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Eagle Service Project meets needs at Kennedy Home

Dylan White can get it done. In April, he delivered more than $6,000 worth of donated supplies and cash to Kennedy Home in Kinston as a result of his Boy Scout Eagle Service Project.

Dylan, a high school junior, has been active in the Boy Scouts of America since he was six.

“I started as a Tiger Cub” Dylan says. He went from Cub Scout to Webelos to Boy Scouts, now in Troop 164 of American Legion Post 40 in Edenton. The Whites are an active scouting family. Dylan’s older brother earned his Eagle rank in 2014. Father Jay served as Troop Advancement Chair, and Dylan’s mother Lori coordinated troop summer camp participation.

For most of his life, Dylan has focused on learning, serving and leading. Those experiences came together in a dynamic way as Dylan planned, coordinated and led an ambitious Eagle Scout Service Project to benefit Kennedy Home.

Dylan recalls a group from Kennedy Home visited his church, Rocky Hock Baptist in Edenton.

“I reached out to Ms. Brenda Gray,” he says. “I was looking for my Eagle Project, and I wanted to do something to help the children at Kennedy Home.” Gray, Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) Executive VP of Development and Communication, connected Dylan with Brian Baltzell, Kennedy Home’s director.

“Dylan set out to collect supplies to fully stock a cottage” Baltzell recalls. “He also collected emergency supplies including lanterns, flashlights, weather radios, sleeping bags, and other items.”

Beginning with his church, Dylan set up a collection box. “I made flyers using images from BCH’s website.” He then expanded the project. More boxes were needed. More flyers. More sticky notes.

With the addition of 13 churches to his collection efforts, Dylan realized he needed to manage donations and minimize unneeded duplication. His initial system of putting sticky notes listing items needed on the boxes at each collection box helped ensure a broad representation of supplies. He recruited other scouts to help collect items from the churches and update the sticky notes at each collection box.

Over the years, scouts learn skills like knot tying, cooking and camping. They learn how to work with others, and they learn how to work on their own, earning at least 21 merit badges in activities from First Aid to Robotics. They perform numerous hours of service to others, and gain perspective of the world around them. They take on leadership roles learning what the role of servant leadership means. It is fun, but it is work. The Eagle Scout project brings it all together.

More than 200 hours of service went into Dylan’s efforts. The biggest surprise was the outcome: “I was overwhelmed by how much we collected.”

“It was an impressive collection,” Baltzell says, “He collected goods that will fully stock a kitchen and provide linens and bath goods for an entire cottage! The estimated value of all the items is more than $5000, and there was another $995 in cash gifts given as well!”

Dylan’s parents were not surprised. “Whatever he puts his mind to he does,” his mother Lori says. “He’s been taking two college classes each semester in addition to his regular classes at high school.”

“I plan to study architecture at NC State,” he says. “I want to design homes.” In the meantime, he’ll stay active in scouts and continue the circle of scouting by helping younger scouts. “Hopefully, I’m setting an example.”

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