This is a tricky question since in our area so many of these drives are scheduled by LDS Stakes. The goal, with any Eagle project, is for a Scout to use skills in planning, leadership, and execution to make a difference in his community, so a regularly scheduled blood drive would not qualify as something he planned.
Here is what the The Guide to Advancement about this topic (see 18.104.22.168):
It is important not to categorically reject projects that, on the surface, may not seem to require enough planning and development. Consider, for example, a blood drive. Often rejected out of hand, this project, if done properly, could be acceptable. Few would question the beneficiary. Blood banks save lives—thousands of them: maybe yours, maybe that of a loved one. If the [Eagle] candidate proposes to use a set of “canned” instructions from the bank, implemented with no further planning, the planning effort would not meet the test. On the other hand, there are councils in which Scouts and advancement committees have met with blood bank officials and worked out approaches that can comply.
Typically these involve developing marketing plans and considering logistics. People successful in business know how important these skills are. Some blood banks will also set a minimum for blood collected as a measure of a successful plan. To provide another valuable lesson, they may require the candidate to keep at it until he’s met this goal.
A good test of any project is to evaluate its complexity. In the case of a blood drive, for example, elements of challenge and complexity can be added so there is a clear demonstration of planning, development, and leadership.
What is an Eagle Project?
As stated in the Boy Scout Handbook: While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to your religious institution, school, or your community. (The project should benefit an organization other than the BSA.) The project plan must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your unit leader (Scoutmaster, Varsity Scout Coach, Venturing crew Advisor), unit committee, and by the council or district advancement committee before you start.
There are also limitations described by the Boy Scouts of America, including:
- Routine labor (a job or service normally rendered) should not be considered.
- Projects may not be performed for businesses.
So What Should We Look Out For?
A blood drive can be a very worthy Eagle project if it meets the requirements and limitations stated above. The project must allow a Scout to demonstrate creativity, planning and leadership of others.
An example of a blood drive that would qualify as a good Eagle project would include:
- The Scout does all the planning (i.e. setting the date, the place).
- The Scout contacts and works directly with the organization that is going to draw the blood.
- The Scout does all the advertising.
- The Scout teaches and trains all other volunteers on their functions and what he wants them to do.
- The Scout expands beyond a simple blood drive by doing things such as:
- Plans a nursery for children of donors that bring their children.
- Organizes a car wash for those donating blood.
- Organizes others to bring some snacks and juices for the donors.
An example of a blood drive that would NOT qualify as a good Eagle project would be one that is sponsored and organized by a church who then hands the administration of the drive to a Scout. This breaks several requirements:
- The Scout is not able to plan, develop, and give leadership to others.
- The Scout is doing routine labor – something that the church would have otherwise assigned to a member to do.
Author: Pualani Graham | Advancement Chair, Utah National Parks Council