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SMEagle819

Eagle Scout Project Approval

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Many moons ago, when I earned my Eagle, a telephone call by the Eagle candidate to a district advancement person usually covered the part of having the project approved by the district. About 5 years ago, the district began a process of approving Eagle projects at the District Roundtable. A "breakout" session would convene after the announcements, and the prospective Eagles would go in and face members of the advancement committee to get the necessary approval. We were notified that this change would be taking place that telephone calls to a district advancement committee member would no longer be allowed. Understandable change, good communication, no issues with the change. Last night, I had 2 boys go before the advancement committee, and were denied. They told me they were "grilled unmercifully" by the people there. They wanted to see exact dates and times the project would begin/end, how many people needed, tools needed, donations for money/supplies already in hand, and the info typed. Just a few months ago, my last Eagle Scout presented a project that had very basic information (the 5 W's, who, what, when, where, why). This was all that was needed to get the project approved, and this is what I've always told the scout presenting his project that he would need. The donations, tool list, number of people, and dates would come after the project was approved because you needed to know if the project was a go. Also, a sign up sheet is usually passed around at meetings to get prospective helpers. Sometimes, everyone would sign up, other times only a few. Getting tan exact number is almost impossible before the project begins. One of the father's of one of the candidates was in the room when his son presented his project, and told me that the committee was consistent, that no scout left with their project approved ( I believe there were 6 total there trying to get approval), that all of them were questioned the same way. After roundtable, I approached one of the committeemen, one that I have known for quite sometime, and have a pretty good rapport with. I wanted to know about the change, and why we were not notified of the change in getting a project approved. He told me that the advancement committee is moving to this type of approval, that nothing has been distributed to the units yet, and to have the boys come back with all of the info that was asked for. I told him I did not agree, because a project approval should rest on the basic facts of the project (again the 5 W's), not every single detail, typed because that is the finished product. I also said that my scouts would have had the necessary info if we had known of the amount of detail now asked for in the approval process. Needless to say, I had 2 embarrassed young people, and 1 embarrassed scout leader who had no knowledge of the change in the detail and format now required by the advancement committee.

 

After my long winded rant, my question is this: how do some of the other district/councils out there approve Eagle projects? Before I get any answers about reading the Eagle scout Project Workbook, I read it last night, and again this morning, and found no wording in it asking for donations prior to start, exact dates and times (only a timeline, such as "it will take me 3 Saturdays of working 8 hours each Saturday to complete my project), and having the project plan typed. I have always instructed my scouts to use the workbook for what it is, a book to keep the ideas of the project, tool list, hours worked by each person, and any other item they wished to jot down while carrying out the project. Then, they could use this as the outline/notes for writing the finished project up for presentation at the EBOR.

 

YIS,

SMEagle819

 

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In our district, the scout must meet with the District Advancement Committee's Eagle Project Coordinator, a nice guy who has been serving in this capacity for about 15 years. Needless to say, over the years he has come to expect more and more in the workbooks before signing off. Consequently, most workbooks (plans) that are approved are 100+ pages in length and include such items as: map of project location, detailed drawings, detailed material and supply lists by project day, detailed tools list by project day, detailed time and task schedule for each project day, a detailed financial budget, a detailed time budget, fundraising details, unit money earning application, local tour permits, a leadership organization chart, a job description for each leadership/volunteer position, a narrative on how leadership will be demonstrated by the eagle candidate and others during the project, an agenda for pre-project leader meetings, a sprial notebook that includes the scouts notes and discussions during his planning, pictures of the site with captions for improvements to be made, a discussion of safety issues and how they will be addressed, etc. etc. etc.

 

I have had several conversations with the Eagle Project Coordinator and DAC chair about the process. The problem seems to be that the Eagle Project Coordinator has been pretty much left to his own devices in establishing his interpretation of the requirement to 'plan, develop and give leadership to..." since the DAC chair is basically a revolving door.

 

Many scouts in our district have chosen not to proceed down the eagle project road because of the significant academic exercise that is required by the planning component. That is a shame. However, those that do go through the process learn an awful lot about what goes into planning and about themselves. Those with strong troop support and a good Eagle Advisor that understands what the district 'requires' do well. Those without such support, usually end up quitting at some point.

 

So, things could be a lot worse...you could be in my district.

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Ours mostly follows the book, a general framework to get the process started, growing more detailed as it goes on to each step - so a lot of work isn't wasted developing a plan that isn't going to make it.

 

My current issue with our Council/Districts process is the District Advancement Chair (the last step in our Councils approval process) is making himself unavailable for varying lengths of time (under the table)to "see how persistent the boys are in chasing him down" (up to six weeks worth of the Advancement chairs delay)- which might be okay to hold off a 15 or 16 year old or a 17 year old with plenty of time yet but I've got a candidate who has five weeks left before 18 and seven days before his project timeline is unrecoverable(in conjunction with a non-reschedulable community event), he's been trying to get in touch with the DAC (having gotten all of the rest of the signatures)for four weeks already. You have to have all of the signatures before you can start the "WORK" portion. I don't think it's right to ramp up the pressure on the Scout that way - especially since there's no guarantee he'll approve it - then what? This Scout has four weeks to invent a new project and get all of the signatures again?

