Scouts “Don’t Mess With Texas.” They Help Keep It Clean.

BALL2This Wednesday, Scouts and Scouters gathered in front of the Circle Ten Council in Dallas to announce their state-wide participation in the “Don’t mess with Texas” Trash-Off event on April 9, 2016. The Scouts made this pledge as a formidable 12-foot ball of garbage loomed behind them.

Fortunately for these Scouts, the mass of trash isn’t a part of the litter they will collect for the occasion—it’s art! The sculpture made of cans, wrappers, boxes, and other rubbish was created to illustrate the impact of even the smallest trash.

Sustainability In Scouting

Wednesday marked the thirtieth anniversary of the “Don’t mess with Texas” anti-litter campaign, a partnership between the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the group Keep Texas Beautiful. Now, the campaign is joining forces with a group that knows a thing or two about taking care of the environment—Scouts!

“Working with the Scouts, we’re already ahead of the game because they know what to do,” said Bob Kaufman, TXDOT’s chief communications and marketing officer.

And Kaufman is right— in fact, environmental stewardship goes hand in hand with Scouting. According to the Sustainability Merit Badge pamphlet, “It’s a big word with many aspects. But when you break it down, it goes hand in hand with being a good Scout. Sustainability means the ability to endure. Conserving the land, forests, air, water, wildlife, and limited resources we all share is everyone’s responsibility.”

BSA'a Michael Ramsey and troop leader Justin L. lead the Scout Oath.
BSA’s Michael Ramsey and troop leader Justin L. lead the Scout Oath.

BSA marketing and experience manager Michael Ramsey also shared his thoughts at the anniversary event, explaining why the Boy Scouts have chosen to contribute to the clean-up effort.

“Being helpful and keeping our communities clean are two of the core values that Scouting imparts to boys. That’s why hundreds of our Scouts will be participating in the Texas Trash-Off this weekend as a way to put both values into practice.”

After leading both the troop and audience in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, Eagle Scout and troop leader Justin L. shared why his troop will join Trash-Off on Saturday—because it’s the right thing to do.

The behemoth ball of garbage may just be artwork, but that doesn’t mean the work ahead of Scouts across Texas will be easy. Saturday’s Trash-Off is the largest one-day roadway cleanup effort in Texas. During the 2015 Trash-Off, 1,500 litter pick-up events took place across the state, welcoming more than 85,000 volunteers who gathered more than 10 million pounds of waste and recyclables.

A “Don’t Mess with Texas” patch can be earned by Scouts who participate in Saturday’s litter pick-up event, as well as other events throughout the year. You can find out how to get the patch on the “Don’t mess with Texas” website, and stay tuned to Scouting Wire for additional details, coming soon.

Scouting’s “Green” Roots

Environmental stewardship has been a part of BSA’s mission for over a century. Naturally, the Boy Scouts were ready to team up with “Don’t mess with Texas” in celebration of the campaign’s thirty-year milestone.

logo-trashoffHow often have you viewed a scenic roadside landscape, only to find it dotted with articles of waste? From local units to the national office, Scouting aims to inspire individuals and communities to be friends to the environment and keep the great outdoors great!

As an advocate for America’s youth, Scouting helps to champion environmental responsibility through its members. The BSA is committed to integrating sustainability at every level of the organization while developing the next generation of sustainability leaders in the process.

To learn more about BSA’s sustainability efforts, check out the “Green to Deep Green” website. For more information about the “Don’t mess with Texas” campaign, head to


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Rochelle Randles is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She enjoys sharing incredible adventure stories within the Scouting community and beyond. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at