Good Turns: The Year-Round Holiday Spirit of Giving
Illustration By James Noel Smith
SOME GOOD TURNS ARE BIG saving a life, cleaning up after floods or other disasters, recycling community trash, working with others on conservation projects.
But Good Turns are often small, thoughtful actshelping a lost child find a parent, going to the store for an elderly neighbor, cutting back brush that blocks a road sign, doing something special for a brother or sister, welcoming a new student to your school.
A Good Turn is more than simple good manners. It is a special act of kindness, a commitment to service anchored in the Scout Oath, Law, and slogan.
The holidays often inspire us to do a Good Turn by lending a helping hand to someone in need. For you, our valued BSA volunteers, however, Good Turns aren't restricted by the calendar. They're performed year-round in the holiday spirit of giving.
This year, as the BSA celebrated its 94th anniversary, we kicked off our national Good Turn for America program (www.goodturnforamerica.org). We're joined by The Salvation Army, American Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity (HFH) to increase our collective efforts to deliver community service in our neighborhoods nationwide. We're promoting healthy living and targeting homelessness and hunger under the banners of "Scouting for Healthy Living," "Scouting for Shelter," and "Scouting for Food."
And wemeaning youare making a difference. Here are some moving examples.
Countless other projects extended helping hands in ways limited only by the imaginations of our volunteers and youth. In all, our 1.27 million U.S. volunteers last year spent 288 million hours with 4.7 million BSA youth. Your time added up to the equivalent of an amazing $4.6 billion in services and programs.
But perhaps the most telling number is one: one 11-year-old Boy Scout named James Milam, who honored America's war veterans with his own Good Turn.
Born with a rare defect that prevented his spine from fully developing, James has used a wheelchair since age 2. But, on Memorial Day, he crawled from grave to grave at Nashville National Cemetery in Tennessee, using a ruler to place miniature American flags exactly one foot from each gravestone. Hundreds of Cub Scouts joined James in marking the gravestones of nearly 400 war veterans.
We hope your holidays and new year are filled with happiness and health. And in 2005, as we keep in mind what Scouting does for children and families, be assured that your own Good Turns for America spread the spirit of giving all year long.
Copyright © 2004 by the Boy Scouts of America. All rights thereunder reserved; anything appearing in Scouting magazine or on its Web site may not be reprinted either wholly or in part without written permission. Because of freedom given authors, opinions may not reflect official concurrence.