Blog | 5 creative ways for Scouts to brighten a stranger’s day
Sometimes, the simplest gestures of kindness mean the most. Here are five challenges you can complete with your young people, to spread joy and laughter in your community.
1. Positive note drop
Next time you’re in a public space with your Scouts, get each of them to write a message of encouragement on a post-it note or piece of paper. Leave each note somewhere discreet for a stranger to find, and stand back to watch it brighten their day. This works brilliantly in car parks and coffee shops alike, but notes could also be hidden in library books for readers to find when they next take the book out.
You could also complete the exercise while you’re on camp in a communal Scout hall or activity centre, to make sure the next group who use the space receive an extra warm welcome on arrival. Just remember to make sure you complete the exercise responsibly, and use common sense to avoid leaving an excess of litter.
2. Rubbish bin returns
Imagine coming home on a bin day to find that your rubbish bin has already been returned outside your front door! Challenge your Scouts to walk through their neighbourhood, returning any bins they spot on their neighbour's driveway. Let each parent or guardian know about the challenge, and make sure they accompany their young person as they do so.
This small gesture will not go unnoticed. Better yet, attach a post-it to each bin to explain that a Scout was responsible for the good deed. This will spread the news about the kindness Scouting instills, and potentially encourage more people to volunteer.
3. Healing stones
Sometimes, the simplest activities are the most effective. For their A Million Hands project on mental wellbeing, 1st Healing Scouts decided to start painting and hiding ‘healing stones’ in their community, to spread a message of hope and resilience. Their leader Louise Drakes explains:
‘I saw a group on Facebook, where members of the public were painting rocks with messages of positivity, then leaving them in public spaces for strangers to find. Usually, that stranger will go on to hide it again, so the cycle goes on and on, and the positive message continues to spread. The whole process is really uplifting and soothing, both for the person who paints the rock and for the person who finds it. When I told my Scouts about the idea, they suggested that we should make our own stones as part of A Million Hands. As well as hiding them for strangers, we have been making special memory stones for people with dementia, and delivering friendship stones to victims of domestic violence living in the local refuge.’
4. Fruit friends
Ask each Scout to bring a piece of fruit to your next meeting, if they are able to. Put the fruit in a nice basket, attach a kind note, and leave it out for the next Scout group using your hall to enjoy when they arrive.
5. Loose change scavenger hunt
A little can mean a lot. With their parents permission, challenge your Scouts to spend ten minutes dashing through their house looking for loose change. Gather all of the spare change into a shared Scout pot, and donate it to a good cause. Alternatively, you could distribute the spare change into envelopes, and tape them to vending machines so strangers can buy themselves a small treat.