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I have been through the process several times, with my son, and with our scouts. The process is up to the district advancement chairman. His process is like this:

 

On the third Thursday of each month the scout shows up with his eagle project book filled out, with the signatures of the beneficiary, the scoutmaster and committee chair, and with a fairly well thought out project plan. The district advancement chair and one or two other scouters at the district level listen to the scout present his plan and then question him about the specifics. The project is approved or not, and the scout is told to make the suggested changes to the plan and resubmit it at the next monthly meeting.

 

As SM, I feel that it is my duty to get the scout prepared for this, so we have a committee person appointed to help the scout develope the project, and then review the paperwork before we send him to the district approval meeting. Then I look it over before I sign it. I have had to do this kind of project work for my job, and I see it as an excellent excersize for the scout. It will prepare him for life.

 

I would be horrified to see anything presented to a formal approval committee that is not typed, and I want to see that the scout has thought about not only the broad nature of the project, but the steps to be taken to get it done. He has to plan the what, the who, the where, and the how. What (are we building, what service are we performing, what result shall we attain?), who (what staff do I need to get it done? Do I use only scouts? Do I need adults with special skills and tools?), where (where will the work be done?), how (What materials do I need? How do I get them and pay for them? Have one work day or more? Does someone need to test and approve the result?) So the scout does need to have things like a materials list, a needed tools list, a budget, an estimate of the work force. I have always seen these things change and expand after the district approval is given, but the scout has to make a start in the planning process.

 

I think having the scout obtain the funds and schedule the people before the approval is a bit dumb, but I would want to see the workbook filled with his thoughts and plans. Can you ever overplan a complicated project. And, with the aid of a computer and the project planning book in Microsoft Word format, making it neat and readable is easy. No problem.

 

 

 

 

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Our Eagle candidates meet with the DAC on Roundtable nights. The process is similar to what Gunny describes. The scout has to show sign offs from the organization benefiting from the project, his SM and Committee or whatever is in the book.

 

He has to have a tentative schedule, (not exact dates) and a plan for labor and materials. i.e. groups that will help, but not names of specific individuals. He has to be able to show what materials will be needed and how he plans on getting them. Again a plan, either fund raising or donations of materials or funding from the benefiting organization, a verbal commitment from sources noted by the scout in the book are fine. He needs to show he can carryout the project if it's approved. If it is something to be contructed they usually have a schematic drawing of what they plan to build. Not an engineered drawing, but something that gives the DAC a visual representation of the finished project. The books are typed up using the online version of the workbook, but I would say at this stage of the project not much more than 4- 6 pages of material is presented, if that.

 

I know the District wants to have enought info to be confident the project is sufficiently challenging for the scout to show leadership and that if approved there is a high probability for completerion. What they don't like, is to have Eagle candidates to plan and promise to a third party organization a service project, not to have it completed. It makes it that much tougher on the next candidate to approach an organization for a project.

 

 

 

The DAC is pretty good about being accessible at Rountables but he's hard to get a hold of otherwise. If a scout didn't get his project approved say at the June Roundtable it's concievable he'd end up having to wait until September. So far, that hasn't happened but for a scout with a summer birthday who's about to turn 18, it could be a problem.

 

SA

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Yah, like always, da problem here is the shifting of expectations on the scout, eh? All your district advancement committee should be spanked soundly for that.

 

As for general expectations, as yeh can see, districts and councils across our fair nation are far from uniform. I'd say your former method would be very far on the "light" side compared to average. Your new approval expectations are probably closer to normal, but slightly on the heavy side.

 

For my part, I don't think it's ever appropriate for a boy to be collecting donations for a project until the project is approved. That's just fraudulent, not somethin' to be encouraged. He might have identified potential donors, but he should not have received anything. Have your committee think about what it means that a scout "cannot begin" his project until he gets approval, and why that restriction is there. I've seen projects disallowed where it would be necessary for a boy to return donations, and that's just awkward and bad for Scouting.

 

I think a typed proposal is completely appropriate, especially in this day and age. I also think enough detail should be present so that da committee can determine how he'll show leadership, give advice as to scope and particulars, review the budget, and clearly identify and see that all safety issues have been addressed (includin' havin' the proper tools for a job, and the proper supervision for those tools). I agree with you that having actual names of workers is a bit silly, but a designated number of work days and the people needed for each seems reasonable.

 

I'd suggest to you showing up with a few of the other SMs who were affected at the next District Committee meeting. Don't make a big ruckus, be respectful, but also offer firm feedback that this kind of "surprise" is not acceptable. Acknowledge that some of it is reasonable and may be helpful, but offer suggestions (like da workers thing) where you think it could be improved.

