Why I'm accepting the #DareToDo

Last evening, the national chief of the Order of the Arrow (the Boy Scouts of America’s national honor society), Alex Call, announced an ambitious service movement: #DareToDo. I’m proud to announce that I’ll be accepting Alex’ dare, and encourage everyone I know to do the same.

2015 is the Order of the Arrow’s centennial. I’ve been working with Alex and a team of other talented people since the middle of last year to outline messaging for our 15,000 person national conference (being held this week at Michigan State University). As we developed a theme, it became clear that a call to action, in this case #DareToDo, was necessary. 

Almost all of my free time since December has been dedicated to ensuring that conference messaging inspired young people to action, and that we had a mechanism to organize that action. #DareToDo is the fruition of countless hours of work by Nathan Jenkins, Dylan Law, Donald Cunningham, Tony Fiori, and Randy Cline.

Today’s culture, especially among youth, is too selfish. Social feeds are filled with vain selfies, posted for the purpose of adulation. Social media has taken the worst tendencies of one’s teenage years (insecurity, risk-taking, and volatile self-esteem) and amplified them by providing a bigger platform than ever. Even in older people, my social feed is largely filled with shouting and yelling about narrow, divisive viewpoints (and cat pictures. Lots and lots of cat pictures).

In the next 100 days, you’ll see a lot of posts from me with the hashtag #DareToDo, and if you know me at all, I’d ask you to join me in that effort as well. Every one of us can do one small thing every day for other people, and if we all start sharing that, instead of our opinions on Bruce Jenner, I believe we’ll find the world a radically different place.

It will take an enormous amount of courage for people to step up and participate in this project. Service to others isn’t going to get you 1,000 likes. It won’t be your new profile pic. And chances are people won’t fawn over you the way they would if you took a selfie at a Taylor Swift concert. In fact, some people will think this entire project is dumb precisely because there’s nothing in it for them.

Yet every one I know seems to think the world ought to be a kinder, nicer place. This project is one small step down that path, and one we can all take together. 

Since 1915, when the Order of the Arrow was founded, a great many things have changed. We’ve fought two World Wars, invented television and the Internet, walked on the moon, and advanced society at a pace not seen ever before.

Scouting looks a lot different today than it did then, too. The uniforms are different. The OA ceremonies are wholly unrecognizable from their beginnings. Programming is updated to reflect modern needs. We’re more inclusive than we’ve ever been. The Order of the Arrow wasn’t even called that 100 years ago — it was the Wimachtendienk.

Only one single thing has endured about the Order of the Arrow from July 1915 through today, and that’s the Admonition. We’ve never once wavered from the idea that we must all love one another, and that manifesting that love through service to others is the key to making the world a better place.

Dare accepted, Alex. #DareToDo