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Cubmaster Pete

Boys "Eagle Out" of troop

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His project signed completed by beneficiary, my younger son has since spent over 12 hours over two weeks filling out that $@%#^$% redundant workbook and he still has more work to do, We estimate when completed with attachments it will be longer than my older son's patent application + college thesis + our state and federal tax returns.

 

His answer to What was most challenging...?

 

Filling out the Project Workbook.   

 

:(

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The workbook was simplified? You mean how BSA "simplifies" or "improves" stuff normally?

 

There's about 5 pages of needless dung I'd delete from that workbook and no one would miss it...except for two-hour long, ego stroking TC Chairs.

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Yeah. Eagle is much harder to earn today. I show scouts my three page (typed, triple spaced) project report and hand drawing of a table. And they are jealous.

Ban the workbook .pdf, give the boys a rubrik. Have them bang out a free form report in plain text, and you'll go a long way in making service project planning great again.

 

Yes I remember the days of less paperwork. And I miss them.  But I admit to mix emotions on the topic, at least how it's done in my neck of the woods at the district level. I like how it's done and am comfortable with the expectations.

 

In my part of the woods, there are two meeting, one optional.  Every year the District Advancement Chairman (DAC) has a meeting for all SMs, Eagle advisers and Life Scouts. The purpose of the meeting is to talk over the entire Life to Eagle process, expectations, etc. It's not mandatory, and the recommendation is that at least 1 representative form each unit goes in order to bring back info. This year it was done at Roundtable. Yes he has a high expectation. He wants the proposal as detailed as possible so that A) potential problems can be avoided (one eagle project was so screwed up that the organization no longer allows Eagle projects, and this is after being beneficiary for over 11 year) and B) if something was to happen to the Life Scout, someone could pick up where he left off to complete the project (apparently this happened once when the DAC was a Scout).

 

District approval meeting takes no more that 60 minutes, at least that is what is alloted. The Life Scout discusses his project in addition to handing over the preliminary work for the committee to review. Questions are asked, advice and recommendations given, and a sample book is shown to show the expectations. If needed, the DAC rehashes the group meeting. If not, the meeting is over and done with. I sat in on 2 project approvals. 1 was less that 10 minutes as that Scout's SM attended the meeting and prepared the Scout. The 2nd approval took a little longer since the Scout did not have anyone working with him. He was in and out in 25-30 minutes.

 

Part of the expectation is why. The rationale for details is again to prevent problems from occurring with prior planning. Also so that if something happens, someone can pick up and complete the project.  Another reason is for the Life to get a taste of the real world. The Eagle project is a good learning experience for doing projects as adults. Final reason is to create a project book that the Scouts can look at and be proud of in the years to come. I'll be honest, While I was extremely proud of my project, compared to some of the projects these Scouts are undertaking today, I am a bit embarrassed. Heck even from 15-20 years ago, the projects are much better. One of the things the Advancement Committee use to do was published the Eagle projects in a year book. Some of these projects are a book unto themselves.

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The Eagle Project should be about demonstrating leadership delivering a service not perseverance processing our own paperwork.  I grant the real world is more the latter which they soon abundantly see with college applications.

 

The new 5P's:  Perseverance Processing Paperwork Pleases Proceduralists    

 

My $0.01,

Edited by RememberSchiff

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Part of the expectation is why. The rationale for details is again to prevent problems from occurring with prior planning. Also so that if something happens, someone can pick up and complete the project.  Another reason is for the Life to get a taste of the real world. The Eagle project is a good learning experience for doing projects as adults. Final reason is to create a project book that the Scouts can look at and be proud of in the years to come. I'll be honest, While I was extremely proud of my project, compared to some of the projects these Scouts are undertaking today, I am a bit embarrassed. Heck even from 15-20 years ago, the projects are much better. One of the things the Advancement Committee use to do was published the Eagle projects in a year book. Some of these projects are a book unto themselves.

 

1, The two primary reasons I hear is so that "someone can pick up and complete the project" and to "get a taste of the real world". First, is it really that hard to "pick up and complete the project" is somebody puts their mind to it? There may be a project here or there, but I have yet to see one. Second, "the real world"? Perhaps some parts of it, but not all of it. In my profession you would bankrupt yourself proceeding along these lines.

