Scouter Spotlight: Getting the most out of your Scouting experience!
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Taking Part in a “Billion Acts of Kindness” in November
By John Hovanesian, M.D.

Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America, Dr. John Hovanesian, is a seasoned Scouter and blogger who shares tips and tricks to help your family get the most out of your Scouting experience.

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Orange County Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are joining forces with the Orange County  Department of Education in the month of November (and hopefully beyond) to make progress toward  “one billion acts of kindness”. I enthusiastically invite you to join our “A Scout is Kind” campaign. What better way could there be to teach our kids about the 6th point of the Scout Law? The “billion acts” program, created by the Orange County Schools’ Superintendent Al Mijares, encourages each child and parent in Orange County to commit one act of kindness each day in November. Anything we do for 30 days, one hopes, may just become a lifelong habit.  

How can your Scout Troop or Cub Pack take part in this historic event? Here are three ideas:

1. Use the theme for your November Pack, Troop, Team or Crew meetings. 
This month, 
a Boy Scout troop might write letters to soldiers serving overseas, thanking them for their service to their country and reminding them that they are fondly appreciated back home. Our own Cub Scout Pack meeting will feature a round robin of dens visiting different stations, each one teaching kindness in a different way.

One station involves making a “kindness chain,” which are interlinked circles of colored construction paper, each with a message of what a boy did as an act of kindness. These “kindness chains” will be donated to the church that sponsors our unit to hang on their Christmas tree.

At another station, a Cub den will create a large posterboard “iPhone” representing their den, with each Cub represented by a different “app” on the screen– an icon the boy draws representing himself committing an act of kindness. Each “app” is about six inches square with rounded corners and made of white paper, while the iPhone is a larger black poster board decorated to look like the popular IOS device. Parents love making these “apps” too.

 


2. Schedule outings that underscore the theme. 
A beach clean-up day is easy to do with the help of Zero Trash Laguna, a nonprofit that organizes a trash pick-up day and provides bags and tools the first Saturday of each month in Laguna Beach. See their website for details. Consider visiting a food bank such as the Orange County Food Bank or Second Harvest as a pack or troop. They can use the help at this time of year. Organize a visit to a nursing or convalescent home to have the kids sing familiar campfire songs. The residents will love their young faces. To make this easy, contact the activities director in the location you are considering, and be sure to bring along plenty of adult supervision. Be sure to write up your acts of kindness for the local newspaper, so you inspire even more people!


3. Ask families to talk about kindness at home.
Encourage parents to discuss each family member’s acts of kindness over the dinner table.  Ask them to reward the most creative or most impactful act each week. Have them think about creative ways the family as a group can exhibit kindness. When children hear from parents about the importance of being kind, then take part in activities like these, the kindness “marinade” sinks into the brain even more permanently. 

Once your Scouts do an act of kindness encourage them to log it in to www.kindness1billion.org.

The council is also offering a 1BAK participation patch (shown below) for any boy, girl or adult who participates in this Scout-worthy program. Patches available at the Scout Shop in December. 

What would it actually take to accomplish a billion acts of kindness, as suggested by OC Schools Superintendent Al Mijares? Orange County’s population is just over 3 million, so it would take each man, woman, and child committing 333 acts to reach the billion mark, or about one act per day for about 11 months. Is this even possible? Absolutely! But only if we start by developing the habit, and this truly is the perfect time of year to teach kindness by doing kindness. Think of the great lessons we will teach our kids in trying!
 

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