Reminder about nontraditional Eagle projects was music to this Scout’s ears

When 15-year-old Austin Secor of Broomfield, Colo., first proposed his idea for an Eagle project, he got some funny looks.

The project, a musical instrument drive for foster children, was “met with a bit of skepticism, as it was a bit outside the box,” says Austin’s dad, Vincent.

So when I blogged about nontraditional Eagle Scout service projects a couple of months back, the post caught the eye of Austin and his dad.

The post was a reminder that Eagle Scout service projects do not have to be construction-based or permanent to leave a lasting impact. So projects like Austin’s are not only permitted — they’re encouraged.

“My son was inspired, as it helped reinforce his current project,” Vincent says. “So I just wanted to say thank you for the post as it was a huge motivator.”

For his project, Austin collected donated musical instruments, including guitars, violins, flutes, trumpets, trombones, saxophones and a drum set. He collected 34 pieces in all, for a total value of $8,000. Then he got help from a local music store — owned by an Eagle Scout — to repair and refurbish the donated instruments.

Austin didn’t just distribute the instruments to foster children; he organized a distribution party. He served food and brought in local musicians who gave one-hour lessons to the children so they could get acquainted with their new instrument.

“These kids don’t get the same chances and have the same resources most youth do,” Austin says. “This is an opportunity for these youth to fit in at school, to cope with what they have been through in their childhood and to fill a passion for music that could last a lifetime.”

Nicely said, Austin. And nicely done.

19 Comments

  1. I think his project was an excellent one! My son was thinking about doing a similar drive, except he would have collected science kits to distribute to the local school system to help support STEM in school. He has instead choosen a STEM construction project – he will be designing and building chess tables for a couple of the local parks. He recently found online plans for chess pieces that scouts can make, so they will even make the pieces for the boards.

  2. “Permanent” is in the eye of the beholder. Sure, there may not be a piece of construction to look at. But, in a couple of years, I hope Austin gets invites to a few concerts featuring those students who got their first instrument through his project!

  3. I sat on a board several years ago for a Scout that organized a concert at the local senior center. He was a HS band member and enlisted friends from band to do the concert. It required a lot of planning to pull off. My own son’s Eagle project was a meal and baby sitting for a group that offers training classes to poor families.

    As much as I like to build things I like to see projects that don’t assemble pressure treated wood into a bench shaped object. Not that there is anything wrong with that as a project, I like to see Scouts thinking outside the lumber yard.

  4. Several years ago I received an Eagle Book at the council level for the final approval where the project was to gather donated musical instruments, help refurbish them, then donate them to a middle school where most of the students were underprivileged children. I got many questions asking if this was on ok project (because it wasn’t ‘lasting’, etc). My response? ABSOLUTELY – for all of Austin’s reasons. (and I was VERY glad to see a young man think ‘outside the lumber yard’) Go Austin!

  5. I had a Scout do a Prosthetics Drive for his Eagle Project.

    He and his dad were both born with birth defects that required them to need prosthetics.
    The limbs he collected were taken to the place where they got theirs and the company helped the scouts refurbish them. They were then donated to an organization that took them to Haiti right after the earthquake. Through his project he gave over 200 youth and adults the ability to use their hands and feet for the first time in their lives. The president of the organization asked him if he knew the value of his project…he said it was priceless for the recipients of the limbs. In monetary value it was over $250,000.00!!!!!

    This Scout is an amazing young man and his project was just as amazing!!!

  6. I always encourage scouts in our troop who our struggling to think of a project to consider what they love–what they’re passionate about. I’m sure Austin will always remember the freedom and joy he felt to be able to pursue a project he could love. Who knows what great musicians some of those youth may become? Who knows how much it meant for those youth to receive the time, care, and zeal of the teaching musicians? Priceless indeed.

  7. Four Eagle projects have been completed in Heart of America Council for our charity doing this same thing except that one project collected guitars for traumatically injured soldiers.

  8. For those who think an Eagle Project needs to be “lasting” they are wrong. Best Eagle Project IMHO, yes even better than mine, was a reforestation project in the swamps of Louisiana, and it was a complete and utter long-term failure.

    Why do I say it was the best ever? The Eagle showed planning, leadership, and hard work. He did the fundraising and grant writing to get stuff donated for the project. He assembled the materials needed for the projected. He recruited and lead the Scouts to build the parts that needed building, and led them into the swamps for the actual planting. Last picture in his service project album was quite impressive. Unfortunately 6-9 months after the project was done,all the saplings he and his team planted were eaten by the very critters they built guards around the trees for.

  9. Lasting? I guess that depends if you are the one receiving an instrument or a prosthetic limb. I am sure the 200 Hatian recipients think it is lasting. It may have or be the one thing making it possible for a person to work and support themselves or their family. Some of these projects are like planting an acorn. People may not see the outcome until the acorns fall.

    I think these types of EP’s are underrated and I am glad to see that they are being shown on this forum. I would like to see more of them if possible.

  10. We had a scout do an Eagle Project collecting bicycles for foster kids. His cousin was adopted into his family as a 12 year old, and had never ridden a bicycle. This inspired him to try to provide opportunities for future foster kids to learn to ride a bike. It was quite successful, with about 2 dozen bikes collected, repaired, and passed on to a foster home support organization.

  11. My son just completed his Eagle project, an instrument drive for his school’s music booster program. Wildly successful and appreciated.

  12. More Non-Construction Eagle projects:

    One of my son’s Eagle project was putting together information brochures about our state’s new carbon monoxide detector regulations. He ran an information booth at a number of town events. The town Fire Dept. still hands out his brochures, preferring them to the state issued pamphlets.

    My other son’s Eagle project was creating a walking tour of our town’s new national historic district. The Historic Society still hands out my son’s pamphlet.

  13. I am currently working on a similar project also. I will be giving meals to Veterans traveling with my local veterans group. The proceeds will come from a concert consisting of 12 songs from popular movies. I will be conducting the whole thing. I got the Idea from the movie August Rush and I love music. I can play several different instruments and I have been playing since 1st grade. I play every day for at least 2 hours.

  14. All of these Eagle Projects are worthwhile and benefited those who were the recipients of the endeavors of these prospective Eagle Scouts. Thank you Scouts!Semper Fidelis/Be Prepared.

  15. This is a great project. My project 45 years ago was similar but involved creating child recreation in a public hospital. What is considered traditional differs whe you are. Our son’s troop favored “garbage can and paintbrush” projects where there would be work for any age in a 6 hour cattle call. Our son did a trail hardening project in a park that the SM couldn’t hijack.

  16. We had a scout a couple of years ago who made “go bags” for children to be distributed at a local hospital youth diabetes center. He also has Type 1 Diabetes so this was personal. In the bag were items necessary and some used daily, by a child with diabetes AND he typed up an explanation sheet as to what each item in the bag was for. Turns out,a friend of my family and a couple of patients of this scout’s parents (dentists), mentioned that they had received a bag at the hospital clinic in passing conversations – it was wonderful for our troop and certainly for this young man to know he had actually made a difference and hopefully this project will inspire others. All eagle projects are not about building things – we currently have a scout collecting old electronics to recycle and he will use the monies to buy IPads to be programmed with games and activities for dementia/alzheimer residents at a local home. Our scouts will deliver the IPads and teach the residents how to use them, all inspired by this scout’s grandmother who suffers from dementia.

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