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Is it time to scrap the Eagle project?

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I havent heard of the fictitious 100-page rule, but I have heard rumors of the fictitious 100-hour rule for Eagle Scout projects. Seems that in our District, Eagle candidates are encouraged to create projects that will be about 100 hours of total service, by the scout and the volunteers he recruits to help with the project and that he leads in the completion of the project. This rule isnt written down any place, but it gives the scout some idea of the scope of a potential project.


But the total hours DOES get reported on the Eagle application. The Eagle application now asks for the `Grand Total of Hours____________ (from page 10 of Eagle Scout Leadership Project Workbook)`


If the fictitious 100-hour rule is taken to heart, Scouts in our district would, on average, enter 100 hours. If every Eagle Scout in the country entered 100 hours in this space, and estimating there are something like 46,000 scouts who earn Eagle each year, that totals 4,600,000 hours of service project work nationwide. Does the National Council use this figure in the Report to the Nation that happens each year? Probably, as I think they should.


It probably isn`t time to scrap the Eagle project, especially since this total number of hours is now part of the Eagle application.


Then there is the outside the sphere of Scouting discussion.


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I too agree with Gunny. I have been scoutmaster for 8 years now and have tried everything to get some, not all Life scouts nearing that 17 year 9 month point to get that project done. I have even had a parent in my face accusing me of holding their son back from becoming eagle. Instead of taking this the wrong way and getting back in their face I asked the parent to excuse me and immediatly went to get the scout in question. First question I asked the boy was "How many time since you earned the Life have I asked you "Are you working on getting that project done." Or "Do you need any help with your eagle project." The scout looked right at me and said "At least once a month, if not more." Of course that still was not good enough for the parents and they left in a huff. This scout had been Life for almost 2 years at this time. I have tried offering to all Life scouts and their parents a special plan and understand becoming eagle session. Only 1 of the 14 scouts who qualified were interested. One thing I have found over the years is that no matter how far I or the a.s.m. work with these boys, as far as the parents see it we are responsible for their sons advancement. I have said over and over "I will provide the scouts with the oppurtunity to advance, whether your son or sons take advantage of it is their responsibilty."

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This is a problem we will never be rid of. We have over 1.2 million adult volunteers and you will always have some who are not trained or not trainable.


There is just no getting away from it on a national basis. Locally however it can be controlled to a large extent by selecting quality people for leadership positions in the unit and the council. Some communities are very good at this, others are not.

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Bob White makes the statement about untrained or untrainable. Most of the problems that I have seen has been from trained volunteers. They can tend to be over zealous in enforcing rules. Is training beneficial or not to make volunteers try to help the boys to advance not to create barriers or hurdles.


When I was Troop Eagle advisor for several years I used 100 hours as a guideline for the boys but emphasized that the scope of the project was the important issue. A well devised and worthy project may require only 40 or 50 man hours but most seem to require in the range of 80-100 to complete the project. Sometimes the boys, as we all do, need some measure to help them judge the expected scope of the project. The EBOR should never use the number of hours as a measure without looking at the entire project.


Finally, most seem to think that the project needs to be kept. Is that only because we are doing such a poor job of making the boys to actually pass the requirements for the various ranks and MBs. Do we think that we can let the boy slide because the Eagle project will make up for it before Eagle? Some one said that if there is no Eagle project then the only thing between First Class and Eagle are MBs. If the MB requirements are enforced, why is that not enough? I am not against the project but I do believe that it is much too involved and too much of a barrier. It has become the most significant hurdle to Eagle. I believe that there should be far less emphasis on the Eagle project and more emphasis on Lifesaving, First Aid, Personal Fitness, Citizenship, Camping, etc. That is why I believe that the Eagle Service project as now structured should be scraped or much curtailed.


Let us make scouting FUN again!!

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Which rules would that be??? None of the elements you mention are rules of the BSA. The 100 hours you used is bogus and improper, and a violation of BSA advancement regulations.


Why did you do that? You misused them. Where did the BSA teach you that such a rule existed?

