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Service Beyond Scouting

  Frank Schaefer             OA Today

Service Beyond Scouting

The Order of the Arrow is an organization that focuses on service in the Scouting community and at our camps. Scouting helps to push the virtue of service by doing varied service projects and giving service opportunities to our youth to help better our communities. The Order of the Arrow is the honor society of Scouting and inherently holds a higher expectation for Scouts to exude this value of service. Arrowmen can make a tremendous impact in their communities by serving them in various ways.

One glowing example of service by Arrowman in their community is Benjamin L. from Lenapehoking Lodge 9. He is a Life Scout and Brotherhood member from Troop 222 in New Jersey. He does service outside of his Scouting community by helping at his local food pantry every Saturday in New York City. The genesis of this routine of service to the food pantry started through his family, as they started to help there during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Service is rewarding because volunteers get to see the impact positive actions can have on the community. When giving out food, volunteers see firsthand the happiness on people’s faces and know the positive impact they have on the community.” 

Benjamin talked about how he felt the service he does is impactful on his community as well as being rewarding for himself personally. He noted that the values of service are something that his family has instilled in him and that they have been reinforced by Scouting and the Order of the Arrow, as these are central focuses of both programs.

Another example of service resides in Hampton, Virginia. Members of Crew 1151 help to lead the local communities Hampton Youth Advisory Group. This group is a committee of 19 citizens, youth and adults alike that spend time discussing issues within the community including but not limited to diversity and equity. They also spend time doing community service to help those who are in need in the community. A few different things that they’ve done are to help run a toy and clothes drive for people in Hampton, lead a trash clean up underneath a bridge in Hampton, and lead a park clean up day within the community. Diego, an Eagle Scout that also earned the Summit Award, is a former Vice President of the Hampton Youth Advisory Group. He thinks his history in Scouting starting as a Cub Scout in Puerto Rico then moving to Virginia and continuing with it shows that it helped him to be involved in his communities, and caused the value of service to be instilled in him. He found an outlet for service outside of Scouting through doing the Advisory Group where he said he learned a lot about his community and how to serve it. 

“Service is helping others, and treating people the way you want to be treated. It’s about cheerful service and being selfless. It’s giving a hand to those in need.” 

This was in response to what service means to Diego and how it makes a positive impact on both him and his community.

Both of these Arrowmen find service rewarding, and when asked how they’d give others advice looking to do service outside of just Scouting, they recommended that Arrowmen should find something they are passionate about. Then they should join a local organization that supports that subject or cause within the community.

There are many different ways to elevate our communities. Helping to serve in the community by helping those in need, or learning ways to address challenges within a community help to positively impact the lives of those in said community. Make your impact in your community today!