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Eagle Project: Scout sees a need or Organizations sees funding

eagle project

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#1 RememberSchiff

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 05:36 AM

Maybe I am an old grey-beard but this bothers me.

 

I have noticed more "outside" groups advertising or even directly approaching troops with "Eagle projects". Sure this has happened in the past but from "inside" groups - parents, the CO, the scout's school or church...and I frowned on that too. IMO, the scout from his experience helping others should see the need for his Eagle project, not be provided with it. Character-building.

 

Now these "outside" groups are public organizations that a scout could observe a need and develop his own Eagle project if he ever had prior contact, but these "outside" groups are scout-savy enough to promote their needs, some even have plans in hand with cost-estimates.

 

All they need is money and who better to raise the funds via online funding than an Eagle scout candidate?

 

...or so what, scout got his Eagle and "outside" group got their (whatever), a win-win.

 

My $0.01 for being grumpy.


Edited by RememberSchiff, 04 October 2016 - 05:39 AM.

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#2 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 07:17 AM

Yes, it's frustrating. And some of the "projects" are not really Eagle quality, more of a Good Turn than anything.

 

I too like it when a Scout takes initiative, and does a project from scratch in an area he's interested in. Best example, which was a short term success and long term failure, was an attempted reforestation project one of my Eagles did. Dang if he didn't bust his butt doing it. Just wish the tree guards he made per Forestry Service standards worked.


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#3 NJCubScouter

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 09:14 AM

It would be great if every Eagle program came from the Scout's own original idea, but from what I have seen, most don't, and it's not part of the requirement.


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#4 qwazse

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 09:59 AM

Victims of our success. With more boys earning the rank, organizations recognize the name.

 

What's a pity is they miss whole troops of scouts who would gladly do the service but aren't interested in the rank.


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#5 NJCubScouter

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 11:25 AM

...or so what, scout got his Eagle and "outside" group got their (whatever), a win-win.

 

You could look at it that way.  Or you could choose to look at it as, Scout planned and developed a project (even though someone else came up with the idea) and gave leadership to others in carrying it out, AND he had to surmount the challenge (a BIG challenge for some kids, and a definite character-building experience) of explaining in writing what he was going to do and why, and how, and then explain what he did, in order to complete the workbook... AND he got his Eagle, and the outside group got their whatever.

 

Does that make you a little less grumpy?


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#6 DadScouts

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 11:27 AM

We see this but unfortunately not a big impact since organizations approach the troop or leaders and not Scouts directly.  We call them "Off the shelf" projects since they are all ready to go and the Scout doesn't have to do any planning, just executes.  A local elected official contacted me with help and I politely explained the Scout needs to come up with his own project so a thanks but no thanks reply.  She understood.  Rarely do these ready made projects happen fortunately since they tend to be poorly done since the Scout isn't self-motivated to do a good job. 


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#7 CalicoPenn

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 01:17 PM

I think there is a continuum involved here and where something lands on that continuum might be the breaking point for me.

 

At one end of the line, there are a lot of organizations that may benefit from an Eagle Scout project or two but never mention that they are open to being a beneficiary - and a lot of Scouts may not even think to approach them to ask (I think many of us are familiar with the way one Scout from a Troop "breaks in" to an opportunity with a local nature center or school and the next thing you know, 4 other troop members are doing projects for the same group instead of seeking their own sources).

 

Next on the continuum might be organizations that "advertise" that they are open to hosting Eagle Scout projects.  I have no issues with this kind of "advertising" as it lets Scouts know who the interested parties are in their area.  I've had good luck with a couple of local groups (one a nature center, one a food bank) that just announce in their newsletters that Eagle Scout projects are welcome and let the Scout visit and come up with their own ideas for a project to pass along.

 

I don't even have issues with the next level, where an organization not only says they are Eagle Scout Project friendly, but have a few ideas for projects they'd like to see done as long as they aren't dropping a ready made project in the Scout's lap.  The aforementioned nature center usually has a couple of project ideas on hand - a couple of note was a "sampling dock" - a small dock (with railings) built from shore over the pond where school groups could take dip nets and sample the pond about 5 feet from shore - and a bird blind overlooking a marsh.  No plans were provided so the Scouts had to design the dock/blind, and work with the nature center to decide on the locations they would be put.  Both Scouts were excited about doing something for the nature center and were excited about the projects they picked to do - they weren't assigned to them, they were just suggestions. 

