If you’ve been reading this blog for very long, you’ll know that we are a big Scouting family. My middle son was a Scout for a while, my youngest son is thisclose to becoming an Eagle Scout, and my husband and I are part-time adult leaders in our Troop. I am the Camping Chairperson and handle the Eagle ceremonies, some of the fundraising, and I teach about 6 merit badges. I also write posts sometimes for the Utah Scouts blog. My husband helps with the shooting campouts, teaches the Automotive merit badge and helps out a bit here and there. We have Scout activities usually 2-3 times each week and it is a BIG part of our life.
For a while, Blake was not terribly interested in working on an Eagle project, so I was getting a little nervous. I’ve known so many adults who got really close, but then didn’t end up getting it and you can tell they really regret it. It is one of the few achievements that really follows you for life. We discovered that my father, uncle and at least one of my cousins were Eagles as well, so that adds a bit of incentive to carry on a tradition. Plus nearly one quarter of the boys in our Troop reach their Eagle rank (well above the National average of about 5%), so you really want your son to achieve that goal along with all his fellow Scouts.
So, I was biting my nails a bit. He’s only 17, so he’s not down to the wire yet, but you don’t want to leave it until too late. Some Troops prefer very early Eagles – say 12 to 14, but it seems like our preferred age is about 15 to 16 because they are mature enough to really understand the process, but they aren’t quite as busy as they will get in their Senior year. (We always get a few who think it is funny to race down to the Council offices on the morning of their 18th birthday – sheesh!)
But we finally got to the point where he was ready to start thinking about it. He has worked in haunted houses for years – first with the Scouts, and then with a professional one in our area. So, his first idea was to put on a haunted house event for some children’s charity. That would have been a good challenge and a unique project, but we found out pretty early on that just straight fundraisers are not allowed. You can fundraise to buy materials FOR the project, but it can’t BE the project. Oh well, back to the drawing board.
I showed him a Ted Talk about a young boy in Cairns Australia who had done something called a “Buddy Bench”. It’s an anti-bullying thing. He liked that idea and decided to go with it. He wanted to do it at a school because he had been bullied a lot in school and wanted to help other kids not have the same experience. My best friend is a teacher at a low-income school, so he chose them to be his recipient. Safety regs meant he couldn’t build one, so here is the bench he is planning to purchase. It will cost about $650 with shipping and mounting.
His Project Advisor suggested he start a Crowdfunding campaign to raise the money for his project. At first, we thought they were not going to approve it, but to our surprise, they agreed. I’m pretty sure he’s the first Scout in our district to use a Crowdfunding platform to fund his project. So, we’ve been sending it out to all our friends and family, and our Scout Troop. You can donate too, if you’d like to, although please don’t feel like you are under any obligation to do so.
Here is his Crowdfunding page – http://www.gofundme.com/eagleblake