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It is imperative that you check with your local leadership, at the unit, district, or council level, to ensure you comply with all local requirements for a project. Many portions of BSA (national) policy are written in such a way that there can be variances in the local interpretations and execution.
Requirement 5 -- While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community....
There are three very important things to note in the first sentence of this requirement that apply to selecting a project. First, the project is to be done while you are a Life Scout. This means that if you are still a Star Scout, focus on your merit badges and other things, and don't put yourself in the position of having to explain why you worked on the project prematurely. It is all right to look ahead and identify opportunities that might become available after your Life Scout board of review. However, never begin planning or executing your project prior to achieving Life rank.
Next, note that the service project is to be "...helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community...", which means you need to be discerning while selecting a project. You are looking for a project to do for an organization that is non-profit, meaning they provide services to the community at large for purposes other than making a profit. No projects are allowed for businesses or other profit-making organizations.
Finally, note carefully the word "leadership". The title of the project workbook is the "Eagle Leadership Service Project". The word "leadership" precedes the word "service" for a very important reason. The purpose of the project is to give you a personal, direct way to demonstrate to your board of review that you have leadership skills. The service delivered, while important, is sort of a bonus. As you consider project ideas, ask yourself "How will this allow me to demonstrate leadership?" The answers to that question will require recruiting some helpers, giving them specific tasks to do, providing them with instructions so that they know their jobs, coordinating the preparations and work so that everything gets done, and monitoring the work so that it is done satisfactorily. You could do a service project by yourself, but you can't do an Eagle Leadership Service Project without leading other people.
Below are some ideas for projects (I gleaned these from internet sources, but removed all Scout names for security purposes):
NOTE: Eaglescout.org is a private, volunteer run website providing assistance to Scouts and parents. The information you see here is provided for your consideration, but should never be considered to be "official BSA policy". The suggestions below describe projects done successfully once upon a time, and are offered to help you generate your own ideas. Your mileage, and project approval, may vary.
Voting Booths: I made three voting booths for our town hall in Topsham, Vermont. One of them was a booth for handicapped voters.
Youth Protection and Identification Program: I provided parents and children with information to prevent abductions. I also provided a place for parents to fingerprint and video tape their child in case they ever need to file a missing child report.
Community Bicycle Registration: The number of bicycle thefts in our area was rising, so I worked with the Police to develop a card file where people could register their bikes. For three Saturdays we put on a bike safety and registration fair.
Built a Playground: There is a home for orphans in our neighborhood. I organized a construction project and built a playground in their backyard for the kids.
Tiger Shelter at Wildlife Preserve: The tiger shelters at a local animal preserve were falling apart, so I organized a project to rebuild the shelters over the cages!
Picnic Tables for Park: We built new picnic tables for the park's pavilions.
Leadership Training Program: My school district has a neat leadership training program, so I helped them organize and train the staff members for a week long retreat for the 6th graders.
Hearing Aid Drive: I heard about the eyeglass drive, where Scouts collect eyeglasses from local mortuaries, and send them to third world countries. I decided to try it with hearing aids. I worked with an audiologist (my Dad) to get the project going.
Homeless Shelter Concert: I play in a rock band. To help stock the shelves of the homeless shelter, I organized a concert where the admission price was a can of food.
Bicycle Racks for Baseball Complex: The grass was torn up at our baseball diamond because kids kept dumping their bikes on the ground. I got a construction company to donate the materials, and built a cement bike rack on the edge of the field.
Eyeglass Drive: I collected eyeglasses from local mortuaries for three months, and then sent them with a doctor who goes to Mexico. He gave them to people who could not afford to buy glasses for themselves.
Restore Storage Shed at Neighborhood Park: The shed at our neighborhood park had been ignored for a long time. I got our troop and neighborhood together to repair it.
Cemetery Directory: I catalogued all of the grave stones in our city cemetery. Then I worked with the troop to put together a cemetery kiosk where visitors could look at a large map and find the graves they wanted to visit.
Recycling Drive: I live in a city where there is a lot of trash in the streets. After the 4th of July Parade I organized my troop and some neighborhood groups to clean up all the trash along the parade route. We sorted it for recycling.
Toy Drive: For Christmas, I organized a toy drive with a thrift store in town. All the toys were donated to foster homes and orphanages.
Flag Pole: Our school's flagpole was really old, so I got a company to donate the cement and pole for a new one. My troop helped put it in.
