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mk9750

Questionable Eagle Project

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Sharon,

 

I think your reference to a committee is at the district level. I think Councls and Districts have the ability to decide how best to handle these approvals, and I know some require an appearance before a committee. In our Council, the District Advancement Chair for each District decides how to approve these. Ours approves all of them himself. If what you refer to as the committee is at the unit level, all the requirment says is to have the booklet signed by a representative of the committee. the CC is always an acceptable representative of the committee. Out Committee has also authorized me, as the Advancement Chair, to sign Eagle booklets.

 

Occasionally, the ADC has made this approval over the phone. He did this in my son's case, when he was going to be away for 3 weeks. Normally, three weeks notice is plenty of time to arrange for his signature, but it wasn't in my son's case. The signature was obtained as soon as the AC got back. He even visited the work site and made a small recomendation to my son.

 

In the current case, I still am not sure how the DAC approved this project, or even if he did. All I have to work from is what I have been told by people, including boys in the Troop. That's why I want to meet with the boy before I go any farther. I don't have the whole story, and certianly not his side of it.

 

The disposition of the kits he had made is a big question to me. If this is for profit, and / or if the DAC didn't know about or understand it, regardless of approval, I fear a problem down the road.

 

I am having lunch withe the SM in a few minutes. I am going to let him know that we have to do something, and soon.

 

Mark

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I was on an eagle board that turned a scout down because of the procedural aspects of the way the project was handled. This board had not problem with the project, just the way it was handled. I voted to approve this scout's eagle.

 

In your situation, I don't think you would be out of line to call the DAC directly and find out more about his alleged approval, including the date of the telephone conversation if possible.

 

If a scout or his parents are intent on abusing the system, it is hard to deal with. A lot of hurt feelings will result and you are already there. I think that one of your concerns being the integrity of the program is absolutely proper, regardless of what happens in this case.

 

One troop I was in initiated an informal procedure where a life scout would present his idea for his project to a friendly group of disinterested adults (ASMs and the like). This avoided fiascos such as you describe and resulted in better planned and executed projects. All the scouts who did this found it very helpful and were genuinely appreciative. Often the projects were reduced in scope to something that was more doable. Of course this is a little late for your situation.

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This truly is a mess. Here are my thoughts. Surely we all want Eagle projects to reflect the stature of the Eagle rank but in reality they vary greatly. To me it is not so much the project; as does the project give the Scout ample opportunity to use his leadership skills? The project is the vehicle for continued leadership development of the Scout. Maybe this project is weak or lame, but compared to what?

 

I agree the DAC should be informed as to the circumstances to this particular project. However the way that this DAC handles approvals of Eagle projects lends itself for problems such as these. Our DAC or his appointee will only sign off on the project after meeting with the Scout in person and discussing the project. I do not think the District has any recourse at this time. The Scout has all of his approvals and the project is complete. This process has been highly unusual.

 

The final recourse is the BOR. Hopefully, somebody from the District will be on the BOR. In our District, the DAC or his appointee runs the Eagle BORs. Your District representative should have the full story on the project prior to the BOR so that an appropriate line of questioning for the Scout can be developed. The questions should be developed so that the Scout reflects on his project and the Scout should determine if he has fulfilled the spirit of the Eagle project. Let him decide if he should be granted the Eagle award. He may surprise you. If he says he doesnt deserve it, you have a fine young man there. Asked what he thinks can be done to make the project worthy. And go from there. If he says he fulfilled everything to his satisfaction then the BOR can deny him. But be prepared to tell him in writing what he has to do and it what time frame to pass. Or finally based on his answers to the other questions, the BOR can pass him. I really believe if the boy is given the chance to evaluated himself, he will not feel worthy of the Eagle rank. Then there should not be any finger pointing.

 

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Point taken, each Council/District/Troop does things according to standards set within each entity.

