Who did the Scouts assist?
Every day we would receive requests from members of our troop. There were a few troop families that were flooded and needed help, but many others were friends of Troop families. In Old Katy, we randomly drove into neighborhoods and went door to door asking if anyone needed help. In other cases, we would be at a house doing cleanup and just moved to the neighbor next door or across the street. There were so many houses that we didn’t know the owner, just went in to help.
How many scouts were involved?
Our troop had approximately 50 boys do varying amounts of work.
How many days did they work?
They started doing water rescues on the Tuesday of the Hurricane, and that moved right into house cleanups. We didn’t miss a day. Since the boys were out of school, they worked every day. The troop split up into different crews and went to as many houses as they could. It wasn’t uncommon for us to be in three to five houses per day. We went every day until school returned. Now we have been doing weekends. Even last weekend, we went back to help move things into houses that we originally stripped down.
What were the biggest projects that they took on?
I lost track of the number of houses or businesses the boys went to. The boys never went into any house and looked at the size of the house or rooms. They just knew that they had to get started, work hard and get the job done. Every project we did was big, but after the first day or two, it was like a well-oiled machine. The boys learned what needed to be done and took on varying roles on each crew. Some were doing sheetrock, some doing baseboards, others removing doors, some doing the carrying to the curbs and lastly the ones on cleanup. Every boy had a role and was focused on the tasks. Some houses were very small and some were enormous. But the damage and losses were just as impactful to every homeowner or business owner.
What did they learn through the process?
The boys learned so much. The first was “Be Prepared.” They learned of how to prepare for a crisis and how to handle it. They learned how to coordinate priorities for cleanup. They learned how to cooperate and work as a team. And most of all, they learned how to give back to the community and neighbors with no expectations. I never heard one boy complain about the long hours, sore muscles or being tired. At the end of every day they went home, showered and woke up the next day ready to tackle more houses on the list. One of the biggest things they saw and experienced was humanity and compassion. Being part of a community where so many people were helping, where strangers would bring them water and sandwiches, where people gave them tools and supplies. It opened their hearts for the people who were impacted.
What do you think about their experience?
It was one of the proudest times I have had in the troop. Giving their time and effort with no expectation for anything in return made every parent so proud. To see the boys act like young adults was amazing. They worked hard and had fun. They might have just struggled with an overloaded wheelbarrow, but they came back into the house with a smile and ready for more. They bonded with each other and built deeper friendships as they worked. Seeing them tackle hard projects and use the skills they have learned over their years in Boy Scouts was great to observe.
See photos below.