 

Feedback is a gift, eh?

 

Beavah

 

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I recently volunteered to take this position in the district I serve. I'm supposed to make sure all the elements of the project are there dates/times not important.

I would personally not want to be a roadblock in delaying the implementation of a scout's project I'm supposed to be there to help not hinder.

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These types of Advancement Committees and subcommittees must run amok across the country. It no longer becomes the youth's Eagle Leadership project, it now becomes the "Man Scout's" project.

 

We actually had a district advancement committee person call the church and the scout's mother, berating them about a lack of a few details and the use of several power tools. The church said, "forget it" and that was the end of that project.

 

Incredible.

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Our District Advancement Committee has met with Scouts since at least Y2K, when I started attending Roundtable as an ACM.

 

Around here, the standard for approval is this: Is there enough information (who, what, when, where, why, how) that if the Scout presenting the project were killed tomorrow, another Scout could step in and execute the project:

- Gather the donations as needed.

- Teach any skills needed at a Troop meeting before the project workday

- Set a workdate.

- Gather materials/supplies at site.

- On the workday, gather the volunteers, issue equipment/supplies, set them to work, and supervise.

 

This works with B/M ELSPs, "mission box" ELSPs, and even music therapy ELSPs.

 

So far, I've not heard of any feedback to the Council claiming the bar was too high. I haven't heard of any appeals locally over project development.

 

From what I read of ACP&P, I think my DAC has the rheostat dialed just about right. Certainly EagleSon got through the process, and he's a better young adult for it.

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A review committee that desires a 100 page write up has way too much time on their hands and an elevated since of importance. I served as Eagle Review Chair for several years and 4-6 pages was probably the norm and that included the materials list. It might run up to eight pages with drawings. We (there were two of us) required that the format be like what was shown in the EPWB and as much detail be provided to convince us that the project was worthy, the candidate knew what he was doing and he explained how he was going to provide leadership. If we weren't satisfied we sent the project back with notes explaining where clarification was needed. I think most projects were approved after 2-3 go rounds and only 1 during my tenure was approved on the first submission and that project looked like a Master's Thesis.

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This post has been very helpful. Nephew is sitting his Life BOR this weekend at camporee and has a few ideas for potential projects.

 

Now I know things I can do to help him towards a successful presentation - Plenty of ink and paper for the printer, load Word onto his computer for his workbook (he uses notepad for school work) and lots of support.

 

This also gives me a heads up to the frustrations and headaches he will probably run in to - at which time I can have asprin and an encouraging word for.

 

Thanks all

 

YiS

Michelle

 

 

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The workbook is a booklet, stapled in the middle. How does one run that through a printer or typewriter?

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100 pages? For what reason? Do they actually read all of these? And if they do, they need a life! Talk about adding to the requirements!

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It would seem that a number of district and council have gone a bit off the track when it comes to Eagle Project approvals. This is a person job that takes all of 10-15 minutes when done correctly.

 

The council/district advancement committee is charged with haveing A member of the committee review the oofficial Service project Workbook to look for some specific information.

 

1) Is the scout eligible to work on the eagle project?

2) Did the scout select and develop a plan

3) Will the scout be giving leadership one or more other persons in the project?

4) Is the project for an approved benefitting party?

5) Is the project done on approved property?

6) Does the scout have the written approval of the required parties?

 

That's it! That is the role of the council/district advancement committee prior to the beginning of the project. Nowhere is the committee given the job of changing or questioning the scouts plan. Nowhere is the scout required to appear before any member of the council/district in order to get the application for the project approved. Nor does the planning workbook ask for a start date. It asks in past tense for the "dated the project was started".

 

The youth cannot start until after the application is approved and who knows how long that will take as you can see from the preceeding posts.

 

Anything beyond answering the 6 questions is unnecesarry interference by the advancement committee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ed,

I can assure you they are read from beginning to end (often several times) by the District Eagle Project Coordinator. I remember when my son went through the process several years ago (his project was the creation of a field guide book for a local preserve that required research by volunteer teams), he was asked who is going to make sure the pencils are sharpened - and shouldn't that be included in the plan. A very small point, but one that left me flabbergasted to say the least.

Every page of the workbook has to be inserted in a sheet protector before the guy will review it (he doesn't want to get coffee stains on the pages). The wildest thing is this gentleman is reviewing 50 - 60 workbooks a year, singlehandedly. Everytime he sees something in a book that he really likes, it gets added to the suggested guidelines of what to include. As a result, a 20 page checklist guide is now put out by the District of things that are 'suggested' for inclusion in the workbooks. The 'suggested' items are basically treated as requirements and so we have the dreaded ATTR problem.

Over the years, people have spoken with our Council about the 'problem'. Council has taken a hands-off approach, deferring to the DAC. No one has ever appealed a denied signature to my knowledge. Giving up is the usual course of action. Some boys have asked about going to another district for the workbook sign-off.

 

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