Re: eagle project - health related
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Fri, 6 Jun 1997 14:51:35 -0400
> From: Robert Cataldo <rcataldo@MFI.COM>
> Date: Friday, June 06, 1997 3:37 PM
> One of the Life Scouts in my troop wanted to do a blood drive. The
> existing blood drive in our village ( run by a local church ) is
> if it can get 45 pints.
> He wanted to expand this to include all churches in the village,
> the volunteer ambulance corps and fire departments involved.
> Prior to doing any write up the scout spoke to the District Eagle
> Project Coordinator and he said NO to the project. His reasoning
> that a blood drive is a "canned" project, did not benefit the
> community and if the scout set a goal of 60 pints and did not
> it, his project was a failure.
I know this issue has been discussed before and there are many that feel
that blood drives do not provide opportunity for the Scout to demonstrate
the requisite leadership, but I disagree. Over my years as an advancement
chairman I have found blood drives to be one of the most challenging Eagle
projects, and often one of the most difficult. This has gotten
progressively more so as more and more people are reluctant to donate
because of a misplaced fear of AIDS or contamination with some other
disease. I am disappointed to hear that one of my colleagues in a
neighboring council has the opinion he does.
Yes, blood drives CAN be canned projects. Were a Scout to want to "take
over" an existing, established drive and just "host" it, as it were, with
no efforts to expand the reach or size of the drive I would probably not
approve. Also, as I understand it, in some places everything is done by
the blood center, including the canvassing of the community. That is NOT
the way it is in NYC or Long Island, and probably not in Irvington, NY
which, I believe is also served by a unit of the Greater NY Blood Program.
Here, the blood center won't even agree to show up unless the sponsor can
commit to a minimum number of units. That number has risen over the years
and in NYC I believe it is now a commitment of 70 units for a weekend
drive. They figure that they will get 1 unit for every 2 commitments, so
they are really looking to collect 35-50 units. It is totally up to the
sponsor, in this case the Scout, to find those donors. That is not easy
and I have seen Scouts do everything right and still not come up with
anything close to what they need. The fact that most of those who do
blood drives are successful is a testament to just how well these young
men and their cohorts do in persuading a reluctant public to do some civic
Frankly, I cannot understand how anyone can claim that a blood drive does
not benefit the community? How can saving lives, in a multiple of the
number of units collected, NOT be viewed as being a community benefit?
How can possibly changing peoples minds about the
risks/benefits/discomfort of giving blood and, thereby, possibly creating
lifelong donors NOT be viewed as a community benefit. That part of the
statement just does not make sense to me.
Finally, just because you do not achieve a numerical goal does not mean
that you have "failed." Maybe the goal was overly ambitious. I encourage
the candidates to set aggressive, ambitious goals, preferably just beyond
what they feel they can accomplish. Otherwise the project won't force
them to stretch. Thus, while most will surprise themselves and reach
those ambitious goals, usually with ease, some will not. That does not
mean they failed. It means they need to evaluate their performance and
decide if the failure to reach the goal was a result of things they didn't
do or could have done differently. Very often you can do everything right
and still not reach the goal.
In the particular instance here it certainly sounds like the Scout was not
planning to just take over a canned blood drive. The plan, as it appears
here, was to expand a limited scope drive into one which encompassed ALL
of the churches in the community instead of just one. This would have to
involve getting the word out to the members of the other congregations
through their newsletters, speaking at services, setting up information
booths outside the churches, etc. This doesn't sound canned to me.
Frankly, I just don't get it.
> Does anyone have any suggestions for a project or how to possible
> improve the blood drive idea to make it an eagle project?
As far as other health related projects there are always projects that
devise some way to inform the community about a health issue. I've had
projects designed to spread information about things like juvenile
diabetes. I've seen projects where first aid information is prepared into
a flyer or other type of "handout" and distributed in the community along
with emergency phone numbers, etc. - something to keep near the phone. He
can organize some sort of first aid training for a segment of the
community, basic first aid, CPR, drownproofing, etc. These are just some
suggestions off the top of my head.
But I would agree with the other posts. First I would have him or the SM
try to get a better explanation of why the blood drive DOES NOT meet the
requirement in the handbook.
Bruce E. Cobern
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City