Responding to the devastation caused by the busiest hurricane season in U.S. history, thousands of Scouts fulfilled their promise "to help other people at all times" by collecting a vast array of supplies, helping clean up debris, repairing homes, and serving food.
Scoutmaster Tony Wilson was not surprised when the boys of Troop 45 of Oxford, Mississippi, organized a collection drive for Hurricane Katrina survivors. But he and the boys were overwhelmed by the response of fellow Oxford residents, who donated more than 100,000 pounds of supplies.
"One of the most rewarding things about being a Scoutmaster and having your kids in Scouting . . . is knowing that they are picking up the lessons you're trying to teach them," Wilson said. "These guys volunteered their time, their weekends, and got out there in the heat to solicit donations. They initiated [the collection] because they truly wanted to help other people at all times."
What began as a daily donation of 1,000 pounds of ice by the Black Warrior Council became a way to cool some of the tension and worry of many Hurricane Katrina survivors at the shelter in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, by making the council's camp available for recreation.
"Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Camp Horne was available for families to use," said Jerry Moore, Scout executive of the Black Warrior Council. "Several churches provided vans and buses to transport people to the camp to canoe, play volleyball or kickball, or simply enjoy being outside and having some space. Volunteers grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, giving the families a welcome change from the meals they received at the shelter."
"It's good to know the message of Scouting is being received and youth are absorbing it and carrying it forward, applying it to their daily lives," Wilson said.
Scouts helped survivors of the 2005 hurricane season in many ways:
- Helping provide food and shelter
- Repairing homes and cleaning debris
- Collecting and donating food, clothing, water, ice, personal hygiene items, school supplies, camping equipment, Scout uniforms, baby food and supplies, novels and activity books, toys, and stuffed animals.