Saint James Episcopal Church Boy Scout Troop 212′s Daniel Jellins is fascinated with the American system of government and challenges younger kids to become educated on a topic that will affect their whole life. For his Eagle Scout Project, Jellins developed a short video using his fellow scouts and a classroom presentation to teach kids about how the process works. The result was that Fifth Graders at Gregg Elementary School in Southeast Houston learned all about how laws are created through the three branches of the US Government and the importance of the upcoming presidential elections.
According to Jellins, who at 16 years old is a U.S. Presidential historian with a love of all things political, “I wanted to teach the kids how to practice the mechanics of our three-branch system and I succeeded. It is never too young to learn to appreciate how your country works.” Jellins’ love for the American political process began when he was eight years old and picked up a presidential book written by another kid. He has authored a Presidential Quiz on the Internet (search for “Presidential Quiz Jellins”), has amassed a large collection of biographies of US Presidents, and follows current events enthusiastically. His knowledge of current affairs and national politics exceeds that of most adults, and he is happy to share with anyone willing to debate the issues.
To be awarded the rank of Eagle Scout, boys must plan, develop, and give leadership to a service project for a community organization. Since scouting began in 1910, there have been more than two (2) million Boy Scouts who have earned the Eagle Scout Rank, yet only around 5% of all Boy Scouts are able to achieve this honor. In Daniel’s case, there was never a question that he would do something related to politics for his Eagle Scout project.
Gregg Elementary School teacher Andrea Gonzalez only had praise for Jellins’ efforts, stating “I’ve never seen anyone so effectively teach the kids about the interaction of Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court. I loved that Daniel was dedicated and stayed to teach all of my classes. The kids were so excited and wanted to learn more about social studies after Daniel left.” Principal David Jackson, Sr. believes in exposing his students to a myriad of experiences, and having Eagle Scout candidates work with his students is only one of the many thoughtful uses of community resources attributable to Jackson. Jackson notes, “African American and Hispanic males need role models close to their own age to share with and mentor them. Daniel is awesome! I asked the students after he left to tell me the key messages they had learned. All of them were engaged and in awe that someone like them cared enough to listen.” “Many of my kids asked ‘What do I need to do to be an Eagle Scout like Daniel?’ He pushed them to think and share their own opinions,” Jackson remarked.
Becoming an Eagle Scout has been a long journey. Daniel has been in scouting for over 10 years and has served in leadership positions within and outside of scouting. He attends St. John’s School as a Junior and is a Maverick football starting lineman. Jellins’ father, Lionel, has been a dedicated scouting volunteer since 1978 and serves as Scoutmaster for Troop 212. Scoutmaster Jellins also chairs the African American Committee on Scouting, which was chartered by the Sam Houston Area Council in 2010 to help increase the exposure of scouting to youth in the African American communities in the 16 counties served by the Council.