A.J. and Adam kept Dave talking, hoping that friendly conversation would make the journey smoother and each step easier. The pace was choppy — with breaks taken every 50 feet or so — but the conversation flowed.
Dave told them about his love of Christian music, his passion for nature and his time in Scouting as a young man. He was a Life Scout.
A.J. shared that he’s serving as patrol leader of the Orion Patrol and wants to become a troop guide.
Adam, who was a Cub Scout as a boy in Cincinnati, told Dave that he’s an assistant Scoutmaster and proud alumnus of Wood Badge, the training program for adult leaders.
Reaching the top
Step by step, break by break, the group of three made its way to the top.
And then, there it was — the observation tower. The 45-foot-high structure, built in 1959, offers unrivaled views of the national park.
Dave, overcome with emotion, called it a miracle. Smiling ear to ear, Dave told A.J. and Adam that he wouldn’t have made it to the top without their help.
They walked up the ramp together and enjoyed the view. After soaking it in, they began their descent.
Back at the parking lot, Adam and Dave realized they had parked right next to each other. They exchanged contact information and made plans to meet the next time Dave was in Cincinnati.
Looking back on that day now, Adam says he’s inspired by his son’s kindness. After all, it was A.J. who first decided to approach Dave to ask if he needed any help.
“The best thing about Scouting is the people,” Adam says. “Sometimes, the adults are the role models, but adults are always learning from the youth as well. I’m always amazed at the kindness and creativity of Scouts.”
Adam says sometimes his Scouts will say to him, “Mr. Blevins, what was your Good Turn today?”
“That speaks volumes about the value of the program,” Adam says.
As for A.J., he just hopes that by sharing his story, more people want to do good deeds and help others.
“It’s important that we show leadership by helping others,” he says. “Be kind to everyone, no matter who they are!”
Thanks to Julie Whitaker of the Dan Beard Council for the blog post idea.