I was walking down Horikawa Street when I coincidentally met Mr. Oh-yabu and other members of Scout Unit 38 of Kyoto Scout Council. As an Eagle Scout myself, I recognized the Scouting uniforms that they were wearing, so I decided to stop and ask them about the community service project that they were doing. With water flowing around their ankles, they were raking up the algae off the bottom of a shallow stream running along Horikawa. Mr. Oh-yabu told me that their volunteer work is important in the preparation of a festival that is to take place there in a few weeks.
I asked him if I could join them in their service project, and he happily accepted. For a few hours, we raked up the algae and traded many Scouting stories. I explained to him my experiences in the Boy Scouts of America, and he compared them to his own experiences with the Boy Scouts of America and Scouting in Japan. Mr. Oh-yabu was a very good-natured and funny person, and we shared a number of laughs in the heat of the afternoon.
While talking to Mr. Oh-yabu, it amazes me to experience how global the Scouting organization is, and even when I’m on the other side of the world, I see how the spirit to give service back to communities continues to thrive. It really was an amazing opportunity for me to participate in this project because of my own admiration for the Boy Scouts of America.