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How to address gaps in Eagle project


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#1 dfolson

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 08:34 PM

When a District approves an Eagle project proposal, they usually don't see the completed project until the BoR.   

 

What would you do if you were to chair an Eagle BoR when after reading the project report knew that the Scout did not:

 

Do any planning or development of his project.  It was handed to him turn key from a city looking for labor.

Did not follow any of the District suggestions for changes.

Did not follow the directions of the city (to wait for 1 week after applying herbicide before planting - instead did entire project in 1 day) 

 

 

There are a few more points but that is enough....  

 

How can a District avoid these issues if the unit and beneficiary sign off on a project that may not meet the requirements.  The Council checks that the report is there but not necessarily the content. Now as the District rep, I am questioning whether the project meets the requirements before the board has even been scheduled.

 

 

 

 


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#2 Back Pack

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 08:40 PM

And we see another reason the proposal AND plan should be required sign off.

If you can't cite the section of the GTA violated then I'm not sure you have any basis. I'd review the GTA and cite all sections you think we're violated. Otherwise it's just opinion.
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#3 dfolson

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 08:44 PM

9.0.2.3 No evidence of planning or development

9.0.2.11 Routine labor is not normally considered appropriate for a project.

9.0.2.13 How does this meet requirement #5 – no evidence of planning or development.

9.0.2.14 No evidence of proper risk management


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#4 qwazse

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 09:22 PM

Why avoid the issue? Tell the boy and his SM that his project had shortcomings and the board will not convene to approve his advancement, but rather to outline what he should do on his next (and first real Eagle) project. Put it in writing.

One of two things will happen, the boy will attempt to do a better job next time, or he'll file an appeal.
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#5 dfolson

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 09:29 PM

Yes,  the problem is I am not the District Advancement Chair, and guess what? His 18th birthday is in 1 week!  I would like to do just as you suggest however.


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#6 Back Pack

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:10 PM

Well this is what happens when the kid has a bad coach. You can't hold it against the kid. He should have been coached better on his planning and execution. BSA adds to the problem only requiring the proposal signed off. If the beneficiary and SM are okay with the project then the BOR takes place. Ask him what he did. The GTA allows for boards to question scouts who obviously didn the work but may not have articulated the process or result. Trust the Scout and let him have is day. BOR must be granted.
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#7 MattR

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:34 PM

This is rough situation. Nobody wins. And you get to be the bad guy.

 

To be honest, I'd look at the rest of his scouting. If the reason he did such a lousy job was because he is just lazy and everyone cut him slack, then I wouldn't feel bad about rejecting it. If he's a good scout and the adults dropped the ball, then I'd just hold my nose and sign it. And then I'd get the adults together and figure out how to prevent this in the future.

 

If you decide to reject it then don't feel bad. If he appeals and gets eagle then good for him (or more likely his parents) at least your name isn't on it. You volunteer, you do your best, and that's it. Don't beat yourself up over this.


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#8 qwazse

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 05:27 AM

This is rough situation. Nobody wins. And you get to be the bad guy.
 ....

I disagree.
By not getting an award when failing to meet requirements, the scout wins a valuable lesson.
The board wins its dignity, and the award gains real value.

However, like Matt says, there may be more to this than what you see on paper. So, communicate.
But never say sorry. A spade is a spade.
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#9 krikkitbot

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:25 AM

I believe in scouting once something is signed, it is deemed completed. 

 

The plan was approved and signed off.

The completion was approved and signed off.

 

 

The lesson here, in my opinion, is for the adults to not sign documents if the requirements have not been met. You cannot punish the youth for the shortcomings of the adults. 


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#10 Col. Flagg

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:09 AM

We had this discussion in another thread. I agree with @krikkibot that once signed, the requirement is met and the proposal/plan is approved. I also personally do not believe the EBOR has any standing to "fail" a Scout UNLESS it was documented that the Scout failed to meet the requirement.