Cut Down Trees for Firewood: There was an old orchard in my neighborhood. I organized my troop to go and cut down the dead trees, and we delivered the wood to widows for firewood.
Flood Sand Bags: In spring the river near our town flooded. I organized groups to fill sand bags to protect the buildings along the river.
Area Trail Maintenance: A public trail was in need of some improvements so I put in two grade-level steps to prevent erosion. I also cleaned the trail and leveled it in places.
A "Big Toy" for the pre-schoolers at our sponsoring organization. This project was a lot of work. The Eagle spent many hours planning and getting the materials together. He copied a design at another church that was what the sponsor wanted. It took one long afternoon to cut and sand all the wood (250 pieces). and two days to build it. We routed in the Eagle's name and our troop number on one of the boards. The kids who use it just love it.
As in the previous listing, a tire swing was built. The Eagle built a large wood structure from which to hang the swing.
One Eagle repainted a torpedo and a deck gun at the Battleship Texas site here in Houston. That involved a lot of sanding and repair as well as all the painting. It took two days.
Some large shelving units were built in the Interfaith Ministries food pantry. This was an all day affair for about 8-10 scouts.
One Eagle built a boat dock at a park which the troop uses for Webelos overnight campouts and canoeing merit badge. This was also two long days of work.
Working with Sam Houston National Forest, one of our Eagles built bat boxes. One weekend we built them. The next weekend we went on a campout to the national forest and put out the boxes. We had a great time.
The same as the previous project but the Eagle built owl houses.
One Eagle built trash receptacles for the local nature center and installed them.
Another nature center project was building benches in the rest areas along a nature trail.
Upgrading existing or building new hiking trails at a county park (basically the park ranger has a shopping list of things that need to be done).
Recruiting volunteers from the Troop and high school service clubs (including getting formal permission through high school channels) and managing their work at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.
Putting together a door-to-door clothing drive.
Putting together an eyeglass donation drive involving both the Troop and the local junior high.
Hanging signs on trees or cementing them on the ground next to plants or shrubs identifying what they are.
Clean up and repair headstones in an old community cemetery. 10 or so Scouts for two full days of work + Adults. Can require expertise if repairing large Monuments.
Build a walking trail around a lake in a local county park. Requires a LOT of patience working with the county government. The full trail was 2 projects. About 4 work days with 4-6 boys and adults each day for each half.
Walking/Nature Trails at local schools including chips and shavings to walk on, leveling trail for ease of use, etc. Several days with various sized crews of 5-10.
Construct and install a Guide rope and Braille signs for a boardwalk at a local nature center. Nature centers always seem to have projects for Eagle Scouts.
Clean and repaint the parking lot for a large local church.
Designed, planned and organized the construction of a mobile literature storage box/podium for his church. The project was about 6 feet high, 6 feet wide and 2 feet deep, on wheels. The project was painted, made lockable and rather nicely finished (painted, stained) in coordination with the church's general decor.
Installation of a basketball goal and 1/2 court marking at a nearby church parking lot as a recreational project for the church and community youth.
Arranged to plan and execute a large concrete sidewalk pour at yet another church in the area. Digging, leveling and forming up for the pour was quite a bit of planning and work and was a rather educational experience for the several scouts that had been recruited to work on the project. It took several days.
Building a volley ball court for our church.
Fixing up one of the meeting halls in our church.
Building bagging tables for a local volunteer organization.
Building cages for the Humane Society as my Eagle Project.
Paint the interior of a 2 story local church Sunday school building.
Move the shelving, supplies, stock, and books from a stockroom in a 500 pupil elementary school to a new storage building.
Clear woods, paint some outdoors equipment, and dig a 150 foot trench for a underground cable for a local church.
Dig up and remove several dead trees, plant replacement trees and some new trees along the access road to a local neighborhood, and plant bushes and fix up several existing nursery beds.
Paint house numbers on the curb for each house in a 700 home development.
The Township is building a new high school. Move all the books, supplies, music instruments, lab equipment etc. from the old building to the new building.
Clear and develop a nature trail at a local park.
Laying a wood chip trail around a local school yard for the students and citizens to use as a fitness trail.
Painting the inside walls of a fire house.
Refurbished the inside of a Chessie System caboose that the local town purchased for a local museum.
Last update: 1/30/2011