Service Project an Inspiration
in So Many Ways
Alex Griffith, the 2010 Eagle Service Project winner, set out to build a playground, but he ended up building bridges of friendship between Russia and America.
Russians often approached the Americans to thank them, sometimes with tears in their eyes.
Leftover money from Alex’s
project will help fund two additional
playgrounds in Russia, one at a tuberculosis hospital and one at a hospital for the mentally ill.
On the day of the grand opening, Christian Posko and Zach Kraft promised to return to Krasnoyarsk as adults to refurbish the children’s hospital. When they arrive, they may have Russian Scouts to help them.
A year ago, no one in Krasnoyarsk knew what Scouting was; now, everyone does. Khegay’s son, Max, even pledged to start a Cub Scout pack when his son gets old
enough in a few years.
And then there are the e-mails Alex has received from around the world. “I have received letters and e-mails from Scouts who now are planning bigger and more meaningful projects, and from adopted
kids who now want to go back and do something for their communities,”Alex said.
Perhaps the most touching message, however, had nothing to do with Scouting or playgrounds or adoption. It came from a father who had been struggling with his
son’s recent ADHD diagnosis.
“Reading that you also have ADHD
and what you were able to do made
something in me shift from despair to hope just now,” the man wrote. “Tears are running down my face as I write this; thank you for what you did. You not only helped those children, but gave me a glimmer of the possibilities of my son’s future. Thank you and God bless you.”
It’s safe to say that He already has.—Mark Ray, freelance writter
These days, many wonder if Scout camping and hiking has a place in today’s society. Others think youth sports is the answer, but me, I am still old-fashioned enough to believe that teaching youth to serve others builds character. The kind of character America still needs.
That was reaffirmed this week when ScoutingWire: Eagle Edition arrived in my in-box. I really was touched by the story of Blake Deaton, 2017 Eagle Project of the Year Winner, who knew he wanted his Eagle Scout service project to help his brother and other students with special needs.
He was featured at BSA’s Annual Meeting, then his story appeared in Bryan on Scouting in May, which I read with interest. However, it was the YouTube video attached to the story that got me going. Once clicked, the story’s of top Eagle Scout service projects from the last seven years were available.
I watched them all, but let me warn you, if you are boob like me, you better get some tissues before you watch these:
Blake Deaton, 2017 Eagle Project of the Year: he constructed and equipped two sensory educational rooms for autistic and special needs students. Blake raised all $30,000 for the project through social media and community outreach efforts. (to see his original application for the award click his video here).
Zachary Blohm, 2016 NESA Eagle Scout Project of the Year: he oversaw and participated in the construction of a community-built playground at the local elementary school.
Shane Uribe, 2015 NESA Eagle Scout Project of the Year : his projected gathered and packed duffel bags for foster kids, like him, with toys, personal blanket and flashlight.
Cody Eckels, 2014 Eagle Scout Project of the Year: expanded the veteran’s memorial in Soldiers Park, Tyrone, PA.
Elijah LeCroix, 2013 Eagle Scout Project of the Year: Designed and built a playground at the city park in Rogersville, Ala. even though his house burned down during the same time.
Elijia King, 2012 National Eagle Scout Project of the Year: When he volunteered at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center in the summer of 2010, the Milan, Indiana, Scout learned that the Veterans Administration helps put homeless veterans in apartments—but it can’t provide furniture, kitchen items, or anything else. For his Eagle project, Elijia furnished 10 such apartments. Along the way, he traveled 2,800 miles, raised $2,600, and logged more than 420 volunteer hours.
Jeff Cox, 2011, National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year: he built a 9–11 Memorial in his home town (be sure to get all the way through the video for the measurements on this project).
Alex Griffith, 2010 National Eagle Scout Service Project: built a playground at the Russian hospital where he had been adopted. Consider these numbers: Alex’s volunteers—all 634 of them—came from 78 cities, 23 states, and five countries. They raised $62,856 and invested at least 1,867 hours into the project on top of the 838 hours Alex spent. Leftover money from Alex’s project helped fund two additional playgrounds in Russia, one at a tuberculosis hospital and one at a hospital for the mentally ill. (Read more about his project at http://www.nesa.org/eagletter/2010_spring.pdf)