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Boy Scouts and Seniors: Eagle Projects for Life.

My goal is to work with Boy Scouts tapping their time and talent in a variety of avenues. We could develop an idea web page for the scouts wherein needs are listed whether it be via teaching technology, assisting with HomeFit and Driver Safety Events, working together to purse Safe Living Environments. Our seniors could serve as mentors via meetings with the Scout to help develop ideas for working with home bound or community based senior groups.

Photo of Sherry Kolodziejczak
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How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

Boy Scouts and Seniors; working together to make a difference.
I truly believe the Boy Scouts are an untapped group. Three years ago I approaced a Troup and asked if they would like to get involved in volunteer ing for the Walk To Defeat ALS event in my area. They not only help set up and clean up, they are an intergral part of this walk. Months prior to the walk, I work with the Scouts teaching them about ALS and letting them touch and drive power wheelchairs and augmentive communication devices. This partnership has evolved. Two Scouts completed thier Eagle projects for ALS-one making communicaiton boards and one setting up computer based social media sites. I parrtnered both Scouts with someone with ALS who was over 70 years of age. Several are now email and social medial pals with their ALS partner.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to test any assumptions you might have about your idea?

Trying now. I will be meeting with two Scouts that are pursuing their Eagle Badge.Both would like to work on technology, teaching use of iPAD and smart phone. One has an idea of running three workshops and the other would like to visit homebound seniors from his church.

What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input, skills or know-how of our OpenIDEO community?

So how can we do this together? Can we reach out to the Scouts in our communities as well as the seniors in our communities and see what interests and skills exist?

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Photo of Sherry Lind
Team

My masters thesis is a questionnaire provided to approximately 500 residents 50+ in our little college town. A group of older residents want to start a Village Network organization and I am trying to get them on board with intergenerational projects. Any specific help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your thoughts so far, great ideas!

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Photo of Sherry Kolodziejczak
Team

Great idea! So one idea would be to Host a Tech fair, matching young to seniors. If you are looking at 30-50 yr old, AARP does a free tech workshop where they work with the seniors to teach basic tablet operation. I would also contact the local boy scouts for projects such as wheelchair gardens, video taping veterans for telling their war stories. Girls Scouts and seniors on healthy cooking from scratch and sewing teddybears for cops (give out to scared kids) and heart pillows for cardiac patients (supply hospitals). 4H on healthy gardening working on planters or canning for the soup kitchens, A community garden is great but takes a lot of committed effort. Keep me posted! And let me know how I can help.

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Photo of Sherry Lind
Team

I, too, think both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts (as well as 4H) are great organizations to tap for intergenerational projects. As a 64 year old graduate student in gerontology, I see many ways the generations can help each other. While it is often easier to get the younger generation to "do for" elders, it is another thing to get a longer term commitment from them. I am increasingly finding out that it is often difficult to get older generations to get on the volunteer bandwagon. More intergenerational long term projects would increase respect in both directions for both groups. Perhaps summer cooking/baking classes taught by seniors in their own homes where real skills would be honed rather than just a one-time class. Real gardening skills need a growing season to learn. One of the skills I see many young people missing is basic budgeting and financial skills for just running a home. This can be taught. Many of you know what skills the younger generation has, but you need to talk to those who are older to see what life experiences they have and can share in a longer term relationship with students.

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Photo of Sherry Kolodziejczak
Team

Sherry, I agree. You have to start somewhere and what better spot than with groups who are charged with projects. AARP also has a Garden To Table project where our poor seniors are provided with all the materials to grow a pot garden that will have all the necessary seeds to grow into a salad. I have worked with Teen Volunteer Programs to assist with this project.
As for the older group, I engaged several folks over a few months, I visited churches and assisted living centers and asked that very question-what would you like to do to work with the younger generation. Once consistent theme was
"I wish they could help me with this tablet/iPad etc". So I have only worked with a couple so far, but I posted a request in our local volunteer center and sent out an email to folks where I work. I chose 4 teens who were tech savvy and they and I worked with 6 seniors setting up basic functions like email and facebook. It was a great experience. My goal when school starts is to email the Principal of a few area schools and promote the Teens and Seniors Tech Project. I will keep you posted.

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great thinking to leverage exiting organisations, Sherry! We're excited to hear what you learn from meeting with scouts. (You can add what you learn to your post at any time by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right)

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Photo of Sherry Kolodziejczak
Team

Thanks Meena, will do!