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ASMmom1976

Eagle Project question... help

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Hi, my son presented a rough beginning concept for his Eagle Project tonight to the Eagle Project Coordinator.  It did not go well.  Sadly, when I asked my kid how it went he said to me... he thinks my project is trash.  Not the mans words... but how he came across.

Can you all please let me know what you think about this project idea? I thought it was pretty creative and hit the marks.

My son has thousands of dollars worth of LEGO sets... at least 50 sets that he wanted to restore and donate to a special school for children with emotional disturbances in our community.  My son actually used to attend the school when he was severely depressed.

the way I see it... it’s conservation minded because he is restoring and repurposing plastic ... keeping it out of a landfill.  He intends to give the restored sets to the classroom teachers and therapists who use the legos to give the kids a creative and play based outlet for handling their stress.

Its a big project.  He has all of the instructions, but has to pair the sets with the instructions, take them apart and log the bricks to find out what pieces are missing... sort through 2 giant bins of miscellaneous bricks and then purchase the missing bricks to complete the sets.  He would also need to purchase storage containers.

There will be a lot of leadership in getting boys to help him carry this out.  

Eagle project coordinator thinks this is routine labor.  I don’t think there is anything routine about this.

My kid wants to make a video to raise awareness about the school and to educate the boys from his troop about how LEGOs can help kids who have been through trauma or who have special needs.

The project coordinator said, maybe if you build a cabinet it could get approved by council.  No where in the Eagle Project guidelines does it say you need to build a cabinet.

Where is the encouragement and support for having an original idea? I’m very annoyed to say the least ... it’s like oh sure, let’s build a fence on the town trail like every other boy and plant a few flowers.  

Thoughts? Advice? Thank you.

Edited by RememberSchiff
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That could be an interesting project.  Many of the challenges I see with Eagle project plans are not the concept, but it's the write up and assumptions.  Key for the coordinator is to find what is on point and guide the Scout to ensuring they meet the requirements.

You are correct that there is no "build" requirement for an Eagle project.  

The basic requirements are: 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. (The project must benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.) A project proposal must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your unit leader and unit committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, BSA publication No. 512-927, in meeting this requirement. (To learn more about the Eagle Scout service project, see the Guide to Advancement, topics 9.0.2.0 through 9.0.2.15.

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Could shut up the Project Coordinator by building a shelf to hold the LEGO tubs.

 

But on a serious note, is this Eagle Project Coordinator in your unit, or the district?  If he's in your unit, maybe have your Scout reach out to someone on the Committee for a second opinion. Whenever a project is proposed to our Committee, the entire committee will ask questions (to help smooth out details) and lead them in the right direction.  And no, its not about building something.

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5 hours ago, ASMmom1976 said:

Hi, my son presented a rough beginning concept for his Eagle Project tonight to the Eagle Project Coordinator.  It did not go well.  

As I understand, Eagle Project Coordinators are now called Eagle Project Coaches. 

Coaches are optional, but recommended as stated on page 14 of the Eagle Project Service Project Workbook. 

That said, the coach could be correct that the Council Eagle Board would not approve. And just as a coach should do, he/she gave feedback - recommendations to improve the project and its chances for success. 

A Scout who proposes a project to recycle HIS toys to help other kids,  well lets work on this idea - the problem/need, who specifically will be involved and benefit,  will the proposed solution work or will it become a mess of parts that will be little used.

Scouts often have their first, second, ...Eagle Project proposals rejected... part of leadership learning process. 

Let your son learn.

My $0.02,

 

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As a member who sits on my districts board that approves all Eagle Projects I would be very concerned about approving this as a Eagle Project for the following reason. The project listed is to give 50 Lego sets to a school.  I would have no issues with your son giving them to the school but would have issues with this being an Eagle Project just due to the fact that the on showing leadership and work involved is to just to insure that each Lego set is intact with no missing pieces.  The only way as listed above that I could approve this as a project is to have your son make storage containers for each Lego set. Yes and Eagle Project does not require that something needs to be built but a Eagle Project does need to require more that just giving something that the scout already has or can just buy  and calling it an Eagle Project.

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The only experience I have with Eagle Projects are my own and the couple other I have helped with but I think this should count as an Eagle Scout Project.  I think there is a good amount of thought put into this idea.  For my project, I replaced a flag pole at a church that I have no real connections to.  I just needed to find something to do for a project.  It sounds like your son has a great idea, the only problem (which you have already experienced) is do others consider this an acceptable project.  I think it needs to be considered that some of these leaders who don't think this is a good project may just be older and set in their ways.  They may think that something needs to be "built" or something of that sort.  They may not understand the full meaning behind this project and what your son hopes to accomplish.  Your son does not need to build anything, such as a "cabinet" for the LEGOs.  I believe if your son carries out the project as you described, enough time and "effort" will be achieved to pass off as an Eagle Scout Project.  The main goal for your son's Eagle Scout Project is for him to show leadership throughout the entire project.  I expect your son would show the most "leadership" during the sorting the LEGOs and getting others to help.  Hope this helps.  

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7 hours ago, ASMmom1976 said:

Where is the encouragement and support for having an original idea? I’m very annoyed to say the least ... it’s like oh sure, let’s build a fence on the town trail like every other boy and plant a few flowers.  