 

2. A "good learning experience for doing projects as adults".  Again, I haven't seen anything in the real world approaching the kind of crap going on in the Eagle project and application process. Perhaps some people do, but I haven't either when I was an engineer nor now as a lawyer.

 

3. How many Eagles do you know who can even find their Eagle project book. I know I couldn't if my life depended on it. Perhaps a poll would be interesting. Can we do polls on this forum?

 

4. Even if all that is true, those are all justifications from the adults' and the organization's perspective. No matter how justified, what if we are burning the scouts on scouting? Is it worth the price? 

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I would be surprised if the "process" of the Eagle project contributed much if anything in causing a scout to "eagle out." It would REALLY have to leave a bad taste in their mouth. Once they have been awarded their Eagle, the paperwork is almost nil, unless they are chasing NOAM or Hornaday.

 

A CC spending 2 hours?!? No. A few minutes at most.  An Eagle Advisor or SM, I can see that depending on how well the scout has put together their book.

 

Three decades later, I have no idea where anything related to my project is. But I have been through several moves and lost a house to a hurricane. So there are many things I no longer have from my youth.

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For example, to get the Committee Chairman's signature on the Eagle application will take a meeting of at least a couple hours. 

 

I was wrong...it took 2.5 hours. Fortunately, I am the last signature so that will be rather quick. 

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Why did it need to be simplified?

 

I suspect you know the answer.  But to state it, there was huge differences district to district and council to council on what was expected.  Perhaps a simple drawing was enough in your area.  In our area, scouts were bounced around for months to get approval as their project documentation grew and grew.  I've seen scouts take six months of reviews and the project binder routinely be inches thick.   

 

I view the current PDF process as pretty innocuous and quick and easy to do.  If you protest filling the proposal section out, you'll probably protest anything.  The "proposal" section could be filled out by myself in five to ten minutes.  I'd expect a scout to take one to two hours.  The good part of the current workbook PDF is consistency.  

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1, The two primary reasons I hear is so that "someone can pick up and complete the project" and to "get a taste of the real world". First, is it really that hard to "pick up and complete the project" is somebody puts their mind to it? There may be a project here or there, but I have yet to see one. Second, "the real world"? Perhaps some parts of it, but not all of it. In my profession you would bankrupt yourself proceeding along these lines.

 

2. A "good learning experience for doing projects as adults".  Again, I haven't seen anything in the real world approaching the kind of crap going on in the Eagle project and application process. Perhaps some people do, but I haven't either when I was an engineer nor now as a lawyer.

 

3. How many Eagles do you know who can even find their Eagle project book. I know I couldn't if my life depended on it. Perhaps a poll would be interesting. Can we do polls on this forum?

 

4. Even if all that is true, those are all justifications from the adults' and the organization's perspective. No matter how justified, what if we are burning the scouts on scouting? Is it worth the price? 

 

Your answers are correct, but I'd emphasize we need to follow a consistent direction.  If everyone adds their own twist, then expectations keep growing and it's hard for the scout to fulfill a moving threshold of expectations that are not clearly communicated in his scout handbook or in the published Eagle workbook.   

 

For #2 ... I'm against trying to make an Eagle project mimic what adults or professionals have to do, but I've seen many times documentation that is much more rigorous in the professional world than in Eagle projects.  Eagle projects using the current BSA eagle workbook are a shell of the planning most places I work for require.  

Edited by fred johnson

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The workbook PDF was a major step to simplify the process. Maybe the current process is too much, but it's way way more simple than it was six years ago. If the workbook is a problem now, it's because of adults that want to add their contribution to making sure scouts earn Eagle ... and thus making the process more than it was supposed to be.

