You have just completed the requirements for Life Scout. Congratulations! You have traveled a long way down the Eagle Trail. Ahead, you can see the top. But before you reach the summit, you still have to finish some Eagle requirements. One of them is the Eagle project.
Some Scouts, by the time they reach Life, know exactly what they want to do for an Eagle project. Other Scouts attend the District’s Life to Eagle seminar (a valuable learning experience that maximizes your probability of successfully completing the Eagle Trail) and get good ideas there. Others don’t want to do a project just like everyone else but struggle with finding a concept attractive to them that comes with a willing and available beneficiary. Where to start?
One key element to an Eagle project is a willing and available beneficiary. Sometimes a beneficiary is willing but isn’t available. It often is a question of timing. It may be the wrong time in their budgetary year. Or it could be that they need to finish another project before starting one that would be of interest to you. There have been cases where a beneficiary had a schedule for activities (such as shipping supplies to a location of need) and wouldn’t be engaging in that for several months. There can be many reasons why, when you are available and anxious to do a project, a beneficiary may not be available.
Not every beneficiary is willing. Working with someone doing his first project has its own challenges. While you will be providing the beneficiary with something of value (a completed project) not everyone has the experience and skill to work with a new project manager. When a fit isn’t right, don’t force it. Our goal is for you to have a positive experience. There are lots of beneficiaries that are willing and available to help a Scout with his Eagle project.
To find a beneficiary, start with your Unit’s Chartered Organization. Do they need help? Giving back to the Chartered Organization is always a good idea. If the Chartered Organization doesn’t have anything at the moment that sparks your interest, consider:
Local schools – the Principal often will have a project or two that needs doing.
Your Church – Check with your church to see if they have projects they need help with.
Parks and Recreation – Your municipal or country parks department is a good source. Check with individual park managers as well. Several Scouts have done successful projects at Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Annandale and Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna. Vienna Parks and Recreation also has been a frequent project beneficiary.
Youth Sports Leagues – Often need a hand with upgrading or improving their facilities or playing fields. If you love a particular sport, wouldn’t it be gratifying to do a project upgrading the field or court on which you play?
Neighborhood Associations – Making something to improve your neighborhood can be uplifting. It is something your family, neighbors and you could enjoy for many years.
Non-Profit Organizations – The list of deserving non-profit organizations is endless. What are you interested in? Where do you want to make a difference? There probably are multiple not-for-profit organizations that focus on an issue of interest to you and that would be anxious to have your help. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask people you know with similar interests (that’s what adults call “networking”). If you keep at it, you’ll find someone who can point you in the right direction.
Still not sure where to start?
The list below lists some, but far from all, of the George Mason District Eagle projects in the recent past. Look through the list. Maybe you will find something that sparks your interest.
Samples of Past George Mason District Eagle Projects
Youth Ministry Stage – construction of a stage for youth ministry at a local church in addition to painting the youth room and organization of the church’s outreach center.
Fence Repair – reconstruction of a 100 ft. long section of derelict fence near the front gate of Meadowlark Gardens, a botanical garden outside of Vienna.
Bio-retention Basin – building a bio-retention Basin, which corrected drainage issues in the area between the W&OD trail and the Vienna community parking lot along Park St, by removing a French Drain, and planting a Virginia native perennial garden.
Outdoor classroom – construction of an outdoor easel that fit a six foot by three foot writing surface to be used in a middle school courtyard. The project also filled in an old pond and mulched the gardens in the courtyard.
Basketball Clinic – organized and ran a free basketball skill clinic for community 3rd and 4th graders.
Raised Flower Beds – designed and built 3 4X8 raised flower beds behind a local elementary school.
Autism Mural – painted a cross displaying the autism puzzle pieces on a wall in a large mural at his church and did a presentation on autism to his troop. His project also painted walls, build book shelves in a classroom and painted all the doors in the basement of the church.
School landscaping – managed a beautification project at a local elementary school in Springfield, VA. This renewed planting beds at the schools front entrance, pruning crape myrtle trees in front of the school, weeding and pruning flower beds at the road side entrance and constructing a large wood planter box for the entrance.
Variety Show – organized and ran a variety show at an assisted care residence. Its goal was to enrich the lives of the residents, and entertain them, one which it definitely succeeded in.
