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The most interesting or novel Eagle project ideas

Tuesday-TalkbackPerhaps it forced you to smile with curiosity while sitting on an Eagle Scout board of review. Maybe it inspired you to clip the story out of your local newspaper. Or, most likely, the Eagle project in question was completed by you, your son or a Scout in your troop.

Wherever you first learned of the interesting, novel or unusual Eagle Scout project idea, we want to hear it.

Today’s Tuesday Talkback is pretty simple: Share some unique Eagle Scout project ideas in the comments section below.

I’ll start: Jacob Martin of Ocean View, Del., installed six life rings at the Indian River Inlet Bridge. As the Summer 2014 edition of Eagles’ Call magazine explains, the story doesn’t end there. Less than a year after installing the life rings, they were put to good use. Jacob’s project saved the life of 25-year-old Rashid Gafurov. That’s Jacob (left) and Rashid pictured above.

Pretty great story.

Of course, this discussion isn’t meant to denigrate less-unique Eagle projects. Projects don’t have to be original to make an impact. But they could be.

So let’s hear ‘em!

Must read

How to find a great idea for an Eagle Scout Service Project

Other Tuesday Talkbacks

Spend the rest of your Tuesday taking part in other Scouting discussions


H/T: Thanks to commenter Dave B, whose comment last week inspired this post.

32 Comments on The most interesting or novel Eagle project ideas

  1. I don’t know if my Eagle Project is unique, but it’s long lasting. In 1977, the subject of how to get more Webelos to cross over into Boy Scouts was presented to me by my advisor. My response was to hold a “Camporee” like weekend for Webelos in which they are put into patrols, led by Scouts, and taught Scout Skills. From this idea and special permission for it, Webelos Weekend was born in Foothills (now Gateway) District in Denver Area Council. This last spring was the 38th anniversary an over 19,000 Webelos and adults have gone through the program. It has become one of the most popular events for both Webelos and staff members with a waiting list for both every year. Both of my sons have gone through it as well as my wife (WLOT is held for adults at the same time) and in 2016, I will be the Scoutmaster for the 40th Anniversary of my Eagle Project, Webelos Weekend.

    • Bryan Wendell // July 29, 2014 at 9:02 am // Reply

      Whoa. That’s cool!

    • Hi Mike- it’s awesome that this has continued for 40 years. Under today’s rules, this would not be a permitted Eagle project because the beneficiary is scouting itself.

    • That is a great project and wow what a neat way to keep Scouting strong in your area! That is indeed a legacy you left.

    • FYI: Jacob Martin’s project recently saved another life as witnessed by an Assistant Scoutmaster from that troop.

  2. One of our Eagle Scouts designed and built Fish Habitats the were then sunk in Castaic Lake, CA. They were assembled from standard shipping pallets, plastic zip ties and natural tree branches. Troop 316, Saugus, CA.

    • Bryan Wendell // July 29, 2014 at 9:03 am // Reply

      Nice! Have any pictures?

      • Yes, but I am currently traveling. I can post them when I get home on Friday.

  3. My project in 1976 was a traffic survey for the city of Waynesboro, Virginia before right turn on red after stop came into effect. I don’t know why I did not earn Traffic Safety merit badge.

    • Mark Drumheller // July 29, 2014 at 11:18 am // Reply

      Yeah! Waynesboro! Go Little Giants. Scouter in Franklin, VA. Troop 17, born & raised in W’boro. Class of 1980! Don’t recall your name, but maybe you were a little older than I.

  4. This is tough. Three bubble to the top.

    As a youth:
    – Building a trout ladder in a neglected state park stream. It was interesting because, although I was into conservation, I never heard of such a thing, and it was my first time using a come-along to move logs.
    – Preparing a steam locomotive for restoration at the historical society (i.e., stripping 19th century paint). For all of the tar burns, we were rewarded with crawling all over the biggest train set a kid could ever imagine!

    Since serving as an adult:
    – One scout created a reading nook in the children’s legal aide office. Pretty straightforward work – major impact on kids going through what could be the worst time of their lives.

