A couple of years ago when Shelby Marshall, member of the Westborough Rotary Club (WRC) and former President, was first approached about serving as the Club’s representative for the Boy Scouts she hesitated. In fact, she shook her head with a silent “no.” However, Dave Kaiser, then President of WRC, assured her that this role was a “light lift.”
So, what changed Marshall’s mind? Inspiration. Pure and simple.
In her role as Select Board Member for the Town of Westborough, Marshall was interviewed by 4th grade Boy Scouts about the role of government and civic responsibility. “I was so impressed with these young boys and their level of engagement. Their genuine interest in positive community building was incredibly inspiring,” stated Marshall. “After hearing the students’ questions and respectful communication, I knew I wanted to support them develop leadership and self-sufficiency skills.”
Historically, the Methodist Church of Westborough was the charter organization for Troops 382 (older Scouts) and 33 (younger Scouts), however, because of sexual scandals and concerns, the Church decided to separate from the Boy Scouts. However, In order to operate, Boy Scout troops must have a charter organization that periodically reviews their finances and to make sure the troops are running smoothly.
After agreeing to be the Rotary representative for the two Boy Scout troops, Marshall had to go through training to understand their protocols and volunteer requirements. The training reviews safety issues, the process of identifying predators, and how to recognize youth who are vulnerable to predators. As stated by Marshall, “The Boy Scout training was very meaningful. It demonstrated the organization's high level of care and concern for our youth.”
What are the benefits to Rotary of chartering the Boy Scout troops? According to Marshall, it’s a win-win relationship. “On the surface, it’s great to help the Boy Scouts, but this collaboration allows our two organizations to merge efforts and support various initiatives.” For example, Rotary Club members can support the Scouts’ different activities, like their Derby competition and food drive. Likewise, the Scouts can help the Rotary with our events like the Club’s 5K fundraiser and cleaning up the neighborhood.
So, next time a Rotary member approaches you to serve in a role, feel free to shake your head with a silent no, but then reconsider the contribution you as an individual and your club can make to building a brighter future.