This past Saturday, my Cub Scout den went to a local park to pick up trash as a community service project. Bean wasn’t actually able to be there because he had a baseball clinic (three cheers to starting baseball season again!), so I took Gracie with me and we met the boys at the park ourselves.
They did so good and picked up a ton of trash, but their biggest challenge turned out to be tennis balls. At the park where we were, there was a tennis complex with lots of tennis courts. As we walked around, we started finding a ton of tennis balls in the bushes around the tennis courts. The boys dove deep into the shrubs and would each come out carrying an armload of perfectly good tennis balls. They were like a pack of golden retrievers!
But here was the challenge…
I made them leave them all for the tennis players. DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS FOR SECOND GRADE BOYS TO WALK AWAY FROM MULTIPLE PILES OF TENNIS BALLS?!?!? So hard! So very, very hard. But we talked about doing service for others and that didn’t mean serving ourselves. We put piles of all the balls we collected (which had to be close to 100!) next to the entry gates of each of the tennis courts for the players to use.
I was kind of bummed that none of the tennis players thanked us. In fact, no one even said a word to us as we collected trash all around them, and there were families, tennis players, and other park goers everywhere. Do me a favor: If you see Scouts out serving – especially the young ones – stop and thank them. Otherwise, it’s just their parents making them do a chore and it’s hard for them to see that they are helping someone else.
I was so proud of the boys and their families for getting up early on a busy Saturday morning and taking time out of their days to clean up a public park for the service of others. But I was even prouder that when serving turned into giving something they wanted up, every one of them answered the call like a true gentleman.