Like many other jobs, I suppose, working here at the paragraph factory can be a mixed bag of blessings — with the awesome juxtaposed with the not-so-awesome fact that I sometimes have to work on Saturdays.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first to admit that I really don’t get that fired up when it’s my turn to work weekends. It’s just one of those things that comes with being a community scribe.
But sometimes, working weekends can yield great examples of what’s right in our society.
Which brings me to my last weekend on duty a couple of weeks ago, when I had the opportunity to cover the annual Scouting for Food event with the local Boy Scouts.
And what an eye-opener it was.
Scouting for Food is billed as “the largest food drive in the United States,” and it’s an annual event that scouts from across the country use as a service project.
During the drive, Boy Scouts go out into communities and drop off bags one weekend, and come back the following weekend to collect food donated by community members. The collected food is then delivered to the various food banks in the county.
This year, the scouts collected about 24,000 pounds of food during the drive, a tally that impressed at least this jaded reporter.
But it was the attitude of the scouts themselves that really left its mark.
Gathering early at the First Baptist Church on Main Street, the scouts were laughing cheerfully in preparation for the collection.
“Let’s go get this done,” one pre-adolescent said. “I’m ready to get to work.”
Which is something impressive in itself, since I’d have still been asleep had I not been working.
And the spirit of cooperation and teamwork that permeated the event is testament to the fact that scouting instills life-long values in its members.
Hundreds of scouts fanned out across the county, and the collection was complete in just more than an hour or so.
Which was a great thing to see, since I’m often forced to write about the more negative activities of the county’s youth.
And as a former, now-retired Boy Scout, I was reminded of how important instilling those positive life lessons can be.
I’ll just let 13-year-old Johnny Dollyhigh, a member of Troop 538, speak for the scouts.
“It’s not hard, and it’s a way for us to help other people who may not be as fortunate as we are,” he said with a smile before heading out into the winter’s chill.
Out of the mouths of teens…
Keith Strange is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.