The Eagle rank in Scouts BSA is one of the most distinguished achievements a teen can earn, and rightly so. It is a lot of work, but the kids I know are excited and willing to do it. With so many young people are focused on social justice these days, I wanted to share some tips for getting your project going… along with plenty of Eagle project ideas that have a social justice angle.
Start by contacting local non-profit organizations you’re interested in and ask if they have any projects they need completed, and offer to help. This can be a much faster way to find a community sponsor than deciding which project you want to do first and then trying to find a partner organization who is willing to work with you on it. Start with your library, schools, community center, non-profit groups like theaters or sports leagues.
That said, it can still be helpful to have some sort of idea in mind of what you might want to do. That way you can write to or call the organization, tell them you’re hoping to do an Eagle project focused on social justice and have a few ideas, but let them know you’re open to any needs they have as well. Ultimately, they may ask you to do something you’re excited about, and that will make the process move so much faster.
And while this is certainly not a required aspect of an Eagle project, it’s an impressive one: choose a project that allows you to help your fellow Scouts earn a merit badge while they work for you. A Scout in our council did this and won the Eagle project of the year (and a college scholarship to go with it).
With all that in mind, here are 50 Eagle project ideas related to social justice for Scouts who are ready to tackle the biggest project they’ll take on in Scouting. And of course, any of these could also work as Girl Scout Gold Award project ideas as well! And, as always, get permission from your scout leaders before you start your work.
50 Eagle Project Ideas Related to Social Justice
- Organize a book drive for an underserved community.
- Coordinate a musical instrument drive for an underserved community.
- Work with an optometrist to collect donated eyeglasses and redistribute them correctly to the unhoused population.
- Collect and install emergency trauma kits for school classrooms.
- Create a prayer or zen garden for a veteran’s treatment center.
- Collect and properly retire damaged American flags, and create educational materials for the community about the process.
- Create sensory resources (weighted blankets, matching books, etc.) for autistic children in a special needs program.
- Create a historical walking tour of your town, highlighting an under-recognized group or person.
- Organize a long-term pen pal program for soldiers or veterans.
- Find local writers and content creators to create a fun weekly newsletter for a children’s hospital or treatment center, with games, silly jokes, stories, and more.
- Organize and build a “free book library” at a local community center.
- Organize and build a “tool lending library” for an underserved neighborhood community center.
- Organize a duffle bag drive to donate bags filled with comfort items to foster care or CASA advocates for the children they serve.
- Collect trash from a polluted stream and use it to create a piece of art that brings awareness to conservation and recycling.
- Work with a local school to build an outdoor classroom for students to spend more time in nature.
- Build a website for your community to match volunteers with community needs.
- Organize a “game night” for a shelter that houses families, gathering members of the community to bring board games once a month for some relationship building and entertainment for the children.
- In an election year, organize a campaign to register voters and educate youth on voting issues.
- Create a “seed lending library” at your local library or farmer’s co-op, working with local farmers and gardeners to harvest and donate heirloom seeds.
- Restore an abandoned cemetery, and make a public record of the stories of the people buried there.
- Work with area restaurants to create a food donation program, taking their leftover food to community shelters.
- Build a community garden of raised beds for an underserved neighborhood.
- Build ADA compliant ramps or walkways for cabins at state parks.
- Organize a fingerprinting program for a local preschool or elementary school, and write a curriculum that teaches kids about safety skills.
- Organize a blanket- and supplies-drive for a local animal shelter.
- Collect and refurbish bikes for an underprivileged community center.
- Collect the stories of women of color who have made a difference in their communities, and turn it into a free children’s book to be used in schools.
- Compile and distribute first aid kits for sports teams in underserved communities, and write a program to train their coaches on concussion protocol.
- Work with your local library or schools to organize a Read-a-Thon to promote literacy in your community.
- Build an inventory management system for a local non-profit group, like a theater for managing props and costumes, thrift store for managing donations and inventory, or community center can use.
- Organize a volunteer program where students teach senior citizens computer and phone literacy.
- Create a cataloging and digital organization program for a local historical society, genealogical society, or other non-profit with documents that need scanning.
- Create a pen pal program between school children in the US and in at a school in a developing country.
- Collect tires from the dump to make dog beds for an animal shelter.
- Write and narrate a script about an under recognized person in your community’s history, and install informational signs with QR code links to the script at historical sites.
- Create a textbook exchange at a local college, helping needier students get access to their school books for free.
- Up for a big budget and big challenge? Build a tiny house for a veteran in need.
- Organize a community website connecting volunteers with elderly neighbors to mow their yards for free.
- With the help of local indigenous leaders, build an authentic native dwelling place at your local community center or park to highlight the original inhabitants of the land where you live.
- Create a video curriculum teaching how to properly fold an American flag, and distribute it to schools and community groups.
- Create an online resource that teaches students how to properly conduct a nonviolent protest — information on permits, communication, organization, etc.
- Work with a school teacher to catalog their classroom collection of books, highlighting and increasing the diversity in representation for their students.
- Create a volunteer program, connecting experts in your community with the opportunity to teach their skills in underserved neighborhoods through churches, community centers, schools, etc. (Think: artists, athletes, designers, writers, chefs, etc.)
- Build a rooftop garden in an urban center, giving residents access to green space and fresh food in a nutritional desert.
- If you have a theatrical bent, write a one-person show about a social justice issue important to you…and perform it at community centers, retirement homes, or schools. You can share the script for free so others can perform it as well.
- Teach young people how to get involved in the political process by organizing a Q&A panel for a local school with politicians, community workers, social workers, and others involved in the political process.
- Campaign with your local government to install disability access where it’s needed–for example, a crosswalk between a neighborhood and a school or braille signage at a local nature center.
- Start a social media feed that educates young people on diverse voices throughout history.
- Organize a coat and school supplies drive for your local foster care system.
- Organize a job fair for adults with special needs in your community.