This past weekend, a group of 15 boys from Charlottesville’s Boy Scout Troop 1028 devoted a day to hiking every inch of the Rivanna Trail loop – a 20 mile jaunt that circles the City of Charlottesville – while picking up trash along the way.
The boys ranged in age and experience from fresh-faced 11-year-old Scouts out for their first long hike to seasoned teenagers preparing for an upcoming expedition at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. All were challenged (including their adult leaders!) and went to sleep that night with a feeling of accomplishment that few of their non-Scouting friends could have shared.
It’s my continuing privilege to be involved with a program that, at its best, takes an otherwise disparate group of boys – some in Troop 1028 are in public school, some are in private school, and some are home-schooled – and focuses on their commonalities, delivering positive experiences that they will carry for a lifetime. All of the boys face the pressures of adolescence, all enjoy meeting – and beating – a challenge, and all want to be the best versions of themselves that they can be. Scouting helps the boys improve themselves while they improve their world. For that, I am grateful.