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
You’ve come a loooong way baby and we are so proud of you!
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Big congratulations to your son (and to the parents who have been behind him all the way!) This is a major accomplishment, and I can’t say enough good things about boys who stay strong all the way through the Eagle Scout. Love his project – hope you raise lots of money and that I get to see a future post about this!
Thank you Seana! He is doing well 1/3rd of the way to goal in just over a week. I love that people are so generous when you ask them to help on a worthwhile project. And you bet, I will have LOTS of pictures of the final project. We are so proud of him!
My son has learned how hard it is to get a young mans idea approved. But, in learning the hard way what an Eagle project is
1. planning 2. develope 3. leadership. not necessarily the project itself. If your son is doing the planning and fundraising, why are you posting this request?
Hi Laura – thanks for stopping by. I am posting this at my son’s request. Part of leadership is getting other people involved in his project. He created the fundraising account and has shared it with our Troop and various other folks on his own Facebook and Email accounts, but he would not have had access to my blog readers in the normal course of things. Thanks for sharing your concern.
That is really something to be proud of!! My little brother was in Scouts for years–he was planning to make it to Eagle Scout, but he ended up starting college earlier than he expected, and the whirlwind of moving to another country and getting set up in school meant that he didn’t end up completing the pursuit.
That’s sad he didn’t make it all the way, but I’m sure he has a lot of great memories and skills he gained from Scouts. I can’t imagine what my son’s life would have been like without Scouts.
What a great project! My husband is one of those who wasn’t pushed to get his Eagle and has regretted it from time to time. We have 4 boys now – the oldest is a Wolf in Cub Scouts with me and I love scouts! Will watch for updates on his project!
Yes, it is sad when they get so close because whenever you talk about Scouts, the only thing people want to know is were you an Eagle Scout or not. If not, they just don’t care. Which is kind of rude, I think. Four boys – isn’t that fun? I had three, but mine were pretty far spaced out, so I’ve literally been raising boys for 30 years. This one is the youngest (and the most challenging by far!).
Howdy! This is the first time to read your blog. I think it’s a great thing to be part of a scout family. My cousin was an Eagle Scout and we are so proud of him. I have known only a few. Good luck with your son’s Buddy bench (what a great idea!). I will be checking back to see how he is doing!
Thanks for visiting. I think Scouting is a great organization and even if boys don’t get their Eagles, they still get a lot of good training out of it. I think they put a lot more focus on character training than sports programs or other things that kids get involved in.
Such a great project idea!! Best of luck with everything!
Thank you! I was glad to see him do something that will help others. I think this project was a great fit for him.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is quite the accomplishment! My husband loves that he got his Eagle Scout the day before his 13th birthday…every time we go to his mom’s church he points out the plaque with his name on it. I love your son’s project for the Buddy Bench…we need more of these!
That’s awesome! I think because we are more involved with them, I’ve spoken to a lot of adults about it and those people who have gotten close and haven’t achieved it, are just sad and disappointed for the rest of their lives. So, I’m glad he has finally gotten going with it. That’s exciting for all of us.