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Carbenez

Troop adding/changing requirements for Eagle project

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Greetings and Happy New Year.

My son is working on an Eagle Scout project for a very large beneficiary; it's the largest equine therapy center in the country. Currently there are 3 Scouts (including my son) who are doing their Eagle Service Project for this beneficiary.  To make things easy on the facility, the beneficiary is asking the Scouts to work on their projects on the same dates. Mind you, they are all doing their OWN project, raising their own funds, leading their own crew of volunteers...

The Scoutmaster has just informed me the "we" don't allow Scouts to work on their Eagle projects at the same time and place as another Scout working on a project....I have read the Guide to Advancement over and over, and have found no reference to this prohibition.

Is this a black and white case of the Scoutmaster adding requirements? After all, it's the beneficiary that is asking for this arrangement.

Thank you.

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This is the SM changing the rules, and is absolutely not allowed. The scout runs the project, under the the beneficiary, to their requirements and desires. If the SM doesnt back doen, id go to the Eagle Coach/ Council Rep who signed the Proposal. 

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The key is that each project is owned by the scout.  Planned, developed and led.  I've had projects where we coordinated with other projects.  But my project is still my project that I'm the driving force on.

As for the scoutmaster, "it should be" outside his control.  His chance would have been during scoutmaster review of the proposal.  Perhaps the scoutmaster could have refused to sign proposals because he did not see it as three separate projects.  But he did sign.  Now it's the scout's project and it's up to the scout to plan, develop and lead.

I'd imagine the Eagle board would be looking for the same criteria.  Was it the scout's project?  Did he develop, plan and lead his project?  If he was just a helper on another person's project, then no.  There is lots of grey between okay and not okay.  The key is the scout being able to represent what was his project.  

For myself, I'd leverage the "a scout is thrifty."  Why drive out three times?  Your supposed to be helping the beneficiary.  Why add extra cost and head aches for the beneficiary. 

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I feel the SM is missing a great opportunity here. He could walk (ride?) around the grounds checking in on different projects, observing which scouts have the best plan for lunch, etc ... and free up time for lots of other activity.

Ask your district advancement chair to have a word with your SM about this.

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

I feel the SM is missing a great opportunity here. He could walk (ride?) around the grounds checking in on different projects, observing which scouts have the best plan for lunch, etc ... and free up time for lots of other activity.

Ask your district advancement chair to have a word with your SM about this.

Heck, he can borrow a horse and play John Wayne too!

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We had two Scouts who did their projects on the same day at a community organization.  The org was having a work day and wanted to get everything done on the same day.  It was logistically easier for them.  As was previously noted each Scout owned their project, they were separate and coordinated their own efforts.  One thing was one project was ahead of schedule and had extra labor so they wandered over and helped with moving some items for project 2.  Basic labor sharing

SM should not be inserting himself into the process

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I think the challenge here is to find someone that can talk to the SM calmly. This sounds more like the SM wanting to save face than any troop policy. BTW, if it is a troop policy is it stated somewhere?

My guess is the reason for saying no multiple projects on the same day is that scouts shouldn't share a project. Sounds fair to me. But just ensure they really are independent.

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47 minutes ago, MattR said:

I think the challenge here is to find someone that can talk to the SM calmly. This sounds more like the SM wanting to save face than any troop policy. BTW, if it is a troop policy is it stated somewhere?

My guess is the reason for saying no multiple projects on the same day is that scouts shouldn't share a project. Sounds fair to me. But just ensure they really are independent.

Thanks for the reply. Over the past couple of years, there have been multiple instances of this SM using the phrase "our troop requires it" and I've always let it slide although I shouldn't have. I've requested that he show me in black and white where it is a BSA rule that 2 Scouts - from different troops mind you - cannot work on separate projects on the same day at the same facility.  I'm going to let him hang himself, because I know he'll reply that "it's just a rule our troop made."

I already have one email from him where he states "our Troop doesn't allow it" and I've just emailed him again asking him to either provide me the section and code of the BSA Guide to Advancement that states this rule explicitly or admit it's just something that he is making up.

I really hate confrontation...but this guy is over the line.

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, Carbenez said:

I really hate confrontation...but this guy is over the line.

I would be careful.  It can be seen as a personal attack.  

  • Take this out of email.  Do it face to face.  Try to connect with the SM and build a common understanding.  I find "most" people are reasonable when you show respect and truly value who they are and what they do.  Work with the SM so that you understand the reasoning for his concern.  
  • See if there is flexibility or some common middle ground that would be helpful.  For example ...
    • The scouts should definitely
      • run their projects independently. 
      • recruit and record volunteers, separately.
      • communicate hours and expectations separately.
      • have their own time sheets where volunteers sign in and sign out.
      • start their work days separately.  Maybe at the same time, but separately start.
      • finish their work days separately.  Each project defines it's own "done"
      • release their volunteers separately.  
      • closes out and cleans up separately.  Each project is separately responsible for cleaning up, and closing things out.
      • If scouts choose to help project B when their commitment to helping project A is done, that's their choice.  Perhaps some trading of volunteers can happen similar to how the NFL or NBA teams trade players.  The key is that the projects are owned by the scouts doing their Eagle project. 
    • Perhaps the SM would be sufficiently happy if the scouts ...
      • clearly establish separate staging areas for their project at the beneficiary site
      • have separate designs
      • have work areas.  

