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Volunteering on an Eagle Project, I'm slated to do 90% of work??

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Hi All,

Looking for help and direction here. 

Recently, through a family friend, my name was offered up as someone who could help a scout on their Eagle Scout project.  I have a small woodworking shop and the necessary skills to 'assist' on his project.  The scout went to their elementary school and asked the principal about needs.  The principal came up with a cart to house and move the awards that are given from classroom to classroom, and the principal drew up an initial sketch of the cart with major dimensions.  Met with the scout and offered to help on the project.  It's simply a small cart with caster wheels, and the cart is essentially a cabinet with shelves inside. 

Also, a potential drawer was discussed.  Told the scout that would be no problem to help out.  Also, that I'm an engineer and have access to solid modeling and that we could get it all drawn up, looking good.  At the end of the meet, I asked the scout to do some research on drawers, since I haven't done any.  Naturally, I can figure out a drawer, but I was looking to get the scout involved more.  Days later he emails that no drawer is needed.  I reply stating that, come on we could do a drawer if the principal wants one.  His parents reply back that 'no, no drawer is needed, the cart is to be from the exact specifications given in the sketch from the principal.'  

So, I'm starting to get some red flags that this project will mostly be done by myself and that the parents aren't too concerned by this.

As I see it:

  • I'll be modeling it all up and knocking out the drawings, turns out he doesn't want to learn or see it only wants the end documents.
  • He'll be soliciting donations and gathering supplies to my workshop.
  • I'll be doing all of the wood cutting.  Per BSA safety guidelines he is unable to use the power tools needed, as he's only 14.  In addition, father to scout requested that I cut the wood whenever I like and have it ready.
  • I'll also be doing the assembly, as I intend to use the Kreg jig and screw all the sides together with the screw heads hidden, so again no power tool use.  He could assist as I clamp and assemble pieces together.
  • He'll be doing the painting with help from other scouts to fulfill the 'lead' requirement.
  • I'll be attaching the finish hardware.
  • He'll be writing up/documenting 'his' eagle scout project, and he'll be presenting it to the elementary school in May during their awards ceremony.

Unsure which direction to go with the scout on this.  Not sure if this project has already been approved.  I highly question whether this is enough for an Eagle Scout project.

Any advice is very appreciated, as I'm only at the beginnings of this project with the scout, but I see it not going too well.

-EagleVolunteer

 

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Who is Eagle Project Coach? Have you seen his Eagle Project workbook?

In his workbook should be contact information for his Eagle Project Coach, Scoutmaster, and his school principal, the benefactor. Also there will be approval signatures, if his project proposal has been approved.

The scout should be communicating with you and not his parents with you.

Thanks for helping. What a lost learning opportunity (Kreg jig nice, I could use one) for the scout due to shortsighted BSA safety rules.

Edited by RememberSchiff

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I believe father may be the coach.  Haven't seen inside his project workbook, but he did have a binder with him.  I'd guess that is the project workbook, and dad said that it needed to be about an inch thick at the end with all of the 'documentation' of the project.

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Okay, it is the scout's project and he , not his coach or dad, should be leading his volunteers (you).

The scout should do the project drawings, parts and cut lists.  Hand drawings are still okay. 

He, or better other scouts he is leading, can select boards and mark the cut lines, clamp joints square, drive screws.

Edited by RememberSchiff
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41 minutes ago, EagleVolunteer said:

I believe father may be the coach.  Haven't seen inside his project workbook, but he did have a binder with him.  I'd guess that is the project workbook, and dad said that it needed to be about an inch thick at the end with all of the 'documentation' of the project.

In my book the Scout should be doing everything. Your role is one of providing expert opinion for your role (expert woodworking/carpentry). 

It is up to the Scout to:

  • Develop the proposal and get it approved.
  • Develop the project plan and execute it accordingly. This includes planning and managing all phases of the project plan, so the majority of your interaction should be with the Scout, not the parents.
  • Get his volunteers together and should be the ones doing 90% of the work. The ONLY times an adult should be stepping in is when 1) a health or safety issue arises, 2) the BSA tools use guidelines require adult intervention, or 3) an expert trained on a particular tool or process (cement pouring, router use, etc.,) is required.

I would immediately:

  • Ask the Scout for the name and contact number of his Eagle Coach or Scoutmaster.
  • Set up a meeting with the coach or SM to discuss your concerns. It is THEIR job to put this kid back on the correct path. You are being nice in helping out.
  • Stop any and all work until the SM contacts you to discuss the outcome of their meeting with the Scout.
Edited by Col. Flagg
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@EagleVolunteer, welcome to the forums! Do you remember Mazda's "Dogs ... love ... trucks" commercial?

