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As many know, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has a mission to “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” Young men and young women move through the ranks by living this mission. As goals are accomplished, they receive merit badges and recognition. The concept of merit badges inspired the Purple Playas Foundation in creating our “Power Patches” that supplement our “Purple Playas Coping Kit.” As children accomplish such tasks as getting their first shot or an infusion poke, their nurses may recognize and encourage their bravery by awarding them a Purple Playas Power Patch. We also have patches for social accomplishments like “comforting a friend.” When children receive Power Patches, they can either place them in their Purple Playas folder storage pockets or iron them onto their Purple Power Cape. Capes can be proudly worn to medical appointments, while staying in hospital and even during play.
When Kerry asked Parker and the Purple Playas Board if he could help the Foundation through his Eagle Scout Project, we were deeply touched and excited. He asked what we needed, and we immediately shared that we are giving “Power Patches” to child life, social workers, and nurses to distribute to children as they display bravery with accomplishing difficult medical tasks and performing kind acts. The problem was, they did not have a storage system to keep the patches safe. Kerry was immediately committed and ready to think through the process to better store the Power Patches, draft out his plan, get approval and work with his fellow scouts to make it happen.
Kerry said that he felt honored to be able to support the Purple Playas Foundation through his Eagle Scout Project. He not only wanted to do the project because he was a long time friend of Parker’s (PPF Vice President and Founder), but he also shared, “I just think it’s an awesome foundation. It can be really beneficial to kids with arthritis and different chronic illnesses… It’s a great way to show support for people who need it.” So, he passionately set out to construct five very special storage boxes for our Purple Playas Power Patches. Because of his friendship with Parker, Kerry understood that it was important for the storage boxes to be sanitized with each use and easy to sort the various patches. They also needed to be portable to carry directly to children and viewing the patches had to done without little hands touching them to keep them germs-free. In addition, we wanted it to be branded with our Purple Playas logo.
Once Kerry completed his plans and got our approval, he then had to obtain approval from the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council of BSA. Construction could then begin. With the help of his mentor, Allan Gutcher, Kerry gathered all the supplies and tools and began building. Members of his Troop, Boy Scout Troop 212 in Lutz, worked with Kerry to build and paint the storage boxes. Kerry had a blast leading his troop in this very important mission. Kerry discovered a few things about himself and his troop while building the Power Patch Boxes. He realized that he is a strong leader and that his fellow Scouts have his back in all endeavors. They had a fun time, while also knowing they were pouring some extra love into the world.
Kerry explained that there are seven ranks to achieve in Boy Scouts with Eagle Scout being the highest and final rank. He shared, “You start as a Scout. You have to do a couple of requirements to get up to Tender Foot. Ranking then goes to Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and then Eagle.” Upon completion of the five Power Patch Boxes, Kerry’s final task was to appear before a Board of Review to discuss the project and many other aspects of his scouting career. Kerry discussed the entire process, and the review board was quite impressed with his idea, the construction of the boxes, his ability to team with his troop, and that he chose to support Purple Playas Foundation. We are proud to announce that he has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout!
Since completing his project, Kerry has begun delivering the five Power Patch Boxes. (The global pandemic has gotten in the way of more rapid delivery.) Kerry constructed them for UF Shands Health Pediatric Hospital, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Nemours Children’s Hospital, and Camp Boggy Creek. Recipients were overjoyed to receive this great companion to our Purple Playas Coping Kits. They’ve commented on their beauty and all the thought that was put into them to make them both functional and safe. There is a clear Plexiglas hinged lid with the Purple Playas logo etched in the surface and handles on the side for carrying. The patches can be stored in bunches within each section of the box. Medical staff can carry the Power Patch Box to the child and the various patches can be viewed through the clear lid without actually handling the patches. In addition, the entire box can be wiped down to sanitize after use.
Each time a child receives a Power Patch for being brave at the doctor’s office, hospital, infusion clinic, blood lab, and at special camps for children with serious illnesses, they are reminded that they CAN be BRAVE, even when they may be scared. One pediatric staff member said, “The patches are like sweets in a candy store for these kids. They get so excited to get one. It’s such a simple concept but a powerful one. They actually look forward to the next hard task because of the Power Patches.”