You don’t usually associate teenage boys with diapers, but a local Boy Scout well on his way to attaining the rank of Eagle is helping a local organization provide them.
As part of his Eagle project, 13-year-old Boy Scout Joshawa McSpadden will hold a diaper drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday to benefit the Parkland Pregnancy Resource Center (PPRC) in Park Hills.
“I’ll be collecting diapers in two places,” explained Joshawa. “In the parking lots of USA Drug in Desloge and Farmington.”
Actually, the young Scout is seeking diapers or monetary donations that can be used by PPRC to purchase diapers.
“Not everyone has time to go into a store and buy diapers,” said Joshawa. “But they can really help out by donating money to help in this cause.”
For those who want to donate diapers, he explained that all sizes are needed, except those for newborns.
“The center has plenty of those,” he said.
Joshawa will make appearances at both USA Drugs on Saturday. Because he can’t be in two places at once, he is enlisting his fellow Scouts in Troop 967 to help out with the project, but said he would welcome other Scouts in the area who might like to help.
“We have around 11 Scouts in our troop,” he said. “But any other Boy Scouts who could show up would be great.”
PPRC could certainly use some extra help, too. The organization offers a wide range of free services for pregnant women, as well as young mothers and fathers. Even in the best of times, the organization’s budget can be tight, but after the recent state budget was passed, PPRC lost the use of state tax credits to encourage financial contributions from donors.
The son of Chris and Beth McSpadden of Park Hills, Joshuwa spent some time as a Cub Scout, but then laid out for a few years before rejoining the organization as a Boy Scout. That was when he really hit his stride. In just three-and-a-half years he has earned a total of 42 merit badges, a number greater than most Scouts have amassed at this stage of the game.
Now he wants to be an Eagle Scout.
According to the Boy Scouts of America, Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men. The title of Eagle Scout is held for life, thus giving rise to the phrase “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.” Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout Spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, service, and leadership.
The demonstration of service and leadership is attained in large part by the Scout undertaking of an extensive service project planned, organized, led and managed by them. Which brings us back to Joshawa’s project for the PPRC. He explains that Saturday’s diaper drive is just one third of the total project that was born in part with the assistance of his church, Trinity Lutheran in Park Hills.
“I removed pallets that were in the back of the PPRC building,” said Joshawa. “They wanted them moved, so I hauled them away.”
And once the diaper drive is complete, he intends to start the final stage of his project.
“I’m going to build a 4 by 4 flower box by the PPRC’s front door,” Joshawa explained. “I’m also going to build a 4 by 8 flower box in front of their sign.”
Once the project is finished, the young Scout says he will receive a medal and badge recognizing his having attained the rank of Eagle in a special ceremony called the Court of Honor.
“I think it will be held sometime in September or October,” he said.
According to Joshawa, the first Scout in his troop to attain Eagle was Luke Bevington. As of now, a total of three troop members have become Eagle Scouts. Two more have just finished their project and soon Joshawa will finish his.
In the meantime, he says he’s had a very busy summer.
“I just came back from regional summer camp in Potosi and I’ve also been working hard on my project for PPRC” he explained.
But there are perks. In addition to having a news story written about his ongoing Eagle project, he says he’s also been the subject of two local radio interviews.
“It’s been pretty great,” he said, smiling.
Kevin R. Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 114 or at email@example.com.