28 minutes ago, EagleVolunteer said:

I believe father may be the coach.  Haven't seen inside his project workbook, but he did have a binder with him.  I'd guess that is the project workbook, and dad said that it needed to be about an inch thick at the end with all of the 'documentation' of the project.

Boyscouts ... love ... paperwork!

Ask him if there's a young adult in the troop who can help you with the milling and assembly.

He should be responsible for mocking up and drawing. If your 3-D drafting he and a buddy should be looking over your shoulder as you do.

Surely, there's a hand tool that one can use instead of a Kreg jig. Same for finish hardware. We live in a century-old house. Screwing knobs was part of the kid's skill set from when they were old enough to yank them!

He should be responsible for the sanding and finishing. (Citing "leadership development", Son #2 tried to dump that part of his project on me after I cut the hardwood pieces. I said he could go recruit a sander/stainer or leadership develop himself into one while I take a hike to the coffee shop. :mad: Mrs. Q being the fine woodworker in the family, she trained him in the process and he pulled it off quite nicely.)

In general, you have the right idea. Yes, you should do the machining. But, ideally, the boy should interact with you piece by piece as he watches his project come together. He might even realize that a cut will need adjustment. That process of thoughtful supervision is central to leadership development. Hopefully he can be there with a buddy or another adult so they can learn together.

 

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Ok, as many of you know I’ve done my project pretty recent.

I did a project similar to the one the fathers doing, I mean scout.

(I’m only 15, for those of you who don’t know.)

Anyway, my project was to build 2 moving carts, put stone down, and build a horse shoepit. I used trek wood, and all that fancy stuff to ensure a good life span on the carts.

I PROMISE from this part on it’ll explain why I had to give a backstory.

My father was a landscaper for 20 years and is also a handyman. I asked him for help with the drawings and of course he helped me. Why would a 15 year old know how to make a fantastic quality card without someone who has experience? I’ll admit, he did a lot of the drawing but I had all the measurements and all that fun stuff. No reason why you can’t help him with drawings, but you shouldn’t be doing them.

We cut & painted the wood days before my actual weekend project date. I wasn’t allowed to cut anything, BUT I held down the wood while he cut it, I moved the pieces, I organized it, I laid it out and all that good stuff! Just because he can’t cut it doesn’t mean he can’t be there to aide you. (I might get yelled at for this next part but...) I did prepaint all the wood myself... so I’ll take a fault there.

Have you even talked to this Scout in detail about what he wants or is he just leaving that up to you?

Does he even have the funding for the wood or is his parents paying for all of it? (Most people just get little to none donations from parents, I got about $30). 

 

Also, who contacted you first? Scouts or parents?

 

PS- I don’t like how simple the project is, just my opinon though. 

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Hmmm, no. It's not an eagle project in my opinion. The principal provided the drawings and you're providing the labor. Painting a cart is not an eagle project. It may be a nice service project.

What I'd do if I were the scoutmaster: The principal asks for a vague idea. In this case a cart. Since the principal has already given an exact plan it's not too much to ask the scout to design a drawer. The scout figures out the details and asks a lot of questions to make something useful. All the details including figuring out how to make drawings. If he doesn't want to learn a sw tool that's okay. But he needs to make drawings and part lists and exact dimensions of what needs to be done and in what order. He should have a plan with all of that in it so it's good enough that he could give it to someone else and they could build it. As for building it, he can do everything other than work the power tools. He can find another adult to do that. You don't need to be there other than to say Stop! You're about to damage my equipment or kill yourself. He can learn how to use the tools up to the point of turning on the power. Show him how to make sure the cut is straight and exactly where it needs to be, just don't do it on the final project. If he wants a hole drilled for a screw he should know how deep and what sized bit. He can use wood clamps and glue. He can learn how to hide the screws or he can build it so the screws show, that's not your decision. The adult actually doing the drilling should be coached to do as he's told and no more.

However, I'm not the scoutmaster. The fact that dad is the eagle coach means, to make a long story short, none of this will likely happen. You can talk to the scoutmaster with your concerns. You can decide what you're willing to help with. And you can say yes you'll help or no you won't. I am impressed that you asked.

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Ok, has an old Eagle Scout father of two Eagle Scouts and a professional cabinet maker the last 30 years this rather intrigues me.

 as I looked at the power tool guidelines if he's 14 years old he is allowed to use a drill I don't see why he can't use a drill in the Kreg Jig. If that's beyond his capabilities you could at least screw the screws in you can if he can't use a power screwdriver.

