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For me, it was an excuse to run through town and hang out with my friends. Once a year, in November, the Boy Scouts hold a “Scouting for Food” drive. The first weekend we race around and hang door hangers to advertise. A week later we sit in the back of pickups and drive around looking for households that left out food. I have participated in this activity since I started Cub Scouts, but I had never experienced the impact that my actions were actually having on my community.

Each year my goal was to get out, get the job done, be it doorhangers or food, and get back to my house and my own agenda. Typically November weather is either cold, or has snow. Either way it is not always exciting to be out and about. One saving grace is that we always go to the bakery and get a donut at the end. Every year ended in roughly the same result: a lot of food to donate and a donut. I have always struggled with the seemingly contradictory notions of fun and service. I also questioned my motives. Is this event about being done and having fun, or donating the food?

My dad, who is my Scoutmaster, is a big influence on my life. One of his goals in developing Boy Scouts has been to put more focus on service and the acts that can be done to benefit others. He always pushes for us to do the service projects at camps or help with our town’s VFW dinners. I consistently receive the message that service is important, whether it is fun or not. Don’t get me wrong, wanting to have fun is a great attitude to take into life. However, life isn’t a constant party. I guess I knew that service was important, but I never personally saw the impact.

For some people, life is not a party. Being from a two income family, I have three meals a day on my plate, and many opportunities to be involved in extracurricular activities, like Boy Scouts, it is hard to understand not being privileged. Some families don’t know what the next meal will be, and are not able to regular afford food. These families are the ones that use the food shelf, and all towns have people who need aid like this. Last November I got to witness firsthand the effect I was making on my community.

Like every year, it was cold, and we all wanted to get done. It also went slower because we only had six Boy Scouts and two Cub Scouts to cover most of the town. One friend and I were working together. We cut across a road towards one of the sections of town that included the church that housed the food shelf. That church was part of the last stretches of door hangers we had to hang. As I came around the street corner, I saw a line of people at the church. Realization hit me. These were the people who came to the food shelf to get food for themselves and their families. I had just seen the direct impact of my participation in Scouting for Food.

This experience signaled a turning point in my life. Not only did it affect how I looked at Scouting for Food, but it also gave a little extra boost towards being a service minded person. Scouting for Food has given me a better view on my life and how to impact others; to me, that is very important It took eight years, an older outlook, and the visual of seeing the end effect on the people, but I still got there. I am really glad for my involvement in Scouts and how it is helping me be a better person.

So, continue doing random acts of kindness, service projects, and charitable contributions. Whether they feed malnourished kids or lift someone's spirits for the day, they all have a positive impact, and help develop character. I’ve learned that having a service inclined mind is positive way to benefit our community.

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