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Eagle Project - Who must participate

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@gumbymaster

 

There is a very fine line between leadership and management.  The rationale I use is the overall intent of the two dynamics.  Management is the process by which tasks, projects, goals, objectives are accomplished.  The "leadership" involved in that can range from servant leadership to downright bossy tyranny.  Whatever it takes to get the job done!  Yes, people are involved in the accomplishment of tasks, projects, goals and objectives.  Are they an integral part of the team which the group is as a whole trying to fulfill, or are they merely just another "resource" needed to get the job done?  One does not need leadership to delegate people around to the various aspects of the project.  As long as the job gets done, one can move people in and out of that responsibility until it is accomplished successfully. 

 

A Position of Responsibility (POR) is designed to center itself around a management task, and the scout's advancement is dependent upon how well he does the job.  Being responsible for the troop's equipment may nor may not involve other people.  Sure, the scout needs the management skill of working with other people, but he doesn't need to lead them in the process.  Little Johnny turns in a request for a Dutch oven from the troop trailer and Sammy makes sure he gets one.  Sammy doesn't lead Little Johnny anywhere, but simply reacts to the task needing to be done.

 

How about the Bugler.  Need someone to play Taps at 10:00 pm?  There's a job to be done.  Bugler leads no one, but simply does the task at hand at 10:00 pm.

 

While there may or may not be times when fulfilling the POR that a person may be "leading" a group of people, it still may not actually be leadership.  Take the Patrol Leader POR for example.  It sounds like leadership, but is it really?  He manages the duty rosters, assigns tenting arrangements, makes sure his boys are progressing through their advancement, attending meetings to make sure the schedule of events is available to them, coordinates a lot of activities, but how many of them does he really lead as a leader and how many of them are mere delegations of a good manager?

 

So this is the rub I run into with the Eagle project.  The requirement explicitly states the candidate is to show leadership.  What muddies the water is the fact that unless leadership is taught all along with the various management tasks, the only recourse the candidate has is to do a large project (task), with plenty of coordination, delegation, and other management of tasks activity to cover up the fact that he might not be able to generate sufficient interest from the other people helping with the management project.

 

Eagle candidate A needs workers to build a fishing dock for the local nursing home.  How many of his friends and other scouters, and people from school, and family members are all clamoring to help out!!!  And how many times have we heard about a boy getting all his ducks in order only to have no one show up on the work day scheduled?  At that point, true leadership becomes obvious!  In the second scenario, no one is following and will only show up if they are forced.  That candidate may have done an outstanding job of managing the project, but absolutely nothing to show leadership.

Edited by Stosh

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... I also view, terminology aside, the Eagle project to really intend to mean management of a 'large scale' (relative to the Scout's prior experience) project.  ... The Positions of Responsibility are there to let the Scout find their style of leadership (as I understand you to described it)

I'm gonna pick on this statement just a bit.

 

REQUIREMENT 5. While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. ...

This is scouting for boys -- especially this requirement, which was adopted well after BSA mandated the age limit on rank advancement.

 

If the Eagle project was intended to mean "management," the requirement would have said so.

If it was intended to be of a larger scale than any other projects the boy has done as a scout, it would have said so.

If positions of responsibility were intended to train in "leadership" they would all have the word "leader" on them.

 

I say this, because we routinely expect scouts to plan and implement service projects. The oval on their patch is immaterial. Sometimes the projects they do before Eagle are tougher than their Eagle project (albeit with fewer signatures and reporting requirements and perhaps more for the unit or a camp than for an external beneficiary). So the Eagle project is more like the debutante ball for a seasoned scout.

 

PoR's are simply a way to allocate management responsibilities across the members in the troop. There are jobs that need to be done, boys need to do them.

 

There is a synergy between the two concepts. Some leadership skill is gained while managing ... starting with leading yourself to do your appointed task. Then leading others in contributing to your task, etc ... And every time we lead (or plan, or develop) a project, we pick up some management "nugget" (e.g., task allocation, scheduling, training, after action review, etc ...). But mainly, we learn to lead (form a vision, inspire others, incorporate others, etc ...).

 

That's why when I look at where most leadership opportunities are throughout the advancement method, I find them in the service requirements. And, when I look at where most management opportunities are, I find them in the positions of responsibility. The really fun part, is watching it all come together when the boys work at mastering scout skills. But, IMHO, the First-Class skills are really a yard-stick to help a patrol measure its leadership and management potential.

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Being an effective manager is always easier than being an effective leader.  One has full control over management, but when it comes to leadership, other people have full control over the process.  Either they follow, or they don't.  

