Developing Youth Leadership
Did you ever wonder how Scouting youth choose service projects? Reasons are many. However, for one youth, Simon, it was how he was inspired by his grandfather. While Simon was growing up, his grandfather was deeply involved in the local Veterans of Foreign War (VFW). Simon, who is in Troop 9148 sponsored by Knights of Columbus #1762 of St. Patrick’s Church in Hudson, was enthusiastic and excited to work on different service projects in which his unit participated. Because he wanted to lead his own Eagle service project, he worked hard to over the years to meet the necessary requirements to gain the opportunity to do so.
With many discussions with the local VFW, the Veterans Home, the City of Hudson, local churches and his troop, Simon determined that his project would be to fix road marker posts at the Veterans Cemetery in Hudson. The physical aspects of the project were to remove old decrepit or knocked over posts, cut new posts, and recreate the numbering system on the posts so that people could find their loved ones in the cemetery easily. He also needed to raise money for supplies – posts, numbers, and cement to keep posts in place – and to gather volunteers to help with the work.
Simon learned important lessons, such as leading, delegation, and listening. He drew from other Eagle Scouts and others who lead various service projects in which he participated to understand the importance of not just doing it all himself. He understood that leading required inspiring others to participate with energy and passion. He delegated parts of the project because he learned how easily a leader can be overwhelmed and could not succeed alone. He learned to listen to others and brainstorm solutions to the challenges that occurred, especially when difficulties arose when his original plan for the cemetery road markers did not meet necessary city regulations. Completion of his project now allows people to visit their loved ones and explore the history of the great sacrifices many of these men and women made for our country.