Catholic Scout Julia Amendola of West Nyack, New York finds great joy in serving others

Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to make people smile. That’s probably why I chose Scouting. I remember the first time I heard my brother repeat the Scout Law. The words helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, cheerful and reverent greatly appealed to me. Even then they spoke to who I was,” Julia said. “When I joined Venturing and learned the Scout Oath, the sentence ‘To help other people at all times’ also resonated with me…It was like I was being called to duty, or maybe more appropriately, being called to a vocation.”

a group of people with sewing supplies sewing masks outdoors in 2020

That calling led Julia to organize a team of 40 people across seven states to make more than 600 reusable cloth masks for People to People, a local food pantry. The mask-making project, during the early days of the pandemic when it was hard to find masks, earned her the Summit Award, but the biggest reward for Julia was knowing she was making a difference in the lives of those less fortunate during those difficult times.

Julia, a person wearing a Scout uniform, standing with a box of masks in front of a sign that says People to People

“Seeing my idea come to life with the help of those all around me was truly wonderful. I learned that helping others is really the best reward in the world. I remember the day I brought the masks over to People to People, we hung about 50 of them on the wall for people to see when they walked in,” said Julia. As I was leaving, there was a young family walking in to pick up their food and their little girl ran over excitedly when she saw the arrangement of colorful masks. It was at that moment when I knew what was once just an idea in my head had now really come true and was going to help people.”

Growing up in her home parish of St. Francis of Assisi, Julia was a lector, retreat leader and altar server. She also played the role of Mary in St. Francis of Assisi’s presentation of The Passion Through the Eyes of Mary, which she found very moving. Brought up in a Scouting family, volunteering in her parish and broader community has always held a special place in Julia’s heart. She served for four years on her local state senator’s student advisory council, volunteered as the student lead on local Meals on Wheels and Blizzard Box Relief Initiatives, and gave of her time at the Hi Tor Animal Care Center.

One day while I was there a man brought in a small dog he had discovered while hiking. The dog was in rough shape; his fur was matted, he was dirty, and undernourished. He also had no identification,” said Julia.“Once he was cleaned and fed, he looked like an entirely different dog and began to wag his tail. They took a photograph of him, put it on their website, and in a couple of days he was adopted by a lovely family with a young boy. I was so happy this dog found a loving home. The Scout Law teaches us that a Scout is kind, so I was naturally drawn to wanting to help animals any way that I could.

A group of people in blue dance uniforms, holding batons, in front of a sign that says Villanova

Now in her junior year at Villanova University, Julia is Co-President of the Majors Fair Committee, a scholastic fair hosted every year at Villanova for freshmen who are interested in learning more about what majors/minors they want to pursue. She is also the Communications chair for the Villanova Twirlers team. The team performs at school and other area events including the regional Special Olympics and NOVAdance, a fundraiser for the B+ Foundation, which funds cancer research and provides support to families of children with cancer.

A crowd of people holding signs at the NOVAdance fundraiser

“Villanova Special Olympics is the largest annual student-run Special Olympics event in the world. We perform for the athletes and teach them some basic baton tricks!” said Julia “NOVAdance is an annual event at Villanova that the Villanova Twirlers perform at. It is a year-long fundraising effort culminating in a twelve hour dance marathon every spring raising money for the B+ Foundation.”

In 2021, NCCS awarded eight college scholarships totaling $22,000 nationwide to recognize Scouts for outstanding service and leadership. The National Catholic Committee on Scouting awarded Julia a $2,000 scholarship in 2021 through the Emmett J. Doerr Memorial Scout Scholarship Fund for her service in four areas: Church, community, school and Scouting.

“Part of the Scout Oath is to help other people at all times. I have been so blessed in my life that I’ve always felt I need to give back to those who are less fortunate. When you help other people, it is a wonderful feeling,” said Julia. “The Bible teaches us to do unto others as they would do unto you. I’ve often found special meaning in these words as well as Christs’ words, ‘Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me’. As a Catholic and a Scout, I find that the service to others is of utmost importance. It also brings great happiness and joy for not only me, but for all.”

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