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I will respect that some on the forum will hold a different view than I do.  I really didn't intend to (re)start an argument, particularly one it seems I may lose (if such things were voted on), I just have a respectful disagreement of the complete separation of management from leadership.

 

Plan and develop can be done all alone by the scout in the comfort of their rooms, so it comes down to "give leadership to others", this would, in my view, necessitate communicating and/or interacting with the others to be led and/or directed (trained if necessary) in the tasks to be accomplished.  A variety of leadership skills are then practiced in the effort to manage the outcome of the planned task(s).

 

If one really wanted to play the semantics game "give leadership to others" could also be interpreted in having others lead various aspects of the project.  Which, incidentally, was something that the troop of my youth encouraged ... "A good eagle project could be divided up into task areas of different scopes providing an opportunity for Life and Star candidates to create sub projects" and all that - not really the way things are done today, which is fine.

 

I will continue to hold the general view that a well managed project was led well and a poorly managed project was poorly led.  I leave open that there are always exceptions.  Just as each boy is different.  Leadership comes in many forms, including those who may not have the extrovert personality of what we commonly call a "natural leader" and replaces that limitation with superior planning and organization skills carried out by a trusted team.

 

addressing the earlier comment...

As for some of the lessor used positions of responsibility (Historian, Bugler, Librarian, etc.); when I have had a voice in determining such things, it has been a pre-position expectation that the position holder would describe how they saw their role and how it would help the leadership of the group.  At then end of their term, I would judge their success at the PoR by how they held to their own standard for the position.  A bugler for example could be a leadership role if they took responsibility to keeping the unit on the planned schedule.  Did they wake up early to do revile on time, do they do calls for assembly when needed, etc. and are they keeping track of the need, or only doing it when told.  Someone who only plays colors for the flag ceremony, while applying a wonderful skill set, in my view, is not applying leadership to the position.

Edited by gumbymaster

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I will respect that some on the forum will hold a different view than I do.  I really didn't intend to (re)start an argument, particularly one it seems I may lose (if such things were voted on), I just have a respectful disagreement of the complete separation of management from leadership.

 

Plan and develop can be done all alone by the scout in the comfort of their rooms, so it comes down to "give leadership to others", this would, in my view, necessitate communicating and/or interacting with the others to be led and/or directed (trained if necessary) in the tasks to be accomplished.  A variety of leadership skills are then practiced in the effort to manage the outcome of the planned task(s).

 

If one really wanted to play the semantics game "give leadership to others" could also be interpreted in having others lead various aspects of the project.  Which, incidentally, was something that the troop of my youth encouraged ... "A good eagle project could be divided up into task areas of different scopes providing an opportunity for Life and Star candidates to create sub projects" and all that - not really the way things are done today, which is fine.

 

I will continue to hold the general view that a well managed project was led well and a poorly managed project was poorly led.  I leave open that there are always exceptions.  Just as each boy is different.  Leadership comes in many forms, including those who may not have the extrovert personality of what we commonly call a "natural leader" and replaces that limitation with superior planning and organization skills carried out by a trusted team.

 

addressing the earlier comment...

As for some of the lessor used positions of responsibility (Historian, Bugler, Librarian, etc.); when I have had a voice in determining such things, it has been a pre-position expectation that the position holder would describe how they saw their role and how it would help the leadership of the group.  At then end of their term, I would judge their success at the PoR by how they held to their own standard for the position.  A bugler for example could be a leadership role if they took responsibility to keeping the unit on the planned schedule.  Did they wake up early to do revile on time, do they do calls for assembly when needed, etc. and are they keeping track of the need, or only doing it when told.  Someone who only plays colors for the flag ceremony, while applying a wonderful skill set, in my view, is not applying leadership to the position.

We're all just one poor beggar telling another where to find food.

 

There is a natural synergy between leadership an management. Doing one often helps develops the other.

 

But, let me harp on PoR's a little more. There are no "lesser" positions in a troop. There are some that count for certain rank advancement, and some that don't. There are some that explicitly demand leadership (hint: look for the word "leader", "guide", or maybe "master") on the patch, and some that demand other skills, not necessarily leadership. Thus our bugler could be a leader, but he could be following the SPL's cues. We won't know until the SPL sleeps in or stays late at cracker barrel. Our historian could be leading, or he could be surrounded by PL's who hand him photos or story lines and requests them to be scrap-booked. Same for the other PoRs ... Flip that around, an SPL/PL could be managing ... posting rosters on time, looking sharp for flag, reading announcements ... but behind him are the scribes, QMs, guides, etc ... pushing the troop along.

