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.