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oldisnewagain1

Scouts as Free labor

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I don't have an issue of helping an organization like a church, a wildlife area, AT service group, ... etc asking for help.

 

Its when someone is getting paid to do something and wants the troop to do what they were hired for.

 

This is a common plight for volunteers everywhere IMO.

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Let's say, as an example, a professional Landscaper gets paid handsomely to do yard work for a client.

 

He asks for troops to help in a "conservation project" of raking leaves and removing them 

This, to me, does not qualify as a 'service project'.  if I was asked to do this for my unit, I'd ask for a share of the $$$ and consider it a fundraiser, but not a service project.  I also don't consider fundraising hours as service hours, but I can say that not every other troop out there thinks the same as I do.

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"A Scout Is Helpful," "Do A Good Turn Daily," "Cheerful Service," etc. are the things we live by as Scout Troops.  Nowhere does it say "A Scout Should be Taken Advantage Of"

 

For example, there's a big difference between mowing or raking the grounds of the Veterans' Home, and doing a total landscaping.  And, oh yeah, can you move the cannon to the other side of the yard?

 

Never let the Scouts get "in over their heads" when offering to help when asked.  It's OK to politely decline, and in Boy-Led units (which I hope all of ours are) the boys can be assisted in their decision making thorough what we called "guided discovery"  Do they still teach that in adult leader training?

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I do too, it was already becoming that 20 years ago when I earned Eagle.  Mike Rowe had a nice speech that touched on the subject.  He talked about how he is an Eagle Scout and is getting this extra recognition, but his brother... a Star Scout, while not up on the pedestal getting a special recognition, saved another person's life and deserves far more recognition than he did.  I keep trying to tell people who obsess about "Eagle Scout", it's not about the destination, it's about the journey to Eagle and all that you learn and can then apply throughout your whole life that matter.  If all you focus on is checking off boxes and getting that patch... you've completely missed the point.  

 

 

https://youtu.be/kKie47V2lLY?t=541

 

 

nice video

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Oldisnewagain:   You do not define the work as a "service project".   The Scout District, the Troop approves a project as a "service project".  In your described idea, I do not think that would qualify. 

 

Perhaps the contractor would consider helping with the trail construction project in the State Park?

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What kind of organization (or person) are the requests coming from?  And when you say the requesting person is getting paid, paid for what?

 

Not sure always paid, but I've seen parks and nature preserves that have volunteer coordinator and a pre-set, defined and materials ready list of volunteer projects.  I've seen scouts pick from a list and it's almost an automatic success.

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Oldisnewagain:   You do not define the work as a "service project".   The Scout District, the Troop approves a project as a "service project".

The district is only involved if this an Eagle project. Right? I had the impression that this was just some boys getting service hours for "lower" ranks. In no way could this possibly qualify as an Eagle project. As for who can approve it, we don't know what the OP's position is in the troop. If he is SM, and it is for non-Eagle ranks, he can approve it or not approve it.

 

In your described idea, I do not think that would qualify.

I agree, I do not think this is appropriate as service hours for any rank since it is unpaid labor for a profit-making business. At one point we had a discussion about a business that wanted to have Scouts put on a flag ceremony, but that's different. That business did not make its profit from flag ceremonies, it is just something they wanted to do for the community. This is a guy who is using Scouts to do the work he gets paid for. Beyond just not having the service hours count, if I were an SM I would tell this guy "No thank you." and not even pass along the request to the Scouts.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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Free labor?   Well, just what is a "service project (either Unit, District or Eagle)"  if not that ?   Scoutson's was the renovation of the Rabbit Barn siding/trim/eaves at the County Fair Grounds.  They provided the materials, we provided the "labor".  It would not have been done, save for Scoutson's desire and organizing of his Four H, school and Scout friends and their construction experienced dads and moms.   

 

Free labor?  I view it as the distinction between a scouting service project and an Eagle project.  The key distinction is that with an Eagle project we are trying to encourage scouts to see an issue or a need.  Then develop a concept into an idea that can be delivered.  Then, plan the project and make it happen.  That's an Eagle project.  Seeing a need.  Developing the concept that answers the need and making it happen.

 

IMHO, it's free labor when the beneficiary identifies the need, defines the how, provides the materials and the scout is left to provide and organize labor.

 

It will never be a clean separation between Eagle projects and free-labor service projects.  But I think it's key that it's the scout's project and not the beneficiary's project.  It's about who is leading and driving the project.

