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Hosting Blood Drive not a good Eagle Project???

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Interesting that roadside cleanup isn't seen by some as acceptable, yet trail restoration is commonly used in some districts.


Trail restoration can entail regrading, clearing brush, building benches, placing mile markers, widening/narrowing, etc. where roadside clean-up is nothing more than picking up trash.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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Creation of trails (clearing, marking etc.) is definitely considered an acceptable project in my district. A few boys in my son's troop have done that. I suppose that there is probably an unwritten (and perhaps unspoken) "guideline" for how long the trail has to be. In other words, 50 feet isn't going to do it. I'm not sure what would.


I have seen a guideline against "routine labor" as an Eagle project, and I think a trash cleanup would probably fail on that basis. Although, as someone said earlier, if you add other elements to it, that might make it acceptable.

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An Eagle candidate submits a project proposal to pick up trash. One could toss him out - beat it kid, you need a real project, or take 10 minutes to read the proposal. Heres a project proposal:


The candidate proposes to remove trash and debris along both sides of a 1/2 mile section of a 2-lane county road. He contacted the county road department and found out the road right of way is 80 wide. The pavement is 30 wide. The private property line is 25 from the edge of the pavement. The clean-up area will be this 25 unpaved shoulder. He will secure written permission from the road department for the project.


The clean up will be done in teams of 2, with each team assigned a section of road. Each team will carry 2 bags; one for recyclable plastic, aluminum, and glass, the other bag for un-recyclable trash. They will also carry a supply of stakes and flagging tape to mark spots with trash too big to fit in a bag, or a spot with a problem.


The work teams will be issued gloves, an orange vest, and a bottle of water. Warning signs/flags will be posted at both end of the project advising drivers Road crew ahead or such. There will be a short training for the teams to tell them about what to pick up, what to leave, what to stake, and how to keep safe.


He will secure a volunteer with pickup truck to pick up the bags of recyclables and trash as they are filled.


Another team with a truck will be assigned to collect large items staked by the teams. He has a plan to deal with surprises which might include a dead animal carcass, a 36 Plymouth half buried in the ditch, a 55 gallon drum with a skull & crossbones label and something sloshing around inside. The plan might include phone numbers for animal control, hazmat, or someone with a winch or small tractor. His plan is to clean up and remove ALL trash.


He has a plan to communicate with the teams as they work their section of road, perhaps with 2-way radios.


He has an estimate of the amount of trash that will be collected. The bags of recyclables will be opened and the contents sorted, either on-site or at another location. He has arranged with a recycler to accept them. He has a plan for the recycling cash proceeds. He has arranged for the trash to be delivered to the dump and knows what the dump fee will be, if any.


The candidate will arrange to procure all the supplies needed: bags, gloves, vests, food, water, stakes,etc. He will conduct a hot dog BBQ in advance to raise funds for their purchase if he cannot arrange for them to be donated.


He has a contingency plan in case someone gets injured or snake bit. He has a first aid kit, and if there is an EMT amongst his volunteers, he knows that in advance.


He has a plan to feed his volunteers, and to thank them for their participation.


It could be that pick up trash is not an Eagle project, and a blood drive or trail work may not be Eagle projects either. But one doesnt know until one reads the written proposal.

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Leadership is not the only requirement that must be met. The BSA has set boundaries on the the project itself (and these are not NEW). One of those boundaries is that the project should not be routine labor.


The Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures manual page 27

"Routine labor, a job or service normally rendered, should not be considered."


Picking up litter, regardless of the administrative elements you add to the background, is still routine labor.


(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Routine labor? Clearing a trail is routine labor. Building bus shelers is routine labor. Building a playground is routine labor.


How do you define routine? Needed to be repeated on a regular basis? Playgrounds need to be rebuilt constantly.


How often do you see county employees out cleaning the roads? Not too often so it really isn't routine.


Is building house for a poor person routine labor? Sure it is, if you've built a house, it is all routine.

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"Is building house for a poor person routine labor? Sure it is, if you've built a house, it is all routine."


Actually, in my Council and the Council next to ours, Habitat for Humanity projects get turned down as Eagle projects.

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Is building a house routine labor? Yeah. But then again most Eagle projects are routine labor. I think the difference is cleaning up a highway is more like maintenance than labor. Maybe it should be worded differently.

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Traditions and preconceived notions are difficult to overcome. I have seen Eagle Projects approved in other Councils that would never get by in our Council because projects of this type have always been rejected. This is regardless of how the project was written. In fact, I know of cases where projects were not even read because someone told the Advancement Committee that its just a food drive. Perhaps the project still would have been turned down, but it made it all the way to the District Advancement Committee, so it should be given serious consideration. Likewise, I have heard similar stories from people in other Councils. My point is that we all have our biases, and it is very difficult to get past those with some people.


By the way, I do agree that it would typically be difficult to show adequate leadership by running/hostin a Blood Drive. But, if it makes it to the District/Council Advancement Committee, it deserves their serious scrutiny.


ASM59(This message has been edited by ASM59)

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The routine labor argument seems to me to be a straw man argument in some way. It's not about what labor gets done, it's whether or not the Eagle candidate exercised leadership in arranging for the labor to be performed and in supervising such labor in a leadership role.


Our council would tend to disapprove Food Drives, etc. also. But opening a Trail, rebuilding a bad section of a Trail would probably make the grade if the work was deemed necessary by the Landowner/Gov't agency but routine Trail maintenance still wouldn't.

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I've seen trail building, cemetery restoration, memory gardens, city gate restoration, building a bird sanctuary, bridges over streams on trails, trail restoration, petting zoos, etc. The element that all of them had was construction by a team of scouts and adults...hand tools, power tools, wood, steel, etc. All of the approved projects that I've seen put the scout in the position of job designer/manager/foreman. Every one was a project that was a unique, one-time effort with a start, a finish, and a product at the end. And no need or expectation that the project would need to be repeated, at least not by us.


NJ, our answer to your trail question was that the length needs to have a logical starting point and a real destination and no particular minimum length. The path between the two points must be designed with both use and impact in mind. We've only done two new trails, both on church properties (church camps in the mountains) and each about 1/4 mile long. Each took about two months of weekends and a crew of about 12 each weekend. They consisted of a survey for the physical location, a survey for impact to nature, and then the construction. Each also involved a well-marked entry structure. Our tendency is NOT to blow our own horn but rather to sign it according to the wishes of the receiving organization. Hope this helps.

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