Tuesday, 04 May 2021 16:00

Summon Eagle Scout: NorCal Boy Scout taps into Magic community for project

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Boy Scout John Callanan of Troop 94B, Folsom, Calif., stands next to boxes of 'Magic' and other trading cards ready for donation. Boy Scout John Callanan of Troop 94B, Folsom, Calif., stands next to boxes of 'Magic' and other trading cards ready for donation. CALLANAN FAMILY

When you think Eagle Scout project, most people think "building a bench for a local church" or "refurbishing a new park pathway with some Rotary Club funds". It's a project for charity that earns you that the honor of becoming an Eagle Scout - the highest rank possible for a member of the Boy Scouts of America.

While often these projects are something along the lines of an area clean up, building planter boxes for a local park or school, or organizing care packages, it's the unusual ones that make the Scouts stand up and take notice.

That's where John Callanan of Troop 94B out of Folsom, Calif., comes in. He wanted to do something related to the Magic: The Gathering collectible card game to earn his badge and tapped into an idea that is a win-win: card donation.

"I had a project all lined up last year redoing a shed, but I figured to give back to Magic through the Scouts since I was introduced to the game while in the Scouts," Callanan tells Magic Untapped. "So what I've done is get bulk card donations and sort them out. All the lands and tokens cards, we take them out, and send them to a charity in Kentucky called Commons4kids."

John Callanan (center) and his fellow Scouts sort cards for donation. / PHOTO: CALLANAN FAMILY
John Callanan (center, in hoodie) and his fellow Scouts sort cards for donation. / PHOTO: CALLANAN FAMILY

The project's original goal was to collect 100,000 cards.  A week and a half into the project, however, it was apparent that plans and expectations needed to be changed.

"We had to come up with a new goal of 400,000 because so many came in," he says. "I mean, I have 175,000 at my house right now, another 90,000 coming in from a donation from Colorado, and who knows how many others."

And it it's just Magic cards, either. Baseball cars, football, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Disney - he has and still is receiving ton. And the monetary value of his burgeoning Commons4Kids collection is increasing with each new donation.

"I have around $1,000 worth of cash cards right now, not counting $570 worth of Arabian Nights cards I found in a donation that I gave back to a game store because they were so expensive," explains the soon-to-be Eagle Scout.  "People put their trust in the Boy Scouts, and I like to think we return that favor by giving the ones of real value back."

"I have sold a couple expensive ones to help pay shipping, however," he added.

John has been generally working through social media, with his more than 200,000 cards coming in through donations via Facebook posts and other means. And so far it has impressed a lot of people, including the manager of a local game store in nearby Sacramento.

"We're just glad we can be helpful in promoting the game and the community itself because it's not just a game it's a educational tool," says Domagoj Mitrovic, manager of Great Escape Games.  "It's incredible that somebody has taken up on this task."

And Mitrovic isn't the only fan of Callanan's project.

"Everyone I've talked to, including people not into cards, has said that this is pretty cool," comments Callanan. "My Scoutmaster even said as much."

So far, with more than 200,000 cards collected and 75,000 all sorted and ready to go to the charity, he's already made good progress on his goal.  Callanan, however, isn't done quite yet.  He is still collecting cards through May 31 and is willing to pay for shipping to bring the cards in. He has had donations come from all over the United States so far, and it isn't relenting.

"I'm sending everything as of right now," he says.

If you'd like to donate some of your extra Magic: The Gathering cards, email Callanan can be This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..