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fred8033

Eliminate the Eagle application?

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Posted (edited)

While doing advancement at the district and council level, I've met many wonderful scouters, both professional and volunteer.  These scouters are dedicated and do an outstanding job.

With that said, I suspect our council is fairly common about processing Eagle paperwork.  From the time the scout gives his application to his scoutmaster, and the scoutmaster drives it into the council office ... and then it gets reviewed by the council ... and then it is sent to the EBOR ... and the EBOR is scheduled ... and the EBOR occurs ... and the paperwork is returned to the council ... and the scout receives confirmation that national has approved his Eagle rank ... it takes between 9 to 12 weeks.   By far the biggest delay is shuffling paper around and re-checking data that is already in scoutbook / ScoutNet.  

So now with all units using ScoutBook, can we eliminate the Eagle application?  Heck, ScoutBook already has a report that mostly fills out the Eagle application.  The only two things on the application that are not in scoutbook are the reference letters and the project workbook.  Beyond that, shuffling the paperwork is just redundant extra labor that slows things down and also adds the risk of losing the paperwork of the project or the reference letters or the pictures.

Can we re-design the process and eliminate the Eagle application?  Can we take the 9 to 12 week turn-around and change it to 2 to 4 week turn-around ?   Can we save the labor, the gas, the postage, etc ?

Edited by fred8033
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Posted (edited)

We have had some scouts ask Why am I being asked to supply information which they already have?  I suspect more adult volunteers fill out this redundant form than Eagle candidates.

 

 

Edited by RememberSchiff

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Around the country, forms significantly more complex than this are submitted online every day. 

The only things keeping it from happening are time and money.  Someone has to expand the Scoutbook infrastructure and build the forms to make it work.  Not an insurmountable task - but like anything it takes time.

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If by streamline you mean eliminate most of it then yes, I'm onboard!  I'm on record in another thread as advocating for the elimination of the project workbook thing.  The application itself should absolutely be online.  Council's should commit to reviewing all Eagle applications within say 5 business days of their submission.  The reality is the first review should probably be automated with nearly immediate feedback to the submitting person of any errors noted, largely eliminating the need for a person at council to review other than say yep, it passed the check.

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1 hour ago, walk in the woods said:

... the first review should probably be automated with nearly immediate feedback ...

I agree.  When I look at the individual advancement report, it's already there.  It shows the dates for each eagle requirement, etc.  It evaluates whether the records indicate the scout completed each of the requirements.  

Here is what I think is needed.

  • Manual step still ... A "Ready for EBOR" review queue and screen ....  Council staff would have access to unit data and an ability to push "approved for Eagle board of review".  That approval should automatically email the contacts setup for in the troop (scoutmaster, committee chair, advancement admin), scout family (mom, dad, scout) and district advancement staff (district advancement chair, and other members).  That review could essentially check that each of the Eagle rank requirements were approved by unit leadership.
  • Automated ... "100% automated paperwork review" ... Once the last Eagle requirement before EBOR was approved by unit leaders, the system could automatically notify a new scout is ready for his EBOR. 
  • Supporting materials ... For now, the scout could bring supporting materials to his EBOR ... project workbook, pictures, diagrams, timesheets, other ....  The scoutmaster or other unit leader sitting in the EBOR could bring the reference letters and other non-scout-materials.  Long term, maybe a file repository could be created where we upload the project workbook, images and other related paperwork.  

It seems like this could happen fairly quick.  What I'm seeing is council staff is spending at least $25 or more per application to process an Eagle app.  ... plus postage.  Then add many weeks of delays as things bounce between people or wait for a human to do what is already done automatically in ScoutBook.  I think this 9 to 11 week turn-around could be reduced to 21 to  3 weeks.   

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12 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

Supporting materials ... For now, the scout could bring supporting materials to his EBOR ... project workbook, pictures, diagrams, timesheets, other ....  The scoutmaster or other unit leader sitting in the EBOR could bring the reference letters and other non-scout-materials.  Long term, maybe a file repository could be created where we upload the project workbook, images and other related paperwork. 

