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
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
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
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
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
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
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
[By NILA SMITH]
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