From the Chief: Living our values during disasters

Service to others is central to who we are. It’s a part of our oath: to help other people at all times. That means doing a Good Turn and lending a helping hand when it’s difficult or even when we haven’t been asked. In the face of natural disasters, the importance of our oath becomes more apparent than ever.

The summer and fall of 2017 brought catastrophic hurricanes. In multiple states and territories, thousands of people required rescuing. Many more lost their homes in the resulting floods. The impacts were devastating, but in the midst of disaster, our country got a glimpse of what it looks like for people to work together and help one another. Communities rallied together to restore what was lost and create hope in troubled times. And Scouts were there, ready to step into the chaos and begin to rebuild.

In this issue, you’ll see some of the incredible acts of service that Scouts have carried out to help communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. These Scouts put the skills they have learned in our program to use for the good of others. I hope you’ll find their stories as inspiring as I do.

I’m proud to say, though, that there are more of these stories than can fit in the pages of this magazine. Disasters can bring out the best in people. Across the country, our Scouting family has done whatever it could to help. In flooded areas, Scouts trekked up and down the streets cleaning up the waterlogged homes of strangers.

Across the nation, troops and packs have raised money and gathered supplies to provide for the basic needs of people they’ll never meet. There’s also been a tremendous outpouring of support to provide impacted councils with the equipment and funds they need to resume operations. These are wonderful demonstrations of living Scouting values and being a good community citizen in difficult times.

I hope we can all learn from these stories — how to prepare for a crisis, but just as important how to respond to one: with compassion and a heart of service. Thank you to everyone who helped during the aftermath of these and other disasters last year. As the hard work of rebuilding continues, I hope you’ll keep the impacted communities in your thoughts and prayers as you look for new ways to serve.

Yours in Scouting,

Michael Surbaugh

Chief Scout Executive

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