Eagle Scout rank

Luke McArthur Undertakes Community Project for Eagle Scout Rank

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Sometimes teenagers and young adults get grief from older generations for being reckless, whiny or irresponsible. The reality, however, is that there are plenty of young people well on their way to making the world a better place. One of those young people is Luke McArthur, a Trinity High School student who created and completed a community donation project in the spring of 2021 in order to earn his Eagle Scout rank.Eagle Scout rank

The Eagle Scout rank has been a significant milestone for Boy Scouts since 1912 and involves several steps. Young people seeking this rank have to be actively involved in scouting and have earned 21 merit badges, including first aid, emergency preparedness, camping, personal management and citizenship in the nation. The approximately 50,000 young people who achieve this rank every year go through the same steps and workbook, ensuring that they have a strong and achievable proposal, collect data on their project, and then evaluate the project after it is completed. Their final step is to go before a board of review to defend or explain their project.

Luke has long been involved with scouting, and is affiliated with St. Edward Church Troop 175.

“I was in Cub Scouts since first grade, and I just kept staying with it,” he says. “In sixth grade we switched to Boy Scouts.”

For young people who stay in scouting, they often find that they have a unique group of friends they don’t see every day at school or in their neighborhoods. Luke has two friends through Scouts that he has known since he first became involved as a young boy.

In addition to friendships, the experiences a person can have through scouting can be fun. Some of these are typical camping or hiking adventures, but others are more extensive. One of Luke’s experiences was Sea Base, an aquatics program in the Florida Keys.

“We went on that freshman year going into sophomore year, in the summer,” he says. “We stayed on an island for five days and had to bring all the food and water that we had.”

He slept in a hammock due to the heat and didn’t shower, which he says was one of the worst parts.

Being in scouting for such a long time made Luke think he should pursue an Eagle Scout rank. It was a goal he set for himself. Along with his parents, Holly and David, he brainstormed some ideas for his project.

“We started reaching out to some people,” he says. “A friend’s dad works on the volunteer board at Home of the Innocents, and he helped us get contact with Brendon’s Duffels.”

Brendon’s Duffels of Hope is an organization associated with the Brendon P. Bachelor Foundation that provides duffel bags to children removed from their homes who enter into foster care. The bags are stuffed with items that children may need, including toiletries, clothing and toys. The organization provides the duffels, and Luke’s project involved collecting items to fill them.Eagle Scout rank

Often when people think of Eagle Scout projects, they might think of construction-type  endeavors such as playgrounds or landscaping, but there are a wide range of possibilities.

“It really depends on what your talents are, and what you can do to organize other people to help benefit a worthy organization,” David says.

Once Luke decided on collecting items to fill the duffel bags, he completed his proposal paperwork and got it approved. After that, he spent a lot of time emailing people. He had to get information into the church bulletin to ask St. Edward parishioners if they would like to participate. Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Thomas More parishioners were also involved because of the McArthur family’s relationship with Father Troy Overton, who used to be the priest at St. Edward.

“He’s been supportive of scouts,” David says. “When he heard we were doing the project, he was interested in getting his churches involved too.”

There was a long list of items that people could donate to Luke’s Eagle Scout project, including lotion, body wash, chapstick, earbuds, shower caps, underwear, socks, towels, blankets and journals.

“The goal was 100 to 125 bags,” Luke says. “We ended up doing 156.”

Plus, he had surplus items, especially toothpaste, that were donated as well.

Lots of parishioners donated items and left them at the churches, but Luke also created an Amazon Wish List. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, he knew some people might not want to go out and shop at stores. The Wish List allowed people to support his project without leaving their homes.

Eagle Scout rankAs items came in, Luke put them all in the family’s basement.

“We did have a ping-pong table there, but we put it up for the project,” he says. “It got very, very full. I did not think we were going to collect that much stuff.”

The family was receiving up to 10 Amazon boxes per day for a while on their porch.

“It just kept coming for several weeks,” David says. “It was piling up. It was exciting to see that people cared.”

In addition to collecting donations, Luke was also doing administrative work.

“We had to keep track of what people were there, how many hours they put in and any changes we made to the project,” he says. “In the proposal we said we were going to try to find an online way to donate money, but instead we had the Amazon Wish List. We had to track any changes we made.”

Luke also spent a lot of time counting items so that he could see what items needed to be purchased.

“Luke did a good job of keeping in touch with his contact at Home of the Innocents,” David says. “She was able to direct us to what their needs were.”

David picked up the duffel bags for Luke and brought them home, and Luke, with support from his family and friends, moved everything to the St. Edward cafeteria.

“That’s where we ended up packing them,” Luke says. “We had people from my troop help pack the bags.”

It took several hours to pack everything before the duffels were delivered to Home of the Innocents.

Eagle Scout rank

While the point of the Eagle Scout rank is to help others, there is a lot of personal growth that happens to the individuals who design and implement projects.

“I learned a lot about communication,” Luke says. “You have to email a lot of people just to get permission to show up at church and collect. It takes a lot more time.”

He also had to learn about delegating roles and responsibilities to other people, which is an essential part of any leadership position.

David says he saw changes take place in his son.

“I think he realized, with the number of things coming in, he could only do so much with his own hands,” David says. “It’s through that leadership that you can inspire others. With more help, you can do more things. I think he grasped that over the months, which was great to see.”

Luke still has to complete his Eagle Scout review, for which he goes before a panel of three individuals to explain his project, and he plans to wrap that up before he turns 18. The Eagle Scout rank will be an honor he carries for the rest of his life.

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