Sometimes, it’s like night and day.
You look at a spot of land before an Eagle Scout candidate has completed his project there. Then you look at that exact same spot after the project is done.
The transformation is so stunning that you’re tempted to ask whether you have entered a parallel universe.
But no. Same universe. The difference is that Scouting happened there.
Since mid-2015, I have asked for Eagle Scout project before-and-after photos. You know, the same photos prospective Eagles are asked to include with their post-project report.
While I’m still accepting submissions for the series, today’s all about looking back. Each of the more than 200 submissions has been a remarkable example of the power of Scouting service. You can browse the full Eagle Before & After archives here.
But today I wanted to highlight 10 that stand out — in one writer’s opinion — as some of the best.
TIP: Use the slider below each image to see the before and after photos.
The Civil War cemetery
Who: Nathan, Troop 413, Hendersonville, Tenn.
What: Nathan restored a Civil War-era cemetery by cleaning up the overgrowth of vegetation, building a new fence and repairing some of the broken tombstones.
Bryan’s comments: Civil War-era cemeteries across the country are in need of some heavy TLC, but Nathan’s project goes beyond simply fixing knocked-over headstones. His work ensures that the dead are never forgotten.
The church prayer garden
Who: Matthew, Troop 1025, Washington, Pa.
What: Matthew built a prayer garden for his church/chartered organization. That included a fence to hide the air-conditioning units, two benches, a brick walkway, two dogwood trees, two white rose bushes and various flowers.
Bryan’s comments: Churches are a popular beneficiary for Eagle Scout projects, but Matthew’s work stands out because it fills both a want and a need. The church wanted a nicer-looking entrance and kind of needed a way to hide those unsightly air-conditioning units.
The baggage cart
Who: Stephen, Troop 506, Buffalo, N.Y.
What: Stephen restored a baggage cart from the Buffalo Central Terminal for public display.
Bryan’s comments: Not all Eagle projects are restorations to places. Sometimes things are rejuvenated. Like this baggage cart, which Stephen and his guys converted from a piece of junk among weeds to a historical artifact.
The shoe drive
Who: Uyless, Troop 60, Goliad, Texas
What: Uyless and his helpers collected 556 pairs of new athletic shoes for an orphanage. That’s more shoes than students in his entire high school.
Bryan’s comments: I included this as a reminder that not all projects are construction based, a point I have emphasized on this blog again and again and again. This shoe drive will make a lasting impact on the community for a long time.
Who: Ben, Troop 820, Pittsboro, N.C.
What: Ben built a floating dock for the Carolina Living and Learning Center.
Bryan’s comments: I mean, here we go from “no dock” to “yes dock.” What more must be said? The addition makes this lake a more accessible spot for the adults with autism at this integrated vocational and residential program in North Carolina.
The war memorial
Who: Chris, Troop 33, Riverside, Pa.
What: Chris took an existing war memorial and enhanced it by representing all military branches.
Bryan’s comments: In the before, notice how the memorial stone is almost hidden — an afterthought. In the after, its prominence has grown significantly. The flags salute all of the branches of the military, making this spot somewhere that honors all of our heroes in uniform.
Who: Grant, Troop 81, Memphis, Tenn.
What: Grant and his team refurbished cabins used at Camp Phoenix — a summer camp for inner-city kids on Sardis Lake, Miss. They painted the cabins, rescreened them, replaced the shutters and had the roofs replaced.
Bryan’s comments: In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a bird that is reborn. At Camp Phoenix, owned by the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Memphis, a different kind of rebirth took place. Grant and his guys gave new life to the cabins enjoyed by inner-city kids.
The community fieldhouse
Who: Ryan, Troop 916, Evanston, Ill.
What: Ryan and his team built several planter boxes and repainted a local community fieldhouse at an Evanston park.
Bryan’s comments: This is a fun one to slide back and forth and watch all the improvements. In addition to rejuvenating the fieldhouse itself, Ryan left behind some nice-looking planter boxes that add some living color to the place. It looks like they even got rid of all the snow!
The cemetery entrance
Who: Jesse, Troop 101, Mount Pleasant, Texas
What : Jesse and his team replaced an old cemetery entryway with a new arched entryway and dedicated it to his grandparents buried there.
Bryan’s comments: It’s enough just to see the before-and-after photos showing the impressive transformation. But couple that with the plaque announcing that Jesse had dedicated his efforts to his late grandparents? That puts this project over the top.
The baseball field
Who: Austin, Troop 387, Cynthiana, Ind.
What: Austin and his team completed a total renovation of the local ball field, including building dugouts, fixing the fence, realigning the bases and extending the infield.
Bryan’s comments: This complete overhaul is a real home run, and I’m betting it’s a real hit with the youngsters who play there. Austin, you really covered all the bases!