  5. One project I approved was a mural painted on a retaining wall near a busy intersection. It depicts the historical rail road station that the town was built around. The building is no longer there, but the mural memorializes it.

  6. Karen Zeller // July 29, 2014 at 9:42 am // Reply

    - I knew a boy who had a mild autism disorder and a big interest in video. He researched and wrote a text for a 30-minute video to educate community youth groups about how to include youth with special needs in mainstream troops, and why it is good for everybody when they do. The boys in his troop acted in the video. I don’t remember how many were distributed, but it was at least in the hundreds, in the US and Australia.

    – A boy who got interested in nuclear energy after doing the merit badge planned and worked with his troop to put together classroom kits of hands-on activities for teaching 3rd graders how nuclear power works, and showed six teachers how to use them.

    – A boy helped all the boys in his troop get the Fingerprinting merit badge. Then he set up stations in front of supermarkets for a month to offer parents ID folders for their kids, with a photo and fingerprints.

    – We have a campground near our community that is owned by a logging company and reserved for the use of youth groups. So our Scouts use it a lot, as do Girl Scouts, church youth groups, and others. Boys in my current troop have done many projects there, including building a day use cover and improving the swimming hole. A boy right now is planning some weatherproof signs that will help kids identify plants and animal signs in the campground, teach the Leave No Trace principles and use pictures from the campground itself to show how to implement them there, and suggest activities for Trail to First Class and Webelos outdoor badges that can be done at the campground.

  7. Gregory H Duncan DDS // July 29, 2014 at 9:45 am // Reply

    There are two that come to mind. The first is putting on a dance party with a DJ, playing period correct music, for a retirement home or an assisted living facility. The second is a variance of the dance party but have it for mentally challenged youth or handicapped youth.

  8. My Eagle Scout project included going door to door to test and install smoke detectors in a poorer side of town. We installed 1200 smoke detectors and replaced about 700 batteries.

    My son’s Eagle Scout project included spear heading a food drive at a local elementary school and papering multiple neighborhoods for a weekend collection. He ended up collecting 700 lbs of food for the local food bank.

  9. Cyndi Brunnet // July 29, 2014 at 9:58 am // Reply

    One interesting thing I read about was the Cach to Eagle Series. My kids have recently become interested in Geocaching and I came across this. Geocaches are set up at various Eagle project sites in which promotes what Scouts have done in the area to help their communities. Here is the link with the info….I just thought what a great way to spread the word of scouting and what a positive influence it has made in the community. Some people don’t realize what has been done. http://geoscouting.com/cache2eagle.html

  10. Tanya Schule // July 29, 2014 at 10:21 am // Reply

    My son fixed signs for a walking tour at historical sights around our small town for visitors to get a little knowledge of what our town was like in the past. After awhile he decided to have his project on geocaching.com to bring in a different type of visitor to our community. You got to love the BOY SCOUTS always thinking ahead!

  11. One of our recent Eagles put together a car-pooling/match-making service for our local public schools. He distributed applications to parents and then matched up families in the same neighborhoods going to the various schools around town.

  12. Mr. Bubbles // July 29, 2014 at 10:59 am // Reply

    Started an outreach program in recreational sports (skiing, golf, bowling, sailing, etc. ) for the PACER Center (cognitively disabled youth) which became the template model for their national program.

  13. My son’s Eagle project was completed this past December and was a very unique one. He constructed a pet memorial wall at our local dog park and did repairs and maintenance to the shade structures there. People are able to purchase a plaque for the wall to honor their beloved pets and the money goes to a local non-profit organization, Friends of Davis Islands Dog Parks, for maintaining the dog park and dog beach in the neighborhood. The City of Tampa has decided to use the memorial wall as the focal point for a complete park makeover.

    Two years ago we had a boy from our troop become enamored with a local non-profit that takes in abused horses, gets them healthy, and retrains them to work with children with autism and other sensory challenges. Problem was, the woman who founded the organization and trains the horses had to do it in an open field, so our scout built her a round pen for training the horses. It took us three weekends and on the last weekend, when most of the troop was involved in the finishing work, there was a young girl there who had never cracked a smile and never ridden a horse on her own. As soon as the pen was finished, Bev, the owner of Healing Horses One Child At A Time, put the girl on the horse, took her in to the pen, and everyone watched that girl ride for the first time without being escorted. Half way around the pen, the little girl smiled briefly and there wasn’t a dry eye on the ranch that day.

