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ELSP: How do your Districts do it?

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In my District, Eagle Leadership Service Projects are an adjunct activity to District Roundtable. Normal session is first Thursday, monthly. If there's a need, the DAC will meet with a Scout (and his SM) just about anyplace ... usually, we're talking some critical reason though.


The room is designed for up to 8 concurrent conversations: 1 boy, 1 Advancement Committee member. Many of the AC guys are Scoutmasters in their own right, helping others. Many, not all, have their Eagle themselves.


I've seen months where every Scout gets Advancement Committee clearance, I've seen months where 1/3 of the young men are deferred. Deferred means the Scout has one or more specific issues to work. When a Scout is deferred, he's given home and work numbers for the Advancement guy who he met with. A deferred Scout does the work he needs to do. They get together, during the month, under 2-deep (SM or parent needs to be close to hand), the open matters are settled, and the Scout is given clearance.


How do other District Advancement Committees do the task?



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Our District isn't that big.

As a rule the Lad calls the District Advancement Chair. They set up a meeting and go over the project.

If it is OK? The paperwork is done and the Lad goes away happy.

Most often the Advancement guy will offer a few little tweaks and suggestions and the Lad goes away happy.

I can only remember one time when the Lad was told that the project wasn't up to snuff. The Advancement Guy (Me!!) Called the Lads SM on the phone and asked if he could come over and we all went over what was wrong.

We tend to use R/T to go over program ideas not to do the business of the different District Committees.


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Our District generally has 4 to 6 Eagle BORs per month, and a similar number of project approvals. We do the the same day each month, over 2 hours on the 2nd Wednesday. Each Eagle candidate who comes is to bring 2 adults from the Troop with them (SMs or Committee members). The Committee members sit on other Eagle BORs, and the SMs introduce the Eagle candidates and do the Eagle project reviews. In addition, there is a hard core group of about 6 to 8 district scouters who show up every month to help out.


It generally works out pretty well, as it takes the load off the DAC, who supervises the whole event. The only real problem comes from some of the project reviews. Occasionally, we get a project that is incomplete, and the scout is sent home with revisions to incorporate. When they return next month, rarely do they get the same group reviewing their project. This can lead(and has occasionally done so)to situations where the new reviewers have additional comments or don't like the revisions made. Our DAC usually has to step in at that point to make sure the scout does not get beat up with an unfair project review.

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Our district is both more and less formal than some of those described above, and we also run 4-6 ELSPs a month. Our scouts meet with members of the District Advancement during the hour before the District Committee meets. Each scout meets with 3 or 4 DC members, spending about 15-20 minutes reviewing the proposal and the nature of the project. Of course, ensuring that the paperwork is in order is important, but the expectation has been established, so it is uncommon for any project to be deferred for that reason. The primary purpose is to that the project is appropriate as an ELSP. Does it benefit the community (not an individual or inappropriate group), does it provide sufficient opportunity for the scout to show leadership, has the scout truly determined the needs of the project, etc.


Remember, this is a part of advancement, and must be done by the scout. It is the scout's responsibility to organize, prepare for and complete the project. There is no requirement in the Scout Handbook, SM Handbook, Advancement Guidebook, or anywhere else, that the ELSP is to be legislated to success by a governing or approving body. If the scout fails his project, it is his own doing.


Our approach is different than what was done even 3 years ago. Considerable effort and coordination went into determining this process, with a significant amount of communication between the council and national. The reason behind this is that each district in our council was doing this differently. These changes came about collectively with all our District Advancement subcommittees working together to determine and execute a common, acceptable process. This has created a "council" standard, which is followed by all districts.


Two things of note: first the DAC does not sit on any of these reviews, as it is his job to be the outside source, if there is any question or "appeal"; second, if a scout is extremely close to his 18th birthday, a special board may be called to review a project before the monthly DC meeting. This is done only when deemed necessary.


Though I have not been directly involved in this process, I have watched as it developed, and it appears to me that it is working very well for us.

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Yah, I've seen all kinds of variants, eh?


Our district sends members of the district advancement committee out to meet with boys. General practice in a lot of troops is to do the troop committee review at the same time, with the district rep. present as a sort of pre-project BOR. Committees and district reps keep each other in line ;). Same group often meets after the project for EBOR; keeps down the need for others to get up to speed and avoids surprises. Not required, though. Seen plenty of district reps. meet with boy and SM/advisor individually after committee approval. We do like it to be a personal meeting, though, not just an approval-by-mail.


Let's see, for SM approval I've seen:


* SM does it.

* Designated ASM or "eagle coach" does it.


For Committee approval I've seen:


* Whole Committee reviews & approves.

* Subcommittee reviews & approves.

* BOR-style committee approves.

* CC and/or AC approve.


For district approval I've seen:


* Whole district advancement committee reviews & approves (slow).

* Subcommittee reviews & approves, BOR style.

* DAC approves everything personally.

* Individual district advancement committee reps. review and approve.


Some districts handle it with personal meetings, some just by lookin' over the paperwork.




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As you brought up how the troops handle this, I should add a footnote to our unit proceedure.


We have a "Life to Eagle Coach" who reviews with every Life scout the process and who is a "mentor" throughout the process. He is registered as an ASM, so he has no place to sign on the application; his role is strictly as an advisor. The SM signs, as does the Committee Chair.


Personally, I do not necessarily appreciate the value of the L2EC, beyond someone who is up to date on what the process is. If this scout is a true Eagle candidate, I don't see how having a designated "hand holder" to get him through this process demonstrates leadership. Sorry for the 15 second rant. My ADOS must be flaring up again.

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In the previous district we were in: Boy writes up plan/project, takes it to the committee, they review it and ask questions, it gets signed off by the committee chair and the SM IF they think it is doable and meets BSA requirements. Boy meets with DAC, DAC either signs it or tells what needs to be changed. For all the concern about our current EA, this troop NEVER had an EA at all and still had a 100% first time pass rate with the DAC!


I do not know if it is a district policy or a troop policy but it is the EA that takes the project to the DAC. I don't like this because if it is not approved and changes need to be make the boy gets the info second hand from the EA. It also gives the EA too much power as he can refuse to present the project for any reason: he doesn't like boy, doesn't like project, doesn't like boy's dad.


I think the last may be an issue. SM dad has shook up the troop a bit, trying to get the boys moving and streamlining troop policies, not BSA policies. I just found out that the EA is the founder of the troop and not happy with SM changing his policies. Caused a great deal of fuss when he would not count staying in a condo during a ski trip to Aspen as camping days for camping merit badge.

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Our district has a committee of 5 Scouters that handle ELPS. The Scoutmaster, after giving his approval on the proposed project, gives the Scout a name and phone number of one of the committee members. The Scout then contacts that person and sets up a meeting. The District person, after discussing the project with the Scout then initials the signature line. They'll only sign it after the project has been completed to their satisfaction.


Whoever is the District advisor for the project is not allowed to sit on the Scout's EBOR. Three other District people handle the EBOR and can drill the Scout about his project. If there were personality conflicts between the advisor and the Scout, no one can come back on the advisor after the EBOR.


EBOR's are held quarterly, on a Sunday afternoon. Each Scout is notified of a time to be at the church were the EBOR is held. If there is a conflict, The EBOR has been convened at other times.

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