As the holiday tune of the same name reminds us, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
Along with twinkling lights and tinsel, the holiday season brings an invisible magic to the air. It’s the kind of magic that transforms the mundane and day-to-day into a spirit of giving, loving, and reaching out to others. It makes life sparkle just as surely as the gifts and the decorations and the festivities make the season bright.
For those of us who are privileged to serve in Scouting, we see this kind of magic throughout the year. It’s the magic that transforms young people from self-centered, me-first individuals to caring, concerned citizens making a real difference in their neighborhoods and entire communities. Or the magic that enriches the lives of adults as they reach out to instill the joy of serving others to the young people in Scouting’s packs, troops, teams, and crews.
Michael Ross knew about that magic—and he set out to make it. An Eagle Scout, he contacted the Circle Ten Council in Dallas, Tex., in 2000 asking to help with a troop. At first, he was asked if he wanted to work with a troop near his home in a suburban neighborhood. But Michael said no. He preferred to go where he’d have a bigger impact.
Michael helped start Troop 2012 in the North Oak Cliff area of Dallas, a mostly Hispanic, economically hard-hit area where volunteer leaders are often difficult to find.
This year, the troop honored its first Eagle Scout, Jose Contreras.
That accomplishment didn’t come easily. Jose comes from a single-parent home in one of the city’s toughest neighborhoods.
For a time, Jose stopped coming to Scout meetings. Michael later learned that Jose had considered dropping out of school to work and help support his mother and family. Michael visited Jose’s home and spoke with his mother. He met with school officials. Ultimately, he got Jose back into his troop. In March, Jose’s mother pinned the Eagle Scout medal on Jose’s uniform. Next month, Jose will graduate from high school.
When a Scout leader brings his energy and focus to people in a community he might never otherwise meet, that’s magic. When a struggling, at-risk boy in a tough neighborhood becomes an Eagle Scout—a young man who makes his family, his Scout leader, and his school very proud—that’s magic. That’s the magic of Scouting.
At this most magical time of the year, we sincerely thank you for all you do to make Scouting a part of the lives of millions of young people. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season. May God’s blessings be with you and your loved ones.
Copyright © 2007 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.