July 26th, 2013
Scouts Do A Good Turn with Habitat for Humanity- Reaching The Summit Community Service Initiative comes to Habitat for Humanity White Sulphur Springs Summer Elms Development
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (July 19, 2013) -Two Troops of Scouts who were attending the National Boy Scout Jamboree volunteered on Thursday and Friday, July 18 and 19, at the Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity Summer Elms Development in White Sulphur Springs. Participating in the Reaching The Summit Community Service Initiative, these Scouts helped to make community service history in the process of siding, painting, and landscaping several of the new houses being built in Habitat for Humanity’s subdivision. The Initiative stemmed five days and involves nine counties in Southern West Virginia, including Greenbrier County, in which 40,000 Scouts joined thousands of other community members to collectively donate 300,000 hours of community service—the largest community service effort in the history of our country!
On Thursday, Scouts with Troop A117 from the St. Paul, Minnesota, area arrived by charter bus ready to serve. According to Scoutmaster Jerry Wallace, “We woke up this morning knowing we were going to go out into the community to serve. What we didn’t know was just where we would be serving or what we would be doing. It is exciting that the Scouts can safely use some tools that they might not otherwise have an opportunity to use. It is great, too, that they get to work alongside future homeowner Patricia Patton. She is so excited and engaged in the activity.” Scoutmaster Wallace also noted that he would be happy to sign off on community service hours required for rank advancement as a result of this event. “This is a great example of how a service project should be run and managed. I am very impressed.”
The Scouts were very pleased with the day’s experience as well. Star Scout Andrew Johnson, 13, shared, “It was fun! I liked the fact that we got to work together. It was a great way to teach and to learn—I got to learn about painting.” Life Scout Erik Santo, 16, agreed, “It was really fun. [Volunteering is] a great way to get out and express your enthusiasm to help the neighborhood.”
Star Scout Sawyer Cotterman, 13, was asked about the highlight of his day. “Getting to paint the exterior walls of the house. . .I don’t normally get to paint stuff. [Volunteering with] Habitat for Humanity is a great opportunity to get out and do stuff you might not otherwise get to do.” First Class Scout Jose Romero, 14, agreed, “I was on the painting crew. Today was my first time painting. It was a learning experience, as well as an opportunity for community service. It was really fun!” First Class Scout Rene Elias, 15, had a profound experience, “I was working on the fences and also did some painting. I have done community service before, but today I felt like my efforts will be used and enjoyed for a long time. People will notice them and appreciate them.”
Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity’s Construction Crew Leader Cody Hose led a crew working in two of the houses doing rough-in plumbing. “I was impressed that the Scouts were so outgoing and interactive. The Scouts were well disciplined, they listened well and were very helpful.” Habitat Partner Family and future homeowner Patricia Patton who was on site both days sang the praises of the Scouts, “They are such hard workers. . .All I can say is they are marvelous! They are absolutely marvelous!”
On Friday, the Scouts of Troop C301 under the leadership of Scoutmaster Wayne Herrmann arrived early and ready to continue the work that was begun by their fellow Scouts the day before. Senior Patrol Leader and Life Scout Dylan Hermanson, 15, remarked how much he was enjoying the National Jamboree. “What I like most is the wide variety of activities available and how it feels like the main, big family of Scouting is getting together to celebrate. It is neat to experience our new high adventure base, but it is also great to be able to give back to the communities around [the Summit Bechtel Reserve] by doing these service projects. The Boy Scout slogan is, ‘Do a Good Turn Daily,’ and today’s project is a great way to honor that commitment.”
Also visiting the site to check on progress were Colonel Stuart Brown and SMS Tim Shipway of the 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard. These men are serving as the County Liason Officers for logistics and operations for Greenbrier County during the Reaching The Summit Community Service Initative. Both were very impressed with the hard work and dedication of the Boy Scouts.
Also volunteering on the site was “Manchester Brigade,” a group of female high schoolers being led by Tod Johnson. The girls, friends of Tod’s daughter Devon, are all from the town of Manchester By The Sea, Massachusetts and have been participating in social outings, rafting trips and Christmas caroling for about five years. This was the first year they traveled afar to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity through Almost Heaven’s Workcamp program. “The girls are really enjoying the week of service. It is my hope that when these girls go off to college that this service will keep going with the next generation of folks.
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About Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity has served Eastern West Virginia for 25 years providing safe, decent, affordable housing to hundreds of families. Habitat for Humanity partners with volunteers and low-income Partner Families to build or renovate houses that are then sold to the Partner Families at no-profit, with no interest charged on the mortgage. This year, Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity plans to help over 50 families. To date the organization has built and sold over 130 new homes and performed repairs on over 500 additional homes, all in partnership with low-income families in need, making their dream of homeownership a reality. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit www.almostheavenhabitat.org.
About the Reaching The Summit Community Service Initiative The 2013 National Scout Jamboree is occurring at the Summit Bechtel Reserve located in Fayette County, WV. For the first time in the history of the National Jamboree, 300,000 community service hours are being performed by the Scouts within a nine-county region including Fayette, Greenbrier, McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Nicholas, Raleigh, Summers, and Wyoming. Each project is designed to have “Scout Value” with a sense of accomplishment to include an educational and recreational experience. These projects also provide a way for Scouts to explore the Mountain State and return home as ambassadors for West Virginia. For more information visit www.summit.scouting.org.