 

We, in our troop, have the boys sit before a BOR prior to presenting his request for a Project Approval BOR by the District Advancement committee. (That's the standard of our council executive board, that each district have a BOR for project approval prior to the project and a BOR for Eagle rank approval)

 

For the troop BOR, the boy has a chance to perfect his presentation method, get help/suggestions from different eyes than the SM and ASM, and AC of the troop, and he becomes more comfortable going before a group of strangers, when he's well prepared. There are questions, there are pictures (usually) and when the Scout and the BOR members are satisfied that the boy is actively planning and working toward the goal, the book is signed by me, the troop CC. (Remember, that's the nature of a BOR to HELP the boy attain his confidence?)

 

Then our district AC is contacted, by the youth, to schedule an appointment to review his project package. That person schedules the youth's BOR for project approval and the youth notifies the SM who must attend with the youth during the presentation.

 

The whole process of scheduling, begins again after the youth completes the project. This time there is no troop committee board, the SM, CC, and Advancement chair for the troop simply review the write up, IF he requests it. The scheduling of an appointment with the District Eagle Board Chairman, the alerting the SM to attend, all fall on the youth.

 

We are guided by the "The Council" #33071B page 13, the guidebook, "The District" #33070A pages 8 & 9, "Troop Committee Guidebook" #34505B,

"The Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook # 18-927C (given out at our local council service center)and finally the "Scoutmaster Handbook" #33009.

 

Does it mean that every council, district, or troop follows the same procedures? Good heavens no! But are we satisfied that each boy that makes it through the process is Eagle Scout? Oh, absolutely!

 

Have we had boys disappointed/hurt/angry because the had to follow these procedures? Not in my 27 years in this district (I've often been called to sit on those Eagle BORs for our District.) They are always telling us how much they learned, how well prepared they are for their life in college and the job market.

 

Yes, I wear glasses and I'm so glad to sing "I can see clearly now...." I would never presume to tell anyone else how to run things, but we here don't seem to have the challenges that brought on this thread, so maybe we're not so bad off, after all!

Sharon

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SM406,

 

Excellent points. My big question though still remains why not try to take care of the locally with the Scout on an informal basis before it ever gets to his BOR?

 

One of the big reasons I want to handle this right now either way is because his BOR is likely 3 - 8 months off. He has yet to start Personal Management or Personal Fitness, and I believe he has 3 or 4 other badges left to do. Add to the time to do all his MBs the lead time between submitting his application and his BOR (about 3 weeks in our District), too much time will have past to make the conversation meaningful, and with enough memory of all of the facts to have it intelligently.

 

I spoke with the SM at lunch. I am going to sit down with the Scout and ask all of the questions for which I have only sketchy information. I am going to document the answers, and document what I advise him to do. If the Scout balks, or if the parents call to complain, I will send what I have documented to the DAC.

 

Mark

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Mark,

 

From your posts it appears you are in a tenuous situation with this boy and his parents. So I would proceed carefully from this point on. I agree there is a lot of time to pass before his BOR. If you meet with the boy, again take your self out of the situation and just talk to him about other Eagle projects, his thoughts on them, and then ask him his thoughts about his. I think if I was in your situation I would avoid any discussion about not following procedure and his parental involvement. He probably is already aware of all of it and may already be embarrassed by it all. The last thing he wants right now is any hint of being condemned for it. Possibly couch your discussion as a post project review in preparation for his BOR in a couple of months. Again if you can get him to honestly evaluate his efforts, he may surprise you. See if he will admit he is deserving of the Eagle rank. After all, we want this Scout to succeed (in spite of his parents). Hopefully he has the character we all desire in Eagle Scouts.

 

SM406

 

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Unless you have solid proof of some wrong doing, my recommendation is to butt out. Unless you can show he did something wrong all your doing is stiring up bad feelings. Let this be a lesson learned and scout on.

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nldscout, I think your message is confusing. On one hand you advise for him to butt out. Then you concede that it is OK to proceed if he can establish wrongdoing. I submit that in order for him to establish anything, he will have to risk 'stirring up bad feelings'. Do you see the bind here?

