DOHA, Qatar - There are so many reasons to be thankful for being assigned to Camp As Sayliyah; the mission, the leaders and the soldiers being just a few. However, what I will always remember will be the many opportunities to volunteer in our local Doha community. Helping orphans, coaching sports or assisting with special events were all great and amazing activities. Looking back though, I am sure my fondest memories as a CAS volunteer will be supporting the American School of Doha’s Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop.
Many Soldiers believe that deployments are just long hours, time sensitive requirements and meeting after meeting discussing how to best support the warfighter; and they are right! However, luckily for 89 soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in Qatar, this assignment also afforded us the possibility to be ambassadors of our many commands, as well as the United States. We still had the important mission and busy days; but for those that sacrificed a weekly movie, another gym session or a trip to the souqs there was the honor and privilege to work with young boys, their parents and the leaders of the scouting units at the American School. Over the past year, the volunteers were able to amass thousands of hours of volunteer service; supporting campouts, blue and gold banquets, Pinewood Derbies, disaster preparedness days, Order of the Arrow inductions and even an awesome Camporee at CAS. It has truly been a dream come true for service member and Scouts alike.
So this is a heartfelt thank you to the 72 Cub Scouts, 48 Boy Scouts and 24 adult leaders that sacrifice their time, money and sweat equity into providing the community with an American scouting experience. An experience enjoyed by families from 19 foreign countries besides the United States. You are the epitome of service and sacrifice.When others shrunk at the immensity of the task of having scouting here in Qatar, you stood resolute and said it could be done. You inspired the volunteers at every event and meeting. You made us laugh, you made us proud and you made us feel like we were a part of something very special even for those separated from their families and friends. While here, you became our friends, your families became our families. You opened your hearts and homes to us every week and on special holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, you showed us what it was like to be appreciated, supported and even loved. Your graciousness, kindness and cheerful service made a difference in every volunteer’s life, and even though you never stopped thanking us for our service and sacrifice while being deployed here in Qatar, you never once thought about the precious gift you were providing to us every time we were together. That gift, an American commodity that is free, sometimes difficult to find and always sought after no matter if you live in the United States or Doha. It is friendship and true friends, of which now the volunteers have quite a few. Thank you from all the volunteers at Camp As Sayliyah...yours in Scouting.