To become an Eagle Scout, applicants must complete a community service project. Greg, 14, has vowed to collect 500 teddy bears and 500 fleece blankets to benefit the Child Abuse Prevention Council. So far Greg has 22 blankets and a half-dozen bears, but he hopes to increase his collection by working a booth at the East County Emergency Preparedness Fair this Saturday, May 22.
“My original idea for my Eagle Scout project was to build a bench for the center, but they had just put in new benches, so I asked if there was another way I could help, and they suggested a teddy bear and blanket drive,” Greg said. “I was excited because I wanted to do something that would help kids, and I look forward to meeting my goal. The fair will be the official kick-off of my collection effort.”
Greg, a member of Troop 493, is collecting teddy bears around 12 to 15 inches tall, so beanie babies and toys from a happy meal aren’t going to cut it. Bears must be new and preferably gender-neutral. For the blankets, he’s collecting yards of fleece fabric. Each blanket is made of one yard, so he’s accepting donations of a yard or larger with a gender-neutral pattern.
“I was really drawn toward helping children because no one deserves to be abused – especially children, so your heart really goes out to them, so I’m glad my project will allow me to help in my own way,” Greg said. “Eagle Scout projects are win-win situations. I will get my Eagle, and I know that kids in my community will have the comfort of a blanket or a teddy bear. That’s what Eagle is all about – doing something for the community, and I expect this to be a really gratifying experience.”
While most Eagle Scout candidates don’t start their projects until they’re close to finishing high school, Greg decided to get a jump on the process. Following the bear and blanket drive on Saturday, he plans to host a Pennies For Teddies drive at Antioch elementary schools to raise money to buy bears and blankets. He’ll also host an ice cream fundraiser at Baskin Robbins this summer to help meet his goal. He found Web sites where he can buy bears and blankets in bulk, but it’ll cost $3,500 for 500 bears and blankets, so Greg plans to host other fundraisers as needed.
“You cannot start the project until you’re 14, and some scouts wait, but I’m up for the challenge. It’s not easy. I have heard that nine out of 10 scouts don’t make it to Eagle, but I want to beat those odds, and I’m confident I will.”
To get his project going, Greg has also begun a letter-writing campaign requesting material or monetary donations from family friends, relatives and local businesses. Greg said those who can’t make it to the fair this weekend can donate bears, blankets or money by contacting his mother Karleen and arranging a pick-up date and time.
The East County Emergency Preparedness Fair takes place Saturday, May 22, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 2350 Jeffery Way in Brentwood, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Greg’s booth will be stationed near the entrance.
For more information about Greg and his project, e-mail email@example.com or call 925-754-7625.