Geoff needed 4 merit badges, 2 Eagle and 2 Non-Eagle. He finished the 2 Eagles with my friend Deb as his merit badge counselor 2 weeks ago. For his non-Eagles he chose the Safety Merit Badge which he finished on Thursday.
Which left one Merit badge.
Now, back in the day he started the Photography Merit Badge with our then Committee Chair, Marie. Marie, like me, likes to keep the blue Merit Badge cards in her possession. He spent 3 weekends, one or 2 hours each with a couple of other Scouts and Marie doing Merit Badge College kinds of classes. At the same time, he finished Art and Citizenship in the Community.
Marie told me all she needed from Geoff was 20 photos either printed out or put into a slide show. Geoff took 20 blurry and awful pictures of our dogs. I told him he needed to apply some of what the merit badge requirements were asking of him. Rule of thirds, depth of field, macro, portrait. He said "yeah yeah yeah."
When Marie got sick, and I told him all you have to do is pull 20 good pictures together and she'll sign off on it! I got the "but I took 20 pictures of the dogs..." routine. I told him he could not submit those to her.
I registered to be the merit badge counselor for photography for our troop (and others, if anyone local is interested). I thought this might come in handy. I'm sort of a decent photographer, I think. I understand the requirements. I know what an f stop is. Yeah.
Before Marie died, she sent her son to my house with a bag of all of the things she used for the photography Merit Badge. A polaroid camera, some documentation, some books. I wish she had given me her really awesome film SLR but she did not.... such is life.
I emailed her, asking her "where are the blue cards?"
She didn't answer me, and each time I spoke with her she was vague and would say "oh the boys do such nice work on that badge..." And then she passed away on me.
I figured I would wait until her sons tidied up the house. After she passed away, the boys went through things and I know a lot of stuff was distributed back to the troop. I emailed two of her sons and asked -- both reported that they had no idea where the cards were.
All Geoff had to do was 20 pictures.
I made him redo the whole badge.
We spent the whole day on Saturday together, we did all of the requirements outlined in the badge and then we went out to Newburyport and took pictures. His little point-and-shoot camera doesn't have a lot of features. It has an auto-detect for Macro which is kind of cool, but it isn't awesome. We had my camera and a very old Pentax Spotomatic, which suddenly didn't want to work for us when we were on the photo walk. I'm glad we had my camera.
There was a plethora of things to photograph from beautiful store windows, to little lights, and yes... dogs. Geoff photographed 5 dogs. I had him approach some strangers that I noticed were trying to take a selfie. He took a picture of them with my camera, and I took one of them with their cel phone.
It was snowing like mad - he had 50 pictures taken... we went to lunch and went through the camera laughing at some of the shots.
He did a great job.
And dogs. He got some great dog shots.
We did rule of threes with a street. He took some great landscape vs. portrait shots. He even took a cute picture of me laughing at him.
I filled out his blue card yesterday and thought "Whoa. That's it. That's the last thing he needs. This is done."
Well, the Merit Badge portion of the dance is done.
After we went to lunch we went to Lowe's where we got all of the things we needed for The Box. His project coach sent me dimensions for a plywood sheet to be cut down, and miracle upon miracles it fit in our car so I drove it home.
The box assembly started today. The box itself is built, except for the bottom and the top. I am hoping I can get a good friend to paint the top of the box or make a plaque for the box that is gorgeous.... if she is free to do so.
All told... Next weekend we will be done. Just in time as I'd hoped. Just in time.
So if you are keeping track
1. finish the box (will happen next weekend).
2. recycle the nylon flags (will happen on 12/19 when we go down to the National Cemetery on Cape Cod and drop them off. They have a program.... )
3. Fill out paperwork.
Thank you to all of you who have reached out to offer funds for Geoff to help defray the cost of this project. You know who you are. Special thanks to my Girl C who bought the flags on Amazon and had them shipped to us. The overall cost of the flags was about $650. The box rough materials ran us $54, and our estimate for what we thought it would cost was $75. All told, he has about $600 in his account. I don't think we need to do any fundraising letters or anything to get the balance taken care of. I think it will be a break even project. I think the balance can be written off as a donation from me.
This is for reals you guys. You long time readers (all 2 of you) who have followed Geoff since his Kindergarten Graduation.... watched him grow through this blog.... I hope you are smiling as big as me.
I'm overwhelmed by the kindness people have shown. I'm more overwhelmed by how he has done.
We have already begun our paperwork for the submission to the Eagle board. That hopefully will all be in my hot little hands and printed and done for next Monday. My friend Kathy is shopping for invitations for her son's Eagle ceremony, and she keeps sending me emails with "how about this for Geoff? Do you like this one?" and I'm just laughing because I don't want to buy a single thing until he has that board of review. God help us. I'll be a mess until then, I think.
I'll be happy when I can write about other things. Think about other things. Go to sleep thinking about other things....
And as he begins his final lap, I'm already talking to other parents in the troop, heck other parents of boy scouts .... "get going now..." I tell the parents of the 15 and 16 year olds as they are in or approaching Life rank.
Get going now.
Nice story from Lowe's, we were with a staff member looking at plywood. Geoff was in his uniform shirt and a dad walked past with his son in a cart. They picked up what they needed and I didn't see them again until we were close to checking out. He smiled at us and said "Eagle Project?" and Geoff nodded. "My brother and I are both Eagles. I remember this kind of thing well." He was beaming with a huge smile. "I know a lot of Life Scouts. But not a lot of Eagles." He shook Geoff's hand and looked at his son.
"Good luck," I said to him as I looked towards his boy.
Good luck indeed.