I'm not sure the process has really been "simplified". What they did is to take the "pre-project" part of the workbook (whatever it was actually called previously) and divide it into two sections, the "proposal" and the "plan", and made only the "proposal" part required as part of the signoffs to begin work on the project. The "plan", to be filled out after approval of the "plan" is obtained, is supposedly "optional" and does not require approval, but in my district (and I suspect elsewhere) the Scouts are "strongly encouraged" to complete the plan before starting work. I do not have an old workbook handy, but my impression is that the "plan" section requires MORE detail than was required in the old workbook.

 

Not to mention that the Scout now has to get through several pages of legalese, including excerpts from the Guide to Advancement, before he even gets to the proposal section.

 

So overall the process does not seem "simpler" to me.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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I'm not sure the process has really been "simplified". What they did is to take the "pre-project" part of the workbook (whatever it was actually called previously) and divide it into two sections, the "proposal" and the "plan", and made only the "proposal" part required as part of the signoffs to begin work on the project. The "plan", to be filled out after approval of the "plan" is obtained, is supposedly "optional" and does not require approval, but in my district (and I suspect elsewhere) the Scouts are "strongly encouraged" to complete the plan before starting work. I do not have an old workbook handy, but my impression is that the "plan" section requires MORE detail than was required in the old workbook.

 

Not to mention that the Scout now has to get through several pages of legalese, including excerpts from the Guide to Advancement, before he even gets to the proposal section.

 

So overall the process does not seem "simpler" to me.

 

Maybe your district was an ideal district.  Our district was a pain before the GTA and eagle workbook were re-done in 2011.   In our district, it was one chance to review with district committee per month on a shared date.  Scouts had to pre-submit the workbook.  Reviewed as a committee without the scout.  Then review findings were shared on that shared review date.  Get workbook back and make changes.  Then, resubmit.  It was not uncommon for scouts to go through 3+ months of reviews before being approved to do a project.  I remember some taking 5+ months.  

 

I still know districts that even now add a drastic amount to the Eagle process.  

 

I think the current workbook is trying to strike a hard balance.  

  1. Scouts only use the workbook once.  So some orientation is appropriate.  Some ins and outs are expected.  But the "legalese" reads mostly as protection to inform the scout and his family as what can be expected and allowed by those working with the scout.  
  2. The workbook PDF targets multiple audiences.  Scouts.  Parents.  Unit leaders.  District and council advancement volunteers.  Getting all these audiences equally informed is hard.  When I read the legalese written for the scout, it's mostly about what others can't ask of him.  Limitations on others.  Quoting the official sources too.  

The current workbook is only bad when considered in isolation.  When compared to all the other standardized process docs I've seen, it's a home run.  Best of breed.  Authors should be proud.  ... Please note I was not even faintly involved.  I'm low low down on the totem in our council.  

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Maybe your district was an ideal district.  Our district was a pain before the GTA and eagle workbook were re-done in 2011.   In our district, it was one chance to review with district committee per month on a shared date.  Scouts had to pre-submit the workbook.  Reviewed as a committee without the scout.  Then review findings were shared on that shared review date.  Get workbook back and make changes.  Then, resubmit.  It was not uncommon for scouts to go through 3+ months of reviews before being approved to do a project.  I remember some taking 5+ months.  

 

I still know districts that even now add a drastic amount to the Eagle process.

Well, I doubt that "ideal" is a term that could ever be applied to my district :) but our district's process (both before and after 2011) was more reasonable than what you are describing from your district.  There are two project review meetings per month (held at the same time and place as EBOR's and post-project reviews.)  I do not recall whether the workbook had to be pre-submitted, but it was reviewed by one person, with the Scout, not by the entire committee.  It was not (and is not) unusual for the Scout to have to make one round of changes, but more than that is unusual - meaning that in most cases the Scout should be able to get approval within two weeks after the initial review meeting.  (Which is a good thing because in many cases in our troop, district approval is being obtained three months or less (in my son's case, much less) before the Scout's 18th birthday.  And when time is getting short, most of the reviewers will do follow-ups by email and/or phone.)

 

Usually the only thing that might add to the two-week time frame would be if the district requires a significant change to the scope of the project, in which case the project beneficiary's approval is required for the revised proposal.

