Final DP CAS Reflection


Learning Outcomes Achieved? Nature/Location of Evidence
(LO#1) Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth Yes

At SAISA Music 2019, I was able to effectively recognize my strengths as a Euphonium player and musician in general, while also improving my skills quite a lot in a short time by realizing where I needed improvement the most and committing myself to getting better.  The difficult nature of the music we played ensured that I needed to put in the time and the effort to learn it, and improve my skills overall along the way. 

(LO#2) Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process Yes

SAISA Swimming 2020 was a great demonstration of me undertaking the challenge of being team captain for the first time, and developing new/better leadership skills. I also challenged myself to improve as a swimmer, entering the 400 meter freestyle for the first time and coming 5th overall. 

(LO#3) Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience Yes

My project is the best example I have of my planning and initiation of a CAS experience, with me doing an immense amount of pre-planning, planning, and then an effective execution of said plan/pre-plan. 

(LO#4) Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences Yes

I felt the fact that I’ve continued with the CAS lifestyle even during the difficult time of quarantine is a strong example of my commitment to the ideals and activities of CAS. 

(LO#5) Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively Yes

Collaboration has always been a strong point for me, and I think it shows in just about every single CAS experience I’ve had. In particular, I think the strongest demonstration was in that of “Oliver!” where there were so many different elements that I had to work with, from the cast to the rest of the band to the directors, and we all reaped the rewards of a tightly put together team for the show. 

(LO#6) Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance Yes

One issue that is very key to young people these days is the problem of human induced climate change, and while I have always been engaged with the issue, SAISA music 2020 stands out as a CAS experience where I participated to raise awareness for the issue with the theme “zero-hour”, which references the critical nature of the issue.

(LO#7) Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions Yes

While I’ve always considered the ethics of the choices and actions I make, it’s always inherent for me. I can’t really think of a particular example that stands out among all my posts, as I believe it is something I have always done. I strive to be ethical and moral in my actions, and one activity that is involved with the idea of considering implications for actions is Boy Scouts. 


CAS as a Quaranteenager

With the shutdown of schools due to COVID-19, things have certainly become interesting. Doing online school to finish another year, not being allowed out of my house, and limited grocery and item shopping has made life weird to say the least. Although, weird is not necessarily bad, and one thing I’ve been able to do with all my time stuck at home is CAS. While yeah, it’s obviously not the same as what I was doing while at school, I’ve found that there are plenty of ways to continue doing creativity, activity, and service. In this post, I’d like to show what I’ve been up to during quarantine.

In terms of creativity, I’ve had a ton of things to do. With all this time and not much to fill it with, I’ve been motivated to learn plenty of new creative skills and develop the ones I have further. Recently, I’ve been helping my mom when it comes to baking things like bread or cooking dinner every now and again. While I’ve always enjoyed certain cooking activities like grilling meats, it was a fun challenge to try and learn the many subtle nuances of making bread. I’ve also been getting a ton of practice in on my euphonium, although I miss concert band a lot. No matter how much I practice, it’s not like I can capture the sound of playing in a good sized band with other people. With any luck, we’ll get to play together one more time this year(for graduation if we’re lucky) and I’ll get to actually have a final concert of high school.

Activity is probably the hardest category to keep going when it comes to quarantine CAS. Luckily, embassy staff and family members have a recreation facility that they are allowed to visit, which has a tennis court and pool. I go to work out there every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 6:15. I usually run around the tennis court for about 40-45 minutes before doing a quick swim workout. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a pretty tame workout but it keeps me active which is what’s important. I also do push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups around my house intermittently, but I know I need to make better schedule and plan for doing those. I plan to continue this routine for physical exercise until the quarantine ends, though maybe I’ll switch it up if I get bored of it.

Finally, service. Doing service while under lockdown is a little tricky, since I’m obviously not meeting with my service group every Thursday afternoon. Instead, I focused on doing service for the people I’m living with. That means helping out around the house for cleaning, cooking, or generally whatever. I’ve been trying to look for ways to help my parents and do my part in making curfew less stressful for our family.

That does it in terms of what I’ve been doing recently. Curfew and quarantine is certainly a challenge to deal with, though it really isn’t that bad. Things like CAS have been helpful in preventing me from going crazy out of boredom, and all the activities here are things that are quite enjoyable to do(with the exception of early morning exercise). With the end of senior year drawing nearer, it sure is a weird way to end my final year of high school.