 

For example, Section 9.0.2.7 says:

 

 

It is acceptable for the coach or the advancement administrator responsible for approval—if he or she becomes concerned the project will not meet the requirements or it will not be completed to the satisfaction of the benefiting organization—to contact the Scout and his parent or guardian, or unit leader and, as appropriate, a representative of the beneficiary. However, even though the project coach may provide guidance critical to success, final design issues are ultimately between the Scout and the beneficiary. For limitations on the coach’s role, see “Eagle Scout Service Project Coach,” 9.0.2.9.

 

This would excuse the Scout not using any of the suggestions given. They are called "suggestions" for a reason; they are not required to be used. Also, the onus here is upon the district/council "advancement administrator" to contact the Scout about any project short comings. If that didn't happen, the benefit of the doubt goes in the Scout's favor.

 

As to whether he gets an EBOR or not, this section makes it clear:

 

 

If it appears changes will cause results to fall below what is required, then cautionary advice is in order. Except under extreme circumstances, it is not acceptable for unit, or council or district, approval to be withdrawn. If the young man decides to strike out on his own, this is his prerogative. At some point, responsibility must take over. The board of review decides whether planning was sufficient and if the requirement was met.

 

So the EBOR is granted and the project is reviewed. I *do* think, however, that the last sentence flies in the face of the mantra "once it is earned, it's earned" mantra. Once a requirement is signed off at ANY rank, even Eagle, it is considered done. Same with MBs. BSA should make this section clearer if they mean for the EBOR to be the last stop for approval. They will avoid this very situation is Scout know there's even a whiff of a chance of a completed, signed off project being rejected for some reason by an EBOR.

 

There is no denying an EBOR (9.0.2.13 Evaluating the Project After Completion). Under this section the Scout is allowed:

  • A BOR.
  • The chance to update or make additions to his project to meet concerns.
  • The right to let the project stand as is for review.

Lastly I will note this quote:

 

"However, in determining if a project meets requirement 5, reviewers must not require more planning and development than necessary to execute the project. These elements must not overshadow the project itself, as long as the effort was well led, and resulted in otherwise worthy outcome acceptable to the beneficiary."


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#11 qwazse

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:16 AM

I believe in scouting once something is signed, it is deemed completed. 

 

The plan was approved and signed off.

The completion was approved and signed off.

 

 

The lesson here, in my opinion, is for the adults to not sign documents if the requirements have not been met. You cannot punish the youth for the shortcomings of the adults. 

Not so. Something could be signed falsely. Or the signer may not have understood what was being signed. Or the implications of the signature might not completely fulfill intent of the requirement.

 

Using a less nuanced example, if a PL signs off on compass requirements after his scout completed an compass course at a local club, but the course merely crisscrossed flat open land and did not involve measuring the height of a tree or breadth of a ravine, the board must conclude that the scout is not yet a first class scout. They must suspend the review, put in writing why. and tell the scout what he will have to do (i.e. in this case, measure some objects).

 

In @dfolson's case the troop's SM should not have signed the application because the bold section of requirement 5 was not done.

If not the SM, then the CC.

If not the CC, then local council should deny verification. Call the scout and unit leader right away, and explain what's missing.

 

The boy has one week to correct it. There may be more to this than what the boy wrote down. It could be that this beneficiary had a lot of political pressure to cut corners. If that's the case, the boy should make that clear. That would be a productive discussion point in an EBoR, as I'm sure many reviewers have been in the same position in their career.

 

But, to rubber stamp the application and let the kid be blind-sided at the BoR goes directly against the letter and spirit of the GTA.

 

I feel for the kid. This is a nation of deadlines. Which I hate. It leads to these crammed and crimped projects that deny the boy agency. I do think that the recent changes in the process help most boys, in principle, but sometimes we compromise pride to achieve punctuality.


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#12 Col. Flagg

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:34 AM

In @dfolson's case the troop's SM should not have signed the application because the bold section of requirement 5 was not done.

If not the SM, then the CC.

If not the CC, then local council should deny verification. Call the scout and unit leader right away, and explain what's missing.

