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When can a Life scout get his Eagle Project Approved and begin work on project?

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  • #16
    M-brau,

    Unfortunately, according to the letter of the G2A, once the proposal is approved, there is no requirement the Scout have any contact whatsoever with anyone in the troop or council before beginning the project. The proposal is the only point of contact before submitting his final EP report. It is equally unfortunate that the Eagle Scout Bill of Rights (or whatever that page is called) instructs Scouts and their parents they should ignore any Scoutmasters or local Scouters suggestions contrary to the minimalist national policy. I don’t think there is an 1-800 hotline for squealing on your Scoutmaster, but I’m sure that was an oversight

    You are absolutely correct the proposal section of the EP book is terribly inadequate. My understanding is national was trying to correct two problems when it developed the current proposal format. One was some councils, our included, required insanely detailed eagle proposals. Fifty and sixty pages was not uncommon. One of my ASMs is a Six-Sigma instructor and he used to shake his head in disbelief. Actually, National did a good job of solving that.

    The second problem was with Scouts who invested tremendous amounts of time into a proposal only to have the basic project idea rejected. Consequently they came up with the two-step, proposal/final plan process under which the conceptual proposal may be approved with little or no thought toward implementation.

    But like you, I have an issue the only approval point being at a very conceptual stage. Consequently I very strongly suggest to our Scouts they include in their proposal most of the planning asked for in the “final plan” section. Our troop leaders have enough experience with Eps that we know what will fly with the district – frankly, our expectations for an EP exceed those of the district. We’ve never had a project rejected under the new process and, with one exception, all the Eagles and their parents are appreciative of the advice and input we provide our Scouts.
    Last edited by Twocubdad; 04-30-2014, 05:58 PM.

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    • #17
      @Twocubdad, your approach is exactly what our unit follows now. District is not a problem and our EPs exceed what they are looking for. Sadly, that bar is not very high. My concern was getting the Scouts to input as much detail as possible in their draft plan, rather than the one sentence responses we have been getting lately. That's why is was thinking that, since there is nothing I can find in the documentation prohibiting it, I would hold the approval signature n the draft proposal until after we saw the detailed final plan. That process would seem to be in line with BSA's directive around not approving the final plan, but would still allow the units to see the additional thought the scouts need to demonstrate. The other side of that rock is more scouts having to re-do their project for lack of leadership as a result of poor planning. If a scout (or his parents) want to blow the whistle on me to District, they can be my guest. My unit won't be handing out Eagle. We do that too much (collectively) as an organization already. Thanks for the feedback.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by qwazse View Post
        My take on all of this: The draft is not supposed to help the scout with the final plan. It's just supposed to let everybody know that the scout wants to do "project x" and everybody is in agreement with him developing and implementing a plan to do it. It's between the scout and the "Service Project MBC" (sorry, getting sick of the term Eagle Coach) how much feedback he should get and how solid his plan should be before implementation. Different projects require different levels and types of preparation. Thus, the draft is a blue-card of sorts. That said, our district advancement chair is fairly meticulous about projects, and requests that boys meet with him personally. He likes to see drafts in pretty good condition before giving the go-ahead.
        We do that now. We require the guys to document their projects well before they get signatures. The problem is two-fold. First, recently scouts have been doing the bare minimum in documenting their proposal. Second, they are almost entirely NOT doing their final project plans prior to doing their project. This has lead to some very, very weak projects which barely meet the requirements. Our District will literally sign anything, so we are trying to see how we can compel the scouts to complete their draft and final plan before doing their project. My answer to Twocubdad is our current approach which I believe still adheres to BSA procedures. I am interested to see how other units handle this. Thanks for the reply.

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        • #19
          Maybe it's time to add to the EDGE training, a bit of Lean A-3 training.

          Actually for project planning, it's not a bad option.

          Stosh

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          • #20
            Yes, experienced troops eventually learn the system and dodge the problem areas, but new troops or new adult leadership seem to always fall in the traps. I was always trying to encourage our district to provide Eagle Project training so the units would understand what is expected of them and also give the units a chance to give comments. I suggested each unit be to send at least one adult once a year. In our council every district is different and it's hard even for the Council Training Committee to know the different expectations.

            Our troop had one family transfer in from another state who had a son ready to do his project. In her previous district, scouts attended two approval meetings, one to learn the expectations and the other to get the approval. I actually like that idea. But without asking anyone in our troop, mom and her son attended our district Eagle Project approval meeting and she ended up leaving in tears. When I heard about it, I called the District Committee Chair and eventually had the person who caused the problem removed himself. I know the leader well and it was a misunderstanding, but he knew he handled it wrong and voluntarily took himself off the board.

            In their effort to be fair, members of boards tend to get too set in their ways without understanding the justifications for policies set by previous members. I saw the problem across our council. A little training would go a long way to helping everyone understand the system.

