"Any life scout who wants to do an Eagle project may do so. There is no reason deny him that privilege. I certainly would never say to a boy, "You can't do a project. You earned Life rank at age 17.51."
No doubt that any Life Scout can do a project - is it still called an Eagle project if he has no way of earning Eagle?
"Nobody besides the scout needs to pay attention. Nobody should. Even if nobody else is paying attention, he should read his Handbook."
True nobody needs to pay attention but a scout is Friendly and I would have had him do the math when he became Star Scout or at least when he brought the project forward. He may have known when he started his project and hoped to squeeze through the cracks. Wonder if he got donations and help by telling people this was his Eagle project.
Mac, your words really resonate. I was a shy, clumsy, disorganized scout. I really had to work hard to stay on track and earn the rank. On the trail to Eagle, I was in 3 different troops, with 4 different SMs (post Eagle, add 1 more troop and 3 more SMs). I spent a lot of time reading my handbook, and in my own way, figuring out what to do next. One benefit of the much-maligned 8th edition of the BSA handbook: all of the requirements for all of the merit badges were printed in the back. And unlike present times, National didn't feel the need to constantly change requirements.
Collectively, the attitude from my parents and SMs: "It's up to you."
Any life scout who wants to do an Eagle project may do so. There is no reason deny him that privilege. I certainly would never say to a boy, "You can't do a project. You earned Life rank at age 17.51."
I might say, "You know that no matter how awesome this project is, you will not qualify for Eagle rank. But, you'll have something awesome to be proud of. And, if this is a conservation project and you think you'd like to do four more of these, come talk to me about the Hornaday award."
Nobody besides the scout needs to pay attention. Nobody should. Even if nobody else is paying attention, he should read his Handbook.
Semi-related reflection: I've been a member on several Eagle boards over the last few years....
Looking back, only a couple of the candidates could really stand on their feet and tell their story. The others were at a loss when asked specifics about their leadership experiences, their project, etc. Even easy/softball-type questions about their experiences on the scouting trail would bring about mumbling and vague answers. Without mom/dad/SM in the room feeding them the answers, they were at a loss. The board wasn't a big event for them, a chance to shine. No. It was just another thing they were told to do. A hurried project finished days before they aged out. It was a given they'd pass. You could tell.
"You have to pass them. After all, they've met the requirements!" More than anything, this modern mantra has collectively cheapened the rank any Boy Scout wears, be it Tenderfoot or Eagle. (As well as it's ancillary mantra, "No retesting once they've earned the rank/badge, it's against the rules and just plain mean!")
I don't know the details as I haven't seen the article, but...get ready for it...When I was in Scouts I constantly heard the SM and ASM reminding, warning, and generally nagging the older Scouts to get to work, to pay attention to their time qualifications. I was a fairly timid kid and this stressed me out. I was always looking ahead...admittedly I was not the most organized person but I tried to stay on top of things as best I could. Eventually I got my Eagle at 16 and was pretty proud of myself. Having low self-esteem most of those teen years, I felt if I could do it then surely anyone else could. And I had little patience for the older boys whining about how they didn't know what to do or they weren't going to make it. At summer camp when I met my first LDS troop they had a 14 and a 15 year old Eagle. Took me down a peg and really just blew me away. Sometimes it's the individual, sometimes it's the family or troop, but somewhere in the mix you have to have some drive to push past "good enough" and to soar.
Cubs have a new book for each rank, Scouts only 1 and all the requirements are in it. Nothing hidden from lower ranks. Disappointment sucks. Rules are rules. He did the work, National made a decision, he is copacetic about it. I'm certain time-management will be at the front of his mind for awhile. But from here out, if he can get that much work done in such a short time I'd want him in OA. That kind of work ethic he could do a lot for the Lodge, maybe earn Vigil before he aged out. Or even after serving as an adviser.