We all have skills, talents, and abilities that we can use to help other people. This can include feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, teaching people to read, helping after a natural disaster, being an EMT or firefighter, etc. I’ve chosen to be involved in helping young men grow and develop as leaders and good citizens.
For the past seven summers, I’ve spent time being an adult Boy Scout leader for a National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) course. In addition to spending nine days at camp, working nonstop from six in the morning to eleven thirty at night, I and the other adult and youth leaders also train for four weekends to plan and practice the course from January through May. We’re planning for seven days of nonstop activity for between forty and seventy-two participants from thirteen to seventeen years old.
Each day is packed with presentations, activities, and adventures. The participants do everything from cooking over wood fires to building ballistae to throw water bags to learning how to use a compass and GPS to survive in the wilderness comfortably to handling emergency situations. All of the training for these activities is designed and organized in a way that helps the participants learn new skills and grow as individuals and leaders.
In fact, this growth is what brought me to NYLT as a leader. Scouts from our troop would return from NYLT as changed people, and I wanted to be involved as one of the people who help make this change happen. When my son started participating in NYLT, I became an adult staff member. As you can imagine, it’s a big commitment. NYLT is one of two organizations I support with my time and energy.
The benefits I get from this adventure each year are that I get to be part of a team helping young people develop, I get to share the skills I’ve acquired over more than thirty years in business leadership, and I feel good about the work I do.
It’s great to offer financial support to causes, and this is needed, but the reward you get from helping personally goes deeper. You practice what you do, form relationships with people you wouldn’t otherwise encounter, and above all, you feel good about yourself and your efforts when you’re done.
You don’t have to be as involved as I am, but you can set aside a weekend a year or an evening or two a month. This will move you out of your comfort zone, and you don’t know what ideas you will get from your encounters. As an added bonus, life will be more exhilarating. I find that when I venture into different areas and help others, my life has more meaning.
There are many great organizations that help others and can use your support. Find one that excites you. Every person who volunteers helps the organization reach more people. Seek out one that works with a cause you support, and join in. Who knows what will happen?
Have a great week!