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#41 fred johnson

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:38 AM

 

I think I see @backpack's issue with the BOR doing anything with regard to evaluating the project for any reason, other than a simply, cursory review.

 

The proposal signature area for Council/District says:

 

 

So this rep has already taken in to account the GTA and the pertinent sections quote by @fredjohnson. So the project is reviewed and approved. As others have pointed out when discussing the proposal versus the plan versus the final report, BSA does not require ANY pre-work review of the plan or the report and THAT is a problem. Many issues could be discovered if the Scout were to develop and have the plan signed off and not just the proposal.

 

Next is the approval of the final report and Requirement #5. The workbook says:

 

 
 
This means that the Requirements is signed off. This should be treated like a completed Blue Card or any other signed requirement. Remember, a Scout learns, is tested, reviewed and recognized. After the SM and beneficiary sign off on the requirement, the BOR cannot do a thing to revoke it.
 
They can find another basis to challenge him, but not on the project.

 

 

Ummm ... That is a desired reading, but not a clear reading of the explicit words.  As quoted, BSA GTA sections 9.0.2.8 says "Boards of review should " and BSA GTA 9.0.2.13 says "At the board of review, ...".   This is repeated in the BSA Advancement News that adds discussion and information.

 

Given BSA says "Boards of review", I'm going to go out on a limb and say they meant "Boards of review".   :)


Edited by fred johnson, 20 March 2017 - 09:39 AM.

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#42 NJCubScouter

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:42 AM

Read my post again. The Eagle workbook requires the Council/District person to read THOSE SAME SECTIONS and ATTEST to applying them. Note the quote above. 

 

And some of those same sections say that the EBOR can decide that Requirement 5 was not satisfied by the Scout, but that this would be very rare.  I would say "extremely" rare would probably be more accurate.


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#43 fred johnson

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:43 AM

Read my post again. The Eagle workbook requires the Council/District person to read THOSE SAME SECTIONS and ATTEST to applying them. Note the quote above. 

 

Yes, that is correct and that signature quote says "I agree on my honor to apply the procedures as written,".  Those procedures discuss how the EBOR can consider the project.    


Edited by fred johnson, 20 March 2017 - 10:08 AM.

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#44 fred johnson

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:46 AM

And some of those same sections say that the EBOR can decide that Requirement 5 was not satisfied by the Scout, but that this would be very rare.  I would say "extremely" rare would probably be more accurate.

 

Agreed.  

 

I must admit I cringed slightly when I read your reference to an optional "post-project review" by the district project reviewer.  It scares me as someone trying to make the process more sacrosanct or more important.  To be honest, the EBOR project evaluation is not a high hurdle to jump.  Things really have to be out-of-whack to fail. 


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#45 Col. Flagg

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:27 AM

And some of those same sections say that the EBOR can decide that Requirement 5 was not satisfied by the Scout, but that this would be very rare.  I would say "extremely" rare would probably be more accurate.

 

But there would have to be a process not followed by the Scout, missed by the SM or some other issue that goes against other sections of the GTA applying to the project and Eagle rank.

 

But assuming all the correct processes were followed in both the workbook and GTA, the EBOR cannot do anything about the project or Requirement #5, and that's my point.


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#46 Col. Flagg

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:29 AM

Yes, that is correct and that signature quote says "I agree on my honor to apply the procedures as written,".  Those procedures discuss how the EBOR can consider the project.    

 

Discuss, yes. But they can only take action if proper processes and procedures, outlined in the GTA for Eagle and the project, were not followed. Otherwise, they can discuss all they want, but the rules have been followed and the EBOR can only say "approved".


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#47 fred johnson

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:40 AM

Additionally, section 9.0.2.1, paragraph # 4, says:  

 

"Ultimately, however, the responsibility for success belongs to the Scout, and final evaluation is left to the board of review."

 

NJCubScouter ... Thanks for that reference.  I don't know why I could not find that immediately.  


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#48 Col. Flagg

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:57 AM

NJCubScouter ... Thanks for that reference.  I don't know why I could not find that immediately.  

 

Now we have the GTA out of sync with the Eagle workbook and signature process, and that's my point. You cannot have just one sentence that says "the responsibility for success belongs to the Scout, and final evaluation is left to the board of review", but have other passages elsewhere advocating that once something has been signed off on it is considered earned. There is an inherent conflict.

 

It should either say one or the other, having both leads to the very conflict we have now. I tell you, if an EBOR "failed" one of my guys, after having followed all the rules and guidelines laid down in the GTA, I'd be in his corner arguing all the way to National that they need to fix their GTA. 


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#49 fred johnson

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 12:03 PM

Now we have the GTA out of sync with the Eagle workbook and signature process, and that's my point. You cannot have just one sentence that says "the responsibility for success belongs to the Scout, and final evaluation is left to the board of review", but have other passages elsewhere advocating that once something has been signed off on it is considered earned. There is an inherent conflict.