 

What this means for the Eagle candidate (especially going back to the OP): if he has a particular project in mind, and the only go-getters the troop are PL's with barely enough time to keep the troop on an even keel, he might rather get his labor force from his band members, sports team, or the guys/gals at the sportsman's club. On the other hand, if he's seen every boy in his troop put heart and soul into their respective PoRs (because the SMs have always expected as much from every PoR), those boys will be his first-choice recruiting pool.

 

Captain's first job: picking a crew.

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But, let me harp on PoR's a little more. There are no "lesser" positions in a troop. There are some that count for certain rank advancement, and some that don't. There are some that explicitly demand leadership (hint: look for the word "leader", "guide", or maybe "master") on the patch, and some that demand other skills, not necessarily leadership .

 

Lesser was only intended to reflect less used, not intended to reflect less important.

 

I generally agree with your points, and would even allow that a person might even be considered a leader simply by picking out a good team to do the job(s); even if much of the implementation was left to others.

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I am going to go off on a tangent a bit, so bear with.  I was just asked to be my troop's "Eagle Advisor," helping the Star and Life Scouts get prepared for doing the Eagle service project and the BOR process in my neck of the woods. And part of that job is attending with the Scout the Eagle BOR for the project approval, and attending with the Scout for their EBOR.

 

GREAT SCOT WHAT A MESS WE ADULTS HAVE CAUSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Compared to my project's paperwork back then to  today's paperwork, and it is  P.I.T.B! I can now see why an "Eagle advisor" is needed, because there are so many rules, processes, and ridiculous minutia that the Scouts need to follow. And I blame adults for the problem. I've seen some things that Scouters have done to cause this mess we have today. Hey, I'm the one who had a district advancement chair try and deny my project because HE didn't approve it, his predecessor did. But I also blame parents. I've heard of some of the things parents have done to give their Scout Eagle. Heck we had one mom threaten to sue if her son didn't get an extension because he screwed up his first project so badly, the beneficiary told him and the Scouts to leave. She didn't think it was fair he would not be able to get Eagle because "[beneficiary] changed their mind after he started his project."

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I am going to go off on a tangent a bit, so bear with.  I was just asked to be my troop's "Eagle Advisor," helping the Star and Life Scouts get prepared for doing the Eagle service project and the BOR process in my neck of the woods. And part of that job is attending with the Scout the Eagle BOR for the project approval, and attending with the Scout for their EBOR.

 

GREAT SCOT WHAT A MESS WE ADULTS HAVE CAUSED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Compared to my project's paperwork back then to  today's paperwork, and it is  P.I.T.B! I can now see why an "Eagle advisor" is needed, because there are so many rules, processes, and ridiculous minutia that the Scouts need to follow. And I blame adults for the problem. I've seen some things that Scouters have done to cause this mess we have today. Hey, I'm the one who had a district advancement chair try and deny my project because HE didn't approve it, his predecessor did. But I also blame parents. I've heard of some of the things parents have done to give their Scout Eagle. Heck we had one mom threaten to sue if her son didn't get an extension because he screwed up his first project so badly, the beneficiary told him and the Scouts to leave. She didn't think it was fair he would not be able to get Eagle because "[beneficiary] changed their mind after he started his project."

 

Agree. Too much process and adult involvement. :( 

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Following all the rules i the Life to Eagle pamphlet makes the candidate a good follower, not a good leader. the most the adults are involved, the less likely that will ever change.

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Following all the rules i the Life to Eagle pamphlet makes the candidate a good follower, not a good leader. the most the adults are involved, the less likely that will ever change.

 

 

So very true! Additionally the way they are written, in beauracrateese and legalese, it takes time for some adults to understand. Try being a teenager and trying to get through the paperwork.

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... attending with the Scout the Eagle BOR for the project approval ... 

 

The scout law says friendly; not pompous.  

 

I'm just amazed what people dream up.  A BOR to approve the project separate from the rank EBOR.  I've heard rumors of units doing this.  But I already thought it was ridiculous enough for troops to expect the scout to create an Eagle project presentation, schedule time before the troop committee and then defend their project in front of a sizable number of adults.  

 

BSA publishes guidance saying project approval should be simple with the focus on making sure the project will be a positive experience for the scout and successful. 

 

Page 8 of the below BSA advancement news has always provided good guidance for project proposal approval.

        http://www.scouting.org/filestore/advancement_news/2013_Aug_Sept.pdf

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