Submitted by Pacific Harbors Council, Boy Scouts of America.
TACOMA – Thousands of Scouts from the Pacific Harbors Council, Boy Scouts of America will be fanning out across the South Sound in the coming months to perform community service projects aimed at improving the quality of life from Federal Way to Chehalis and from the Washington coast to the Cascade foothills. It’s called the “Summer of Service” and they will be joined by tens of thousands of other Scouts across the state in this national campaign to make a difference and to do good deeds as local communities start to open back up after more than a year of COVID restrictions.
Doing Good Deeds
“Our Scouts normally do community projects as part of their Scouting experience,” said Karen Meier, Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Harbors Council. “This year is different as people’s lives have been put on hold because of the pandemic. The past 12 months have disrupted many of the normal rhythms of work, school, home and Scouting in our society. Virtual work and learning via the Internet have bridged many basic gaps; but virtual Scout Meetings and activities can only go so far.
It is hoped that by planning and delivering on a commitment to others, our young people will become invigorated and promote solidarity as a local team and pride and purpose as individuals continuing their Scouting experience,” said Meier. Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturers, Sea Scouts and Explorer groups will all participate.
The Scouts will be concentrating their service projects on four main areas:
- Health and Wellness
- Neighbors in Need
- Local Communities
Health and Wellness
Scout training and education teaches young people to strive for a healthy lifestyle. That is especially important as we navigate through the COVID pandemic. Along with a focus on our personal health and wellness during times like these, our Scouts will reach outward with projects that range from teaching CPR to conducting local blood drives.
Service projects related to sustainability and the environment are ways our young people can engage in the Summer of Service program. This can range from clean-up of local parks and waterways, conducting home energy audits to creating rain barrels to conserve water and prevent runoffs.
Neighbors in Need
Serving those most in–need is at the core of Scouting’s ideals. We’ve always been there to help people when they need it most, and now is no exception. Through large ways or small, we can make a real impact in someone’s life. Service projects can include a regular schedule to check on elderly neighbors to make sure they are safe, to help with chores they may need done, collecting school supplies and backpacks, collecting unused makeup to donate to domestic violence shelters, or organizing neighborhood food drives to benefit local food banks.
Since 1910, conservation and environmental management have been an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America. Scouts have rendered distinguished public service by helping to conserve wildlife, energy, forests, soil, and water.
Local examples include wildlife preservation and waterway cleanups in Puyallup, plastic, and garbage collection along local waterfronts, designing and constructing a custom greenhouse for the Franklin Park Community Garden in Tacoma among many other projects. Past generations of Scouts have been widely recognized for undertaking conservation “Good Turn” action projects in their local communities. Through environmental explorations, Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturers, and Sea Scouts visit the outdoors and discover the natural world around them. Many natural resource careers are born in Scouting.
Kickoff Event – Blood Drive Benefiting American Red Cross
There will also be a blood drive with the American Red Cross on June 21, 2021 at the Tacoma Scouting Office at 4802 S. 19th Street from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
“The blood drive is especially critical for the local area,” said Lori Brown, President of the Pacific Harbors Council. “The combination of the pandemic and increased hospitalizations and the need for plasma has created an alarming shortage of blood,” said Brown. At particular risk are women of color and the impact of blood transfusions for mothers in crisis.
According to the Red Cross, approximately 700 women die each year in the U.S. as a result of pregnancy complications—the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world. What’s even more alarming is that Black mothers are 2.5 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women. “This is another area where we can make a difference by leveraging the ability of our Scouts and adult volunteers to contribute to the health and welfare of our community by donating blood,” said Brown.
Individuals need to register with the American Red Cross, prior to donating. COVID-19 protocols will be in place, masks will be required, and social distancing will be in effect.
A Century of Service
In more than 100 years of service to South Sound communities, Scouts have sold war bonds and conducted recycling drives to support the military during world wars. Sea Scouts helped the U.S. Coast Guard in search and rescue operations across local waterways. Scouts also helped find and rescue lost hikers and skiers in local mountains.
During the pandemic, Scouts also collected or manufactured personal protection equipment for critical care workers in nursing homes and medical facilities and collected food for local food banks to help neighbors in need.
Helping Our Communities
Community spirit is important now more than ever and our Scouts are taught to always find a way to give back as servant leaders. Projects can include volunteering at local community centers, taking treats to local fire stations, offering to be after-school tutors, serving as translators at local PTA’s if the Scouts speak a second language or helping coach a youth sports team.
Aims of Scouting and the Summer of Service
Our young people will have the opportunity to learn about responsibility for others, personal discipline & leadership, and about the real needs of their neighbors or greater communities. They will have formative experiences leading them to say: “I was there. We saw a need. I did my best. We made a real difference.”
In addition to the community service aspects, the “Summer of Service” campaign also teaches Scouts the importance of planning and evaluating what they want to do, learning how they can be of real help, recording what they have done and reporting their accomplishments to their parents or guardians as well as to the larger Scouting organization. At the end of the campaign, which runs to October 31, 2021, there will be celebrations and awards over the work that was accomplished.
In addition to doing good deeds this summer, the Scouts will be conducting themselves over strict COVID safety guidelines, the use of the SAFE project safety rules, a SAFE safety checklist and SAFE Scouting experience requirements.
Real Solutions by Real People
Communities, during these disrupted and stressful times, will have the opportunity to leverage the capacity of willing Scouts and Families in support of targeted initiatives to address pressing issues or unmet needs. While our Scouting Community will learn about the diversity of challenges and current needs of our fellow citizens; Community Leaders will become reacquainted with the invaluable public resource and enduring civic asset that Scouting has long constituted in the South Sound for more than 100 years. Meaningful service: faithfully delivered, will demonstrate that Local Scouting programs continue to strengthen communities, families, and young citizens.
About the Pacific Harbors Council
The Pacific Harbors Council of the Boy Scouts of America supports Scouting Units across the South Sound from Federal Way to Centralia and from the Washington Coast to the Cascade foothills.
This includes, Cub Scouts, Venture Scouts, Scouts BSA, Sea Scouts and Explorer Scouts. Nearly 4,000 young people participate in Scouting locally.
The Mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. For more information on Scouting go to: beascout.org