 
Where does BSA say the Eagle project once signed-off something is earned.  There are general statements about requirements and not re-testing, but there are also clarifications.  BSA GTA has at least three clarifying paragraphs about EBOR evaluating Eagle projects. Generally, you can say a project is good when it's signed off.  But the SM and beneficiary signatures are an opinion.  It's left to the EBOR for final closure.

BSA has really done a good job with the EBOR and GTA. I was extremely impressed when it came out as it was a huge improvement.

 

I tell you, if an EBOR "failed" one of my guys, after having followed all the rules and guidelines laid down in the GTA, I'd be in his corner arguing all the way to National that they need to fix their GTA.


I'm sure you would be and rightfully so. At the same time, the EBOR would be reaching out to you immediately to ask what happened? Things really need to fall apart for a EBOR to not pass a scout.

Edited by fred johnson, 20 March 2017 - 12:05 PM.

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#50 fred johnson

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 12:08 PM

Discuss, yes. But they can only take action if proper processes and procedures, outlined in the GTA for Eagle and the project, were not followed. Otherwise, they can discuss all they want, but the rules have been followed and the EBOR can only say "approved".


EBOR can evaluate not only process and procedures, but also project impact and leadership. If a scout ventures out on their own, EBORs can still choose to pass even if procedures were violated. Similar, EBOR can send-back a scout that who's project was re-scoped too small or who did not show leadership for any one of many reasons.
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#51 Col. Flagg

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 12:27 PM

EBOR can evaluate not only process and procedures, but also project impact and leadership. If a scout ventures out on their own, EBORs can still choose to pass even if procedures were violated. Similar, EBOR can send-back a scout that who's project was re-scoped too small or who did not show leadership for any one of many reasons.

 

I get that. Remember, I said assuming a Scout, Beneficiary and Unit Lead follow the workbook and GTA to the letter, there's nothing an EBOR can do to the candidate...legally.

 

Here's my problem with the whole Eagle process in a nutshell:

  • Signing just the proposal, and not requiring an actual project plan AND approval, is silly. Much of this whole issue we are discussing can be avoided by mandating a proposal AND project plan, complete with detailed steps on how things will be done.
     
  • Approvals of such proposals and plans should ONLY be rescinded if there is an obvious violation of rules OR if Requirement #5 is not met as spelled out in the proposal and plan.
     
  • BSA's own literature consistently says that if a requirement or a blue card are signed off, then the award is considered earned. Yes, there are processes to follow if anything was signed off erroneously, but the process is clear. Sadly, as we've pointed it, that is not the same for Eagle Requirement #5.

NOTE: I tell all my Eagle candidates that their proposal AND plan should, at length, discuss how they will demonstrate leadership during the planning, development and execution of their project. I have them focus on 5 quantitative and 5 qualitative things that will demonstrate this is accomplished. This way if anyone -- even a EBOR -- tries to discount what they've done, they will have to counter with substantive and concrete examples where the Scout failed to meet Requirement #5.


Edited by Col. Flagg, 20 March 2017 - 12:29 PM.

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#52 MattR

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:07 PM

Wait a minute. I left a week ago after Fred said there was no worry about this scout passing his EBOR. Or did I just say eagle project? Hmmm. Fred, aren't you the one always saying we shouldn't add requirements and such? Isn't that what this is? At least no surprises after the fact, during the SMC? But this is worse.

 

One thing that should be noted is that the SM can be at the EBOR. He can't say anything unless someone asks him some questions. This is the opportunity to bring up other leadership the scout has done. I'd say talk to the people on the EBOR with the concerns before the fact, make sure the scout knows as well, and be there.

 

Col Flagg, I agree about the vague hand waving part of signing off on an idea and not better details. Our troop requires a plan with enough detail that if the scout were not there he could give it to someone else and they could do it. This is for the scout's own good. He would never miss his own project but having that detail is a good part of Be Prepared. Especially be prepared for the case where his plan is wrong or something does indeed change. The one that knows the most details about a project will be the best one to adapt to any unforeseen changes, and that should be the scout.

 

But the point here is that the plan has enough details that there are no surprises, like what this whole thread is.


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#53 NJCubScouter

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:31 PM

Col. Flagg, I think we are going around and around here, but I will go around one more time.
 
When the project beneficiary and unit leader sign the end of the "Project Report" (the third and final section of the workbook), here is what they are signing:
 
"In my opinion, this Eagle Scout service project meets Eagle Scout requirement 5, as stated on page 4 of this workbook."
 
"In my opinion". These are important opinions, and in the vast majority of cases they will effectively be the last word as to the satisfaction of Requirement # 5.  But officially, they are not the last word.
 
