To earn the high rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America organization, a boy must perform a community service project that takes at least one hundred hours. These projects are great opportunities for Scouts to learn leadership skills, to organize groups of other Scouts in planning and preparation, and to serve their communities.
Wesley, a Boy Scout from New Hampshire, recently formed a group of nine Scouts and their leaders to map the Maple Grove Cemetery in Concord, New Hampshire for his Eagle Scout Service Project.
The group of Scouts gathered on several Saturdays at the graveyard to create their paper map. Using graphing paper, they first created a paper map where they labeled each grave with a number. They then used numbered index cards corresponding to the grave number to record the headstone information.
Once they had completed the paper map, Wesley assigned several Scouts and other members of his church group the job of creating the map on NAMES IN STONE. Each person took a section of the cemetery, and in a great collaborative effort, added their graves to the online map.
As the Scouts worked their way through this cemetery, they were touched by the feeling that these were real people who had lived and played in the same place they did. They started noticing dates on gravestones, and saw babies who were born and died the same day. They started putting together families among the stones, and saw families who lost several children in one year. They also got to know how the cemetery worked over the years, with different styles of writing and engraving in different time periods.
Wesley learned some great things as he and the other Scouts mapped the Maple Grove Cemetery that he would like to pass on to other Scouts for their mapping projects.
- Make sure you train your mapping team well at the cemetery. You can help them coordinate their efforts so they all record and map exactly the same way.
- Make all of your records as accurate as possible.
- Know that the project will take time and patience, but it is a simple and fun project to do.
- If you are going to have multiple people enter graves on the computer, train them carefully so all of the graves are precisely placed on their sections of the map.
- At the end of the project, check to see that everything is correct and properly entered.
You can view Wesley's map of the Maple Grove Cemetery in Concord, New Hampshire by clicking here.
Wesley encourages other Boy Scouts to consider mapping a volunteer cemetery for their Eagle Scout Service Projects. If you'd like more information, visit Boy Scouts of America and NAMES IN STONE.