CAS Project Part 2

In my last post, about my CAS/eagle project, I went over all of the planning phase for the project, with what my specific goal was and how I was going to get there. In this post, I’m going to show the physical work aspect of the project and the completion.

And so it began…

I didn’t actually start working on the bags immediately after the materials ordered for them had arrived. They had come on a Monday, and I wanted to get them all done in one massive batch, so I decided to wait until the weekend. On Friday, my mom helped me make a single bag of the pattern to see how it turned out, as well as how to most efficiently make them. I decided that the best course of action was to get through all the steps at a time, instead of making each one to completion and then starting the process again. This was because certain steps, like cutting the fabric into the correct shape and size, were done far more efficiently en masse. Doing each step all at once also increased the quality of the bags, as I would become very good at completing each step as it continued. Having decided on the order of events, we began at around 8 in the morning on Saturday. The goal was to produce about 35 bags by the end of the day, and fill them the next day. This was certainly going to be a challenge for me, as I didn’t really have much experience using a sewing machine or just making things out of fabric in general before this project, so I would have to learn a lot fast.

Speaking of steps, there were 6 distinct steps for making a bag

  1. Cutting the fabric pieces
  2. Making the initial stitches
  3. Making the secondary stitches
  4. Folding and ironing a part of the fabric(so it would be easier to sew)
  5. Sewing the “V” part of the fabric(for the drawstring to pass through)
  6. Cutting the ribbons for the drawstring and pulling them through

Let me just say, I’m very glad I set aside an entire day to make them because wow, it was time consuming. While I originally intended to go through each step on that list 35 times in a row before moving onto the next one, I ended up doing about 3 batches mainly because of how tired I was getting just doing the same thing over and over again. I’d say that each step was equally as time consuming, but I just kept going.

(measuring and cutting the fabric for the bags)

To my surprise however, there were relatively few issues along the way, and they all pertained to the sewing machine I was using. I didn’t think much of them, but it ended up as a major issue later in the day. Tragically, our family’s 50+ year old sewing machine properly broke down on us while I was using it at around bag 25. Luckily, I was able to borrow a sewing machine from some embassy friends but the process of finishing all the bags ended up getting delayed to the following weekend. I’m glad the only real problem I had was that easily solved.

(making the initial stitches)

(Now doing some of the more complex bits on the new machine)

In my last post, I had mentioned that I had placed a donation bin for travel sized toiletries at the embassy community liaison office(CLO). While I had expected that some people would probably donate items, I had no idea that I would get the huge response that I did. While I didn’t count the total amounts of everything people donated, we had more than 35 of every item to fill the bags with. It was really great to have the community support me like this, as without them a project like this wouldn’t have been possible.

With the items needed collected, the filling of the bags began.

(Sorting the items out before putting them into the bags)

(bags lined up and ready to fill)

Around this time, the blankets and pillows arrived from my Great Aunt, and so all the pieces of the project were together. The final step was simply putting them in the boxes and bringing it over to the embassy, which I did on February 5, 2020, marking the completion of my project.

(showing the individual bags to Mr.Groeneveld, the embassy representative who I corresponded and collaborated with throughout the project)


The entire process of this CAS project and Eagle Scout project has been a fantastic experience. I was able to learn so much as well as give back to a community that has always been supportive. Not only have I improved my hands on real world skills like sewing, I’ve mainly improved and learned how to collaborate in a professional manner and plan out a large project and execute said plan effectively. My actual product is quite interesting, in the sense that I hope that there is never a situation that requires it to be used, and I hope that all it has to do is sit on a shelf in the Embassy. I’m very grateful for an opportunity to apply ideas and things I’ve learned from boy scouts into this project, and I think it allowed me to make a lasting positive impact.

CAS/Boy Scout Eagle Project

Introduction to the Eagle Scout Project

In the Boy Scouts, there are 7 ranks that can be attained by completing sets of various and differing requirements. The ranks, Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle, and the requirements that one has to do to achieve them are intended to be a journey, where a scout learns valuable life skills about all sorts of topics. The most well known of these ranks is the Eagle Scout, which is the highest attainable rank in BSA, and it is recognized and respected by many places, including universities, due to the amount of effort it takes to get there. Like the rest of the rank badges, the Eagle Scout badge has its own fair share of lengthy requirements, but one stands out amongst the rest. The Eagle Scout Service Project is a requirement that many Boy Scouts dread, due to the large amount of work that one has to put in, for both figuring out what you want to do and for the actual completion of the project. Since first joined boy scouts 7 years ago, I was always looking at the Eagle Project requirement in the handbook and wondering if I would ever make it that far, as well as what I would do. The time to choose has finally come after quite a while, and I think that I’m ready for it.

