Recently, Scouting Newsroom shared the story of a Long Island Scout whose Eagle project involved giving bicycles to the children of deployed military personnel. The kicker: a decade ago, his father had been deployed to Afghanistan and he had received a bicycle in a similar fashion.
That story, which I’ll tell more fully in an upcoming issue of Eagles’ Call magazine, reminds me of several other projects I’ve written about over the years.
One Scout, a former foster child, knew the pain of schlepping his belongings from house to house in a trash bag, so he collected 200 duffel bags for other foster kids in San Diego. A second Scout wanted to honor a childhood friend lost to brain cancer, so he raised $50,000 to create a park fountain in her memory in Winter Park, Fla.. A Houston-area Scout felt the pain inflicted by an arsonist at his mosque, so he replaced a scorched concrete slab with a playground where shrieks of joy, not sirens, now pierce the air.
Those amazing projects–and several others I can think of–happened because the Scouts who led them found causes that were bigger than a badge. They didn’t just want to make Eagle; they wanted to make a difference.
Of course, not every Scout has been touched by tragedy or faced the challenges these young men did. But I’d bet that most Scouts could identify a cause that would make them stretch themselves at least a little, which is the whole point of the Eagle project.
When Scouts have asked me for help in finding a project, I’ve always suggested they think about two questions: “Where do I want to serve?” and “What kind of project do I want to do?” I think there are better questions, however: “What breaks my heart?” and “What am I going to do about it?”
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army National Guard by Staff Sgt. Katie Gray. Public domain.)
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