Thursday, November 08, 2012
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Pictured left to right are Joshua Henderson, Carter McCraith, Kevin Barker and Logan Thompson. The boys are participating in a workday meeting for the Eagle Scout project Henderson is working on.

Local Scout uses Eagle project to help tornado victims

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[November 08, 2012]  On a national average, only about 3 percent of all Boy Scouts ever achieve Eagle Scout status. One of the reasons for this may be that to reach that level in one's Scouting career is a lot of work, and that work is scrutinized very carefully from beginning to end by the Boys Scouts of America.

In Logan County, the number of young men who achieve Eagle Scout status is well above the national average, which is a testament in itself to the quality of youth and commitment of leaders in this community.

One young man who is currently working to earn his Eagle status sat down with LDN this week and talked about what he is doing and how he hopes that his efforts will make Christmas better for children in the Harrisburg area.

Joshua Henderson said that in February when he heard about the devastating tornado that injured hundreds across the southern Midwest, destroyed the small community of Harrisburg and left six dead in that town alone, he was touched by what the community was going through.

This fall, when he reached a point in his Scouting career that he was ready to go for his Eagle, he remembered those people and decided that helping the children in that community to have a better Christmas was something worth doing.

Of course the first thing he needed to do was find out what the real need in the community was. Joshua said he contacted the disaster response team that is still working in the area. He found that there is still a great need in the area as families work to rebuild their lives.

Henderson decided then that he would conduct a drive to collect toys and personal care products for the kids in Harrisburg.

Before he could implement his plan, he had to put everything in writing and submit it to the Boy Scouts of America for approval as an Eagle Scout project.

In designing his plan, he had to specify what he was going to do and who would benefit from it. He needed to outline how he was going to implement his plan and how he would select and lead a team of fellow Scouts to get the job done. He also had to define whom in the community he would get to assist him with his project.

Henderson would need to solicit local not-for-profit organizations to work with him in allowing him to place collection boxes in their facilities and distribute fliers about the toy drive he was conducting.

By BSA rules, Henderson cannot ask for or receive cash donations for his project, and he cannot solicit help from businesses that are not considered not-for-profit.

Once he received the first approval of his plan, Henderson said his next step was to choose fellow Scouts to assist him in the project.

For Henderson, this part was difficult. He said he didn't want to leave people out of the project, but he needed to consider not only how many he really needed to help him, but also who would be the most interested in the project. In the end he came up with seven fellow Scouts: Kevin Barker, Griffen Jodlowski, Carter McCraith, Hayden Sanborn, Garret Schreiner, Logan Thompson and Justin Woods.

Henderson then had to design a flier he would have handed out at a variety of locations. The flier explains who he is, what he is trying to accomplish and how others can help. He offers a list of suggested donations broken down by age and gender.

For boys ages 4 to 8 years of age, he's asking for items such as Hot Wheels, stuffed animals, dinosaurs and books. For girls of the same age, suggestions include dolls, play food, pretend housekeeping items, books and stuffed animals.

In the age group between 9 and 12 years old, suggestions include Legos, action figures, movies, and toy cars and trucks for boys, and Barbies, board games and cute wearable shoes for girls.

In his request for toys, Henderson would like for everything to be new if possible. He said items such as very gently used books are OK, but he doesn't want the kids in Harrisburg to think they deserve less than new just because of the situation they are in.

Henderson said that when looking at the needs of the older kids, it becomes more difficult to determine what they would want. So, instead of asking for a lot of games or toys, he's suggesting donations of personal products that might not be affordable for parents right now. His suggestions include items such as name-brand deodorants or colognes, name-brand socks, and video games for guys age 13 to 15, and lip gloss, perfume, nail polish and hair care products for girls of the same age.

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With the lists complete, Henderson planned workdays for his team, when they gift-wrapped and labeled large boxes to be placed at collection points. The group also planned presentations for some of the local churches they are asking to help with donations, and they have been distributing their fliers at the participating schools and churches, letting everyone know what they need.

Henderson said he has arranged for collection boxes at the First Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, Zion Lutheran Church and School, West Lincoln-Broadwell School, Washington-Monroe School, and Lincoln Junior High School and is working to add more collection points.

On the administrative side of the project, Henderson has team meetings each Monday after the regular Scout meeting and has to keep records of his project and its progress for later submission to the BSA.

The group will continue to collect items for the children of Harrisburg through Nov. 30. Henderson said he's checked a few of his collection boxes and items are coming in, but he's hoping for a lot more by the end of the month.

Once the items are received, the next thing on Henderson's "to do" list is to deliver the items to Harrisburg. The plan is to solicit the use of a box truck to load everything in. Then Henderson will accompany the shipment to Harrisburg. He has made arrangements to drop the gifts off at a church in the area and is planning on contacting a local Scout troop in the community to come and assist with unloading everything.

Once all this is done, the final step is to go through a series of evaluations and review boards with his project. Each step of the way, his project will be evaluated for how it was conducted. Henderson will field questions at various panels about how he led the project, what he learned, what went right and what he could have done better.

In the end, it comes down to pass or fail. Each panel that reviews his work will either move him on to the next level as Eagle Scout-worthy or reject his project.

Listening to Henderson talk about his project, it is very apparent that he is aware he has to do the best job possible, not just for himself but also for the young people he is hoping to help this holiday season.

To offer a little background on Joshua, he just turned 14 this week. He is the son of the Rev. Robert and Melissa Henderson and is in the eighth grade at West Lincoln-Broadwell School. He belongs to Scout Troop 1102, which is led by Robert Cox and stationed at the First United Methodist Church in Lincoln.

He is available to speak to any not-for-profit organization that might be interested in helping him with his project and can be reached by calling 732-2364.

Also, anyone who would like to donate items to the drive but doesn't have access to the various collection points can contact Henderson, and he'll make arrangements for the donations to be collected.


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