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#61 SSScout

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:15 AM

Yep, another example of my #1 adage, "the work is done by whoever shows up".

 

The most one can do is point to the BSA printed requirements.   Proposal?  Plan?   If the Troop Committee/Eagle Mentor/Eagle Advisory Board/DAChair/  reads and hears the Eagle candidate explain his idea,  they/he/she can advise (more word HERE,  more duct tape HERE) and point out (will you have a first aid kit on site?) and question (is it really wise to back fill before you lay the pipe? ) .

 

If the DAC is a problem to some folks,  maybe the District Committee and District Chair (they showed up, right?) should be approached.


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#62 fred johnson

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:17 AM

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.

 

My sympathies.  All I can say is read the whole Eagle project workbook.  Read Eagle, project and EBOR sections of the BSA Guide To Advancement (online in PDF form).  Both have explicit statements about what scouts and parents can expect.  Also, it identifies what troops and districts can and can not do.  Take notes from your reading !!!!   I'd also recommend reading a few key BSA Advancement News articles.

 

http://www.scouting....dvancement.aspx

 

My favorite is BSA Adv News August 2013 ... "Eagle Project Proposal Approval: Keep it Simple, Make it Fast" ... http://www.scouting....13_Aug_Sept.pdf

 

.......................

 

Now, that's BSA.  That's what we signed up to following (rules, guidelines, procedures) ...  BUT ... getting the other person to agree and work per those BSA published statements ??? ... good luck.  ... I know a neary-by district where scouts give up and multiple families I know wish they hadn't started scouting because of how they were treated during the final Eagle journey.  

 

Choose your fights wisely.  Sometimes it's better to jump through the hoop to get it done instead of fighting the good fight.  Your call.


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#63 NJCubScouter

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 11:49 AM

  • 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.

That's what the process was until a few years ago. I believe the reason they changed it because there were Scouts doing detailed planning consuming many hours, only to be told the idea for the project did not meet the requirement and to choose another idea. The current edition of the workbook limits the amount of time and effort the Scout must expend before they know whether they are going to be able to proceed with the project in the first place. That seems reasonable to me.
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#64 Col. Flagg

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 12:21 PM

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.  ;)


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#65 Col. Flagg

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 12:27 PM

That's what the process was until a few years ago. I believe the reason they changed it because there were Scouts doing detailed planning consuming many hours, only to be told the idea for the project did not meet the requirement and to choose another idea. The current edition of the workbook limits the amount of time and effort the Scout must expend before they know whether they are going to be able to proceed with the project in the first place. That seems reasonable to me.

 

But it leads to the issues we have of rejection. It is a simple process followed in the business world on a daily basis.

  1. I have an idea. I develop a brief proposal. I complete the basic elements of the proposal so I can articulate it's scope, impact, cost and how I will demonstrate leadership.
     
  2. I get feedback on the proposal, make changes and resubmit my modified proposal. I get the proposal approved.
     
  3. I know create my DETAILED plan, based on my approved proposal, to show how I will accomplish all that I have articulated in the proposal.
     
  4. I get feedback on the detailed plan, make changes and resubmit my modified detailed plan. I get approved.

Result: Beneficiary, unit lead and district/council have seen both my proposal AND project plan (detailed) and APPROVED them. They are award of how I will accomplish my plan and can evaluate me based on my results as articulated in my final report. It is a quantitative process which has measurable milestones. 


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#66 NJCubScouter

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:08 PM

I don't think it would necessarily be wrong to require approval of the plan, but I think the BSA was trying to strike a balance between "not enough" and "too much." Part of the problem was that some reviewers, unit leaders, etc. were requiring much more than others, and the BSA was trying to achieve some sort of standard that would be roughly equivalent for all Scouts in all councils.
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#67 Col. Flagg

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:22 PM

I don't think it would necessarily be wrong to require approval of the plan, but I think the BSA was trying to strike a balance between "not enough" and "too much." Part of the problem was that some reviewers, unit leaders, etc. were requiring much more than others, and the BSA was trying to achieve some sort of standard that would be roughly equivalent for all Scouts in all councils.

