The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Eagle Scouts’ Service Projects Really Do Make A Difference

On August 20th, 2012, posted in: Uncategorized by

I spent a little time recently reading up on becoming an Eagle Scout.  No, I’m not trying to recapture my youth; it was an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal entitled “A Century of Eagle Scouts” that caught my eye.  As of August 1, 2012, America has been blessed by these “do-gooders” for 100 years, and this land we love is certainly the better off for it.

I know that there is controversy swirling about the Boy Scouts of America and their organizational decision-making.  I choose not to enter into that fray.  Where the BSA goes from here will be what future bloggers write about.  My focus today is on Eagle Scouts – and the story about the power of human spirit, love and compassion.  I think what these individuals have done to this point in American history is “all that and a bag of chips.”

I’m not going to ask you “did you know” questions about a century of Eagle Scouts.  Like me, you probably know little or nothing.  The extent of my knowledge included that they had to get a bunch of badges (turns out to be 21); that they dressed in long, green knee-high socks with red tassels (funny); and that they were at some point ardently escorting a little old lady across the street (stereotyped).  My narrow view sorely diminishes the greatness of these approximately two million leaders.

It turns out that all of these Eagle Scouts have done a service project.  Since the 1960s, every Eagle has devised, planned, executed and managed a community-service project.  Most are small:  a new bench at the park, painting a building that needs it, collecting the necessary sundries to make life a little easier for those less fortunate – you get the idea.

Then there are those who tackle the bigger issues.  The really ambitious Eagles spend countless hours with medical outreach to communities in Africa, orphanages in Russia, and restoring the wetlands here at home.

Small town newspapers are recording the great work of Eagle Scouts every day.  Individually, they fill some space in the daily paper and make for mom and dad to have something to clip and add to Johnny’s scrapbook.  Collectively, they have surpassed over 100 million hours of service while adding another three million hours per year.

These young men grow up.  Many of them continue what they learned in their youth by perpetuating their love for service to the community in their role as a business leader.  They work every day to make their respective home towns the best they can be.

The Credit Union is blessed to have an Eagle Scout on staff.  His love for community service is visible every day.  Much like his efforts to devise, plan, execute and manage his service initiative as a youth, he now does the same on a much larger scale.  He has collaborated with our many staff to grow the Credit Union to a point where we will reach our 50,000th member within a few months.  Given that the Credit Union saves each member about $400 per year, that’s a service project that perpetually adds over $20 million per year in economic impact to our community – and still growing.

One day these Eagle Scouts grow up to be old men (let’s say 50).  They look back on their lives and wonder how many have sat on their bench, or if the building they painted still stands.  Some wonder if their service projects really made a difference.

Gentlemen, they do.  They really do.  Just ask the 50,000 members of SLCCU.  They’ll tell you that service to your fellow man makes a difference.

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