            Barry
            Last edited by Eagledad; 05-01-2014, 09:02 AM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by mozartbrau View Post
              @Twocubdad, your approach is exactly what our unit follows now. District is not a problem and our EPs exceed what they are looking for. Sadly, that bar is not very high. My concern was getting the Scouts to input as much detail as possible in their draft plan, rather than the one sentence responses we have been getting lately. That's why is was thinking that, since there is nothing I can find in the documentation prohibiting it, I would hold the approval signature n the draft proposal until after we saw the detailed final plan. That process would seem to be in line with BSA's directive around not approving the final plan, but would still allow the units to see the additional thought the scouts need to demonstrate. The other side of that rock is more scouts having to re-do their project for lack of leadership as a result of poor planning. If a scout (or his parents) want to blow the whistle on me to District, they can be my guest. My unit won't be handing out Eagle. We do that too much (collectively) as an organization already. Thanks for the feedback.
              Hmm, can't the CC and SM simply refuse to sign the draft until it is written up to at least minimal expectations? I know my oldest had to do at least two or three drafts of his draft proposal before he could get sign offs from the troop and the project beneficiary.

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              • #22
                Moz, sounds like the problem is with your district advancement chair. Complain loudly at round table that you need a little more backing from higher up when it comes to the planning process.

                But also, explain to your boys that they should be able to come back to their project 10 years from now, maybe with a wife and kids, and say "Wouldja look at that? The guy who set this up musta been some kind of awesome!"

                An Eagle candidate must have said "I will do my best ..." sometime during the program. About the only person who knows really what constitutes a boy's best is the boy and his SM. Never let all of this paper pushing get in the way of that.

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                • #23
                  Well, I was trying to by coy, but yes, that's exactly how we handle it. I ask my guys to complete as much of the final plan as possible. For nuts and bolts projects this includes "before" photos, plans or drawings, a materials list, a budget and a schedule (not calendar dates, but day 1, day 2...)

                  No I can't require the Scout to do that. But then, no one can require me to sign the thing.

                  I look at it this way (and OBTW, I'm told this is how the district looks at it as well) -- I want to make sure the Scouts have a reasonable chance at success. Not guaranteeing success, but a reasonable opportunity. That's important for two reasons -- 1) I simply want my Scouts to be successful, and 2) say what you will about the Scout's being responsible, if they screw up an EP and tick of their beneficiary, it's going to come back on the troop and/or council. If step one of a project is to rip out all the existing landscaping around the front door of the elementary school and there ends up being no step two, how many more EPs will the school (or probably school system) allow?

                  How I judge "reasonable chance for success" is by seeing the Scout has a reasonable understanding of what they are getting into. If they've created drawing, developed a materials list, totaled the cost and thought through a work plan, they can intelligently answer when I ask, "is this something you can do on your own?"

                  Since the new workbook was released, we've had 12-14 boys go through the process described above. All breezed through the approval process and successfully completed their projects. Currently we have 6 or 8 guys in some stage of their EP. Back in the winter we had them all meet and went through the planning and paperwork as a group. Several of the previous Eagles helped with the presentation. To a man, they all said our approach made sense, that the additional work we asked for with the proposal is all stuff you need to do sooner or later and that doing it up-front made the process much easier.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by perdidochas View Post
                    Hmm, can't the CC and SM simply refuse to sign the draft until it is written up to at least minimal expectations? I know my oldest had to do at least two or three drafts of his draft proposal before he could get sign offs from the troop and the project beneficiary.
                    Yup...and that is what we do now. But that leaves the detailed final plan still undone...or done at the last moment or after the project. And rarely does the final plan match the draft plan. So I was trying to find a way to coach the candidates better without 1) adding a requirement, and 2) adding/subtracting from the process. What I am hearing here is a validation of my thought around compelling the candidates to finish their final plan and present that with their draft proposal for sign off (of the proposal, not the final plan).

                    Originally posted by qwazse View Post
                    Moz, sounds like the problem is with your district advancement chair. Complain loudly at round table that you need a little more backing from higher up when it comes to the planning process.
                    Well, yes. But there is too much politics being played at that level. They have problems keeping volunteers and paid staff, so I figured I could fight the battle within the unit rather than there. To be honest, I won't get much push back from the scouts or parents, only those who want the easy way out.

                    Originally posted by qwazse View Post
                    But also, explain to your boys that they should be able to come back to their project 10 years from now, maybe with a wife and kids, and say "Wouldja look at that? The guy who set this up musta been some kind of awesome!" An Eagle candidate must have said "I will do my best ..." sometime during the program. About the only person who knows really what constitutes a boy's best is the boy and his SM. Never let all of this paper pushing get in the way of that.
                    Exactly. The off things is some of these guys spend hours (we are talking 80+ hours) on school and science projects that would make an engineer blush, so why do they "mail it in" sometimes when it comes to Scouts. We have documented our process, mapped it directly to the requirements and the BSA published Eagle process and are outlining what is expected at each step. I even have a feedback sheet that mirrors the draft proposal for comments to be made. After review of the draft proposal (and the final plan) we will sign the draft proposal. I think this keeps us within all guidelines and the boys get better advice. Consequently the projects are better.

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