GENESEO — For the most part on Dec. 9, early evening shoppers at the
Route 20A Wal-Mart were alone or with one or two companions. So it was
quite a scene when a small army — mostly adolescent boys, no less —
burst through the doors.
Soon thereafter, a shopping cart was rapidly filling up with items
to be given to a small boy: model cars, a 2004 calendar, clothing,
candy. In addition, cosmetic products and a sweat jacket were set aside
for the boy’s mother.
The eight young men from Boy Scout Troop 76, and the adults who
accompanied them, amassed a pile of gifts but were still done in a mere
45 minutes. Of course, it’s quite possible that speediness might have
been tied to the fact it was 7 p.m. and dinner at a Chinese restaurant
This annual Christmas shopping trip goes back more than 20 years for
Troop 76 in the town of York, Livingston County. Names of needy
families, along with their wish lists, are provided by the York Central
School District to Troop 76 and other community groups. The troop
adopted one family this year and has taken on multiple families in the
past. Families, who remain anonymous, all have children who attend York
Seventeen-year-old Andrew Dachille is a veteran leader of this
effort. His mother, Mary, who also played an organizing role in the
Dec. 9 shopping excursion, said Andrew is among the many troop members
who generously kick in their own cash to ensure nice gifts.
Andrew has a simple reason for his generosity.
“I would hate not to get anything (on Christmas), and I know all the
other Scouts would,” he remarked. Other Scouts who took part in this
year’s service effort were Joe Showers, 17; Brad Bagg, 14; Dillon
Decker, 12; Tim Burns, 12; Shane Quackenbush, 12; Matt Bartlett, 11;
and Scott MacLeod, 11.
For Andrew, a parishioner of St. Columba/St. Patrick in Caledonia,
the Christmas project is just one of many goodwill initiatives he’s
performed during his young life. More often than not, he takes a
leadership role and enlists the help of his friends. The following are
some of the projects in which Andrew — and, many times, Troop 76 as
well — has been involved:
* For years Andrew has led the annual Scouting for Food campaign. On
two weekends in November, Troop 76 went door-to-door collecting food
for the area poor. This year the Scouts amassed more than 2,000 items
to be put into Christmas baskets distributed through York United
Presbyterian Church. “We didn’t do the whole town, but we did quite a
bit of it,” Andrew said.
* He takes charge of an annual Halloween party at the York Town
Hall. This year Troop 76 delighted more than 50 youngsters by designing
all the scenery — including a volcano complete with lava — while
Andrew dressed up as a mad scientist.
* After his great-aunt was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in
early 2003, Andrew arranged for his troop to take part in an MS Walk in
early April. The troop ended up collecting more than $1,500.
* Following the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedy, Andrew put together a
fundraiser so that work gloves and boots could be purchased for workers
cleaning up at Ground Zero in New York City.
* Andrew also helps maintain a portion of the Greenway Trail, which
runs along the Genesee River beginning in Rochester and heading south
almost to the Pennsylvania border.
Andrew, a senior at York Central High School, plans to attend
college next year to become a systems analyst. He has been involved in
Scouting for more than 10 years and was a recipient of the diocesan
Hands of Christ Award this fall for outstanding service.
Yet Andrew remains humble about his volunteerism: “I’ve been doing
it since I was 6, so it becomes a habit,” he explained.
Stated his mom: “His goodness doesn’t always show through, but he
has a great heart.”