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Good Samaritan Scout

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Teens are typically known for liking to sleep in and be comfortable…but one young man in the northern U.S. sleeps out in sub-zero weather, and never complains. Plus he’s done it since he was five. He wants to call attention to the plight of the homeless, and as Reed Galin reports, his Scouting skills are helping him do it.    

 
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SCRIPT:

(Locator: Plymouth, Minnesota)

It’s a typical winter evening in Minnesota...roaring fire, hot cocoa, and freezing temperatures.

Peter Larson: “Good night dad.”

And despite the fact that it’s six below…

Peter’s dad: “You all set Pete? Goodnight.”

… Peter Larson is sleeping outside… in a cardboard box, just as he’s done every winter for the past eight years.

Peter Larson: “If it’s really cold I think about what other people are going through that year.”

Peter spends 45 nights just like this, in a sleeping bag his grandmother made. His humble efforts have raised $85,000 for those without homes. A Cub Scout lecture in first grade inspired the effort.

Peter Larson: “The money I raise goes to a community organization called Interfaith Outreach in Community Partners.”

Jill Kohler, IOCP Development Director: “That’s what Interfaith’s about, trying to maintain stability for families so they can move ahead and advance into a better life. Peter this year has become sort of our poster child of what one person can do.”

“Hi, I’m Peter Larson,…”

Several area restaurants sponsor Peter, and on nights that he works the crowds, they donate half their profits.

Joni Larson, Peter’s Mother: “They call him the sleepout prince. I think that’s kind of funny.”

It’s his church family at Messiah United Methodist that is his biggest supporter.

(Church member) “Who do we make the check out to?”

The Rev. Dick Ellis, Messiah United Methodist Church: “He’s one who will inspire other kids so the talk around here is well, we need to be part of this effort.”

“This should be somewhere over a thousand dollars.”

The money helps people like this single mother from Ethiopia.

Makida Medulahi: “Hi Peter, I’m Makida, nice to meet you… thank you, you did wonderful job.”

Peter hopes his time out in the cold will help others be warmer to their neighbors.

Makida Medulahi: “I want to volunteer myself whenever they need me because it’s changed my life. I want to change somebody’s life too.”

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By the way, Peter ended his sleep out on Christmas Eve. His mother was relieved as the temperatures in Minnesota dipped much lower in the weeks after that.

Peter also received the national “Good Samaritan” Scouting award for 2008 from United Methodist Men, which recognizes a young person between the age of 12 and 21 who is involved in outreach, humanitarian assistance, or advocacy.

For more information on Peter and his project, contact Messiah United Methodist Church in Plymouth, Minnesota at 763-473-6968.

Also, see: Youth trades warm bed to raise funds for homeless and Profile: Peter Larson

Posted: Jan. 14, 2009