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That's my point. If the project does not have 'enough' man hours, then the project could be turned down by the EBOR as not be 'substantial' enough. None of the projects during my tenure actually had 100 man hours but all passed. Yet this is a problem - what is substantial enough to suit the EBOR? It can change depending upon the members of the EBOR. When a boy asks how many hours that the project should have one needs to give some guidance. I NEVER gave false guidance, said that the project ever had to have any particular number of hours, etc. All of my boys passed.


I wish that rather be critical of my possible failings, that you would consider my other points that I have made in the interst of productive discussion.

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A perfect example!


Where are you getting the term "substantial enough"???


Nowhere does the BSA ask that the project be "substantial". The measuring stick your were SUPPOSED to use was "was the amount of time sufficient for the scout to demonstrate leadership skills". It is not about the size or complexity of the project but about the skills used by the the scout it leading it to completion.


Even your "substantial enough" rating is incorrect by BSA standards and regulations.


Yes, the problem is volunteers imposing personal standards that do not exist in the BSA.


The answer is not to throw out rules but to follow the BSA rules ONLY and stop imposing personal ones. Show us one BSA rule that has been adhered to too strictly that has denied a scout advancement even though the scout copmpleted the requirements.


Everything that has been mentioned so far are not requirements or standards of the BSA, but are the creations of people at the unit and district level who are supposed to know better and to follow the rules of the BSA but do not.

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So what does "was the amount of time sufficient for the scout to demonstrate leadership skills" mean? How do you determine if the requirement is met? How do you help a young man to plan a project fulfilling that goal? Human nature is to deicde upon some sort of guideline that represents that abstract goal. This results in a hodge podge of different ideas as to the meaning. Some would accept 50 man hours (the hours must be of some importance or national would not require it to be reported) while others would say that 50 is never enough. We all are more comfortable with a more definite yardstick. As long as the yardstick is so nebulous, people will invent interpretations of the meaning of the requirement. That is human nature and you will not be successful in overcoming it. I am not apologetic for advising my Eagle candidates in such a way to help them to understand the requirement and to be aware of what local scouters may deem to be important.


This exchange again points out why the Eagle project needs to be scraped or modified.


Once again, I believe that we are allowing the Eagle project to make up for passing boys who barely (at best) pass other requirements. Moer emphasis should be placed on meeting those standards which are often much more definite (swim so many yards using a particular stroke). The Eagle project has grown to such a large task that most boys see it as the major barrier to Eagle. The required MBs have taken a back seat! This is not where the emphasis should lie. If the boy has demonstrated troop leadership in his positions, then leadership has been already shown. Are we afraid that the units are not allowing enough leadership or that the boy is passed without doing a good job? The Eagle project shoudl not be the size barrirer that it has become, it should be scaled back. If the hours are not to be used as a yardstick, do not allow them to be reported!


The Eagle project takes the FUN out of scouting. Polace more responsibility with the troops to allow the boy to provide leadership. Make the passing of the MBs more important since they have a wider array of important skills.

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Scrap the ELSP?  No

Fix it: Yes.  Fix the adults which are out of control.

ELSP being no fun? Not in our area! The boys realy have fun doing the projects. Maybe not the paperwork.

When we review the projects we make sure there is ample ways to show leadership. No hours involved. We make sure that the project is not too big. Some scouts go a bit overboard on what they want to do. Sometimes it needs to be pared down to a manageable project. We encourage them to do what they can but if it does become too much to concide that a change to be recorded in the paperwork. 

I see the ELSP as a way for the boy to grow and learn that he can plan and lead projects, in scouting and out. It also teaches the fun/great feelings of just giving back to the community.

I would not wish to plod through about 100 pages as most are probable a bunch of junk just to pad the document. A Master's Thesis is not even that long. Just get the point across, as stated by many others - the 5 w's. We also look for potential traps or hazards. We suggest possibilitys for help. Very few do not pass, mostly due to evaluating and correcting things before the boy comes to the review board. I always look at these boards as a fun duty and look for ways to help the boy get on with the project so it can go as smoothly as possible.