 

I get that. But they have failed miserably as evidenced by the adults demanding more, not following guidelines and adding to requirements. BSA would be much better off offering a standard class that all council Eagle reviewer would be required to pass (note, not just take) which grinds in to their heads the process, parameters and prohibited actions from some of these wanna-be Napoleons.


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#68 fred johnson

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:36 AM

I get that. But they have failed miserably as evidenced by the adults demanding more, not following guidelines and adding to requirements. BSA would be much better off offering a standard class that all council Eagle reviewer would be required to pass (note, not just take) which grinds in to their heads the process, parameters and prohibited actions from some of these wanna-be Napoleons.

 

IMHO, BSA did an incredible job.  BSA added to the workbook key information that scouts and their families need.  The only comment I'd have is they should move the "Navigating" section up to the first half right after the "message to the scouts and parents or guardians".   The workbook includes the rules.  It includes how to navigate the process.  It includes keys about what to expect and recourse. 

 

So so many adult leaders have always wanted to raise the bar to show how much they value and respect the scouting program.  The project is about community service and leadership.  As a plan is by definition more detailed than the proposal, I fear the implications of asking plans to be reviewed and approved.  It would be a return to the old days of months to get a project plan approved.   


Edited by fred johnson, 22 March 2017 - 11:07 AM.

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#69 gumbymaster

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:59 AM

 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.  ;)

 

This may very well be the best use of FoS $ I have ever heard of.  A mechanism for unit(s) to force change at a district or council level when needed.  I guess that means my units would need to have a decent level of giving to make this a credible and effective threat.

 

Thankfully, I haven't yet encountered these types of horror stories that would require this type of response.


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#70 NJCubScouter

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 11:11 AM

This may very well be the best use of FoS $ I have ever heard of.  A mechanism for unit(s) to force change at a district or council level when needed.  I guess that means my units would need to have a decent level of giving to make this a credible and effective threat.

 

I was thinking the same thing about my troop.  Reducing our level of FOS donations would not be much of a threat.  :)


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#71 Col. Flagg

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 11:36 AM

IMHO, BSA did an incredible job.  BSA added to the workbook key information that scouts and their families need.  The only comment I'd have is they should move the "Navigating" section up to the first half right after the "message to the scouts and parents or guardians".   The workbook includes the rules.  It includes how to navigate the process.  It includes keys about what to expect and recourse. 

 

So so many adult leaders have always wanted to raise the bar to show how much they value and respect the scouting program.  The project is about community service and leadership.  As a plan is by definition more detailed than the proposal, I fear the implications of asking plans to be reviewed and approved.  It would be a return to the old days of months to get a project plan approved.   

 

Again, it does not have to be an onerous process adding in the approval of the plan. 

 

Look at what we have today. We simply get a proposal approved and some councils/districts take eons to approve. It is NOT the process, it's the people running it and mismanaging it. THEY need the training, but it's not the process that's broken.

 

IF we could get the council/districts reps the proper training AND compel them to follow it, THEN adding in a project approval process would eliminate a great many of the "lack of detail" issues we run in to during the EBOR.

 

This may very well be the best use of FoS $ I have ever heard of.  A mechanism for unit(s) to force change at a district or council level when needed.  I guess that means my units would need to have a decent level of giving to make this a credible and effective threat.

 

Thankfully, I haven't yet encountered these types of horror stories that would require this type of response.

 

70 families x $100 per (on average) x 4-6 units = a minimum of $28,000. That's a significant hunk of change that got council's attention. Plus, when word got out the action grew past just 6 units.


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#72 fred johnson

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 06:52 PM

... THEN adding in a project approval process would eliminate a great many of the "lack of detail" issues we run in to during the EBOR.

 

There really isn't a lack of detail issue EBORs.  Virtually all I've seen work are just fine.  Just rare rare situations where EBORs need flexibility.


