Eagle Scout is the highest rank a boy can achieve in the Boy Scouts of America. To reach the goal of Eagle Scout, boys must advance through all the ranks of the entire scouting process and earn at least 21 merit badges in a variety of skills. To top it off, scouts must complete an Eagle Project, a community service leadership project.
My older brother is an Eagle Scout. His Eagle Scout Project: teaching students about different kinds of shelters and conducting a hands-on lesson so students could build them in their own classroom (see photo). I remember the accolades he received—his Court of Honor was a big deal. Since we’re an Air Force family who moves all the time, my brother knew some very special Scoutmasters from far-flung locations. My parents arranged for some of them to attend his Eagle Scout Court of Honor. My brother requested a congressional candidate to attend—and he did! Everyone knows that achieving Eagle Scout is a big deal.
I know a teacher who is very talented at harnessing the power of the Eagle Project. Through Eagle Projects, our school created murals, built benches, installed a garden—you name it! Of course, this teacher was always there as executive oversight. (The Eagle Scout candidate did the actual leading.)
I haven’t been brave enough to sponsor an Eagle Scout project myself, so I don’t want to talk big. I just want to alert you to the power of the Eagle Project and provide you with a few resources.
The Eagle Scout candidate tracks down the materials (often with donations from local businesses), organizes the work crews, plans everything and completes the project. However, a dedicated staff member at the school has to be ready to help or find information any time the Eagle Scout candidate needs it.
To find a troop near you, enter your zip code at the Local Council Locator, or simply Google your town + Boy Scouts. Even better would be to use your personal network to find Scouts already affiliated with your school or an organization (often a church) that many people at your school attend. A really great source of Eagle Scout candidates is school alumni and older siblings of your students.
EagleScout.org gives comprehensive information on what an Eagle Scout Leadership Project is and isn’t. The list might give you ideas for projects for your school. I’m sure they would not mind if I list some of the ones that seemed particularly applicable to schools:
- Built a Playground
- Picnic Tables for Park
- Leadership Training Program: helped the school district organize and train the staff members for a week long retreat for the 6th graders.
- Made Bicycle Racks for Baseball Complex
- Flag Pole: the school’s flagpole was really old, so the eagle scout candidate got a company to donate the cement and pole for a new one. His boy scout troop helped put it in.
- Walking/Nature Trails at local schools including chips and shavings to walk on, leveling trail for ease of use, etc. Several days with various sized crews of 5-10.
- Built a volleyball court
- Moved the shelving, supplies, stock, and books from a stockroom in a 500 pupil elementary school to a new storage building.