Recently our troop took part in a joint landscaping project with the other troop in town. Most of us adults are acquainted with at least one or two families in the other troop because of our Cub Scout connections, but many of the boys either don’t know each other or know one or two through other connections such as school or church. Though we participate with them in service projects once a year or so, we don’t do joint events like campouts or high adventure, so they aren’t familiar in the context of Scouting. A few of our boys even look at the other troop as the “enemy,” as they have seen their friends from Cub Scouts join their troop instead of ours, and continue to attract boys that they feel should be joining us instead.
The project started to unfold a couple months ago when my counterpart in the other troop approached me and asked for our help. They were undertaking the outdoor work but they didn’t have enough families in their troop to do all the work in one weekend. I spoke with our Scoutmaster, who asked our SPL to take it to the PLC meeting and see what the youth leadership thought. They approved, and the troop committee also approved at its next meeting. We got together, plans were made, several announcements went out, and on the work weekend the two troops combined managed to get all the work done in one day, even though we had planned on taking both Saturday and Sunday to finish.
What impressed me, though, was the smoothness with which our two groups of youth and families worked together. The boys got along great, worked together as a team, and got the work done. Through my close ties with many of the families in the other troop, I already knew most of the participants, but our families and their families meshed well. There was a sense of camaraderie as we went about our work, side by side as we shoveled and spread mulch on a warm afternoon.
A Scout is Helpful – we helped them when they needed us. A Scout is Friendly – it was truly an exemplification of “A Scout is a brother to every other Scout” even when he is from the rival troop. And, there was a good dosage of Cheerful in there as well.
Do you have more than one troop or pack in your town? If so, you’ll multiply the fun and get to see Helpful and Friendly first-hand by taking part in a joint activity with them. The possibilities are endless! What are some of the things you’ve done on your own with another unit?