Help pours in for Scouts after theft of camping equipment

MILL CREEK — It didn’t take long for generosity to overshadow greed.

In November, thieves made off with almost all of Boy Scout Troop 221’s camping equipment.

Stunned, the troop started making plans to buy new equipment the way they always had — through fundraising projects.

They didn’t expect the calls and emails that flooded in, Scoutmaster Mike Kidd said.

As of Tuesday night, he’d heard from as many as 15 people. Some wanted to write checks. Others offered to go shopping. More still went through their own camping equipment, looking for items the Scouts might need.

Donations even started showing up at Cedar Cross United Methodist Church in Mill Creek, where the troop meets.

“It was very generous, and I’m feeling really overwhelmed by the responses that we’re getting, not the sheer number of them but the generosity and the concern these people have shown,” Kidd said.

Many who called wanted to share their stories as past Scouts or as the parents of past Scouts. Troop leaders hope to bring the boys to visit at least one such caller: Calvin Campbell, 93, of Snohomish.

Campbell was a Boy Scout in Missouri in the late 1920s and early 1930s, he said.

“It’s painful to read there are people so rotten they would steal from a bunch of kids,” he said. “I know how important Scouting is to young people. I’d like to help in any way I can.”

Vi Sims, of Everett, said multiple generations of her family are planning donations together.

Her late husband was a Scoutmaster for more than 15 years, she said. She remembers her son accompanying him on Scout camping trips.

She hated to hear about the crime, but she was glad to know others reached out as well, she said.

“There are a lot of bad people, but I think there are more good people that like to help,” she said.

The impact of the burglary still stings, Kidd said.

When the troop went camping in the past, they needed a trailer to haul everything the thieves swiped, he said.

“This wasn’t someone who just broke in and looked for something of value to sell or use personally,” he said. “They had to come equipped with a vehicle to cart all that stuff out.”

The boys in the troop are amazed at how many people wanted to help them, Kidd said.

The boys also are learning how crime can affect not just the victims, but the community, he said.

The burglary remains under investigation, Mill Creek police Sgt. Ian Durkee said.

“Thefts and burglaries always have a big impact on victims, but it was particularly unfortunate that this equipment was stolen, especially since the Boy Scouts do so much to have a positive impact on the lives of young kids,” Durkee said.

“However, it’s a positive thing to see that people want to help and that the community is coming together to support this troop.”

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

To help

Troop 221 can be reached through Cedar Cross United Methodist Church, 1210 132nd Street SE, Mill Creek, WA, 98012. Some have asked about donating used camping equipment, but Scout regulations may not allow all items.

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