Thoughts? Advice? Thank you.

You're being too much of a mom. Be a mentor who is outside looking in. Don't make this your hill to die on. Scouting is about dealing with real life with humility and integrity. Those traits will stay with your son long after the memory of his Eagle project. 

Do you have any idea how much one person has to give of himself to plan, organize, and build a fence on trail? 

For those of us who have coached, mentored and guided scouts' Eagle project ideas (sometimes we say no), we tend to look at the process being 90% of the project. The process is where the scout not only proves himself as citizen of character and a leader of integrity, but also grows from the experience. 

Barry

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I have to disagree with ValleyBoy.  I'm part of our district advancement committee and sit on the project approval boards each month for the district.  Depending on how he presented his project to us, I could see it being approved in our district.  As others have said, there is no building requirement for Eagle projects, and I definitely don't see this as a routine labor situation.  Valleyboy, if he held some kind of a collection drive to collect more Lego sets, would that help his project in your district?  As it is, I honestly see enough chances for him to show leadership in the project as it is, but he'd have to be able to articulate it in his presentation.  I love that he has a connection to the beneficiary - so many of the projects we see in the district don't have that, so it's refreshing when we have a scout that has an out of the box idea like this come up for approval.

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I will have to agree with denibug72.  Our District just had a scout complete his Eagle Project and it was a Flag Retirement Ceremony.  His Father already had over 75 trash bags filled with flags in his garage.  If you google Eagle Projects, you will find some very "thin" projects.  Another Scout in our District installed a single flag pole with 36 bricks in a circle around it.  I think if done right, this project could turn out well.  I do wonder if the old rule about how it helps out the Charter Organization still applies.  But then again, if you have a large Troop, you can only do so many projects.  I have three Eagle Projects coming up and they all depend on the other project being completed. 

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5 minutes ago, Ranman328 said:

I do wonder if the old rule about how it helps out the Charter Organization still applies.  But then again, if you have a large Troop, you can only do so many projects.


What rule?

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1 minute ago, Thunderbird said:


What rule?

I'm sure he is speaking of the idealistic rule of a selfless motivation to a noble objective. The rule is no less and no more than the same motivation for helping the little ol lady across the street. 

Barry

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My opinion is this is a weak project.  At it's core it's just looking to donate his old toys to a school.  That's not to say there are pieces he could build on, but as is, I'd be reluctant to say this is something to be proud of.  Sorry to sound harsh, but that is my answer to your question.

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There is no clear threshold for what is a good project and what is a bad project.  It's more working through the reasoning and defending your concept.  

Donating his toys supports the project, but is not the project itself.  The donation is similar to a family donating money to make a project happen.  It's fine and a non-issue.  In this case, it may be a distraction against the real project project.  

I'd evaluate the project based on the rank requirements which can be simplified to 

  • Plan - What is he going to plan?  What does he have to solve?  What does have to coordinate and make happen?  
  • Develop - Given the need he sees, what is the concept that he needs to develop and work through.  Perhaps there needs to be a container for each kit.  Or, perhaps kids that are emotional need something to take pride in.  Succeeding in a build and showing it to others could be something they take pride in.  As such, he could add a display shelf for the kids to show their finished work.  Doesn't have to be a fancy build.  It could be a simple shelf installed and the idea communicated.  
  • Lead - How will he show leadership of others?  

IMHO, you have the start of a good project.  Create more detail on what he would "plan, develop and lead".  Coach him on defending his ideas and work.  Coach him on explaining the challenges.  Coach him on explaining the need.  Then, have him go back and try again.  

Here are my main thoughts ...

  • Hours - He would absolutely have plenty of hours of labor.  There is no minimum required, but it will take many many hours to sort and re-build the sets so that they can be cleanly delivered.  
  • Leading - He would need to setup events where he invites people and gets all these kids sorted apart.  
  • Plan - He would need to create a bagging system, maybe add pictures, maybe add counts and weight. 
  • Concept - He'd need to work with the beneficiary (school / therapists) to create systems / resources etc that solves a problem they have.  
  • Need - If done well, this project could serve a real purpose.  I've seen kids in schools such as these.  They need things to do to pass time and even more importantly need things they can succeed at and show pride to others.  Building a really cool lego kit and having it sit on the shelf for all the other kids to see could be a cool talking point.  It could be a tool the therapists use for opening conversations with the other kids.  This could be a very useful project.  
  • Connection - Plus, the best projects are where the scout has a connection to the organization and really understands the need.  

I would absolutely not give a quick no on this.  Rather, I'd help the scout flush out his ideas until he has a project.  

I've reviewed way too many Eagle project proposals.  Often, it can be a failure to communicate the concept and details.  If the project is viewed as "donating his legos", it's not a project in the same way as donating cash is not a project.  But if he can describe the need and what his project will do with the donation as a starting point or supporting action, then it would be absolutely fine.

Sometimes the out-of-the-box unique projects are the best.  Alternatively, sometimes those are the projects that appear weak if the promised "concept" is not delivered.  

Edited by fred johnson
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I would be a bit forgiving to the adults involved.  Expectations vary greatly still district-to-district and troop-to-troop.  It's hard to get a consistent view on this.

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