Compare this to the EBOR section on the Eagle Scout Application, and this isn't going to come out right, but here is what it says:
 
"REQUIREMENT 7. Successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
 
The applicant appeared before the Eagle Scout board of review on this date, and this application was approved. Month Day Year
Date
______________________________________________ Signature of Eagle Scout board of review chair
______________________________________________ Signature of council/district board representative (if applicable)"
 
No opinions here.  Just the approval of the application.  The EBOR has the authority to decide that in carrying out the project, the candidate did not demonstrate planning or leadership.  This should almost never happen.  If the previous steps in the process are done properly, it should never happen.  But, theoretically, it can happen.

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#54 NJCubScouter

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:47 PM

I must admit I cringed slightly when I read your reference to an optional "post-project review" by the district project reviewer.  It scares me as someone trying to make the process more sacrosanct or more important.  To be honest, the EBOR project evaluation is not a high hurdle to jump.  Things really have to be out-of-whack to fail. 

 

In my observations of how this is done in our district, it is for the Scout's benefit, both in theory and in practice.  It is done to make sure there are no surprises at the EBOR - or in your phrase, to make sure nothing has gone "out-of-whack".  The reviewer checks the completed workbook and makes sure things look in order.  I think they also go through a checklist of non-project items (like blue cards), again, just to try to prevent an issue from coming up for the first time at the EBOR.   They may also check the Application before it is submitted to Council (pre-EBOR), so it is always done before the Scout turns 18.

 

The one Scout in our troop who I am aware of as NOT having had a "post review" was my son.  He finished his project SO close to his birthday (I think the beneficiary signed off on Wednesday, two MB counselors signed off on required MB's on Thursday, and the last business day before his birthday was Friday), that there wasn't time.  He did pass his EBOR, with flying colors I am told, so the record of passing without a "post review" is 100%, but "1" is a pretty small sample size.   :)


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#55 Col. Flagg

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 01:51 PM

@NJCubScouter, I think you are obfuscating a few things here.

  • When the Beneficiary and the Unit Lead sign the report, they (the closest to the project) are attesting that the project meets requirement #5. On that we agree.
     
  • When the Unit Lead signs requirement #5 in the Scout Handbook he is saying it is done. Completed. Signed off. Just like he has 50 times previously from Scout to Life. Signed = Done.
     
  • Note the wording of requirement #7: "The applicant appeared before the Eagle Scout board of review on this date, and this application was approved". It does not say "review and approve the final report and Eagle project". It says the applicant "appeared" and the "application" was approved. Not the project. Not Requirement #5.
     
  • But this statement is what we disagree on: "The EBOR has the authority to decide that in carrying out the project, the candidate did not demonstrate planning or leadership." This is ONLY in the event that the Scout, or those advising him, did not follow the processes outlined in the Eagle Workbook or GTA.

Simply put, if I have a Scout that has followed EVERYTHING in the workbook and GTA to the letter, the EBOR better darn well rubber stamp his application approved. Why? They have no basis within the GTA to reject him. Any rejection has to be substantive and quantitative. Having followed all the processes I don't see how there could be any rejection.

 

Now, go off the reservation? That's a TOTALLY different story entirely.


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#56 NJCubScouter

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 02:11 PM

  • But this statement is what we disagree on: "The EBOR has the authority to decide that in carrying out the project, the candidate did not demonstrate planning or leadership." This is ONLY in the event that the Scout, or those advising him, did not follow the processes outlined in the Eagle Workbook or GTA.

 

I don't know where you are getting that idea from.  It is not what the GTA says.


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#57 Col. Flagg

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 02:44 PM

I don't know where you are getting that idea from.  It is not what the GTA says.

 

Sure it is. When you read all the applicable sections of the GTA and the Eagle workbook, it limits the scope and the instances under which an EBOR can reject a project or fail a candidate.

 

Look at my example. If a Scout, beneficiary and unit lead follow ALL of the directions in the workbook AND follow the GTA to the letter, there would have to be a minuscule set of circumstances -- which would need to be quantified by the EBOR -- in order to reject of fail a candidate. 


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#58 fred johnson

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 08:00 AM

Wait a minute. I left a week ago after Fred said there was no worry about this scout passing his EBOR. Or did I just say eagle project? Hmmm. Fred, aren't you the one always saying we shouldn't add requirements and such? Isn't that what this is? At least no surprises after the fact, during the SMC? But this is worse.


Yes, I am. But I treat this process is laid out specifically because you will see people saying things such as the following.
 

Much of this whole issue we are discussing can be avoided by mandating a proposal AND project plan, complete with detailed steps on how things will be done.