    THAT is the power of what our Eagle Scouts do for our communities!

  14. REMEMBERING TOWN’S FIRST CASUALTY IN VIETNAM. Our son’s Eagle Project resulted from a troop service project. A few years ago, Troop 383, from Orland Park, Illinois, created a historical geochallenge to celebrate the town’s 120th anniversary. While choosing 20 historical landmarks to include, Tim Klotz saw a rock monument with a small plaque remembering Captain Ronald L. Zinn, a West Point graduate, two time US Olympian and Orland Park’s first casualty in Vietnam.

    When it came time for his project, Tim wanted to do something larger for Captain Zinn and created a memorial garden around the existing flagpole site in front of the village’s Veterans Center. The crew of 20+ volunteers created the garden with a circular brick paver plaza, landscaping and flowers, a biographical sign, concrete bench and a path of pavers wide enough so wheelchairs can access the site.

    Klotz worked with Zinn’s family, his commanding officer in Vietnam, the village’s Parks Department and Veterans Commission. Word of the project quickly spread across the country and Klotz continues to receive emails from around the world from Zinn’s friends, West Point classmates and unit members thanking him for remembering their beloved friend nearly 50 years after he was killed trying to save a member of his unit.

    The July 19, 2014 dedication ceremony was attended by Zinn’s siblings and family, Troop 383 scouts and families, community members, elected officials and veterans with members of Zinn’s West Point Class of 1962 traveling to Orland Park for the ceremony. The Warrior Watch Riders, a Chicago area Vietnam veterans’ motorcycle group, provided an honor guard for Troop 383’s presentation of colors that opened the ceremony.

    See the garden created and dedicated on the Captain Ronald L. Zinn Memorial Garden Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ronzinnmemorialgarden?ref=hl

    And, see some of the local newspaper coverage at http://theregionalnews.com/index.php/newsx/local-news/33795-eagle-project-honors-orland-s-first-son-killed-in-vietnam-war

  15. Scouter Bill // July 29, 2014 at 11:21 am // Reply

    One of the most unique Eagle Projects I’ve seen in my 15+ years as a District Adv. Chair was a Prosthetics Drive. This Scout and his dad were both born with birth defects that required them to use prosthetics. For his Eagle Project this now Eagle Scout collected old prostetic limbs and with the help of a local prosthetics company, referbished them. Once ready, the prostetics were sent to Hatii. The organization who he partnered with to get them to Hatii was totally floored. The organizations president asked him did he realize what he had done? His project gave over 200 people the ability to walk and use their hands/arms for the first time in their lives!!! He also let the Eagle Scout know that the value his project donations were in excess of $250,000.00 in value but more importantly it gave the recipients a better way of life, dignity and a sense of being a part of the community.

  16. We had a scout install back country toilets in a wilderness area for his project. His younger brother ended up constructing a raised path through wetlands in a wilderness area. Another designed paintings for the Stations of the Cross, outlined them and then had the troop prepare and do the paintings (sort of like a paint by numbers). He had to go back and touch things up. Years ago one of our scouts restored a structure in a neighboring city’s historic farm. Some of the larger projects from our guys have been constructing storage sheds for various non-profits.

  17. Scouter Bill // July 29, 2014 at 1:49 pm // Reply

    In my 15+ years as our District’s Advancement Chair, I’d have to say the best Eagle Scout Project I saw was a Prosthetics Drive. This young man and his dad were both born with birth defects that require them to use prosthetics. For his project he did a Prosthetics Drive from the community, families, and ogranizations that they are associated with. After the prosthetics were collected he made arrangements with a local company that deals with prosthetics to help him and his volunteers refurbish them at no cost. He then made arrangements with a local charity to have them shipped to Haiti shortly after the earthquake. The presedient of the charity was floored by his donations! He let the now Eagle Scout know that he had given over 200 people, both young and old, the ability to walk and/or use their hands and arms for the first times in their lives. He also let the scout know the value of his donation. The prosthetics alone were valued at over $250.000.00, but even more important it gave those children and adults mobility, dignity, a sense of worth and allowed them to be a part of their local communities for the first time in their lives.