Vegetable Garden – renovated the vegetable garden at a local church. Volunteers replaced and fertilized the soil in the earth-boxes and planted new seed. This past fall the vegetables were harvested for the church food pantry and donated to the needy.
Softball Bleachers – refurbished the spectator area of the softball field by a local elementary school. The team removed the rotting boards of the bleachers and replaced them with solid, new boards. They also rebuilt the benches in the dugouts and then repainted them.
Bicycle Racks – restored two bicycle racks at a local elementary school. The two sites were restored with 4×6 timbers for borders, placing drainage fabric and filling in the area with top grade mulch.
Community Center Benches – built two solid wooden benches and two large flower pots at the Vienna Community Center.
Erosion Abatement – dug trenches and laid corrugated pipe to help redirect water towards a nearby creek when flooding occurs in a Fairfax City park.
Cemetery Preservation – mapped and restored a historic cemetery in Vienna with the help of the Fairfax County Cemetery Preservation Association.
iPod Collection for Alzheimer’s Patients – organized an iPod collection drive for Alzheimer’s patients for the nonprofit organization Music & Memory. He was the first Scout in the United States to do so. His plan design is now used as template by Music & Memory for other scouts seeking to do an iPod collection drive.
Planting Boxes – designed and built planting boxes for a local elementary school in Fairfax, VA. These planting boxes will support the science department of the school by allowing students to learn how to plant, care for and track the growth cycle of the plants they planted.
Trail Restoration – restored a section of the Truro Home Owner’s Association parkland trail by patching the eroded trail with gravel, painting over graffiti in a tunnel near the trail, and painted a bench and utility box.
Fence Replacement – removed an old fence and replaced it with a new one at Borge Street Park in Oakton. The purpose of the fence is to prevent small children running into a road.
Split Rail Fence – replaced an old split rail fence with new upgraded 3-rail version and installed a graded and paved 3-step access point to the W&OD trail.
New Gym Floor – replaced a gymnasium floor at the Fairfax County Police Association Hall. This included removing and disposing the existing floor, moving a 2000 lb. stage to access part of the floor, installation of the new floor, trim work and trash disposal. Over 25 people from 2 BSA and 1 GSA troops participated in this 2 ½ day project.
Stream Reclamation – reclaimed a stream valley in South Side Park in Vienna. The park now has three benches in it and a walking path bridge. Thirty trail steps were also replaced in the park.
3D Printing Lab – built a 3D printing lab for the Falls Church Mary Riley Styles Public Library. To raise funds for the project he ran several classes on 3D printing and held an open house day where the public could see lot of 3D printers and ask questions about them. The lab is now available to the public at the Library.
Dugout Repair – built the roofing structures for two dugouts at the Dowden Terrace baseball field.
Outdoor Classroom – installed 4 eight foot backless player benches on a hill for outdoor classroom programs at a local elementary School.
Dugout Cover – designed and constructed a Dugout Cover at Southside Park in Vienna for benefit the Golden Girls over 50 Softball League.
Refurbished Picnic Tables – refurbished 17 picnic tables at Wolf Trap Farm.
School Landscaping – improved the area around the sign at the entrance to a local elementary school, landscaping the area, planting shrubs and trees and building a protective border.
Storage Shed – built a storage shed for a local elementary school PTA.
Board Walk – designed, constructed and installed a 50-foot long board walk over a muddy portion of a trail at Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Annandale, VA.
Pre-School Garden Fence – installed a fence around a preschool garden to keep out deer and created an outdoor classroom.
Parking Lot Re-Design – re-designed the layout of the parking lot for American Legion Post #130 to improve traffic flow and created more parking spaces.
Outdoor Classroom – built an outdoor classroom for a local high school with ten benches and a podium.
Cemetery Restoration – removed and replaced a fence, cleared and removed brush around the fence and trimmed branches from the Fox Family Cemetery.
Autism Awareness – held an autism awareness day at his synagogue for high school students.
Outdoor Recreational Area – enhanced the outdoor recreational area of a local elementary school with a play area, two compost bins, a birdhouse and four birdhouse posts.
Butterfly House – designed and built and installed a Butterfly House in the play garden at a local church’s preschool. The children in the school raised butterfly larvae over the winter to place in the butterfly house before butterflies emerge from their cocoons.
Invasive Plant Removal – removed invasive plants from a nature center in his neighborhood.
Theater Workshop – planned and ran a week-long theater workshop at an elementary school.