Boy Scouts Raise Money at Symphony on the Prairie
Writer / Keeley Miller
For almost 16 years, Boy Scout Troop 199 has helped the Symphony on the Prairie at Conner Prairie’s Amphitheater. In July of 1999, the troop was looking for a fundraiser that did not involve selling items. The troop came up with working at the symphony and has been doing it since. The troop, along with some parents, sets up and takes down tables and chairs for concerts. Participation allows the scouts to pay their own way through Boy Scouts instead of relying on others for funding.
“We are always very proud of the scouts after we complete a set,” said Suzanne Clase, the retired coordinator of Symphony on the Prairie for the Boy Scout troop. “You can look down the rows of tables and see perfectly straight lines. This is why we take the time to do a good job and the boys can be proud of that. Over the years, the troop worked on process improvement to become more efficient and that gave Troop 199 an excellent reputation for getting the job done right.”
From hauling chairs and tables to measuring distances between rows, there are different jobs for each scout. The older scouts that are in the troop will train the younger scouts, getting to know each other better while building a lasting bond.
“[Working at Symphony on the Prairie] teaches them responsibility. It teaches them to do the job and take pride in their work,” said Clase. “Probably one of the biggest things is that they are working to pay their way through scouts. By working, they are making money to pay for things like camping trips, supplies, uniforms and dues. They are making money instead of relying on their parents. That is a big thing for them, but so is the service that they are doing to help out the symphony.”
Jamie Hudson, the new coordinator, also expressed how much of an impact the event has on scouts.
“I guess the most important goal for me is to make sure parents and scouts are both aware of the mutually beneficial relationship that exists between Troop 199 and Symphony on the Prairie. My son Lucas earned over $400 last year from working a few hours a weekend setting up and tearing down tables and chairs for the symphony. He was able to pay for his entire summer camp fee as well as several other scouting activities. As a one income family of eight, it’s important for Lucas to be able to help contribute for his activities,” said Hudson. “Although the boys earn money for their scout accounts, I think it’s also a great way for Troop 199 to be an active member in their community. I hope I can encourage more boys to come be a part of this tradition. There is such a sense of accomplishment when you look up and see all of those tables in perfect rows!”
The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is also holding their second annual Scout Night at Conner Prairie July 24, offering free admission for any scout younger than 18 in uniform with a donation of pasta for Second Helpings, an organization that works to combat hunger through donation of food.
“Scout Night is more than free admission to Marsh Symphony on the Prairie for scouts in uniform,” said Michael O’Brien from Printing Partners, the sponsor of the event. “It’s an opportunity to teach scouts about giving because a scout must bring a 16 oz. package of pasta for Second Helpings in exchange for the free ticket. The organization (Boy Scouts vs. Girl Scouts) that donates the most pasta will receive a $1,000 credit to be used toward printing at Printing Partners. It’s also an opportunity to learn about Second Helpings and the great work that it does in the community. And then, of course, there’s the music. The scouts will experience a live performance from a world-class symphony.”