  18. Roger Hoyt // July 29, 2014 at 2:20 pm // Reply

    I have the great pleasure of seeing 60 projects a year accomplished by the Eagle Scouts in the Baden-Powell Council. Among many very thoughtful projects, the most unique in the last four years was a project that involved building memory “shadow boxes” to help Alzheimer’s patients find their rooms without assistance. The shadow boxes were filled with items a patient was likely to remember, old trading cards, a picture of someone or something familiar to them, a memento from home, a favorite book, etc. The shadow boxes were then hung outside the room, under the room number. It was a well planned and executed project that helped those patients stay independent a little longer. I still get chills and a bit teary eyed just thinking about the care and compassion that went into that project.

  19. Our son did his project for a sailing club. At their docks,the wooden dock by each boat slip had a metal border around it. But at each corner, there was a space where the metal border was a 90% angle but the wooden dock wasn’t leaving a triangular open space — big enough for someone’s foot to go through — between the metal and the wood. Our son studied the docks and determined there were three different shapes across all the docks. Then he designed three different templates for drop-in wooden triangles to fill the spaces and got a group of Scouts to build and install them.Thus a safety hazard was corrected — but I have the hardest time answering the question, “What was your son’s Eagle project?”

  20. *Thirty foot wide walking labyrinth behind his church. * Renovate Rabbit Barn at county fair. *Numerous trail renovations, wood trail platforms, bridges over streams and swampy areas. * Creation, publishing and distribution of brochure detailing why and how to become a Conscientious Objector . *Bulletin boards at campgrounds, monuments, parks. * Build ticket/info booth at county fair grounds. * Financial collection and support, collection of materials, and delivery of mosquito netting and other prevention materials to orphan school in Nigeria, *Community flag retirement ceremony (now an annual event) and collection of worthy US flags. *rehabilitation and renovation of Transit center and bus stops (new benches, shelter, etc.). *Flag poles and grounds installation. * SIdewalk installation, parking lot renovation and restriping for more efficient use of space at church. *Install new bathroom and plumbing for charitable foundation. *remove invasive plants and other undesirables over 3 acre area, planting specimen trees for sample arboretum at “at risk youth” school. *Creation of historic trail (drive and walk) thru community descriptive brochure and markers for sites.
    That’s all I have remembered at the moment. Remember, now, back in my Scout Days, a specific project was not a requirement. We just had to “prove” our service to the community, usually by reputation and ref letters from various adult people.

  21. A couple scouts in our troop worked in different areas of a forest at a local elementary school, turning it from overgrown with invasive species to what it is now — an outdoor classroom, complete with bird blind, bat boxes, an auditorium (with a stage — two different projects), a picnic area with bridge, and countless new plants and trails — in only a year. The students love it, and the community support is fantastic. The Outdoor Classroom is also the (future) home of more projects for Eagle and two Hornaday Silver hopefuls!