If this can't be done, then perhaps the SM does have a valid concern that it's not separate projects.  Instead, each scout is doing part of one single larger project.  At that point, one of the scouts should step up and the other two would need to find separate projects.  

In the end, the SM has to sign the project.  Or, the Eagle app is submitted with an unsigned project ... which is not a show stopper in itself ... just something that raises eyebrows and triggers more questions.

This long comment is to say ... try to work it out with the SM ... you will be better off in the long run.  

Edited by fred8033

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

I would be careful.  It can be seen as a personal attack.  

  • Take this out of email.  Do it face to face.  Try to connect with the SM and build a common understanding.  I find "most" people are reasonable when you show respect and truly value who they are and what they do.  Work with the SM so that you understand the reasoning for his concern.  
  • See if there is flexibility or some common middle ground that would be helpful.  For example ...
    • The scouts should definitely
      • run their projects independently. 
      • recruit and record volunteers, separately.
      • communicate hours and expectations separately.
      • have their own time sheets where volunteers sign in and sign out.
      • start their work days separately.  Maybe at the same time, but separately start.
      • finish their work days separately.  Each project defines it's own "done"
      • release their volunteers separately.  
      • closes out and cleans up separately.  Each project is separately responsible for cleaning up, and closing things out.
      • If scouts choose to help project B when their commitment to helping project A is done, that's their choice.  Perhaps some trading of volunteers can happen similar to how the NFL or NBA teams trade players.  The key is that the projects are owned by the scouts doing their Eagle project. 
    • Perhaps the SM would be sufficiently happy if the scouts ...
      • clearly establish separate staging areas for their project at the beneficiary site
      • have separate designs
      • have work areas.  

If this can't be done, then perhaps the SM does have a valid concern that it's not separate projects.  Instead, each scout is doing part of one single larger project.  At that point, one of the scouts should step up and the other two would need to find separate projects.  

In the end, the SM has to sign the project.  Or, the Eagle app is submitted with an unsigned project ... which is not a show stopper in itself ... just something that raises eyebrows and triggers more questions.

This long comment is to say ... try to work it out with the SM ... you will be better off in the long run.  

I really appreciate this reply. Both my son's mother and I have communicated with the SM separately, explaining how all the criteria you listed will be met. Additionally, the 3 Scouts are from different troops and have never had communication of any kind. I can guarantee there is no planned sharing of responsibilities or volunteers. Each Scout is expected to lead their own project by the beneficiary. The representative of the Beneficiary that we are dealing with has 3 sons that are Eagle Scouts, has sat on Eagle boards....and thinks our SM is "out of his mind."

We have made multiple attempts to explain things to the SM.  He keeps replying with the same answer; "We don't allow Scouts to work on their Eagle project at the same time and place as other Scouts working on a project. Scouts have asked, and we don't allow it."  My question to him - who is this "we" exactly?

This is all very unfortunate. 

Edited by Carbenez

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Can you avoid this headache and get the equine therapy center to allow your scout to do this on a different day then the others?

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17 minutes ago, scotteg83 said:

Can you avoid this headache and get the equine therapy center to allow your scout to do this on a different day then the others?

Short answer...yes

However....the troop will still have an obstructionist SM making up his own rules.

I appreciate the perspective your question provided.

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I thought they were boys from the same troop! This is different. I mean, if the beneficiary said to do the project on day x without saying that two other troops would also be doing theirs on this day, how would anyone know?

One backhanded solution: call the other boys' scoutmasters and see if one of them will let your son transfer to their troop so he can do his project. It will set you back a dollar and some paperwork, and your son might not get along with the boys in the other troop -- but if push comes to shove ...

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@qwazse  They changed this a few years ago.  Now it's free to transfer an unexpired membership. 🙂  I think it actually cost councils more money to process the $1 payment.

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I don't think your SM is trying to be an obstacle.  The explanation I can offer that is probably what he is getting at, but possibly not explaining explicitly- there is a lot of issue that can arise when two scouts are working on projects concurrently at the same location.  If scout #1 is say building a handicap ramp as an element of his project, and scout #2 is pouring footings and building the deck/landing that the ramp from scout #1 is going to connect to, the ultimate question is who is really providing the planning and/or leadership? In other words, there is the perception that scout #2 is doing something that is necessary and intrinsically linked to scout #1's project, so therefore scout #2 was doing something that scout #1 should have done.  Remember, those who are going to be on the EBOR probably know little to nothing about the youth, nor the beneficiary, and are relying on the scouts to explain what happened and how they performed.  

My son and another scout from his troop did projects that were for our church.  The other scout had started his over a year before my son, and part of his project was rebuilding a ramp on the parish hall.  Part of my sons project was rebuilding a set of stairs on the parish hall.  Both the ramp and the stairs were attached to different sides of a stonework landing that neither were doing any work to.  When my son went to the district advisor to present his project plan, he was explicitly asked if the stairs physically was attached to the ramp- and that if the answer was yes, then my son either had to wait until the other scout had completely finished his project and come back and present again, or find something else to do for the reasoning in my example above.

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