Small But Important Things To Observe In Community Services.
How the Rich Really Get Richer
Somehow we have a fascination and sometimes a disgust toward the wealthiest people in our society. To be sure, they are the ones that get a lot of attention in the tabloids and television talk shows. And the paparazzi love them. But at the same time, we tend to look down on them. We assume that they are spoiled, perhaps got their wealth through unscrupulous means, and that they cannot understand the day in day out struggles that the “common folks” go through every day.
But there is another side to the lifestyle of the most fortunate in society, and that is their philanthropic and community service work that they do. There is no question that the wealthy have amazing abilities to generate revenue and build powerful and successful businesses. But it seems that once people reach a certain level of wealth, the urge takes over to give to the community and provide the means for some truly great community service work to be done.
There is a long precedent in the country for those who achieve the highest level of success to turn that success around and put it right back into the community. One of the great philanthropists of the American business community was David Packard, one of the founders of Hewlett Packard. Throughout his career, he never allowed the trappings of wealth to affect his lifestyle or his values. So when he had achieved great success, he turned right around and started the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. This ongoing community service organization uses the tremendous endowment of funds that David Packard passed to it in his will to fund dozens of worthwhile community service projects, including preschools, community centers, health care for children, and children’s hospitals.
A more up to date example of a very rich and successful businessman turning that wealth into community service is Bill Gates, the entrepreneur who started Microsoft. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gives literally millions to dozens of worthy projects that are set up to help ease the plight of those victimized by global poverty and illness as well finding ways to encourage global development to help put an end to poverty once and for all.
Looking at this charitable work on the outside, you might think that the rich of our society do this kind of thing for a tax write off or because they feel guilty for all they take out of society. And sure, there are no doubt some of that social class which functions out of those motivations. But a higher motivation often is what drives the wealthy to want to do their part.
In many cases, such as Bill Gates, the wealth they have come to know was a byproduct of their brilliant work with their field of endeavor. They never set out to be rich, but the marketplace rewarded them for innovation, invention, or superior business abilities. These individuals are like you and me in that they set out in life to be as successful as they can be. And just like you and I, many of the wealthy know that being a success in life means more than just your bank account or how new your car is.
So by using the blessings their success has given them to help others, the wealthy get a different kind of fulfillment from life than just luxury and fine living. They learn what many of us already know that to achieve true fulfillment in life, and you have to seek it from helping others. By coming down out of their mansions and finding ways to help others in society, the rich discover that the one who gets the most out of community service is the giver. We are fortunate to such philanthropists who are using their wealth to help others. But they have learned that our thanks is not the reward. They have learned that the way to truly get richer is to enjoy a richer life and that there is no richer experience in life than the joy of helping others through community service.
The Evidence of Eagles
Most of us at some point or another have met a young man who proudly includes in his credentials of his youth that he is an “Eagle Scout.” If you are not familiar with the program of the Boy Scouts of America, that might sound like a strange thing to list as great accomplishments of youth. But there is no question that Eagle Scouts are a unique classification of youth who carry that distinction with a unique pride. It seems that once a boy adds that credential to their resume, they carry that honor with them forever.
In brief, the Boy Scouts program is an international youth organization organized to develop good values, community spirit, and leadership in boys that will help them become better citizens in manhood. It is a program that is over 100 years old, and that has chapters all over the world. When a boy starts in the scouting program, he works his way up a series of ranks, each of which is progressively more difficult to achieve.
The highest rank of any boy scout is the Eagle rank. Statistics tell us that of the thousands of boys that enter the Boy Scouts program, only 3% are able to achieve that final rank and be able to stand proudly and say, “I am an Eagle Scout.” And it is more than just an honor that stays within the BSA. Being an Eagle Scout can be listed on college applications; it can help with advancement in the military and become part of a man’s employment resume right along with time in the military and college experience. It is that valuable to a young man.
When a young man reaches the threshold of this prestigious rank, the requirements of him are high. Boys who wish to get over this final hurdle must work at it usually for over a year to accomplish what is required of them to put that Eagle pin on their uniform. And at the very heart of these strenuous requirements is the concept of community service.
Community service is an integral part of every aspect of the program the Boy Scouts organization puts together for the boys. At each step along the path of advancement, some “service hours” are required of the boys. It is so much a natural part of the way a boy scout thinks that many recreational activates are organized around service projects so the boys come to understand that being in community service is just part of being a citizen. And it can be fun too.
But to make the rank of Eagle, the candidate must complete his “Eagle Project.” This is a distinctive project that must be of significant community value. The process of even getting that Eagle Project approved is strict and held to a high standard. And once the boy has his project approved, it will take weeks, if not months, to complete it.
Typical Eagle projects include the complete repainting of a community service building, planting trees in a public park, landscaping all of the open areas in a church, or organizing a community-wide blood drive. There is no question that Eagle Projects make a positive impact on the community. And when a boy successfully completes that project and has turned in all of his requirements to become an Eagle Scout, he will look back with pride on that project and often take family members, friends and show his children and grandchildren that project with pride because he is able to say “that was my Eagle Project.”
So look around the community. Odds are you won’t look far before you will see the impact of the Eagle program in your town. The Boy Scouts make sure the best of their best leave a mark on the community. They want to be sure that wherever their finest leaders can be found, there you will find the evidence of Eagles.