May 24, 1999
by MaryAnn Gardner
15 Little Projects
Determined Scouts Design
Program Of Caring In Reaction To Tragedy
A few days ago, Tommy
Melli, a Troop 57 parent, sent some interesting information about the boys in his son's
Troop. It seems the Scouts of South Jersey District Boy Scout Troop 57 from Washington
Township are using a simple idea to show America that her future is still promising.
In the wake of the Columbine High School tragedy in Littleton,
Colorado, these 16 Scouts decided to do something positive. Not only growing
tired of endless media discussion placing blame on police, parents, the gun industry, the
movie industry, and bombarded daily with headline-seeking politicians eager for new
legislation, Troop 57 Scouts were especially disturbed at reports of disoriented teenagers
who were eager to ‘copy cat’, and even exceed, the tragedy of Columbine. All
around them were reports that America's hope for the future looked dim.
As the Troop shared concerns with each other and their Leaders, these
young men decided that THEY, too, are part of America's future. They, too, would
try to attract "copy-cats!" They are asking young Americans to copy
them as they show the world that the real future of America shines brightly. The vast
majority of her children will not succumb to violence and desperation, but rather they
have much to offer in building a better, peaceful world.
They named their idea the Littleton Dedication Project.
They decided to find volunteers who would dedicate a small action (project) that would
help someone else. They identified 15 projects to be accomplished as an offering of
service in memory of each of the victims from Columbine High School. They reasoned that
these "everyday" gestures could begin to transform our society from within.
Their projects list contains items is as simple as cheerfully
doing your everyday chores. Others are: make peace with an enemy at school, help
a friend with homework, read a bedtime story to a younger sibling, convince a friend to
become a Scout, take extra-good care of your pet for one month, surprise your parents with
better behavior, play an instrument for elderly people, baby-sit without reward, mow the
lawn of an elderly neighbor, clean up part of your road, help at church events, donate
toys, clothes or food, and donate a portion of your allowance to charity.
They hoped to get 15 volunteers - each to commit to doing
one project from the list as a remembrance of the Littleton victims.
To their surprise, they have 36 volunteers who are ready to offer their
time and effort to prove that America's youth is full of hope and short in hate.
They hope to find many copy-cat Scout groups, church youth
groups, 4-H Clubs, Campfire groups, school classrooms, and individuals who are willing to
transform tragedy into hope.
says "Our Scouts, John, Anthony, Pat, Bob, JJ., Brian C., Shalin, Mark,
Brian D., Fran, Steve, Alex, Andy, Matt, Daniel, and Chris, are silent heroes in their
community. They hope this project grows from a small stream into a sea of change for
America. It is interesting to find that while adults scramble to find a way to deal with
this tragedy, our youth, our hope, leads the way."
If you or your group joins them in this caring project, they ask that you
please let them know. Visit their web page
at or e-mail their Senior Patrol Leader.
would like to know about your efforts in this, or any service project in which
your Scout unit participates. You can contact me by email to tell about your service, or for more
For more information and
ideas for service projects visit SCOUTER's Service To America Compass Point.
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