Niagara Gazette

August 3, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Scouting out services on the Isle

By Doug and Polly Smith
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Helping Hands — Got an awfully nice email last week from a Mainlander who’d just crossed over here and wondered what he could do to help out.

He’s a Scout leader, which service once evoked universal attaboys. Now, in these topsy-turvy times, too many with too little to do bash this noble institution. Sad. Anyway, he serves as Cubmaster, a position often assigned as discipline for missing a meeting. Been there, done that. If he doesn’t have a kid in the program, we miss our guess.

Cubmaster One, new to our shores, wrote to ask for suggestions on service projects for his charges. Wow. Doug inadvertently volunteered to master the pack at Kaegebein School in a long-ago October, shortly before a general election, and after the votes were cast we contacted the local candidates and asked if we could take down their campaign signs.

What a day that was. One office-seeker — who’d been defeated, if memory serves — gave us a few bucks for provisions, which we accepted out of courtesy, while trying to explain to the kids that we had not done this for the money. By nightfall we had enough wood for a bonfire, over which we toasted hot dogs and marshmallows. An unintended consequence was that they got to talking about the candidates, and what they stood for. Excuse us. Getting a little moisture on the keyboard here.

So that’s one to think of — there has to be SOME sort of voting in November — and ‘til then we thought about offering services to the Grand Island Miracle League. That’s the arrangement behind the library on Bedell Road which, through a unique surface, allows people who play the game differently to have their day on the diamond. Further, the interaction with folks less physically blessed could widen horizons to Cub Scouts, who are at a particularly impressionable age.

As fine a job as the state does with Buckhorn Park, it can always use a little tidying up. We thought briefly about whacking weeds at the roundabout, while various governmental agencies beat around the bush as to whose responsibility it is, but by now, we can’t imagine what may have taken refuge in The Circular Jungle and we might never see the kids again.

Anybody else has any ideas, we’ll pass ‘em along.

The thing is, the whole notion of Scouts is to foster civic responsibility and concern for others. On a recent trip, we both struggled our suitcases up and down a Fucillo-sized flight of stairs while a young, strong relative sat there, oblivious, tapping some electronic gadget. Bet he was never in Scouts.

Come visit. We’ll tie some neckerchiefs.

Polly and Doug E-mail