Edited by fred johnson

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Free labor?  I view it as the distinction between a scouting service project and an Eagle project.  The key distinction is that with an Eagle project we are trying to encourage scouts to see an issue or a need.  Then develop a concept into an idea that can be delivered.  Then, plan the project and make it happen.  That's an Eagle project.  Seeing a need.  Developing the concept that answers the need and making it happen.

 

IMHO, it's free labor when the beneficiary identifies the need, defines the how, provides the materials and the scout is left to provide and organize labor.

 

It will never be a clean separation between Eagle projects and free-labor service projects.  But I think it's key that it's the scout's project and not the beneficiary's project.  It's about who is leading and driving the project.

 

I don't think the real issue is whether this is "free labor" or not.  As SSScout said, any service project could be viewed as "free labor."  Even in an Eagle project, the candidate himself is providing much more than "free labor", but the Scouts (and often adults) who are working on the project aren't.  I think the real distinction is, is the work benefiting the community or a charitable or religious or governmental organization, or is it only benefiting a for-profit business by cutting down on the amount of paid labor the guy has to hire to do the job customers are paying him for?

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I don't think the real issue is whether this is "free labor" or not.  As SSScout said, any service project could be viewed as "free labor."  Even in an Eagle project, the candidate himself is providing much more than "free labor", but the Scouts (and often adults) who are working on the project aren't.  I think the real distinction is, is the work benefiting the community or a charitable or religious or governmental organization, or is it only benefiting a for-profit business by cutting down on the amount of paid labor the guy has to hire to do the job customers are paying him for?

 

I disagree.  "is it only benefiting a for-profit business" ... I disagree.  I see these "free labor" projects mostly from DNR and parks.  It's free labor because the beneficiary conceives, defines, structures, develops and mostly plans the project.  The scout is left to provide and organize volunteers.

 

The heart of an Eagle project is a scout using the skills he's grown to address a community need that the scout develops a solution to address.  It's free-labor when the scout really doesn't have to develop a concept into a project.

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I disagree.  "is it only benefiting a for-profit business" ... I disagree.  I see these "free labor" projects mostly from DNR and parks.  It's free labor because the beneficiary conceives, defines, structures, develops and mostly plans the project.  The scout is left to provide and organize volunteers.

 

The heart of an Eagle project is a scout using the skills he's grown to address a community need that the scout develops a solution to address.  It's free-labor when the scout really doesn't have to develop a concept into a project.

 

We're talking about two different issues.

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We're talking about two different issues.

 

Perhaps ... I think it's a matter of view point and terms.  

 

Perhaps your answer is something I address as "for-profit" beneficiaries need to have the benefit to be to the community and not the operational benefit of the beneficiary.  Example:  Re-doing windows on a church is a valid project.  Re-doing windows on a "for-profit" senior living building is not.  

 

I use the term "free labor" to relate to projects when the beneficiary is conceiving, developing and leading.  The scout only organizes labor.  ... IMHO, it's the same thing whether for-profit or non-profit.  Organizations want to avoid cost by having scouts provide free-labor. 

 

"for-profit" orgs such as senior living organizations may request project help.  Depending on the project, it can be valid and be an Eagle project.  "For profit" does not automatically block the project ... just like beneficiaries having a list of projects the scout can choose from does not automatically block the project.  "For-profit" beneficiaries just need the benefit to go to the community and not the beneficiary.  

 

I'm sensitive to this because I've heard Eagle projects and "free labor" discussed many, many, many times recently.  But the discussion is about the project being worthy a unit service project, but not an Eagle project.  IMHO, the key factor is when discussing "free labor" and Eagle projects is project ownership:  Who is the driving force taking a project from a general concept to a real tangible result?  With too many beneficiaries, they have list of projects, how-to docs, materials, tools and such ready to go.    IMHO, the scout is only providing free-labor in that case.  

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I don't think the example provided by oldisnewagain had anything to do with Eagle projects, that's why I said we were talking about 2 different things.

 

The example presented was that a man who maintains lawns, as a business, asked for Scouts to help him out.  I don't think that request should even be passed along to the Scouts as an option for earning service hours, or for doing community service just for the sake of doing community service.  As I said before, I assume this is NOT for an Eagle project.

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The example presented was that a man who maintains lawns, as a business, asked for Scouts to help him out.  I don't think that request should even be passed along to the Scouts as an option for earning service hours, or for doing community service just for the sake of doing community service.  As I said before, I assume this is NOT for an Eagle project.

 

Not a service project, but might be a decent fundraiser opportunity if the landscaper pays the Scouts a fair wage.

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I don't think the example provided by oldisnewagain had anything to do with Eagle projects, that's why I said we were talking about 2 different things.

 

Ahhh ... I see.  You're right.  Well I humbly crawl back into my hole.

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