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"So what does "was the amount of time sufficient for the scout to demonstrate leadership skills" mean? How do you determine if the requirement is met? How do you help a young man to plan a project fulfilling that goal?"


Well Vol_ that depends. If your goal is to follow the BSA advancement policies and procedures then YOU don't decide. You leave that to the board of review to decide.


Prior to the start of the project your job is to determine if the project requires the scout to give leadership to others and if it has met the pre-project requirements as listed in the Project Workbook, and nothing more.


As scout can use leadership skills in 10 hours just as easily as in 100. The BSA puts no project size or time limit on a project and neither should the council/district advancement committee members.


I am not asking for or expecting an apology from you, as I was never an Eagle candidate that you may have turned down for reasons other than the requirements of the BSA.


I am merely pointing out that the problem is not in the rules of the BSa but in the people who do not know or do not follow the rules of the BSA and instead make up their own rules.

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Bob White,


I have NEVER turned down a boy - the statement is out of line. No boy that ever came to me as an Eagle advisor ever failed to complete a project that was accepted. I emphasized the leadership requirements rather than other hours etc. I have been on EBOR that considered turning someone down for 'not enough hours' and I successfully blocked that effort. You should not make accussations about people with no information.


If you think that you will change human nature by some sort of guidelines, you are mistaken. The Eagle service project should be revamped at the very least.

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Eliminate the eagle project> NO WAY!!! As I see it this is one of the most important requirement of the eagle rank. Many scouts in troops never really get the chance to actually lead and if they do it is for the troop, this one is for them and their non-profit organization the project will help. What a grewat way to show servant leadership. I am trying to get these young boys ready to face the working world. Being able to lead a group of fellow workers is a big jump that young man will have above somebody who just sits and barks out orders. The main problem is with the adults not the boys. To take away the project would totally dilute the meaning of being an Eagle scout.

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I never said that you turned down a scout, I said that the standards that YOU SAID you used, were not within the regulations of the BSA and that is the problem. The fact that you never turned down a scout based on those self-created standards is a relief.


You said that the problem is overly strict adherence to BSA rules and regulations. I posted that the problem is adults who either do not know or do not follow the BSA requirements, rules, and procedures. Those are very different positions.


At this point in time neither you or any other poster has shown as an example that supports your opinion. Can you give any example to support what you believe is the problem?


A number of posters have (and could continue) to show examples of canditates who were turned down for reasons that have nothing to do with the BSA requirements, policies, or procedures.


I know of one scout whose project was refused by the district and council advancement committee because....1) his parents were supplying the lunch one day and he was told that that was against the BSA rules. 2) There was a power tool involved and he was told that BSA policies did not allow scouts to use power tools. 3) the projects was being done outside of the district boundaries where his unit was registered and that was not allowed.


NONE of those rules actually exist in the BSA or EVER HAVE! These were not people who were being overly strict in adherance to the rules. These were people who rather than know and follow the advancerment rules just made them up as they went along.


Can you share an example of how adhereing to the rules denied a scout advancement when he had met all the requirements of the BSA?


I do not believe it is possible.



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calm down folks...its getting too heated for such a lofty question.


Eagle projects can be great fun...they can also be great pains in the butts! Personally, I like them and used to supply the bulk of the tools and heavy equiptment needed by our scouts. So lets look at the problems...


"Group one", here seems to want dump the requirement all together. ( a person could say "why not, we have watered down the eagle program so much that it is just too hard for the boys)


"Group two", seems to think its all the twits (adults always are the problem) doing their "adult run" scouting thing that are the major flys in the soup.


"Group three" seems to think the system needs a little more clarity and national guidance and some minor tweeking...


"Group four" might be catagorized as feeling the boys can do it themselves keep the adults out....


I have to admit our troop and district are heavy into planning and leadership demonstrations. Our troop has an ASM who is our "life to eagle coordinator". He is an Eagle as are his two sons, his brother and his brother's son. Our District Eagle advancement team are also mostly Eagles.


