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Question on Committee Approval on Eagle Project

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I'm unclear on what constitutes a unit approval for a scout's Eagle project. 

I get that the process requires the scout to get the unit's approval (among other signatures) before taking an eagle project to the next level of the process before taking the Eagle Project Workbook to the Eagle Project Board. What I don't have a good handle on is what level of review is needed for the committee approval signature. 

We have one scouter who is saying all the scout needs for the approval is a general idea and concept to recognize if this is a project that can go forward. Yes? Sign and wish the scout well. 

However the project is very large in size and complexity and the scout came to the committee with a few photos of the area and a general idea of what the project was. The committee found that there were too many basic questions that hadn't been thought through. No paperwork had been filled out. Nothing other than here's the general idea and some pictures. 

I felt like it was one of those Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland items where the idea was pitched with too much general "we've got a barn and we can make costumes, let's put on a show!" type of proposal. Especially if the scout was really planning on meeting the project start date. (Scout's gotta do what they do, as learning from mistakes is expected.)


So what constitutes the level of review for this committee approval? We don't want to add hurdles or requirements. We do want the scout to succeed and be aware of some of the major items they really haven't thought through yet. 

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Great question ... 

For the unit to approve, the scout needs to fill out the "Proposal" section of the workbook.  If it ain't written, it ain't a proposal.  Otherwise, it's like someone asking you to sign a check without them filling in the receiver and the amount.  

The approver can be one person.  You don't need the committee to review.  We often just use the committee chair.  Other troops assign a person.  Some troops do have the scout present to the committee.   

As for criteria to sign, the BSA signature line is fairly good ... "This Eagle Scout candidate is a Life Scout, and registered in our unit. I have reviewed this proposal, I am comfortable the project is feasible, and I will do everything I can to see that our unit measures up to the level of support we have agreed to provide (if any). I certify that I have been authorized by our unit committee to provide its approval for this proposal."

When I sign, I look for ...

  • What is the scout committing to do ?
    • What is in scope ? 
    • What is out of scope ? 
    • How many ? 
    • What defines done ?
  • Does it meet the criteria for a legitimate Eagle project ? 
    • Non-profit or public institution or ...
    • Does it give scout a chance for leadership ? 
    • Is he developing a concept ?  
    • is it his project ?
  • Does the scout have a good chance at success ?
  • Will the scout have a good experience ?  
  • Does the scout understand his own project such that he can drive the development of the idea, plan the execution and be a driving force ?

There is no requirement for detailed planning or diagrams.  But there is an expectation that the scout can communicate in his proposal enough to establish an agreement of what is his project is.  If it's not there, it is reasonable to help him flush it right then, out on-the-spot or ask for him to go back and come back when the concept is communicated better.

It is important to remember the project is about service, leadership and the scout making a difference.  Paperwork and signatures are just enablers.  

Edited by fred8033
  • Upvote 1

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To keep us all on the same wavelength, we have the Eagle advisor go over any 'hiccups' scouts come across. The main thing that I'm looking for is if the scout can get it done in a couple of months, and if the troop, the scouts' friends, or someone else in the community will get behind the scout's project.

Some projects demand a lot more detail than others. Some of them require the scout going over the project with multiple parties, (e.g., town council meetings, service organizations). Other's have been pre-approved by the beneficiary, and the scout has been given a lot of latitude in execution.

Note: when I was a scout, my project was approved on a handshake. My report was three pages long, triple spaced, with one hand drawing. The only "fancy" part was the transparent cover with the decal lettering. So, I'm not looking for foisting a lot of bureaucracy on a scout.

On the other hand, my paycheck is the result of grantsmanship, so I have a good idea when more up-front detail is needed. The demand for detail is a function of the beneficiary, the project, and the skills of the scout.

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We have one member of the committee who is the eagle coach,  occasionally as CC I end up reviewing and approving the proposal.  We look for what Fred Johnson mentioned.  In essence I want to know that the scout has a handle on what the project is and what it's going to take to get it finished.  We also want the scout to have at least a conversation with the District Eagle Coordinator to make sure he is comfortable with the project.

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