I cringe. I cringe not because of Col. Flagg's comment as much as my experience. I've seen scouts waiting MONTHS to get their eagle proposal approved. I've seen scouts being bounced around for months because committees keep providing feedback asking for more and more from their plan.  It was abusive hazing and adds little value.  IMHO, it got to the point that people thought everyone should have their project plan bounced back multiple times so they had the experience as if getting the paperwork was part of the core requirement.  The requirement is about service and leadership, not about paperwork.  
 
BSA has hit the right balance creating a thin light weight process.  The scout can focus on doing a project where they lead others. At the same time, protections are built in so that we make sure everyone is on the same page before lots of money or dollars are spent.  

 

Our troop requires a plan with enough detail that if the scout were not there he could give it to someone else and they could do it. This is for the scout's own good. He would never miss his own project but having that detail is a good part of Be Prepared. Especially be prepared for the case where his plan is wrong or something does indeed change. The one that knows the most details about a project will be the best one to adapt to any unforeseen changes, and that should be the scout.
 
But the point here is that the plan has enough details that there are no surprises, like what this whole thread is.

 

Yeah, I cringe when I hear that. Your troop can do as it will. Just don't justify it with how BSA teaches us to do things.   BSA has communicates very well that what you describe is not to be done.  I love the Eagle Project Workbook that documents to parents what to expect and what should not happen.  What you describe is communicated by BSA in the project workbook as a no no.  


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#59 fred johnson

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 08:06 AM

In my observations of how this is done in our district, it is for the Scout's benefit, both in theory and in practice.  It is done to make sure there are no surprises at the EBOR - or in your phrase, to make sure nothing has gone "out-of-whack".  The reviewer checks the completed workbook and makes sure things look in order.  I think they also go through a checklist of non-project items (like blue cards), again, just to try to prevent an issue from coming up for the first time at the EBOR.   They may also check the Application before it is submitted to Council (pre-EBOR), so it is always done before the Scout turns 18.

 

The one Scout in our troop who I am aware of as NOT having had a "post review" was my son.  He finished his project SO close to his birthday (I think the beneficiary signed off on Wednesday, two MB counselors signed off on required MB's on Thursday, and the last business day before his birthday was Friday), that there wasn't time.  He did pass his EBOR, with flying colors I am told, so the record of passing without a "post review" is 100%, but "1" is a pretty small sample size.   :)

 

I only cringe because I've seen so many well intentioned adult ideas go off track, gaining weight and self importance that they become a really bad experience.

 

For example, our district used to have a committee review Eagle project plans, taking months, each cycle adding more comments.  It did not add value.  But it did drive scouts away.  And those that went through it had a bad taste in their mouth.  It was never part of the BSA process.  Our district could have done it differently and made it a useful positive experience for the scout.  But people kept deciding to add their value.  Until the BSA 2011 GTA revision and Eagle workbook, no one ever said "Let's eliminate this step.  It doesn't match why the scout is doing the project."  


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#60 andysmom

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 08:56 AM

I only cringe because I've seen so many well intentioned adult ideas go off track, gaining weight and self importance that they become a really bad experience.

 

For example, our district used to have a committee review Eagle project plans, taking months, each cycle adding more comments.  It did not add value.  But it did drive scouts away.  And those that went through it had a bad taste in their mouth.  It was never part of the BSA process.  Our district could have done it differently and made it a useful positive experience for the scout.  But people kept deciding to add their value.  Until the BSA 2011 GTA revision and Eagle workbook, no one ever said "Let's eliminate this step.  It doesn't match why the scout is doing the project."  

 

We are going through this now.  We have recently been redistricted and the our new DAC has her own way of doing things.  I took a Life to Eagle class from her at University of Scouting a couple years ago and it was very clear she did not understand the process as outlined by national.  She recently told our Scoutmaster that if a boy wanted Eagle they had to go through her and do it her way.  She requires a Life to Eagle class, we tell our boys about it but if they don't go she is threatening to hold them up, I see that as adding to the requirements.  She has her own ideas about what an Eagle Project should be.  We have 2 excellent Eagle mentors in our troop who work with our scouts on their proposal to be sure it fits within the guidelines and helps them iron out any issues, our committee is thorough and responsible (even though we have a couple members who are crazy with what they want to see in a proposal).  None of our Scouts have had their proposal turned away at the district level and I have been told that our boys are some of the most well prepared scouts that our district has seen.  So we get this new DAC who insists on meeting with all candidates personally to review their projects, on her schedule, and in her town (about 45 minutes away).  She wants to approve the project plan before the boys begin their project as well.  We told her that the project plan is "optional" and she replied that it isn't if our scouts want to make Eagle in her district.  We have no idea what to expect as far as the project review goes because she is a "my way or the highway" person and requirement 5 is so vague that she can dismiss the project for her own reasons.


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