 

Here's the problem though: The beneficiary, unit and district/council signed off on the Proposal and, I assume, the Final Report. If that is the case -- and it is unclear here if the latter was signed -- then it is the adults who screwed up here. 

 

@dfolson has the following issues:

  • Do any planning or development of his project.  It was handed to him turn key from a city looking for labor.
    This will come out during the EBOR. The GTA allows for a verbal attestation as to the planning and execution too. I don't have the citation off hand, but I am nearly certain it is in there.

  • Did not follow any of the District suggestions for changes.
    This is NOT a requirement and therefore not grounds for anything other than an adult getting their nose out of joint.

  • Did not follow the directions of the city (to wait for 1 week after applying herbicide before planting - instead did entire project in 1 day) 
    If the City was the Beneficiary and they signed off on the Final Report, this is merely a teaching point for the Scout, and NOT a reason to deny him an EBOR (which you can't do anyway) or to fail his project. ALL projects never come out as planned. THAT is the lesson these kids learn.

In the business world, if my client signs off on my work they are accepting that I did the job to their satisfaction. If they don't sign, I have to re-do it. We have a proposal and a plan to go back to that outline the steps and the end-state. Any "scope creep" (added requirements not in the contract) are not relevant and cannot be considered.


Edited by Col. Flagg, 31 March 2017 - 09:34 AM.

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#13 qwazse

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:44 AM

To follow-up on Flagg's interpretation.

 

It sounds like the BoR is set to proceed. So that meant that council did "verify" the paperwork.

Still, I think a good DAC would do the boy a service by giving him a "heads up" that there are deficiencies, and he will have to discuss those with the board.

 

The unfortunate thing is this pits the unit against the district. It's one thing if the CC tells the SM that its time to take the BS out of the BS of A. (Happened to one of our Eagle applicants once.) It's a whole other can of worms when the DAC has to call everyone to account.


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#14 Col. Flagg

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:47 AM

To follow-up on Flagg's interpretation.

 

It sounds like the BoR is set to proceed. So that meant that council did "verify" the paperwork.

Still, I think a good DAC would do the boy a service by giving him a "heads up" that there are deficiencies, and he will have to discuss those with the board.

 

The unfortunate thing is this pits the unit against the district. It's one thing if the CC tells the SM that its time to take the BS out of the BS of A. (Happened to one of our Eagle applicants once.) It's a whole other can of worms when the DAC has to call everyone to account.

 

Sounds to me like the DAC needs to get on his Eagle coordinator at the district level and the SM/TC need to get on their Eagle coach.

 

That said, you are right, the DAC can tell the kid where he *thinks* me may be lacking and give him this week to close the gap. Honestly, it sounds a bit less Pollyanna than it reads. 

 

Rather than looking for reasons to fail the kid, lets look for reasons to pass him.

 

[meant generically, not directed at anyone]


Edited by Col. Flagg, 31 March 2017 - 09:48 AM.

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#15 Stosh

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 10:31 AM

One of the main requirements of leadership in the project is to simply: "read the directions on the bottle".  Not paying attention to detail and setting oneself up for failure due to cutting corners is no excuse for overlooking a unsuccessful project.  If the misstep results in the beneficiary not signing off, then the project is not complete.  If all signatures are in place, the project is done.  It's up to the beneficiary to decide whether the project is successful, not some eagle coach that takes leadership and reads the fine print.  That's what the scout is supposed to be doing.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#16 MattR

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 12:18 PM

I reread this thread and I have a slightly different view on this than before. The adults dropped the ball but I'm not sure the adults could ever get this right given the process. As Back Pack said, the process isn't very good.

 

Tell me if this right: The district can be given a vague plan and they have to decide whether it's a valid project. After that the unit leader and the beneficiary are the only ones that can say whether a project showed leadership. However, the beneficiary likely has no idea what a valid project is and signing off might be the path of least resistance. That leaves the unit leader as the final arbiter.

