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NealOnWheels

Frustrated with Eagle Application

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Not a question but a rant.

Have been mentoring a scout through the Eagle Rank process.  When it came time to complete his application I gave him some guidance on filling it out.  I made sure he had the latest version (April 2017)...

https://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-728_wb_fillable.pdf

I went to point out the statement of "ambitions and life purpose" to make sure he included that.  Well it is no longer part of requirement #7.  I re-read every requirement on the application and could not find it.  Knowing that there were some changes to all the rank requirements at the beginning of the year I concluded that the statement was no longer required.  The scout completed his application and project notebook and submitted it to the Council office.  After a couple weeks to my surprise the council office e-mailed me that the statement was missing.  I nearly fired back an e-mail telling them they had it wrong but fortunately I did some more checking before I did that.  Found that the statement is mentioned tucked in the Scout's signature between requirements #6 & #7.

Seems to me that if it is to be a requirement it should be listed as a numbered requirement.  Even looking online at the requirements it sits in a box between requirements #6 & %7...

https://www.scouting.org/filestore/boyscouts/pdf/Eagle_rank_2017.pdf

Just a little frustrated with the delay this has caused.

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One always has to "read the fine print".  The application is part of the test to see how vigilant the candidate is.  This is all part of the expectations to insure the Eagle rank is "earned" far beyond what would normally be some busy work paper work.  What used to be a worthwhile project where the boy could show some leadership expertise is now running into more of a master's degree in organizational management.  Earning the rank of Eagle Scout requires a lot of hoops to jump through, most of them fall into the realm of circus burning hoops, but that shouldn't frustrate a scout from doing his best to not show his frustration in an overly designed adult skilled, dreaded requirement.

Be careful with one's response to these comments, they are loaded with some sarcasm interspersed with a bit of truth.

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You included two different files; I went over both carefully with my Obnoxious Editor's switch turned on. In the first, the official application, you really do have to read everything carefully. I note that on the official application, the "life statement" is an integral part of the section entitled "CERTIFICATION BY APPLICANT." It is a part of that certification, which is why they don't give it a distinct requirement number. It is also immediately followed by the space for his signature. For future reference, make sure he remembers - with ANY and ALL official applications, the statements immediately preceding a signature are always ESSENTIAL - never sign anything unless that section is absolutely understood. It is different than what a Scout would be used when compared to the style used in the Scout Manual, but it is nonetheless a very normal way to format such an expectation in a technical application. Hopefully this crucial information will help him in the future.

Admittedly, it might be easier for some readers if they made the statement a little more overt. But then that's exactly what they do in the second link you included - there is a BIG box at the top of page 23, in big bold letters, making extremely clear the need to include the statement, and what it should entail. It dominates that entire page; I would be very concerned if a Scout read that and didn't understand what was being asked of him, let alone include the statement described.

I concur that there is a lot of paperwork included in the application process, and I am sure that in many way it could be streamlined. But there is also a lot of thought, preparation, reading and editing that is expected of the Scout, and learning to do so carefully is absolutely critical in life. This won't be the last form he has to fill out as he gets older, and by learning to read more carefully now, it will help him tremendously in the future with tax forms, college applications, et cetera. It was good of you to help the Scout with this application, but he should have gone over every part of it himself too just to be sure he had everything he needed. It is after all bolded in both forms and not too difficult to find nor understand. 

I empathize with you and your Scout - filling out so many forms and applications and being delayed is always frustrating, and it is only fair that you should feel enervated by the whole process. But I hope you are consoled by the fact that the grueling process of the moment is building a stronger character for the future, and that is certainly worth whatever hoops and hurdles through which one may have to jump for now. :happy:

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The application is laid out much like https://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/eagle.aspx which states, under requirement #7.

Quote

Successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.† In preparation for your board of review, prepare and attach to your Eagle Scout Rank Application a statement of your ambitions and life purpose and a listing of positions held in your religious institution, school, camp, community, or other organizations, during which you demonstrated leadership skills. Include honors and awards received during this service. (This requirement may be met after age 18; see below.)

I think that's also worded like that in the handbook.

I guess one could diagram each sentence.

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10 hours ago, NealOnWheels said:

Just a little frustrated with the delay this has caused.

I received some advice from our long-time Eagle coach in our unit. He would have the Scouts read and re-read (several times) the application and the workbook. He would then have them take notes, noting the action words, bolded text, noting where they use the terms like "not" or "shall" or such. Really break it down and read it as if you were signing your first mortgage contract. This advice opened my eyes and has been something we continue to do as a unit.

The output of this is a checklist, that the Scout creates, that has all the "deliverables" or artifacts that must be completed and/or submitted. We don't provide it as a list because we want the Scout to develop and use those critical thinking skills. Most of our Eagles are 16-17 so this is much easier. Younger Eagles typically struggle with this concept greatly. Maybe that's why our youngest Eagle was 15...but he was a 40 year old lawyer in a 15 year old's body. :)

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