For the 100th anniversary of Boy Scouts of America, 12-year-old Nathaniel Stafford’s parents challenged him to do something big. In their eyes, a 10-15 mile hike to raise funds for charity was perfect. But Nathaniel wanted to go the extra mile — literally. He insisted, “This is the 100th Anniversary of Scouts so I am going to go 100 miles.” From February 22-March 2, Nathaniel braved the exceptionally frigid North Carolina winter on a 100 mile road hike that generated more than 300 bed nets to save lives!
When Nathaniel initially heard that a child dies of malaria every thirty seconds, he couldn’t fathom why this would happen if prevention like bed nets was available. He realized that malaria needed to be on the forefront of people’s minds. So with his hiking gear ready and a solid base of supporters and fans, Nathaniel hit the road on February 22, the birthday of Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting Movement. Nathaniel logged his progress and posted photos on his website, trek4nets.org. On March 2, Nathaniel finally ended his nine-day journey that took him through five counties and wore his feet down. Excited friends and cameramen from the local news station greeted his arrival in downtown Fayetteville.
Nathaniel might be only 12 years old, but age is the least of his concerns when it comes to helping others. “People always ask me how old I am. I might be only 12, but I’m trying to encourage people. Just because you’re a young kid doesn’t mean you can’t do something for your community.”
Nathaniel has done more than just help his community — he has sent 300 life-saving bed nets to Africa. He has also been a shining example of the Boy Scout ideal of being a global citizen. Perhaps most importantly, Nathaniel has demonstrated that you can spread the buzz about malaria and save lives on other continents from just about anywhere — even on a remote trail in North Carolina.