When it came time for Oliver “Cale” Croom, a 16-year-old junior from Occoneechee Council, Lafayette District, to start planning for his Eagle Scout project, he found himself pulled in many different directions. Then he asked himself, “Will this project serve others daily?” A few weeks later, a need was discovered, and a project selected.
Cale hoped to develop and produce sensory-friendly books to support students in the Cumberland County School district who have difficulty focusing. He took his completed project packet to his Troop leadership, his family unsure if it would be approved. Several weeks later, after numerous discussions between unit and district leaders, he had his answer.
Mom, Tiffani, was not surprised by her son’s “Out of the box” idea for his project. “He had classmates who were on the autism spectrum and he always kind of sought them out to make them feel accepted.” Laughing, “Yes, he could have built benches or cleared an abandoned cemetery, which might have been easier! But he wanted to make this work. It was lots of trial and error.”
When asked if he had any words of wisdom or advice for other Scouts, Cale suggests keeping a journal to write down all dates and times that are spent dedicated on the project, especially all the time spent on planning and prep work. The sensory book project required months of planning and production assistance from Troops 716 and 40 and Venturing Crew 32
And what happened after the books were dropped off? A parent from W.H Owen Elementary recently reached out to Cale’s family, praising his thoughtfulness, “Please let your son know that his book is a blessing to my family and my son (who has sensory issues) has started exploring the book, which is a major milestone for him. We are forever grateful for the thoughtfulness, time and dedication.”
Cale was featured in the Fayetteville Observer. Can be found at: https://www.fayobserver.com/news/20181223/meet-your-neighbor-scout-creates-sensory-book-for-autistic-students