 

I have to agree that I would have problems with what I see on the far end of the continuum - an organization who approaches a Scout/Troop with a specific, fully planned, shovel-ready project that just needs to be funded/equipped and put together.  I think that's not in the spirit of the projects.  I cringe whenever I hear someone at a meeting suggest that a project they have planned might be a perfect Eagle Scout project.


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#8 RememberSchiff

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 02:26 PM

You could look at it that way.  Or you could choose to look at it as, Scout planned and developed a project (even though someone else came up with the idea) and gave leadership to others in carrying it out, AND he had to surmount the challenge (a BIG challenge for some kids, and a definite character-building experience) of explaining in writing what he was going to do and why, and how, and then explain what he did, in order to complete the workbook... AND he got his Eagle, and the outside group got their whatever.

 

Does that make you a little less grumpy?

 

What I am seeing is the Off-the Shelf, shovel-ready projects that DadScouts and CalicoPenn described. :(


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#9 NJCubScouter

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Posted 04 October 2016 - 03:01 PM

What I am seeing is the Off-the Shelf, shovel-ready projects that DadScouts and CalicoPenn described. :(

Well, if that is truly the case, then the problem is not that the Scouts are not coming up with their own ideas (which they are not required to do), the problem is that the troops and district are approving projects that probably do not meet the requirement because they do not allow the Scout to demonstrate the ability to "plan" and "develop" a project.  The project is already planned and developed.  But that's not the fault of an outside group that is trying to be helpful and get a (whatever) in return, nor is it really the fault of Joe Scout who saw his friend do a shovel-ready project and thinks that's the way to go.  The problem is that the "approvers" of Eagle projects need to draw a line, and it's a tough thing to do when you have had a string of past projects that do not meet the requirement but got approved anyway.


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#10 MattR

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 09:03 AM

I agree with NJ, our district will not accept a project that someone else planned. Many years ago we saw a couple of projects which involved nothing more for the scout than to find labor. We let those go because we had approved them but we tightened things up after that. Now, the scout needs to show leadership in the planning as well as execution. What that usually means is they at most get a vague idea of what the beneficiary wants and they have to go talk to people and figure out what will work. The best ones are still the ones that the scout completely sees the problem and drives the entire thing but that always can't be done. After all, the beneficiary typically knows their organization better than the scout.

 

There are some projects that come from the heart and are just incredible. I had a scout just finish one that was related to a brother that died in an accident many years ago. This scout is the most disorganized kid in the world but his project came off perfectly. I think he knew from the day he joined scouts that he was going to do an Eagle project for his brother.


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#11 DadScouts

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Posted 05 October 2016 - 02:48 PM

Yes, Scouts have "no idea" what to do all the time.  Simple "writer's block" that needs to be overcome.  Our Life-To-Eagle person is good about killing immediately the maintenance work that doesn't qualify.  Scout is now bummed out his project is dead.  Perfect time to introduce new ideas.  Just ask the Scout what groups he participants in.  Sports, church, music, nature, etc.  Still nothing?  Then ask about family members in need or who have struggled - are grandparents in a nursing home where some activity areas could be built.  What charities has the Scout or his family members volunteered for in the past?  A little bit of brain storming usually finds a cause the Scout believes in - once that happens the Scout then takes it from there and will even push a square peg through a round hole to get the beneficiary to accept their first ever Eagle project.  Some don't. 

 

50% of our Scouts' projects never get past the proposal stage for one reason or another and then the Scout is better prepared to then go to a different beneficiary with a similar or different project.  Yes, just have to stop the shovel ready weed pulling and painting projects and then force the Scout to think and be creative a little bit.  They will get into their own idea 10x more than shovel ready.  Even if a project isn't the biggest and the best all the mini-failures and rejections along the way teach the Scout the life skill of project management.  Our best Eagle in the past decade had one of the less inspiring projects ever - but it was his 4th attempt with a 4th beneficiary.  The first 3 failed to no fault of his own or BSA's.  (A church folded, another church didn't own the land it turns out the church used anyway, a non-church said yes then later said no, etc.)  He still learned a lot and demonstrated leadership. 


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#12 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 06 October 2016 - 09:07 AM

My Eagle had his first idea collapse on him due to no funds and support and had to 'punt' to a more canned and achievable project. A lot of 'wasted' meetings and preparation but I think he learned a lot.


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