The Scout or Scouts should be doing everything possible that they are allowed to do. The things they cannot do they should at least be acting as helpers for example

If I were doing the cutting on a table saw I would have that Scout standing on the receiving end of the saw out feed table just picking up the pieces of wood and putting them in the appropriate piles.

You should be doing the absolute minimum amount of work possible. As for the drawings I was turning out rough sketches at the age of 13 finished mechanical drafting by age 15 architectural work by 18 there's no reason he can't learn how to do this

Oh by the way, a  drawer isn't that hard it's basically a small box with a bottom

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The OSHA regs make things tedious. But ...

I really appreciated Son #2 asking me to help with his project and be his project adviser. He had a fierce independent streak, which was great for academics, but limited how patient he could be with manual skills that require lots of instruction and attention to detail. This project provided a balanced way for us to polish some of those rough edges.

For my project, I taught myself how to use a belt sander that was lying around in the basement. Never teach yourself how to use a belt sander. Had I asked ANYONE, "Who knows how to work this thing?", they could have have taught me safety and shop vac skills that would have spared my church social hall a boatload of sawdust! Some eyes were at risk. I wrongly assumed the church would not front the cost of safety goggles. I did manage to stain a bunch of tables nicely, but there were some old school painters in town who, had I taken a moment, would have taught me the ins and outs of faux grain.

So, the increased involvement of adults has changed the flavor of projects, I think. But, they've also enabled boys to pick up more skills and knowledge.

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Don't blame OSHA.  Does not apply here.  The rules are BSA.  Maybe RichardB could shed some light...

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Thanks all for the quick feedback.  It certainly helped.  We had a meetup, only the 2nd one, scheduled for yesterday evening to discuss the project. Quite a bit of course correction was achieved.

As Oldscout448 brought up, I took a closer look at the BSA safety guidelines.  For the scout's age, he is able to use a 'screwdriver (electric)', so that opened up doing assembly for him.

In the meeting, I told the scout, I'll wrap up the assembly model (was nearly complete already) and I'll pass on a pdf of the assembly model and an exploded view of the cart.  The rest of the piece drawings and determining how much plywood, selecting hardware, is in your wheelhouse, as it is your project.  I'm here for assistance and questions when you have them.

Also, dad brought up and asked if the scout could be here during the cutting.  A definite change from him during the first meet.  Told him, "Of course, he must be, its his project.  He'll be the one prepping and lining things up to cut, I'll show him how.  I'm here to do the things he cannot.  Specifically, that's using the saw and router.  This is his project, I'm here to assist." 

Feel better about the direction its going now.  Now, whether this is substantial enough for an Eagle project, I still question.  Also, I did intend to ask for and look through his project workbook, however he didn't bring it to the meet.  And one asked who contacted me first, it was the parent who first contacted me about this project, not the scout.

We'll see how it goes...

And I do recall this commercial, Mazda's "Dogs ... love ... trucks".  What about it?! Lol

PS:  For background, I was only in BSA for 3 years.  Dropped out, as all we did were arts and crafts projects, since the den leader was a mom.   

 

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Wow, so many red flags here. Doesn't sound like this even comes close to meeting requirements given what we know. Only old enough to use a screwdriver? [shakes head]

@EagleVolunteer, thanks for helping this kid out. I'd wish his SM and Eagle Coach were a bit more engaged. 

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4 hours ago, EagleVolunteer said:

 

PS:  For background, I was only in BSA for 3 years.  Dropped out, as all we did were arts and crafts projects, since the den leader was a mom.   

 

I had a den leader that was a mom and was better than some of the dads!

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A few random comments

  • Inch thick workbook - there is no need for a thick workbook.  That is why the workbook was re-designed in 2011.  The redesign was to move the focus from paperwork to execution.  From paperwork to doing.  These days you just don't need an inch thick workbook.  In fact, it's a sign of heavy handed troops.  Or of families that had older sons that did eagle projects before the 2011 redesign.
  • It's 100% okay to do pre-work.  The scout has the option to do lots of work or just a little   The requirement is to plan, develop and lead a project.  As long as he shows leadership of others, he can do lots on the project if he wants.  Or he can be the overseer and just direct.  There is no right or wrong here as long as he develops, plans and leads.

From what I get here is ... a well meaning adult said he'd help ... then that offer grew to be disproportionate with what was originally intended.  IMHO, the adult should simply state his feelings with the scout.  It's the scout's project.  The scout should handle things like this.  And a volunteer should be comfortable saying things like that.  

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