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.
I agree @fredjohnson, Scouts should be evaluated solely on the leadership demonstrated during the planning and execution of the project. But having a complete process which requires evidence of detailed planning, does not necessary mean that BSA needs to create an onerous documentation requirement. What is currently in place is sufficient, they just need to put an approval of the project plan.
HOWEVER, there needs to be a mechanism in place at the council level to make sure this process is consistent and standardized. Because if BSA doesn't we end up with people like @andysmom has to deal with...
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.
Sounds like she's a great candidate for a BSA class on how to be an Eagle Coordinator. She simply cannot require anyone to come to her class. She can certainly require a meeting to approve the proposal, but her role is not coach, it's district/council rep to review and approve.
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.
A few things:
- No one approves the project plan and she cannot require it. She's clearly adding requirements.
- The project plan is NOT optional. The only time the word even shows up in the work book is in this sentence, "A project coach's involvement and review of your project plan is optional, but it can help you avoid many problems or mistakes." This means the review and involvement of the coach is optional, but the plan most certainly is not.
- If she rejects a project she needs to give a reason (if asked). The GTA says, "If requested by the Scout or his parent or guardian, an explanation of a proposal rejection will be provided in writing, with a copy sent to the council advancement chair and staff advisor. It will indicate reasons for rejection and suggestions concerning what can be done to achieve approval."
- Lastly, it is not "her" district. The GTA allows for someone else to pass judgement is she's incapable of being impartial or following the rules: "If the candidate believes he has been mistreated or his proposal wrongfully rejected, he will be provided a method of redress. This will include the opportunity for a second opinion and approval, either through another volunteer or professional advancement administrator, or the Scout executive, as determined by the council advancement committee or executive board."
In short, she can pontificate all she wants to, but any parent and unit lead with a backbone would take her one and get council to appoint someone who will follow the rules. If she's throwing up road blocks the council needs to know.
We had a similar issue once with a training chair. Several units tried to address the issue and she refused to hear our concerns and treated our guys like dung. So the units banded together and simply didn't participate in FOS that year. When asked why we told them. Within two months the council "retired" her, gave her a silver animal of some sort and found someone compassionate to fill her role.