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As we speak right now, how many Eagle ranked scouts are active in your council?  In all my years of association with this council, I know of only 2 maybe 3 boys that stayed active in the troop that Eagled prior to their 17th birthday.  Most of the scouts attained Life, abandoned the troop for a year or two and then came back made a major push and got their paper eagle at the last minute before turning 18.  That process I have seen repeated over and over again in many troops.  Otherwise the the younger boys simply "eagle out" and the ECOH is their AOL equivalent graduation from the program.  The term is used a lot in our neck of the woods.

 

The leave at 15 and return at 17 to finish Eagle requirements happened to my son.  I was an ASM, and committed to the program.  But my son just did not want to go to meetings any more, and went on few outings.  I asked him "What gives?"  

 

He said that when he looks around at the troop meetings, all he sees are the little kids (11 and 12 year olds) and that doing Merit Badges as a life scout is just not fun.  As a 16 year old life scout, he had "been there, done that", and it did not interest him any more.  

 

I can see that.  The advancement program is geared for a 13 year old.  It is challenging enough for the younger scouts, but becomes drudgery for an older scout, especially with the more bookish Eagle required merit badges (Environmental Science, Citizenship in the Community and in the World)  How in the world can you make these badges fun?

 

He came back and did finish his Eagle required badges and project, and got his Eagle application in the day before his 18th birthday.  It was a pattern well practiced in that troop.  And it was the case over the tenure of several Scoutmasters for a number of years.  Were our Scoutmasters poorly trained?  Badly equipped, un-supervised?  I think we did as well as most of the troops in the council.  

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Well, I doubt that "ideal" is a term that could ever be applied to my district :) but our district's process (both before and after 2011) was more reasonable than what you are describing from your district.  There are two project review meetings per month (held at the same time and place as EBOR's and post-project reviews.)  I do not recall whether the workbook had to be pre-submitted, but it was reviewed by one person, with the Scout, not by the entire committee.  It was not (and is not) unusual for the Scout to have to make one round of changes, but more than that is unusual - meaning that in most cases the Scout should be able to get approval within two weeks after the initial review meeting.  (Which is a good thing because in many cases in our troop, district approval is being obtained three months or less (in my son's case, much less) before the Scout's 18th birthday.  And when time is getting short, most of the reviewers will do follow-ups by email and/or phone.)

 

Usually the only thing that might add to the two-week time frame would be if the district requires a significant change to the scope of the project, in which case the project beneficiary's approval is required for the revised proposal.

 

We've never had a post-project review.  In our district, that's the EBOR purpose.  I never saw that documented in the process before and definitely not in the GTA now.  I've heard of some groups doing this.  I always wondered why.

 

Our turn around is now days.  Scout is there as proposal is read.  Almost always signed at the same meeting.  I like this as it keeps the success or failure on the scout and not waiting on another group.  

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Was having a light discussion with a few of my packs adult leaders, whom also have boys in the troop. One of them said something to the effect of "Yeah, John 'eagled out' of the troop so he is not involved much anymore" 

 

This kid is 15. Most the Eagles in the troop my pack feeds into are around 15, and they "eagle out". Has anyone heard this term used before? My gosh, getting your Eagle and leaving the program, when there is so much more to experience is, well, a tad disturbing to me. This particular dad used the same term when we were giving our report to our CO. Please tell me this is not the norm, that when boys get to this point they want, or are told, that the program is over for them.

 

I got my Eagle just before I turned 18. I was extremely busy with OA Exec Comm, Camp Staff, Troop Stuff, Philmont etc.... I had continued to work on it of course, just was having way too much fun doing other things. I could not imagine getting mine at 15 and being done. 

 

The average age in BSA to get Eagle is around 17 years old.  My oldest was 15 when he Eagled.  He was active in the troop for a while after that.  My youngest was also 15 when he Eagled. He drifted away quickly (but part of that was because nothing he or the older scouts did worked to turn the new scouts into experienced scouts. They were acting like Webelos beginning their second year of Boy Scouts, and normally our Troop managed to assimilate the younger scouts within about 6 months of Boy Scouts.  My youngest didn't enjoy the meetings anymore, and I  don't blame him.)  

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