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Have you ever considered how service projects are related to being a good citizen? There are even a few parts of our Scout Law involved—like being kind and helpful, to name two!

As Scouts, we get involved with all kinds of service projects in our communities through our units. Many times, Eagle projects are a type of service project.

But you don’t have to wait for your Eagle project to plan an activity or build something or just pursue something you care about.

In late 2009, my parents challenged me to do something to celebrate the significance of the 100th anniversary of Scouting in America. They didn’t give me any ideas, but it didn’t take long for me to come up with one on my own. At the time, my troop was doing a lot of hiking and I thought it was a lot of fun. I decided I wanted to hike 100 miles.

My parents thought I was crazy at first, but when they realized I was serious, we started planning. I didn’t do this for my Eagle project (I was just First Class at the time), but it did help me with the Hiking merit badge!

It wasn’t about the merit badges, though. I decided that I wanted all that walking to mean a little more, so I combined it with an awareness and fundraising effort for Nothing But Nets, an organization that provides mosquito bed nets to people in Africa to help prevent malaria. The BSA partnered with them in 2009. When I visited their website and learned that malaria is the number one cause of death in Africa for children under 5 years old, I knew I had to help.

Although the hike only took nine days, it took about 18 months, some creativity, and help of friends and other Scouts to reach my goal of $10,000 to provide bed nets that will protect 1,000 families while they sleep. All the hard work and perseverance were definitely worth it!

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Cub Scout or part of a crew, you can help make a difference too! What do you care about? What are you good at? Ideas are good, but ideas put into action, using some of the things we learn through Scouting, can help change the world.

The 2013 National Scout Jamboree includes a day of service. What other types of service have you done recently? Let us know in the comments.

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