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#73 Stosh

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 06:53 PM

As I sit back with my cup of evening joe I began wondering how in the world boys got to be Eagles before the "project" came along.  Now I wonder how in the world the boys are going to be Eagles now that this hoop jumping extravaganza has been entrenched by the adults in the program.


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#74 RememberSchiff

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 06:42 AM

As I sit back with my cup of evening joe I began wondering how in the world boys got to be Eagles before the "project" came along.  Now I wonder how in the world the boys are going to be Eagles now that this hoop jumping extravaganza has been entrenched by the adults in the program.

 

The Eagle "service project" requirement was not added until 1965. Before then, merit badge work. From 1958 to 1965,sixteen of the 21 were of the required category.

 

In my experience back then, Eagle service projects were mostly solo efforts - a scout's own labor. The scout already had experience planning and leading patrol and troop service projects. NO GSS (OMG I used ladders and power tools). No workbooks, no Eagle advisors beyond SM.

 

http://www.troop97.net/bsaeagle.htm


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#75 Stosh

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 07:19 AM

The Eagle "service project" requirement was not added until 1965. Before then, merit badge work. From 1958 to 1965,sixteen of the 21 were of the required category.

 

In my experience back then, Eagle service projects were mostly solo efforts - a scout's own labor. The scout already had experience planning and leading patrol and troop service projects. NO GSS (OMG I used ladders and power tools). No workbooks, no Eagle advisors beyond SM.

 

http://www.troop97.net/bsaeagle.htm

 

Sorry, @RememberSchiff, I was attempting a bit of sarcasm.  I remember the days before the "Projects".  There wasn't any big talk about doing service projects, we just did them and didn't think about them.  I guess now that's the only thing that really marks the Eagles of today.  They do a lot of extra hoop jumping, paperwork, haggling with adults to sit in judgment as to whether their efforts are worthwhile and finally getting the same recognition as the pre-1965 scouts.  Kinda makes one wonder if it's all worth the effort just to put it on one's resume and college application.

 

Yep, Second Class Scout Stosh here, never got to FC because of Morse Code which today is totally obsolete and isn't even required for a Ham radio license anymore.  Somethings get easier others don't.


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#76 RememberSchiff

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 07:40 AM

 

Yep, Second Class Scout Stosh here, never got to FC because of Morse Code which today is totally obsolete and isn't even required for a Ham radio license anymore.  Somethings get easier others don't.

http://usscouts.org/...eastronauts.asp

 

So far, the same number of Second Class scouts walked on the Moon as Eagles did.

  • Eagle Scouts: Neil Armstrong (Apollo 11) and Charles Duke (Apollo 16)
  • Life Scouts: Edgar Mitchell (Apollo 14) and David Scott (Apollo 15)
  • First Class Scouts: Alan Bean (Apollo 12) and Alan Shepard (Apollo 14)
  • Second Class Scouts: John Young (Apollo 16) and Eugene Cernan (Apollo 17)
  • Tenderfoot Scouts: Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin (Apollo 11) and Harrison Schmitt (Apollo 17)
  • Cub Scouts: Charles "Pete" Conrad (Apollo 12)

Edited by RememberSchiff, 23 March 2017 - 07:41 AM.

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#77 Stosh

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 10:36 AM

John F. Kennedy was the first U.S. President to be a Boy Scout, reaching the level of Star Scout.

As of 2014, Gerald Ford was the only President to reach the level of Eagle Scout.

Both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were Cub Scouts.

 

http://www.scoutoram.../eag_famous.cfm


Edited by Stosh, 23 March 2017 - 10:44 AM.