  22. My son, Ben has loved trains since he was a toddler. My parents lived in a small town and the train would go through a couple times a day. He especially liked the depot with the gabled roof. When Ben was 7, a huge tree fell on the depot crushing it during a wild summer storm. Ben was sad no one rebuilt the depot. When he realized he needed to complete a project for his Eagle rank, he knew he wanted to rebuild the depot. He enlisted the help of Ron Fauss, the local construction contractor, who took Ben under his wing and helped develop Ben’s simple drawing of a covered bench depot on graph paper to a working blueprint for the new depot, to the actual finished covered bench depot. Five lumber yards in two towns in two different counties donated materials – wood, brick, concrete, sand, shingles, nails, screws, etc. Ben’s home troop from Omaha, the largest city in Nebraska with a population of about 422,000, and the troop in Hooper, Nebraska with a population of just over 900, worked together to build a 10 x 30 foot covered bench depot with a gabled roof designed after the original depot gabled roof. Six benches provides seating for about 25 train passengers. It took nearly 9 months planning and preparing for the building of the depot. It took 7 weekends to actually build it. I loved watching the city boys and the country boys from two different troops in two different districts, working side by side teaching each other skills such as how to handle hammer and nails and screws, mix concrete, lay bricks, shingle the roof, etc. Even the Hooper Cub Scout pack, VFW, Women’s Auxillary, and Grandma helped work on the depot. One Saturday 69 volunteers showed up and helped build. That day I served up 3 gallons of sloppy joes for lunch! On the 7th weekend, all volunteers who had helped build the depot were treated to a train ride from Fremont, Nebraska to Hooper, Nebraska. The depot was draped in red, white and blue bunting with patriotic music blaring as the train pulled up beside the depot station for the very first time with all volunteers aboard. Ben and his little 3-year old brother Sam were allowed to ride up front in the engine. The Fremont, Elkhorn, Valley Railroad executive board was present at the depot ribbon cutting ceremony, along with Nebraska Senator Ray Janssen, the mayor and city council of Hooper, Ron Fauss, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, families and other volunteers. After the senator, the mayor, and the train president each presented an address, everyone was treated to a piece of the most awesome cake in the shape of train baked and donated by the Hooper Scoutmaster’s wife. It was the most fun and wonderful experience watching my son achieve his dream to rebuild the depot while leading fellow Scouts and completing one of the most unique Eagle projects that I know of.

  23. I am the Eagle Mentor for a Scout in my Troop who is approved to conduct an International Messengers of Peace project in Central America next summer. This project will involve helping a local pastor, feed the local villages, and provide them with training in key needed skills like basic CPR, 1st Aid, water purification, basic sanitation, etc. In very remote locations around the world, many don’t know something as simple as what to do if someone is choking on food. Many people die because of substandard first aid as well. Unclean water helps transmit bacteria, virus, and more. So he is seeking a way to not only due his duty to God but also to help the local populations of folks that need it. For his preparation in 2014 he traveled to Honduras to a place where I have been before so that he could see how something like this could work, a need, work with the international pastors and groups, and do some recon as to what to expect a couple hundred miles west. His team for his project has enrolled in Spanish classes in school, purchased Rosetta Stone, and are also going to learn the local dialects which is spoken by the tribal region. Part of the project is putting together a Power Pack, ultalight digital media outdoor PA/Projection system and creating videos in their languages to teach them the skills they need while there. I’m looking forward to being his mentor and seeing how this project develops.

  24. The last Eagle Projects in our Troop were both unique as well.

    A Scout worked with a local Horse Rehabilitation Center who uses Horses to serve people with disabilities and their families. He built a turn out corral for them that helps the disabled people meet the horses but he did such a fine job that the corral is now a multipurpose facility that enables them to teach more and work with a more diverse crowd.

    The project before that: We have a visually impaired Scout who took our church and made it ADA compliant obtaining braille signs for all the buildings, large print and braille Bibles, and making sure that the visually impaired are welcome there and have the resources they need to worship.

    The project before that: A Scout took a large room at the church that was filled with junk and remodeled the building so that it has two brand new Sunday school classrooms. This included demo, and construction with electrical, lighting, hvac so that kids in the community had a place for the outreach programs. In two years hundreds of kids have used the rooms and they are in use 5 nights a week and on Sunday.

    The project before that: A Scout who came from a home where they were a foster family and had a Mom who was adopted remodeled the Dept. of Social Services Building to the studs and built a room where children who are taken into foster care could play and meet their foster parents for the first time. The entire kid friendly room included toys, furniture, tv, etc. Also…their foster daughter… a year later is his adopted sister.

    So.. that wraps up the Eagle projects so far in our 5 year old Troop that have been completed. We’ve got a few more approved and each one of them have been a blessing to others and have really shown what a Scout can do to impact his community.

  25. For my Eagle Scout project (finished August 2014), I made (general)safety guidelines for public events for the city that I live in. It was well accepted by the City, as they did not have guidelines in place at the time, unfortunately however, some in my Troop weren’t as appreciative as “I’m surprised this project got approved.”

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