 

Do I have this right? I realize I should know this but we do things differently. I won't let a scout start his project until I've seen enough preparation to know that everyone knows what's going on.

 

Anyway, what this gets down to is whether or not the SM really has the authority to decide what's a valid eagle project. If he does then the BOR should not have any say in this. If he doesn't then there's a problem with the whole process. The district runs the eagle BOR and shouldn't wait until then to say anything. We have had this discussion before and late feedback on whether a scout is showing leadership is not good. The district should decide when the project is done whether it was done right. And yet, the district has little say on the front end.

 

In the case of this project, apparently there were "suggestions" from the district. What does this mean? If the district is given a vague project is it possible to make anything other than a suggestion? Honestly, why did the district sign off on a project that was nothing more than organizing labor for a turn key project? Or was it a case of the district saying this is a turn key project, that won't fly, and so we suggest you do one of X,Y, or Z. If so, did the SM ever see this, since he's the one that decides if the project was done right? Can the district require enough detail so X, Y, or Z get into the project description? Could they even require that the proposal be rewritten?


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#17 fred johnson

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 12:33 PM

I reread this thread and I have a slightly different view on this than before. The adults dropped the ball but I'm not sure the adults could ever get this right given the process. As Back Pack said, the process isn't very good.

 

We've been through this time and time again.  Like the US constitution, the process isn't very good except when compared with all the other processes.  ... Every process will fail when pushed beyond the limits.

 

IMHO, district reviewers could do a better up writing on the proposal and adding explicit words about expected leadership and planning.  

 

In addition though, that's what the whole project is about.  It's documented everywhere.  It's documented the scout can strike out on his own AT HIS OWN ADVANCEMENT RISK.  If the scoutmaster failed to know leaderhip is expected, bad on him.  If the district failed to communicate it, bad on them.  But I really find it hard to believe that between the SM, district review and the explicit words written in the Eagle workbook, the scout did not know that significant planning is expected.  It's documented everywhere.  

 

What does happen though is people continually try to find the least, the minimum and how to skirt by.  I've had mothers ask explicitly "what is the minimum to complete it?" 


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#18 fred johnson

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 12:36 PM

To be honest, I'd look at the rest of his scouting. If the reason he did such a lousy job was because he is just lazy and everyone cut him slack, then I wouldn't feel bad about rejecting it. If he's a good scout and the adults dropped the ball, then I'd just hold my nose and sign it. And then I'd get the adults together and figure out how to prevent this in the future.

 

If you decide to reject it then don't feel bad. If he appeals and gets eagle then good for him (or more likely his parents) at least your name isn't on it. You volunteer, you do your best, and that's it. Don't beat yourself up over this.

 

This is the best answer.  I've seen it done before.  A really weak Eagle project passes because of other leadership demonstrated by the scout.  Then the EBOR does discuss with the SM and others what happened and tries to improve the situation.  But the EBOR does have the option to say we need more or we need a new project.  


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#19 dfolson

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 04:07 PM

The District only approves the proposal.  The Scout then plans, but the District doesn't see the plan until it gets to a BoR.  When the proposal was signed, the scout was advised - these are things to make sure you address in your plan to assure success.  All of which were ignored.  This is also the second such project the District has seen from the same beneficiary, so a discussion will be had with both the Troop leaders and the beneficiary.  When I spoke to the beneficiary about the amount of planning and development that was done by the scout he said - really very little as I hand led the scout all the way.  


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#20 Col. Flagg

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 04:24 PM

The District only approves the proposal.  The Scout then plans, but the District doesn't see the plan until it gets to a BoR.  When the proposal was signed, the scout was advised - these are things to make sure you address in your plan to assure success.  All of which were ignored.  This is also the second such project the District has seen from the same beneficiary, so a discussion will be had with both the Troop leaders and the beneficiary.  When I spoke to the beneficiary about the amount of planning and development that was done by the scout he said - really very little as I hand led the scout all the way.  

 

It sounds like the adults coaching this kid let him down. They are there to guide him and it sounds like that didn't happen.


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