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#78 DadScouts

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 02:02 PM

Actually had an EBOR have to consider whether or not the project requirement was done or not.  A Scout was warned several times, in writing, about pending age out date and Eagle.  (Got Life with less than a week to spare before.)  Delayed Eagle work (projects & MBs) until the last minute.  With the new (3-4 year old system) his proposal/concept was approved and he gave a Scout promise to create a project Final Plan and have it reviewed by someone, but never did.  Project was parent driven.  His project was the first one ever in the history of our Troop where the beneficiary gave a "cease & desist" order mid-project construction because the beneficiary was very concerned on how badly the project appeared to be executed.  Parents came to the rescue again; one workday session the only 3 people there were the Scout and his 2 parents.  The Scout even asked the beneficiary to sign off on completion of the project before it was completed with the promise that he would come back later and finish the work!  Concerns raised with the Scout on where his plan was during this time period and a parent, not the Scout, replied it was not required per BSA policy.  (A plan was written and presented ultimately but strong suspicion the "plan" was written after work had started.)  EBOR had serious discussion on whether or not leadership was demonstrated during the project to fulfill the requirement.  Very messy, but it can happen, and frankly should happen in rare circumstances.  Hopefully never again but I suspect at some point it will.  

 

I frankly prefer the old method where the plan was approved first but we never experienced the horror stories with District approvals like many have suffered, which lead BSA to change the policy on Eagle project approvals and the overall process.  We strongly, very strongly, recommend that the final plans be informally reviewed prior to construction and 95% of the Scouts do so, which has resulted in a 100% success rate for projects avoiding problems.  


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#79 Stosh

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 03:13 PM

So, with the example from @DadScouts what's the value in the project?  The boy got the eagle and it made no difference between him and the 95% other boys out there doing it correctly.

 

One would think that the scouts could show leadership in ways other than a project.  Obviously this project did nothing towards showing any leadership whatsoever.  And yet the box got checked.

 

I'm thinking the older scout that plans out a high adventure float to the BWCA will need to show more leadership than building a gazebo at the nursing home and does more for scouting than media PR for the community.  Permits, licenses, menus, budgets, travel plans, training, etc. to get his patrol to the BWCA?  Real Eagle in my book, but then I don't make up the rules to allow a boy to run around town with a can of spray paint and a stencil says, "No Dumping, Drains to River!" and everyone runs around and spray paints the sewer drains for a couple of hours in the afternoon and the City Street Dept. saves a half day or so of overtime.


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#80 fred johnson

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 08:49 AM

Actually had an EBOR have to consider whether or not the project requirement was done or not.  A Scout was warned several times, in writing, about pending age out date and Eagle.  (Got Life with less than a week to spare before.)  Delayed Eagle work (projects & MBs) until the last minute.  With the new (3-4 year old system) his proposal/concept was approved and he gave a Scout promise to create a project Final Plan and have it reviewed by someone, but never did.  Project was parent driven.  His project was the first one ever in the history of our Troop where the beneficiary gave a "cease & desist" order mid-project construction because the beneficiary was very concerned on how badly the project appeared to be executed.  Parents came to the rescue again; one workday session the only 3 people there were the Scout and his 2 parents.  The Scout even asked the beneficiary to sign off on completion of the project before it was completed with the promise that he would come back later and finish the work!  Concerns raised with the Scout on where his plan was during this time period and a parent, not the Scout, replied it was not required per BSA policy.  (A plan was written and presented ultimately but strong suspicion the "plan" was written after work had started.)  EBOR had serious discussion on whether or not leadership was demonstrated during the project to fulfill the requirement.  Very messy, but it can happen, and frankly should happen in rare circumstances.  Hopefully never again but I suspect at some point it will.

 
Broken situations are not the good basis of modifying rules.  Sounds like ... Scout was less interested in earning Eagle than the parents.  EBOR could have been well justified in not passing for many reasons.

 

My experience is broken situations are arrived at after a long trail.  Avoiding bad situations is for the journey, not after you arrive.  

 

I frankly prefer the old method where the plan was approved first but we never experienced the horror stories with District approvals like many have suffered, which lead BSA to change the policy on Eagle project approvals and the overall process.  We strongly, very strongly, recommend that the final plans be informally reviewed prior to construction and 95% of the Scouts do so, which has resulted in a 100% success rate for projects avoiding problems.

 

Yeah, I strongly recommend sharing the plan with the troop and with others.  There is no way to enforce that though.  Just like the rest, the scout can blaze out on his own path and it is evaluated afterward for advancement.  


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