In Hollywood, awards season comes at the beginning of the year. In Scouting, it comes right now.
Leading up to this month’s National Annual Meeting, the BSA has announced (or will soon announce) this year’s class of Silver Buffalo recipients, this year’s winners of various college scholarships, and this year’s winners of the Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award.
One of the fun things I get to do for the National Eagle Scout Association magazine, Eagles’ Call, is write about the national and regional Adams Award winners (as well as profile a few of the council-level winners). I’m always impressed by what these young men have accomplished and what they’ve learned along the way. But what frequently surprises me away is the breadth of project ideas they’ve chosen.
If the Eagle Scout candidates in your troop or district can’t think beyond birdhouses, hiking trails, and blood drives, encourage them to spend some time reading about this year’s winners. They’ll find a Scout who built an Albert Einstein mural with 2,544 Rubik’s Cubes for a planetarium, a Scout who ran a “don’t text and drive” campaign, a Scout who installed a water well in a Philippine village, a Scout who restored a 1927 railroad caboose for a museum, a Scout who directed an original cabaret program to inspire special-needs kids, and much more. And those are just a few of the council-level winners.
Your Scouts may never win the Adams Award, but if they are inspired to pursue projects that mean something to them and their communities, they will be winners nonetheless.
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J. Sterling Morton, the founder of the National Arbor Day Foundation once said, “If you seek my monument, look around you.” The same could be said of Eagle Scouts; their monument lies in the people they’ve touched through their leadership, service, and example.
But wouldn’t it be great to have a permanent monument to your troop’s Eagle Scouts, one that’s entirely appropriate to Scouting? Imagine starting a grove of trees near your meeting place (or the local Scout camp or a nearby park), planting a tree each time one of your Scouts becomes an Eagle. Imagine a group of Tenderfoot Scouts walking through that grove 20 years from now, dreaming of the day they too could add their own tree to the collection.
Your local cooperative extension service office should be able to give you more information or help you get started. In most parts of the country, now is the about the right time to plant trees.
But that’s not the only “tree-mendous” way you can honor your new Eagle Scouts.
The National Arbor Day Foundation has a program called Trees in Celebration/Trees in Memory. For a $10 donation, you can have 20 native trees planted in your honoree’s name in either Superior National Forest in Minnesota or Blackwater River State Forest in Florida. (Locations vary from time to time.) The Eagle Scout’s name goes in a permanent online registry, and you receive a full-color certificate you can present at his court of honor. (If you’re pressed for time, you can download the certificate as a PDF file and print it yourself.)
As winter descends on Atlanta, BIrmingham, and other southern cities, I’m reminded of Eagle Scout Paul Siple, the co-creator of the wind chill factor. An Eagle Scout and Sea Scout, Siple twice went to Antarctica with Admiral Richard Byrd.
I’m excited this year to feature two new products at EagleBook.com: color versions of the popular Eagle Mountain Certificate and Eagle Mountain Certificate–Mentor Edition. (The Eagle Mountain Certificate is shown here.)
Each certificate costs $15 and is personalized with the recipient’s name and ceremony (or board of review date). The mentor certificate also includes the Eagle Scout’s name.
If you prefer the classic parchment versions of the certificates, those are still available at just $9 each. All prices are postage paid.
For details or to order, click here.
This year, a law firm in San Diego called Harrison and Boddell is offering a new $1,000 Scouting scholarship. The only requirement (aside from involvement in Boy Scouting or Girl Scouting) is to write a 400-600 word essay on how Scouting prepared you for college. (Details are here).
That assignment got me to wondering about how my time in Scouting prepared me for college. There were countless ways, but two that come to mind relate to the merit badge program. When you think about it, every merit badge is like an introductory course: Swimming 101, Leatherwork 101, etc. So going to college and taking English 101 or Psychology 101 was only natural. Also, earning a merit badge (outside summer camp or a merit badge class) is like taking an independent study class. So it was no big deal to me when I needed to take some correspondence courses to get core requirements out of the way.
How did Scouting prepare you for life after high school? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.
One of my regular writing gigs is Eagles’ Call, the quarterly magazine of the National Eagle Scout Association. Last fall, we introduced a fresh new design that includes lots of new features.
One feature I’m excited about, which should appear beginning in the spring issue, is “Eagles in the Wild.” Here’s the idea: Eagle Scout badges show up in the most surprising places, from ships to statues to stained glass windows. We’re asking readers who spot an Eagle badge or other Eagle Scout image “in the wild” to send a photo and details to email@example.com.
Where have you spotted an Eagle badge in the wild?