Our District has several Life to Eagle training sessions for boys at roundtables each year. The boys are given a CD with the Eagle project workbook, Eagle application, examples and suggestions for tackling the project.


When a boy decides he truely wants to become and Eagle he has several meetings with the SM and the Troop Eagle Coordinator to map out a strategy and a time line for the steps and final requirements he has to meet inorder to finish his path towards Eagle.


Generally speaking, the SM and Eagle coordinator attempt to direct the scout towards doing something for which he has a true passion...


Example- recently one of our scouts did a project for his high school band program. It was in the school band he found his most pleasure as a teenager...his enthusiasm for his project was infectous.


He explored his possibilities with the band director and the band boosters and worked up a plan of action. With the assistance of the Eagle coordinator and the band boosters he was able to get the school to agree to the project and he then did a detailed planning write up (including a power point presentation for the school principal) and got approval of the troop committee and the school. The plan was ten pages with tools list, materials list, budget, drawings, pictures and "construction" details. The power point presentation was eight pages. The troop committee through the CC offered the scout some suggestions and after these items were incorporated he set his meeting with the district eagle project coordinator. The detailed plan made his meeting with the district rep very easy and a pleasure for the scout and the district Eagle coordinator...all the hard work was done. The actual work took two days and was very successful. The boy figured his planing time over about three months was 60-80 hours. Project work took care of another 100 or so people hours.


That said, I recall another project that was proposed for a local church. After agreeing to the project the church committee decided they wanted the plans (in this case for a small outdoor stage/teaching center) drafted by a licensed engineer and they wanted hand rails and electric lights and plugs at the stage(requireing trenching from the church to the site in the woods).


The scout agreed to this change and decided to "run" with these things without troop level input and because he was in a hurry he allowed the trencher to be operated by a minor (a friend), accidentally cut the underground electric line to the chruch septic pumping sysytem and in general screwed up the troops relationship with the church...and cost the troop money for an electrician to make repairs and a landscaper to restore the grass...So is it hard to understand troops and districts wanting to dot the "i's" and cross the "T's"?


Then, of course, there was the Eagle project of building three prefab picnic tables...just bolting the things together ( the family bought them) and setting them around the site...planning fifteen minutes -maybe, leadership...directing six scouts with wrenches for a couple of hours...sort of anemic don't you think?


Personally, I think the Eagle project should cause the scout a little bit of "stretching", It should not be something undertaken lightly and should be a demonstration of an ability for planning, commitment and leadership.


And finally, I would submit that if a 14 y.o. scout can not "rise to the occaision" and produce a suitable effort for an eagle project, perhaps he needs to wait a bit to grow and mature. Otherwise heck, lets just get the scouts registration money, say, for six years, give them a bag full of rank patches and go back to our hobbies...


would save time and lots of effort...and pain


and old friend of mine sings a little ditty, wish I could remember the words...but it is basically ...


"BSA is becoming GSA, hooray, hooray!

watered down ranks and petite point, oh the dolly days!"


he has a couple of verses but you get the point....





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Anarchist, I am not sure what poosts you are reading in the thread but I find very little of your summarize to be in ANY post other than your own.


Group 1 from what I have read includes perhaps 1 poster who simply put forth a question.


Group two does not seem to exist, as no one has called anyone names except you. And no one has said tat all adults do this.


Group three seems to have two members noeither of which have provided a single example of how the current BSA Eagle Project rule, requirement, or procedures are unclear or cause barriers to the scouts advancement other than stating the required elements that must be completed.


and Group 4, help me out because I can find no post that suggests that no adult be involved.


You seem to have manufactured your summarry without accurate regard to any of the posts in the thread.


Lastly, what you think personally is is conflict with the stated policies of the BSA and I know of no time in the BSA when they were not in conflict.


As for your friends observations they seem to have as little substance to support them as your four groupings.


The Eagle project is the culminating application phase for the leadership skills learned and practiced by the scout to this point. Do not expect the BSA to drop it in our lifetime.

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