Are you proposing that an EBOR should be <gasp> more than a "celebration"?

https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2018/11/07/an-eagle-scout-board-of-review-isnt-a-job-interview-its-a-celebration/

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If it is anything like the Eagle project workbook, then no.

If it is a plain-old-asci standard (e.g. .XML), then yes. The scout could log on and download his/her own pre-filled app.

In fact, as soon as the last req is completed and logged by the unit, an E-mail with a pre-filled application could be sent to the scout.

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Turn around should be faster and more optimized.  I don't think the paperwork should go away for the reference letters and project workbook.  Those are the most insightfull pieces of information I get when going into an EBOR because I am not connected with the unit and don't know the scout.  You can tell a lot about a scout from his project book.

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33 minutes ago, Saltface said:

Are you proposing that an EBOR should be <gasp> more than a "celebration"?

https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2018/11/07/an-eagle-scout-board-of-review-isnt-a-job-interview-its-a-celebration/

I'm not quoting anything at all about the EBOR.  I'm saying the backend paperwork done by unit, district and council should be expedited.  Currently, it takes way too long and there are too many people touching the application with no value added.

The EBOR should continue as now.  If anything, the scout could take more responsibility for his EBOR by bringing his presentation materials with him into the EBOR.  Thus, making it more his EBOR that he actively drives than an EBOR that he just sits through.  

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Not sure how every council handles the process- the link below my be helpful on how our council handles the process.  I've been told on several occasions that our process follows the recommended process from National, but who knows.  Once the scout has their signatures, and notifies the District Advancement Chair the workbook & application are complete, scheduling of the EBOR begins.  Generally, if the notification is complete by the Friday of the 3rd week of the month, the EBOR gets scheduled for the third week of the following month.  The council gives a certificate the night of the EBOR to the new Eagle signifying the date and award- though it is not the "official" award, which does take several weeks for National to issue.    

https://www.mayflowerbsa.org/program/youth/advancement/

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54 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

.... Once the scout has their signatures, and notifies the District Advancement Chair the workbook & application are complete, scheduling of the EBOR begins.  Generally, if the notification is complete by the Friday of the 3rd week of the month, the EBOR gets scheduled for the third week of the following month.  ...

In our council, the eagle app is dropped off at the council office.  Then it's triage by council staff (who are experts in the process and very supportive ... but it takes time).   Then it's sent to the district via mail or district picks up.  At that point, two to three weeks have elapsed.  Then EBOR is considered for scheduling.  Sometimes it's a week.  Most of the time it's another several weeks.  The average to EBOR done right now is eight to nine weeks.  

I'd be supportive if we could directly deliver the Eagle apps to the district advancement chairs.  That would save at least two weeks of the processing.  But then again, it seems like it could be expedited even more ... drastically more.

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3 hours ago, mashmaster said:

You can tell a lot about a scout from his project book.

Maybe.  Not every kid is going to fit into a waterfall project management scheme with equal ease.  What if the kid is more at home with an agile style of project work?  If that's the case then I would expect a "poor" project workbook.  Not because the kid did anything wrong, it just doesn't fit his way of thinking.  I'd also argue there are way better tools that might be more applicable to youth today.  Why fill out a PDF (how 90s) when there are online project management tools available?

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6 hours ago, walk in the woods said:

Maybe.  Not every kid is going to fit into a waterfall project management scheme with equal ease.  What if the kid is more at home with an agile style of project work?  If that's the case then I would expect a "poor" project workbook.  Not because the kid did anything wrong, it just doesn't fit his way of thinking.  I'd also argue there are way better tools that might be more applicable to youth today.  Why fill out a PDF (how 90s) when there are online project management tools available?

Have you sat on an EBOR?  If not, I would suggest you do.  It is a great time to talk with the boy about what they were thinking, what went well, what didn't, and how they performed leadership on the project.  It is a discussion not an inquisition.

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