Max’s Eagle Project will benefit the Nassau County Museum of Art. Here he is, taking a break from planning with one of his favorite sculptures. Photo by Katheryn Laible. You can purchase photos selected by Max to to support this project by visiting the Eagle Project Collection on my website
My Max has been involved in the Scouts since he was first invited to join the Cubs when he was maybe six or seven. He came home, handed me a flyer and said, “Mom? I think this is me.”
I think he was right! The program has benefited Max tremendously. I know of nothing else that so effectively provides the hands on, empowering, broadly based, leadership/community stewardship/handiness/survival/basic life skill sets that the Scouts do. It feeds into EVERYTHING else he does.
Scouts accomplish more by their 18th birthdays than many do in a lifetime. When teachers tell me how my child – who struggled with school – consistently shows leadership, responsibility and practical intelligence, I tell them I credit the Scouts. The creativity, kindness and thoughtful, intelligent curiosity are all his own, but they’ve been exercised mightily through the Scouts.
He’s HAD to get organized; To Be Prepared.
A Scout Is...
People notice the Eagle Projects. I will say they are but icing on the cake; a final hurrah in a decade-long journey. By the time a kid does his own project, they’ve participated in MANY service projects. Even more, they’ve taught, they’ve led, they’ve planned, they’ve tested, all while learning the value of being a mindful follower.
An Eagle Scout candidate has deeply considered what it means to care for self and family, as well as how to be a good citizen in their community, their nation, internationally and in society as a whole. They understand a bit of how local government works, and have been led to really think about the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. They’ve had basic, fundamental human values drilled into their heads weekly, and been engaged in regular interviews where they’re asked what these values mean and how they apply them in their daily lives.
The basic mandate is a golden one: They are to “Do a Good Turn Daily.”
Eagle Scouts have earned a great deal of merit badges, learning to care for self and others, exploring many potential careers and hobbies, and developing deep practical skills. They’ve actively shaped their own experience as well as that of those who lead and follow them. They’ve fed people, guided them on long journeys, learned to safely wield both fire and an axe, and prepared in case of emergency.
At our last Eagle Court of Honor, another Scoutmaster told about how his own child – not very old at all – was the cool head at the scene of a horrific motorcycle accident. This kid knew just what to do, because he was a Scout.
It’s training for big things, and basic preparation. I came in once to find Max teaching himself to knot a tie via his Scoutbook. This is not the only time I saw him pull out that tome as a general reference for life.
This is not to minimize that cake icing. Eagle Projects must be identified, permitted, coordinated and constructed, ideally with the scout himself leading rather than doing as many aspects as possible. They have to create detailed plans (such that should they fall ill the troop can do the project without them), and rally both financial and volunteer support to realize them. Then, they have to report on how it all went.
I can’t remember all the projects Max has participated in, but I know it’s been many if not most of the 17 Eagle Projects his troop has executed over the last 16 years. In this last year alone Max has assisted:
Christian Arroyo in developing really cool bee hotels at Elijah Farm in Dix Hills.
Kyle Montagni in building an amazing outdoor classroom for the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery (I love that we can see this one from the road every time we drive by)
Ashishpal DeWal in transforming an aging Eagle Project greenhouse into a beautiful new butterfly sanctuary for the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s East Meadow Farm.
Over the next several weeks, we will profile each and tell you a little bit about each of the beneficiaries!
Max’s Project: Building an Educational Gateway at the Nassau County Museum of Art
Now, Max is working on his own project: Building a visual gateway to grasslands now being restored at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor. We wrote a little bit about this before. The approved project will include a split rail fence, a kiosk that will serve as an outdoor education asset, and a model garden of native plants.
Part of the project is fundraising. As part of Max’s efforts here, he’s gone through many of my photographs and selected a collection he will use to raise money for the project. Anything a Scout raises above the cost of supplies goes to the beneficiary, which in this case is the museum.