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1,000,000 Pieces of Trash

    We are living in challenging times. This pandemic and the subsequent lock down has taken a tole on us a nation, as families and as individuals. And while we are pulling together in beautiful and admirable ways, the sheer weight of what we all dealing with can seem daunting at times.
    Some of us are doing our best to just get through our daily routines and responsibilities. However, there are others that are going above and beyond. They are doing much more than “just getting through this.” One shining example of this is John-Aaron Bozanic.
    John-Aaron Bozanic is an 18-year-old Eagle Scout from Southern California who has decided to get through this pandemic with “purpose.” He has coordinated a project titled 1,000,000 Pieces of Trash. Bozanic has welcomed all Cub Scouts, BSA Scouts, Venturing Explorers and Sea Scouts and any interested adults and youths to help meet his goal of picking up a million pieces of trash by Earth Day, April 22. 
    Kiddish had the pleasure of sitting down with John-Aaron to get to know him better and find out what inspired him to take on this effort.
What inspired you to get into scouting?
    I have wanted to be a scout since I heard that my dad was a scout in elementary school. I bugged him about it constantly until I was old enough to join a troop, and I have loved the program since.
What has scouting taught you?
    Scouting has taught me a lot of things, including leadership, the importance of service, perseverance, outdoors skills, outdoor ethics, and even day-to-day skills, like keeping a schedule and project management.
What is something special that you learned as a recent graduate of Jewish High School?
    The education I received was much broader than just academics. The school had a feeling of community, and that we all need to care for one another. The ethics taught reinforced the similar lessons I learned in Scouting.
What inspired you to take on this project?
    I originally wanted to hold an underwater cleanup at a local beach, but I had to cancel that project due to the Coronavirus regulations. While I was trying to come up with a way to adapt my project, I realized that everyone is at home and could pick up trash in their own areas. I also realized that people needed something constructive to do, and that I could help them. I spoke to my advisor about the project modification and I started to spread the word about my project.
Do you feel that being raised Jewish has any influence on your desire to give back?
    Definitely. From the time I was little, the concept of Tzedakah was constantly taught. At the Hebrew Academy, in synagogue, at Hebrew lessons and daycare at the JCC, and within our family, I was taught that giving to others less fortunate than ourselves is important. The concept of service above self is a logical extension of that, and I had good role models in this area.
Do you have any advice for people feeling lost during this COVID-19 lock down?
    There is always something to do. Don’t view this as a purely destructive event. Think of it as a time to learn a new language, or start the hobby you were thinking about, or work on a project you have been putting off because you never have time. Use this period to better yourself, and use it to help you succeed.
Project Goal
To pick up 1,000,000 pieces of trash
Who: All Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA Scouts, Venturing, Explorers, and Sea Scouts! And, of course, any other youth or adults who would like to participate.
What: To improve our environment by reducing trash and pollution. Upon approval of your unit leader, this activity counts as conservation service hours for rank advancement.
Where: Anywhere! Local streets, local parks, school grounds, regional parks, national forests, national parks, BLM land, streams, lakes, beaches … even underwater trash can be collected!
When: Every day, starting immediately
Why:
1)  To help control pollution on land and under water
2)  To make our communities nicer places to live
3)  To help alleviate stress by giving people a beneficial task upon which they can focus.
4)  To get people outside during this time of reduced interaction.
How:
1)  Pick a place to help clean. Please stay out of areas (parks, beaches, trails, etc.) that have been closed by local authorities. Also stay away from health facilities, live-in care centers, homeless camps or other higher risk locations.
2)  Only families may participate, when it is safe to do so.
3)  Maintain minimum 6-foot separation between individuals while picking up trash, and at all other times.
4)  The CDC is recommending wearing a mask while in public places where contact with other people is likely.
5)  Bring trash bags
6)  Wear gloves and close-toed shoes. Consider wearing two types of gloves: Nitrile for protection of direct contact transmission, and work-type for protection from injury. Type will depend on nature and location of trash. Do not touch face or uncovered body parts with the gloves. After trash collection properly remove and dispose of gloves.
7)  Throw trash away in a dumpster or other receptacle that is directly emptied by trash services in your area. Recycle any glass bottles and aluminum cans if possible. Be careful with bottles and cans. They may have most direct contact with an infected individual.
8) Wash your hands well. At least 20 seconds with soap and water (recite the Scout Oath & Law to yourself), then use alcohol, bleach or BZK solution if available.
9) Report results and send pictures and short stories to: 1000000PiecesOfTrash@gmail.com.
Results: Results will be posted every Wednesday on the Crew 774 lnstagram page oc.crew774 and the Western Region Area 4 lnstagram page wra4venturing or on Facebook at Western Region Area 4 Venturing.
    See more on the Facebook page 1,000,000 Pieces of Trash
Bozanic’s Scouting Accomplishments
Completing major goals and exten-sive projects is not new to John-Aaron Bozanic. Here are some of his accom-plishments:
• Eagle Scout (2016) with 13 palms (a palm may be earned for each additional five merit badges, and three months of service in Scouting).
  87 merit badges.
  World Conservation Award (2018).
  National Outdoor Award Medal (2019): The medal is earned for significant experience and training in six areas of outdoor skills and competencies, amounting to hundreds of nights of camping, hundreds of miles of hiking, and hundreds of hours of conservation service projects.
  High Adventure Team John Muir Medal (2016): For hiking the entire John Muir Trail.
  Jim Hawkins Medal (2019): Awarded for cumulative participation in backcountry excursions, conservation service and peak climbing.
  Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor (2017): The Order of the Arrow is the national honor society of the Boy Scouts of America. The Vigil Honor is the highest honor that the Order of the Arrow can bestow upon its members. Less than  one percent of Scouts ever attain this.
  Area Venturing Leadership Award
(2019): This is the highest award a Ven-turing Scout (ages 14-20) can receive for leadership and service in this area, which includes most of Southern California and the Eastern Sierras.
  Hornaday Award (2018 , 2019): National conservation award. John-Aaron just finished his third of four projects. Projects included building an outdoor education center at Moulton Elementary School (2018): conducting a lion fish hunt in the Florida Keys (2019); and trail reconstruc-tion at the outdoor education center (2020), approval pending.

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