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Thoughts on Shh !!!
Scatacook Helping the Hungry !!!
The Boy Scouts of America has identified a new program: "Good Turn for America".
The program will focus on three areas - food, shelter, and fitness (or to be more alliterative: hunger, housing, health). Among a multitude of programs and projects in the Good Turn Program, Scouting for Food is one existing program being swept up into this new program. But Scouting for Food tends to be a once a year thing for our District.
I've been toying with an idea of having Scatacook District focus on food and helping the hungry. I'd like to see if we can make it part of our culture. So here's my thinking: for those of us fortunate enough to be able to afford it, let's make food donations a part of the fabric of all of our activities and events.
Note: Since this program must be voluntary, and we cannot require people to make the donations (and some of us cannot afford the donations), we must make the collection process non-intrusive: we can't violate anyone's privacy.
Let me give some examples:
1. At the checkin for our Camporees and Klondikes, let's ask each attendee (Scout and Scouter) to bring one can of food or one box of pasta , as the "price of admission". We've done that in the past for Klondikes, to help feed ourselves. Maybe we can do the same thing in the future, to feed others.
2. At each Roundtable, let's ask each attendee to bring one can of food or one box of pasta, as the "price of admission".
3. At each District Committee meeting, let's ask each attendee to bring one can of food or one box of pasta (if they are economically able), as the "price of admission".
Do you catch my drift?
When I mentioned this to a few Scouters, one Scoutmaster jumped on the idea for his Troop: ask each Scout to bring a can or box of food to each Troop meeting through the end of the Scout year, to see how it works. So far, it's been a great success.
Do we want to ask each Troop and each Pack and each Crew to try the same thing? What's the best way of introducing the program to the Units? If the Unit does not want to make a food donation part of every meeting, how about once a month, as part of each campout, or part of each Court of Honor, or each Blue and Gold Dinner???
I will try to bring the same idea to the Council. Think of how much food we can collect if we have 2,500 Scouts and 500 Scouters bring one item of food to the May Extravaganza. We have nearly 1,800 campers at Camp Sequassen over the summer - how much food does that translate into if every person brings just one can or one box of food? While we have fewer Campers at Cub Scout Day Camp, we can still make an impact.
By the way, I don't see this as a substitute for Scouting for Food, but as a supplement to it. But I can be convinced otherwise.
Where do we go from here?
1. I welcome comments from everyone - if you think it's a good idea, let me know. If you think it's a dumb idea - I can handle the criticism.
2. As we go forward, I'd ask for a volunteer to chair the program. This position would be different from the Chair of Scouting for Food. I see it the job as fairly straightforward:
a. Market the idea - publicize it - make sure that every Unit is aware of the program. Help Units sell the idea to their membership. Help the Chair of every District event make the Shh !!! program part of the publicity for the event.
b. Make sure logistics are in place to get donated food for District events transported to area food pantries (Committee Meetings, Roundtable, Camporee, Klondikes). And - did you know that a food pantry is run out of the basement of St. Thomas's Church, where we hold monthly District Committee and Roundtable meetings? Make's some donations pretty easy.
c. Set up a reporting system and keep track of how much food we collect (we can use the Web Site for that, at the macro level).
3. Help publicize the program for immediately upcoming events: May District Committee, May Roundtable, District Pinewood Derby, WLOT, Me and My Shadow.
Writing this memo has been the easy part. But the next steps aren't hard either.
Maybe we CAN make a difference.
Yours in Scouting,
Visitors since 04/15/2004