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What is acceptable as a "completed" Eagle project

eagle project

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#1 fred johnson

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 02:32 PM

I can't find criteria in the BSA Guide To Advancement for accepting good completion criteria in the scout's Eagle proposal.

What if a scout defines a project that is part of a sequence of a larger project. What if the scout does parts A & B (70%), but the beneficiary needs to get part C (30%) completed to make it useful?

Or there is a much much larger project (parts A-Z) and the scout does part K. Part K is useful, but only in context of completing parts A-Z.

Does a scout's Eagle project have to stand by itself? Is it acceptable for the scout and beneficiary to negotiate a hand-off criteria that leaves the beneficiary to do significantly more to make the project useful?

If the beneficiary doesn't deliver their part, then the scout's project never benefited anyone.

I've seen several projects that trigger these questions. I'm looking for better guidance on how to evaluate such projects.

Edited by fred johnson, 26 January 2017 - 02:33 PM.

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#2 CalicoPenn

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 02:58 PM

A lot of these questions should be answered before the Scout get's approval to start their project.  My opinion is that a scouts project should stand alone (which then eliminates most of these questions).

 

That said, if a Scout has been approved to complete a portion of a larger project, and he has completed his portion, even if the larger project has not (yet) been completed, then he should be evaluated on his portion only - as long as the beneficiary has signed off that they approve what the Scout has done, then that would meet my threshold for completion.

 

To answer the specific concern about the Scout's project benefitting someone if the beneficiary has not completed their part, I would disagree and say that the Scout's project has benefitted someone - it has benefitted the beneficiary.  It may be something that brings the beneficiary closer to completion of a project that they haven't the full budget for yet - the project may not be fully completed by the Scout's BOR, but that ball is not in the Scout's court, it is in the beneficiary's court - and they may be facing delay's we just wouldn't be in the know about.  Being a Scout, I'd rather look at it as the beneficiary hasn't completed their portion YET, but will in the future.

 

The other thing to keep in mind is that even if a Scout does a 100% separate project from anything else, and the beneficiary signs off on it, there is no guarantee that it will actually benefit anyone else, or even survive for long.   It would not surprise me for a moment to hear that a Scout created a food pantry at a church that was torn out within 6 months to expand classroom space, or that a Scout created a natural garden, complete with park benches at a local park only to have it converted to a soccer field the next year.  I'm sure these things have happened - probably more often than we want to admit.  This is probably the main reason that my number one criteria of completeness is acceptance by the beneficiary.


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#3 Stosh

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 03:21 PM

I believe that what is being sought here is a definition of scope.  if the scout is expected to do park K as agreed upon by the beneficiary, once that's done it has no further expectations of any other criteria.  The scout did what was expected of him.

 

I know of a lot of scout projects that were "just a part" of something far larger and find nothing wrong with the scout's work in doing just a part of it.

 

I once had an Eagle evaluate military graves to make sure the stones were readable, present, damaged, etc. in the local cemeteries and submit applications for new ones that needed replacement.  His project encompassed 5 cemeteries comprising about 25% of the total scope of cemeteries in the county.  He had 19 stones placed in the cemetery.  Okay.  That was 25% of the cemeteries in the county.  What about those in the rest of the state?  And what about those in the next state and maybe even in the nation? 

 

The boy did more than what was necessary to show leadership by doing just 25% and that was more than not doing anything.  His work made a nice article in the local as well as state wide newspaper.  Could more be done?  Yep, but that's up to the next scout that wants to prove his leadership.  Will the job ever get "completed"?  Well I have been working on it as a personal project for 15 years now, the part the Eagle scout did was a big help.  I'm not done yet, but the work continues on.

 

Oh, if anyone thinks that this Eagle did a project for his ASM (my position at the time) guess again.  He did it for the County Veterans Administration was they were totally elated the boy took the time to do this work.  The people who place flags every year for Memorial Day do not report back when they can't find a grave for a veteran that's supposed to be there, is damaged, etc.  They have hounded me ever since if there's going to be another Eagle project coming their way!


Edited by Stosh, 26 January 2017 - 03:26 PM.

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#4 qwazse

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 03:31 PM

Technically, the project need itself not be complete.

 

Circumstances may have impeded success, but if, in spite of that, the scout showed leadership an EBoR could approve it. These would be extremely rare circumstances. For example a boy gets the materials for a bridge over a stream, lines up workers, then an earthquake triggers a landslide redirecting the stream and burying materials; however, in the process the boy directs some rescue effort or redirects traffic -- forestalling death. The SM might ask to convene a board, who would still review the project with the boy to help reflect on what he learned.

 

So, if incomplete projects -- in extenuating circumstances -- could warrant board approval, certainly projects that set the stage for future work could ... and probably should.

 

This is one reason boys should try to make rank as soon as possible. The Eagle project might just be step 1 in his high school career. The subsequent projects for his Hornaday award might be steps 2-5.


