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I like reading about the different kinds of service projects that scouts do, and I like contemplating the relative merits of each: which projects make the biggest impact?  which ones best meet often neglected communities?  which ones satisfy true "needs" as opposed to being mere window dressing?  which ones exhibit leadership?  These mental sojourns help me build up an understanding of how to best guide scouts looking for a project to organize.

There's an interesting article in Bryan on Scouting about a scout with a creative idea for a service project:  teach senior citizens how to use smart phones.  I like that project because it builds empathy with a part of the community that's too often ignored, and because it is more selfless than a project that benefits the scout's own school, church, neighborhood, etc. 

I particularly like the line:  "Eagle Scout projects don’t have to include construction work. Scouts can make a permanent impact even if there’s nothing permanent left behind."   Very true.... 

See: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/04/29/service-project-idea-teach-senior-citizens-how-to-use-their-smartphones/ 

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Posted (edited)

Which ones? All of them! (Mostly.)

You're kind of asking for answers which I don't think I'm allowed to give. Judge not, lest you be judged. Sorry, I didn't write the rules. ;)

Here's the thing. Time and time again, I've seen scouts who've done these projects be the ones "in the room" (classroom, job, theater of war, community, or church) when the next big project rolls around. And, they are the ones who say, "We got this!"

It's really not about the project. It's about the scout. Are we setting our most ambitious scouts on a trajectory where they start their first major project while we are there to guide and challenge them? This is one of the main reasons I would like scouts to hustle up and make Eagle earlier in their tenure. IMHO. that project for rank advancement should be the first of several before entering adulthood.

Non-scouting example: Sunday's sermon was from a fellow whose youth director set his fellowship in pairs to walk the streets of Baltimore to talk to homeless people for an afternoon. This was when he was 13 years old. By the time he was 18, he and another college classmate decided to start a ministry to the homeless in our city. It has been going strong for 17 years, and lots of other youth (including our own) have volunteered in places where some of my fellow scouters fear to tread. So, was going down the street and chatting with a homeless person a grand project? You could ask the folks in Baltimore, if they are still alive and willing to talk about the past two decades, how much of an impact those kids had. Or, you could ask the thousands in Pittsburgh and every other town where those youth ultimately set up home.

A service projects impact is a function of how much it molds the scout, not how many people are served by the actions taken in the span of a few weeks.

Edited by qwazse
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