When Adam Grau, Scoutmaster of Troop 007 in Blaine, Minn., went to his senior patrol leader and patrol leaders’ council with the opportunity to conduct a rather daunting service project in exchange for a donation, the Scouts had just one objection: They wouldn’t accept the donation.
“They felt a good deed should be done without payment,” says Grau. “They felt to fulfill their oath — that a Scout will help other people at all times — they shouldn’t be paid.”
A resident in their community had come to the troop asking for a rather large favor: After the death of one of their family members, they found themselves tasked with removing 57 years’ worth of belongings from a house in a relatively short time.
The troop had already planned an outing for that day. They were going to work on the Archery merit badge. But no matter. When duty calls, Scouts answer. With enthusiasm.
“We took this project because that’s what Scouts do,” says Drew Mazurek, Troop 007’s SPL. “We help the community and make sure people have what they need.”
Massive moving projects in general can be intimidating, scary jobs. Moving after 57 years in the same house, while still mourning the death of a loved one? I can’t imagine.
The Scouts of Troop 007 didn’t just tackle the project head on. They tackled it with unbridled optimism and good cheer. They recruited adult leaders and family members to help. They sang songs as they removed items from the house bucket-brigade style.
They found themselves amazed at some of the vintage items they were carrying, like an 8-track tape player and an old breadbox.
“I really enjoyed watching the boys marvel at all the old technology,” says Mitch Ristine, Troop 007’s chartering organization representative.
The family was so touched by the troop’s act of kindness that they wrote this letter:
On behalf of our entire family, I want to thank you for coming to my parents’ house and moving 57 years’ worth of family “treasures” out of their basement. This was a daunting task and the troop members, the troop leaders and parents took the task to heart with smiles, laughter, fun and enthusiasm. I could not have asked for a better group to work with, nor a better outcome. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Character … built
Someday, the troop will finally get to that Archery merit badge. But it won’t be this month. They’ve had to reschedule again, this time to make room for a service project that will benefit their chartering organization: the Blaine Festival Planning Committee.
The troop is going to clean up the park where the event is held every year, removing debris and leveling areas of the grounds.
“We’ve worked with most of these youth since they were in kindergarten,” says Grau. “We talk about a Scout being helpful and kind. We talk about the meaning of taking an oath to help other people at all times. You never know when they are listening.
“But they must have been, because these Scouts were presented with an opportunity to help someone and fulfill the oath they take, and they didn’t hesitate. It feels like validation that the program does indeed forge moral character, and frankly, that makes the world a better place. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Click/tap and drag the slider to see the basement before and after the Scouts worked their magic.