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#5 MattR

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Posted 26 January 2017 - 06:01 PM

This isn't exactly what the OP is about but we just want a clear description of what the goal of the project is. If the beneficiary signs off on it, and it's very clear what the project is then there are no surprises at the end. I'm not a fan of the new eagle project process because the council can sign off on a vague project and then there are surprises. I can see how some flexibility is important because plans change, but we started seeing, since the new changes in the planning, plans change along the lines of the scout just deciding he didn't want to do all of what he said he'd do. The beneficiary doesn't understand what an eagle project is about and so they just sign off on it and sometimes refuse to work with scouts again.

 

Consequently we went back to not approving a project until it's well defined. After a project is approved by the council a scout still has more to do before we'll sign off. The result is that it's very clear what needs to be done and signing off is usually a non issue. If the beneficiary agrees to it, we say there's enough leadership, and it's a valid beneficiary, then there's no issue. In all honesty, that's what people want before they do any project with someone they haven't worked with before so I don't know why things changed.


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#6 Tampa Turtle

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 07:43 AM

Needs to stand alone and have an achievable goal. This should all be settled before hand. We have had several projects helping a church that needs a lot of work and a neglected military graveyard. The church projects might be re-landscaping the west side of the property, painting the sanctuary, refinishing the floor. The Cemetery projects have been gradually resetting the tomb stones that have settled--it is a huge project to do just a dozen. As the stones weigh 300 pounds each and (sometimes) extend three feet into the ground it is an engineering challenge to just get them up and out of the ground without damaging the stones.

 

After several of these projects (which met with some difficulty) one boy made several sets of special block and tackles and lifters for the cemetery for future use (this will go on for a while). He had to research hundred year old drawings of old manual equipment, design with lumber and hardware today, and build it. It looked like 14th century medieval tools. The boys that worked on it were fascinated and learned a lot about old school leverage, etc. It was a good project that will help future projects but stood on its own.

 

I'd stay away from projects where Scout A prepares the wall, Scout B primes the wall, and Scout C paints the wall. 


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#7 SSScout

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 12:44 PM

In the planning/approval stage,  the Scout should be talking to his "guides":  his Eagle Mentor,  the Troop committee, the beneficiary, the County Permitting Office, the neighbors, the Park Naturalist....   any and all who might give counsel about what his possible project SHOULD include, and what it SHOULD look like when done..  

Once the planned project is given the go-ahead (see above),  then when the beneficiary signs off and says "thank you", the project is done and the Scout is on his way to finish the Personal Management Merit Badge he should have started last year....


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#8 qwazse

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 01:24 PM

File under context is everything ...

... I'd stay away from projects where Scout A prepares the wall, Scout B primes the wall, and Scout C paints the wall. 

Depends on the wall.  One of my childhood SPL's took on the project of beginning restoration of the steam locomotive at the historical society. The walls of the cab were painted with 1/8" tar pitch. The only way to lift it was with propane torches and putty knifes ... grueling work in pretty close quarters dodging hot, sticky goo. (Talk about being tarred for serving your community. :blink: ) There was no way, even given thousands of man-hours, we could have gotten that monstrosity to the painting stage.

 

But, it was safe to say that without a handful of scouts who were willing to set an example of cheerful service (and bragging rights to crawling around and in a 100 year old fire box), the inspiration to continue restoration over the necessary years would have never been there. And when that whistle finally did blow, and the thing rolled down the track, you betcha mom was sending the newspaper clippings to wherever her son was getting his advanced degree at the time.


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#9 Stosh

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 02:30 PM

To answer the question directly.  If the Beneficiary is happy and signs off, the project is completed.  If anyone else wishes to second guess the Beneficiary they can do so but they do so without just cause.


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#10 4CouncilsScouter

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 04:22 PM

You're best bet in determining whether an Eagle Scout project is finished would determining the following:

  1. What were the goals/parameters of the project when approved by the unit and by the project beneficiary?
  2. Were the those goals/parameters met or accomplished to the satisfaction of the project beneficiary?

Those would the rules of thumb I would use.

 

Hope this helps!


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#11 Stosh

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 04:27 PM

Welcome to the forum @4CouncilsScouter


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#12 elitts

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 11:04 AM

The other thing to keep in mind is that even if a Scout does a 100% separate project from anything else, and the beneficiary signs off on it, there is no guarantee that it will actually benefit anyone else, or even survive for long.   It would not surprise me for a moment to hear that a Scout created a food pantry at a church that was torn out within 6 months to expand classroom space, or that a Scout created a natural garden, complete with park benches at a local park only to have it converted to a soccer field the next year.  I'm sure these things have happened - probably more often than we want to admit.  This is probably the main reason that my number one criteria of completeness is acceptance by the beneficiary.

 

Yup.  My project was the restoration of an enclosed playground at my high school that was used for kids during adult education classes.  The whole thing was torn out 1 year later to put in some portable classrooms for 2 years while they built a new wing.


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#13 Stosh

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 03:04 PM

I had a boy restore an old memorial park that had passed hands from a veterans group to the county and then to the city.  It was a shamble.  He went in and did a great job cleaning it up.... but when he was all done the city took a look at it and found a foundation that would "complete" what the boy started.  Now it's a fantastic park with walking trails, fishing pond, picnic shelters, benches, gardens, etc.  It would have never happened if the scout didn't start the process out in the first place.  It looks nothing like what the scout ended up with, but he always reminds me, he started it, the foundation just finished it.


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