Scouts Connecting with Community
Scouts, the O/A Bridge Builder Chapter, and Ham Lake Lions Continue a 50-year Tradition!
In December 2022, the Ham Lake Lions were ready to give up their annual Christmas dinner and party for our local senior citizens after 49 years. Their volunteers were aging, and fewer members were joining. Troop 3509 & 5509 Scoutmasters Gene and Jody Kimball, along with the OA’s Bridge Builder Chapter members decided to keep it going! To quote Gene, "We can't let this end on the 49th year. There must be a 50th!"
Gene, who is also the Bridge Builder Chapter Adviser, spread the word to the members of the chapter, and OA Vigil member Andy Murphy stepped up right away to serve as the head cook with Vigil member Andy Albee as his assistant. Troop 3509, chartered by Glen Cary Lutheran Church, has been helping with this event for 10-15 years, and Troop 5509 joined in 2020. This is often the favorite service project of the year for these two troops.
The Kimballs worked with the Ham Lake Lions to carry on the traditions of entertainment by the Elk River German Band, Christmas carols led by the Lions, decorations, a visit from Santa, and a bag of treats for each attendee. Chapter Chief Henry Lien, 5509’s Senior Patrol Leader Addie Crooks and 3509’s Senior Patrol Leader John Crooks, served as the youth leaders during the event. Scouts enjoyed decorating tables, preparing each place setting, stuffing goodie bags, and serving the guests. Of course, it didn’t end there. After the event was over, there was a lot of clean-up, too. Approximately 140 guests and 40 volunteers came together for an amazing event! A good time was had by one and all!
Keeping strong connections in your local community and with chartered organizations can make a huge impact for everyone involved. Glen Cary Lutheran Church and the Ham Lake Lions have chartered Ham Lake Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA Troops for years. In addition, Glen Cary has hosted District Round Table meetings, OA Chapter meetings, district training events, OA Lodge Leadership Development, and more.
Jody noted, “The senior citizens who attended this event were so appreciative of this act of service. But, BY FAR, the best part was being with the 40 or so Scouts and Scouters from District J and our OA chapter! It was SO GREAT coming together to do some cheerful service. This is what Scouting is all about!”