This first post will be all about the Eagle Project process and procedures, including:
- Carrying out
Requirement 5 states: “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.” That’s all a project is. Those are all the restrictions we have on the project. This is the framework within which they have to work. If a boy can develop a project that’s based on and satisfies this requirement then it’s an Eagle Project.
Planning the Eagle Project
6 Points of a Great Project
If a boy finds a project that he genuinely cares and is passionate about, he will do whatever is necessary to excel. He should be aware of his surroundings enough to see what needs changing in his community and set out to fix it.
As the boy thinks of his project, he should find a way to make an impact on the beneficiary, even if it is only temporary. He should ask himself:
- How will this help the beneficiary?
- Can I make it better?
The Scout affirms that he promises to “be the leader of this project and to do my best to carry it out for the maximum benefit to the religious institution, school, or community I have chosen as beneficiary.” Encourage the boy to take a serious look at his project. He can ask himself, “Is this truly what the beneficiary needs?”
Patience and Planning
Planning and development require forethought, effort, and time—sometimes more than the execution does. The project should not be rushed. Slow down and pay attention to detail. Sometimes, for example if a boy’s birthday is quickly approaching, there’s not enough time to do a specific project. Find another one. However, if there is a chance for success, the Scout should be encouraged and guided to carry on through difficulties. A good test of many projects is to evaluate their complexity.
Every Scout is unique. Every project is unique. Each project is treated differently and gauged on the boy. What may be simple for one Scout could be an insurmountable task for another.
“Give leadership to others.” One of the purposes for the project is to demonstrate leadership. This could be considered a more important element for a Scout who has not yet established himself as a leader. This is why every project must be evaluated case-by-case on its merits and on lessons that will advance the candidate’s growth.
Cannot be only a fundraiser.
- How much effort is going into fundraising vs. serving? The scale should lean more towards service.
Cannot benefit the BSA.
Cannot be “routine labor”.
- Picking weeds at a football field (no) vs. maintenance during the entire season (yes).
Cannot be for a “For Profit” organization.
- Unless for the greater good of the community.
- This deprives individual growth. It must be a unique, separate project.
Collecting or gathering Projects
The same rules apply. The scope should be significant and the focus should be making a difference. A good collecting or gathering project usually results in many truckloads of donations. The Scout should also ask himself how it will be for the maximum benefit of the beneficiary.
We can’t change the requirements
“No Council, Committee, District, Unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirement.” Guide to Advancement, page 2
“Councils, Districts, and units shall not establish requirements for the number of people led, or their makeup, or for time worked on a project.” Guide to Advancement, 126.96.36.199
How do we encourage without altering?
Focus on scope.
- How many things does the Scout need to manage?
Focus on size.
- How challenging are each of these to manage?
Focus on “Spirit of the Project.”
- Promote growth and development in the boy.
This should not be just another service project. By the end, the boy should be extremely proud of what he’s done. He shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed to wear the badge because he didn’t really earn it.
Carrying out the Eagle Project
Use the Leadership Workbook (page 17 of the workbook) for all planning. Be extremely detailed in every aspect. Ensure that the beneficiary agrees on all aspects even after the approval. Follow the plan—do what you say you will do. Accurately account for all time spent by all volunteers, especially the Eagle candidate. It’s very important to write everything down, including the plan and the time spent. This will help the boy to remember everything and will give him a visual to make sure he’s doing what he and the beneficiary agreed.
Message for Beneficiaries
Navigating the Eagle Scout Service Project (page 25 of the workbook) is designed to help beneficiaries understand their role in the Eagle project. The Scout and his parents should review it. The Scout should also review it with the beneficiary and be prepared to address any questions and/or concerns.
Eagle Project Paperwork
Encourage the Scout and his parents to review this cover to cover. It will answer 80%-90% of their questions.
Section 1: Contact Information
Found on Page 9 of the workbook. Fill this out as completely as possible. You may not know all of the information right away. Fill it in as you learn it. These individuals are key players for the Scout in obtaining the rank of Eagle. They are also a great resource. When the Scout has questions, there are the people to contact.
Section 2: Project Proposal
Found on pages 10-12 of the workbook. This section should be detailed enough that it demonstrates the project has a reasonable opportunity for success. 1-2 sentences is likely not sufficient to help the approval committee understand the vision. The Scout should be prepared to discuss the proposal at the approval appointment. The document should illustrate his vision with little explanation from the Scout.
The proposal is what is actually approved, not the fully developed project. Some details may still be missing when the Scout obtains the five required signatures. He can get these signatures in any order as long as the district approval signature is obtained last. The proposal must be fully approved by the District before the Scout begins work on the actual project. Failure to do so can invalidate the project. Refer to Utah National Parks Council Eagle Advancement Procedures AC 04112015, Section 2.5 for further details on the proposal.
Found on pages 13-18 of the workbook. The Scout should note the suggestions and recommendations of the approval committee in his workbook. The more details the Scout has, the easier his project will be. When properly completed, these details should allow the Scout to turn to this section to answer any questions that come up with his project.
Section 4: Project Report
Found on pages 21-24 of the workbook. Scout should use this section to reflect upon his efforts. This will help him prepare for the questioning that will occur at the board of review. The Scout should read and review before signing as well as the beneficiary and Scout leader. Ensure that all signatures are in place and dated on or after completion date of the project.
Fundraising is allowed in support of accomplishing the primary function of the service project; however, The Eagle Project may not be just a fundraiser. What percentage of the project is raising funds vs. the actual project? The project should have a higher percentage than the fundraising. If a project can be accomplished without a fundraiser, it is encouraged that it be done so. Only the district advancement chair or their specific designee may approve a fundraising application (found on page 19 of the workbook).
Author: Aubrey Carpenter | Marketing Assistant, Utah National Parks Council