by Rachel Holtzman
Eleven years after first donning their uniforms, senior Boy and Girl Scouts are being honored with the highest awards in scouting: the Eagle Scout promotion and the Gold Award.
According to scouts.org, earning a promotion to Eagle Scout status requires years of earning badges to show a commitment to the Boy Scouts’ values: completing community service hours, showing leadership and being a role model even before the project begins.
The process for an Eagle Scout’s final project starts with an idea to improve something in his community, according to senior Eagle Scout Gideon Lee, who received his rank at the end of his junior year.
Lee said that he started his project when he was a sophomore, after Cross Country Coach Mr. Christopher Tafelski mentioned that one of their competition trails was falling apart. Lee decided to restore the trail and then “put [his] own spin on the project,” adding in benches and signs dedicating the course to Coach Jack Martin, who retired last year.
Girl Scouts must also work through earning both Bronze and Silver awards (which entail badges and completing other service projects) in order to earn their Gold Awards, according to girlscouts.org.
Senior Girl Scout Caroline Tanis said that she had to spend time planning out a project that would be long-lasting and be approved by the Girl Scouts Council; both are required for the Gold Award. “I planned on setting up a back-to-school store where children in Plainfield grades K-8 could shop—for free—for all of their [school] supplies,” she added.
To raise funds for her project, Tanis invited donors to sponsor $20 for each child receiving school supplies. By the time she completed her Gold Award in May 2013, she had raised enough money for 198 students to receive school supplies. She said that she hopes that the money helped the children and their families start out the year right.
Both Tanis and Lee agreed that it took a lot of time and commitment to complete their projects. Said Lee: “You need to know everything to the dot…. The [number] of hours that go into the whole entire thing is probably more than the average person puts into applying to college.” In the end, Tanis said the effort was worth it because she was able to set up a project that the community could participate in year after year.