Young Man Scouting for Instruments to Help Joplin

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WEBB CITY - When Andrew Decker, 15, heard that the Joplin high school band lost its band room, music, and instruments in the tornado, he wanted to help. Andrew has been in band since fifth grade and he felt passionate about bringing music back to Joplin.

"I was just thinking about what happened in Joplin and just thought, well, how would I feel if I lost all my instruments," said Decker. "I just kind of thought hey why not try to get it back to them."

He plays the tenor saxophone and says band has given him confidence and boosted his social skills.

"There is no real way to describe how it feels when you are in band surrounded by all your buddies and you do something awesome, such as the marching band show," said Andrew "It's just so cool!"

Andrew is not only a musician, but a member of Scouting Troop 904, so for his Eagle Scout project he organized what he calls "Scouting 4 Instruments," a music instrument drive to put instruments in the hands of Joplin high school and junior high school students.

"Just about everyone has some instrument around that they never use anymore," said Andrew. "You know like, some trumpet that they played in high school or something, might as well give it to someone else to use."

The instruments he collects don't have to be in perfect condition. They will be inspected and fixed before they are given to students when school starts.

"There are lots of people out there who, you know, have instruments but don't have time to play them and haven't taken the time to practice and stay good, and there are kids who need that opportunity," said Adam Decker, the scout master of Troop 904. He is also Andrew's dad.

"Basically he has felt that either it was going to be a huge success or it was going to be, you know, he is going to have just a couple of instruments and at least he did a little good," said Adam Decker.

"He has just been a wonderful kid," said Rick Castor the band director at Joplin high school. "I think it is just incredible. He is a great young man. I have gotten to meet him a couple times now, he came over and we talked about our needs."

So far Andrew has received more than a dozen instruments.

"You can tell at the end of the day if you would come by my room sometime finally around five or six o'clock way after school is over I am having to make everybody leave so I can go home because they are just like a family," said Castor. "They all meet together in there and they just hang out all the time. They do all kinds of things together."

"It's not so much the instruments so much as band," said Andrew. "Band is such an important part of, you know, any high school kid who is ever in band's life, you know. It teaches stuff that nothing else really does. It teaches fellowship and just working hard and going after something you want. You know, everyone should have that."

He is hoping in some way, the instrument drive will bring the gift of music back to Joplin.

If you want to learn more about Andrew's "Scouting 4 Instruments" project or want to help check out his facebook page or website to learn more. Jefferson City YMCAs are instrument donation locations for anyone wanting to contribute an instrument. Instruments can also be dropped off at the Scouting office in Columbia located at 1203 Fay St Columbia, MO 65201-4719.

List of Instruments Joplin needs:
Snare Drums
French Horns

Other items Joplin needs:
Valve Oil
Cork Grease
Cleaning Kits