Zane Javeri of Troop 345 in the George Mason District is an avid tennis player. He shared “I have been playing tennis since I was 6 years old and I am on the James Madison High School varsity tennis team. I joined Cub Scouts in first grade and am now working on my Eagle Scout Project and Distinguished Conservation Service Award (DCSA) project. My Eagle Scout Project recycling used tennis balls is creating waves in the community.”He partnered with Fairfax Racquet Club, neighborhood tennis clubs, schools, and parks to collect used tennis balls and transport them to a recycling center.
Zane spotted a chance to reuse old tennis balls in addition to reducing waste. Zane explained, “My project is a huge success, with over 10,000 tennis balls collected and recycled. The used tennis balls are sent to Recycle Balls in Vermont and used for a variety of purposes, such as playground surfaces, sports surfaces, and pet toys. Recycle Balls is a non-profit organization in Vermont that specializes in recycling tennis balls. They have recycled over 10 million balls since 2016. Each tennis ball takes 400 years to decompose and millions of tennis balls are disposed of in landfills each year”. This Eagle Scout project not only reduced waste but also made a positive impact on the environment by keeping used tennis balls out of landfills. Zane educated over 300 individuals about recycling tennis balls.
The Scout BSAs of America’s Distinguished Conservation Service Award program honors scouts who carry out significant conservation projects. The Distinguished Conservation Service Award project requirements are more rigorous than a Scout BSA Eagle Award project. To earn the award, Scouts must complete two Eagle Scout environmentally related projects. It requires the Scout to conduct in depth research of a conservation issue; determine a solution; write a report; plan, execute and lead a project; educate the community outreach; write final project reports; present their projects and findings before a conservation committee; and earn 7 conservation type merit badges.
This Eagle Scout Project, which is centered on recycling tennis balls is a prime example of the positive environmental impact that can be made through the Distinguished Conservation Service Award program. It demonstrates the leadership skills and environmental stewardship that are at the core of the program’s mission. Zane hopes that his Eagle Scout Project makes a lasting impact on the community and serves as a model for others to follow.