When it came time to choose an Eagle Scout project, several options throughout a six-month period didn’t really stand out to Justin Madsen, who is now in his fifth year of Boy Scouts.

When it came time to choose an Eagle Scout project, several options throughout a six-month period didn’t really stand out to Justin Madsen, who is now in his fifth year of Boy Scouts. His mom suggested visiting Hope House in Independence, and it was then that Justin saw the remnants of a playground.

“He was really thoughtful about what he wanted to come up,” says Tim Madsen, Justin’s father. “When we went out to Hope House and discussed what Hope House was, you could see the interest, and he was like, ‘I want to help this out.’”

He was able to complete his project with $3,000, which was $1,000 less than he had originally estimated. The cement was donated, but other supplies were purchased with donated funds. Justin utilized family, friends and professional contacts through his father’s work as the vice president of marketing for a financial services company.

The planning phase began this summer, and construction started in September. Many of his troop members helped with the project, along with both of Justin’s grandfathers – at most, Justin led 20 people, but sometimes, it was just him and one of his grandfathers. About 200 total man hours went into the playground.

Through sites in Independence and Lee’s Summit, Hope House provides residential and outreach services for victims of abuse, including children.



How much physical work did you put into the project? What have you gained from the experience?

Justin: We had to rebuild pretty much the whole thing. We kind of kept a little bit that was on, but a lot of the stuff was rotted out. We had to buy new wood, cut it and place it onto the tower.

Tim Madsen, Justin’s father: He had to refurbish some equipment that was from an old playground that they tore down to build some new buildings, and so he tried to repurpose as much of the equipment as he could to save money and recycle.  

Justin: (I’ve learned) how to lead properly. It’s kind of difficult to lead a bunch of guys, but once you kind of have to get in there and do it, it’s easy to pick up on.

Tim: Of all the years that I’ve been involved in Scouts, either as a Scout or as a leader, I haven’t seen anything as big as what Justin took on.



What does earning the rank of Eagle Scout represent to you? How would you like to continue your life’s work as a Boy Scout?

Justin: To me, it means that I’m ready to become a man. I really want to stay together and help people out because that’s really the basic meaning of Scouts: helping the younger and the weaker. That’s really what it comes down to.



What effect do you hope the playground will have at Hope House? How do you hope it will inspire others earning the rank of Eagle Scout?

Justin: I hope that it makes those who’ve been put into a situation which they shouldn’t be put in to find some hope and some happiness.

I’m hoping that they don’t go off and just try to find something easy to do just to get Eagle. I hope they can find something that really means something to them and that they can do to help other people.



What reasons would you offer others to get involved in their community? What have you learned from the Scouts?

Justin: I think what I’ve learned from Scouts is to not just have fun and learn different skills – be selfless and really careful about helping others. Like I said earlier, it’s about helping other people.



– Adrianne DeWeese