Renegade Community Service

6 mins read

When it comes to getting out there and doing the work, there’s a trap. There’s a spring-loaded snap waiting for us. For most of us, helping has different contexts but the same core meaning; it’s something like performing an action that enables somebody else to have a better circumstance. That might be adding the two bucks to your grocery bill when asked about a local group raising money for new programs. It might also be starting a non-profit to bring actionable resilience skills to first responders. Either way, community service doesn’t have to be hard. You can take on a ‘renegade’ posture to create impact now.

I think there’s a natural inclination to see service as grandeur. People out there putting in the work can sometimes pedestal that very work. We see it on social media. We see it in our circle of peers sometimes, too. While it comes from the same heart space, it’s somehow veiled by ego. Ugly.

Likewise, I’ve seen tons of people have great intentions but fail on execution. This is as harmful for the mission of service because it can sometimes stain future movements. I’d know about that, specifically. Last year, I tried to setup a conference toward building out the mental health community locally and failed. I felt like that failure was public enough that it might smudge future efforts of SIXFEET. Now, that’s not entirely true, but it certainly felt that way. This could have turned into a ‘shut it down, it’s not working’ kind of reaction. I could see lots of people packing it up after having something fail at that scale.

But, that’s not how we roll.

Renegade. That’s a word that I’ve hovered on through multiple chapters of my life. From the Rage days of my youth, pushing a skateboard through downtown to lately, identifying SIXFEET as the ‘black hoodie‘ of mental health. I’m hereby proposing a focus on “renegade community service.” By definition, a renegade is somebody who dismisses the norm for an ideal. That’s precisely what I think needs to happen.

A few years ago, we hosted a VERY small ruck march fundraiser for a local school. Three of us set out to spend a morning under backpacks filled with bricks. We promised a handful of parents and a few local business owners that we would make good on a promise of distance. Meanwhile, we took donations toward outfitting a local elementary school with new athletic uniforms.

Now, we didn’t announce that. We didn’t even tell the school.

We just executed.

Later in the month, we arrived at the school with 1200 bucks that provided brand new jerseys for the school’s intramural sports teams. They got new gear, parents got to improve the school without committing any time and we got a bunch of good feels for making things better. Win, win.

Flash forward, I got a bunch of SIXFEET ruck patches done up and found very rapidly that an appetite exists for a rucking challenge. It went something like this – no matter where you are in the world. If you and your friends hit a 12 mile ruck with 30 pounds for a weight standard, I’d ship you a patch. No questions asked.

The SIXFEET community absolutely gobbled up that challenge – we had people from all over North America sending in proof of hard miles. It was obvious that we’d struck a chord.

Now, in 2024, we’re taking what has already worked and scaling out a little. Locally, we’re running another charity ruck. This time, in support of Dufferin School. And, at the macro level, we’re doing another ruck challenge with the people we’ve met online.

The 2024 SIXFEET Ruck Patch

Our 2024 Ruck Patch: Rules

Let’s make one thing clear; the patch for this ruck will be produced in limited quantity and will NEVER be for sale. The only way to get one is to earn it.

Here’s how it’s going to work;

  • Ruck 12 miles in one trip with a minimum dry weight of 30 pounds.
  • No time limit. No speed standard.
  • In your route, deposit non-perishables in a local food bank or animal shelter.
  • Send proof (GPS and pic of donated non-perishable) to @sixfoxtrot on IG.

Renegade community service, I think, is something like ‘performing immediate action that enables somebody else to have a better circumstance.‘ It’s the urgency. The ‘right-now’ of it that makes what could otherwise be a big, drawn out engagement something that can create impact. That’s a key-phrase that is worth really considering. The difference, perhaps, between impact and effect.

Our next ruck patch will ship to anybody who completes the tasks above; ruck some weight, supply drop a local bin, send proof.

Community service doesn’t need to be difficult.

It’s okay to be a renegade.

Bill Dungey is a volunteer firefighter in Ontario, Canada. He is focused on fitness, mindset development and finding training opportunities to help the fire service make things better.

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