 

In his original post, he said clearly that the boy violated council procedure. That alone justifies a conversation with the DAC. And it is clear that final approvals have not yet been signed on the forms - there is plenty of time to address all this. I would agree with you that apparently Mark has already approached the boy about this issue and may not likely improve the situation with a repeat. However, I believe that Mark is within his responsibilities to confirm a few things with the DAC. Then the DAC can take the matter from there.

 

Mark,

As for the parents, I make sure my parents know, from Tenderfoot on, that progress and advancement is primarily the responsiblity of the boy. Parents can be interested and can help as much as needed but the boy must do the work and request such things as conferences, approvals for MBs, etc. Parents can provide all the encouragement they want but the boy is finally responsible. Especially for Eagle. It has worked well so far, actually most parents seem relieved. Some of the boys, too.

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Here's where we stand:

 

I spoke with the Scout last night. I framed the conversation as trying to help him, which I am, if that hasn't been apparent. I let him know that I was often used to review the details of Eagle projects by other guys in the Troop, and that he may not have known I had been helpful to other guys, and that if he wanted me to go over the details of his project with him before he had to turn his application in, I'd like to try to help. He said he would like me to do that for him, and we set a date after he gets back from summer camp to do this.

 

He said the DAC has signed his booklet. That is a major plus, as if the DAC actually saw the write up, it's more likely that all is OK. I resisted asking him questions about the sale of the birdhouses, figuring that going down that line of questioning last night, without the booklet and any other material in front of us, was going to be construed as antagonistic, and that's not what I want to be. It might be possible when he goes home and tells his parents I offered to do this with him that they will feel it is antagonistic, but hopefully all will be well.

 

This guy is a good kid. As I've said in the first post, I don't think he cares one way or the other about being an Eagle Scout, except to please mom and dad. But he reacted exactly as I hoped he would when I approached him last night - He accepted the offer of help. Now I just hope that everything really is up to snuff. But so far, the first half of the minefield has been negotiated successfully.

 

Mark

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Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't the Eagle Project Workbooks and rules governed by National? And no latitude given to each council so the program is standard?

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Ed,

 

With a few exceptions, I think you are right. The exceptions I can think of are, for instance, that Each Council can determine how Eagle BORs are conducted, and of course, there are no minumums as to hours or effort, just that it has to demonstrate leadership and be of service.

 

Is there something in my posts that lead you to believe that some aspect of our normal process does not meet the booklet requirments? It is certain that the project having been started before a signature by the DAC is not kosher. And as I speak to the Scout about his project in depth, I am certainly going to point out that there is a potential problem there. But it was the DAC that signed the booklet, and the DAC who will chair the BOR. During the discussion after the BOR, I will be bringing up this issue. And because I will, I will be trying to get the Scout to determine for himself that he might want to consider doing things "the right way".

 

But other than that, I don't think I have presented anything to say that the standards the booklet require are going to be ignored. And hopefully, not even that one will be.

 

Mark

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Packsaddle,

I don't see any conflict. I said clearly unless he can show wrongdoing, he should butt out. The more I read this, the more I see an adult who doesn't like what happened. Did the SM sign the project book, YES he did! Did the CC sign the project book, YES she did! Did the district Advancement Rep Approve the project, YES he did!

 

I tell you as a SM, if I approved it and you cam to me with this I would have to tell you to leave it alone. Not every Eagle project is what we think, or some Giant grand project that some think they should be. I see an adult questioning a youth over an approved and completed project.

 

I still say he should BUTT OUT! Sorry but thats the way I feel.

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The dist advancement chair should not sign off any any project that dose not come up to the national standards. The responsibility for final approval of an eagle rests at the district level. The Eagle Review Board should explain what is needed to pass if a project (or anything else) is not acceptable. Most cuncils and national will approve any application that is signed off, only checking reg. time and badges. If your area is letting scouts become Eagle on poor projects you need to call, send letters, and email until your system is fixed.

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Mark,

My point was this isn't one of those National policies that can be altered by the Council 9with the exception of the BOR) like the liquid fuels policy. National says OK but my Council says no. Not insinuating anything else.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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