Like many boy scouts, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do for my project. I had a couple of ideas floating around in my head, but I wasn’t really sure how achievable or impactful they would be. I spent much time deliberating what to do, until one day where I had a spontaneous moment of figuring it out. My mom and I had been talking about the 2019 easter attacks and how difficult it had been for the US Embassy staff because as well as having to deal with the aftermath of the attacks, they also had to help deal with many American citizens seeking refuge in the US Embassy. In particular, there was a severe lack of items like toiletries. Embassy staff had a difficult time finding these items for the people seeking refuge, and it was a stress on both the people taking refuge and the people trying to help them. This difficulty in particular stood out to me the most, as it seemed like one that be solved. While thinking about this, I came upon the idea of making a bunch of little toiletry kits with various items inside. My idea was that each kit would be a handmade bag and have basic toiletries and a blanket/pillow combo for someone to use. The kits would all be stored in a medium sized plastic box that could be put wherever and only be opened when needed, presumably in a situation of crisis. I envisioned that if they were ever needed, it would be extremely simple to give them out. I asked some embassy staff who were were working when the easter attacks happened what they thought of my idea, and they said that was great and a system of kits like that would be great in a crisis situation for people taking refuge at the embassy. That was the final step in deciding that I wanted this to be my Eagle Scout project and CAS project.

Pretty soon after coming to this conclusion about what I wanted to do, I began to reach out to certain people at the US embassy to see if this was actually feasible. While I knew that it would be logistically possible, I wasn’t really sure if it was gonna be legally possible. What I mean is that I was unsure if there would be complications for working with a government agency entity like the Embassy, and if I would need any special permissions. Luckily, it turned out that it was completely feasible in that regard, and there would be no issues whatsoever working with the embassy.

Plan Time Started

After getting the part about working with the Embassy sorted, I began to make a detailed plan of what exactly I should include in each kit. I made a detailed list of items, as well as an estimated number of kits, and then went to meet with the embassy representative I was communicating with. During our meeting, he gave me some ideas about what to change on the list of items and what he thought should be included. One of the big changes that I made to my original list was the specifics about the blankets and pillows. Previously, I had intended to include a small blanket and pillow with every kit, so that if somebody had to sleep on a floor, bench, hospital waiting room, or just about wherever, they could be more comfortable. During the meeting, we agreed that we probably wouldn’t need 30+ pillows and blankets and that the bags would have to be quite large to fit them. I decided that the bags and pillows could therefor go in their own small plastic box(small black and yellow durable home depot type boxes) next to the box with the kits, and to only have x12 pillows and blanket combos. Following the conclusion of this meeting, I came up with the exact items needed and how many bags were to be made.

Using an online pattern, I planned to make 35 bags. Each bag would contain a travel sized shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and pack of wetwipes.

To collect these items, I have a donations collection bin located at the community liaison office(CLO) at the embassy where people can drop off items. Through the CLO, I also sent out an email to the entire embassy community announcing the donation collection bin. My thought for doing the donation collection bin was that it gave members of the embassy community a chance to connect to the project and that it would be a good way to get rid of all of their excess travel toiletries without throwing them away. I figured that other embassy families and people would have similar amounts of unused toiletries from flights and hotels sitting around, and judging by huge response I got, I was right.

I also ordered the materials, which ended up being:

  • 8 square yards of blue flannel fabric(for the bags)
  • 20 yards of ribbon(for the drawstrings on the bags)
  • 500 yards of blue thread(for the actual sewing)

Now, the bags were one thing, but the pillows and blankets were another story altogether. The one material I had difficulty finding availability of was stuffing for the pillows. To get around this, I reached out to my great aunt, an avid seamstress who lives in the US and asked her if she would be willing to help with regards to the pillows and blankets. After emailing back and forth to finalize the measurements of exactly what I wanted them to be, she began to work on them and said that she would mail them in a couple of weeks. This was the last element of the planning before I began the large task of producing all of the bags and filling them.

In my next post, I will detail the production of the bags and the completion of the project.