A photo of a tumbling mound of prescription glasses in Plano Profile’s November issue caught John Seeger’s eye. The picture went along with a story about the Plano Early Lions Club’s project called Recycle for Sight. John read that Lions Clubs all over the world work together to provide vision care, especially in developing countries where eye care is often unaffordable or inaccessible. He wanted to help.
John is a student at McMillen High School and a Life Scout in Troop 295. He saw this as a great opportunity to help others while earning his Eagle Scout Award. He got in touch with the Plano Early Lions Club to see how he could contribute to the effort.
“My goal is to spread the word about recycling eyeglasses in Murphy and West Wylie,” John says. “It would be great if we could bring in 500 to 1,000 pair of glasses.”
Although he does not wear glasses now, John did wear them from preschool until the third grade. He shares, “This project appealed to me because of my personal experience with eyeglasses helping me to use my peripheral vision. Glasses helped my life, and I saw that the Lions Club would recycle glasses to help others.
I thought I could do that too.” To support the Recycle for Sight program, John is placing 10 recycling boxes in local businesses serving the Murphy and Wylie area. He explains, “These boxes will be available through August of this year. In addition, we will execute a door-to-door campaign to collect even more glasses from the community. This will take place the first week of June in the Murphy area.”
This Eagle Scout project exemplifies an important part of the Scout Oath, “To help other people at all times.” But in addition to service projects, John says, “I enjoy having fun with my Boy Scout friends, learning to be a leader, trying new things with merit badges, and helping my patrol.”
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John’s mother Pam Seeger was involved with the Scouts when her son was in elementary school, and she was also active with her daughters’ Girl Scout programs. She believes Scouting has been very positive for her family, and thinks parents play an important role in encouraging their children to get involved—ideally when the kids are young. “It is easier to do when they are little and trying new things,” Pam advises. “As the boys grow, their interests may drift away from the Scouting program because other things seem more fun or interesting, and the Scouting program is not always easy or entertaining. This is when parents are most important in encouraging their kids to stay involved.”
She adds, “The competition for admission to colleges or getting a job is tough, and very few will have a better recommendation than earning the Eagle Scout Rank. We must mentor our children to find a way to stick with it. School and activities have a tyrannical hold over our time, and we have to learn ourselves, and teach our children, how to manage their time so that they can participate in their own futures. I think there are a lot of valuable lessons to be learned in Scouts that are not being taught anywhere else.”
Like any endeavor in life, Pam recognizes that Scouting is all about what the boys put into it. “For John, the merit badge program has allowed him to get out of his comfort zone and try new skills and interests,” she shares.
“He discovered he could build electronic circuits. He will benefit a lot from the cooking merit badge. And the personal management merit badge lets Mom off the hook a little bit while teaching him personal management skills.
“For John and the other Scouts, I think they benefit from learning leadership, like how to plan a meeting or a campout, and then see it through. I have watched so many young boys grow into upstanding young men in the Boy Scout program.”
For information about Boy Scouts, call the Circle Ten Council at 214.509.2100 or visit www.circleten.org
Photography by Mike Newman.