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How to address gaps in Eagle project


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#21 qwazse

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 07:54 PM

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.

The only way to know who let whom down is to hear from all parties.

Having never had an Eagle coach (and having done very little as a coach for son#2) I have no a priori reason to blame adults.

Edited by qwazse, 31 March 2017 - 07:55 PM.

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#22 MattR

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:47 PM

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?" 

 

You do bring up a good point. The BOR is there to ensure the SM did his job. On the other hand, delaying bad news is always frowned upon. You can't wait until the Star BOR to tell a scout he was a lousy PL. So why should the Eagle BOR be different? I guess it's because the district is interested in setting the standard but why do they wait until the BOR to get involved?

 

This is just proof to me that the new eagle project process has some problems. It doesn't help this scout but I'm glad we tell the scouts that they need to prove they are prepared before we let them start the project.


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#23 Back Pack

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:20 PM

The only way to know who let whom down is to hear from all parties.
Having never had an Eagle coach (and having done very little as a coach for son#2) I have no a priori reason to blame adults.


Adults built the process. The GTA says the scouts gets a guide, or at least an SM that understands the process. The district let him down too. Plenty of adult blame to go around. Seems like folks have already made up their mind the kid didn't meet the requirement.
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#24 dfolson

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:35 PM

So my real question is if the current process allows situations like this to happen, how do you avoid it?  Does the District have to check in with the SM and see how each project  is progressing?  Should the Eagle coaches check in with the district advancement teams?

 

Once the District approves the proposal, there is no check on the plan or the  execution until the BoR.


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#25 Stosh

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 06:00 AM

Seriously, people?  The coach let the boy down?  The SM let the boy down?  The approvers let the boy down?  Plenty of  blame to pass around as to why the boy screwed up?  Who's project it is anyway?  If the scout is to show leadership, why is he following the directions of a coach, the SM and council approvers and any other adult for that matter?

 

It sounds like everyone is trying to justify hovering scouters and parents using everything from blame checking to GTA.

 

I always thought and have directed every one of my Eagles, that this is their project, their opportunity to prove they are Eagle material and if everything goes to hell in a basket, it's no one's fault but their own.  I don't pick their projects, I don't "proofread" their proposals, I am very little involved in their project other than to answer questions THEY HAVE FOR ME.  I don't coach, I don't direct, I don't suggest, I only answer questions the best I can when they have them.  They get a booklet to read and follow, other than that they have to prove they are 1) a leader and 2) worthy of being called an Eagle. 

 

Even then I seem to gather up "mentor" pins along the way and for the love of God, I don't know why.  The only thing I can imagine is this might be the first major effort on their part where there's no one there to teach, guide, direct, instruct and they have to do everything on their own using their own resources and any success is dependent solely on them.

 

Of course there is plenty of pre-learning going on with the process.  From TF on through LIFE, these boys have been planning, doing and leading activities and service projects all along.  The Eagle project is merely their way of telling the world they were paying attention.


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#26 qwazse

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 07:42 AM

So my real question is if the current process allows situations like this to happen, how do you avoid it?  Does the District have to check in with the SM and see how each project  is progressing?  Should the Eagle coaches check in with the district advancement teams?

 

Once the District approves the proposal, there is no check on the plan or the  execution until the BoR.

The EBoR is the "check" that you're asking for.

There's this ongoing perception that every BoR should be completed the night that it is opened. Therefore, there's this constant build-up of literature and obligation of adults to avoid the positive experience of a BoR declaring that requirements have not been met.

You are hopefully going to hold hundreds of boards. If 99% of them approve their candidate, how is that a problem?

 

As a practical matter, our DAC occasionally has the floor at the boy-scout breakout session of round-table and gives us a general run-down of what types of applications have and have not been accepted. Getting the word out that you do reject applications from time to time is the best ounce of prevention that I can think of.

 

The only "structural" thing that I can think of to guarantee a scout an eventually successful BoR, if that's what he really wants, is to remove the age 18 deadline. (Sorry to those of you who are tired of my soap box.) Then reviewers can, without remorse, turn down a 17.9 year old, give him an adult application, and invite him to keep trying as an ASM until he gets it right. There will be no more farming out agency to adults, no more disputed circumstances, no more parents whining about how Little Johnny's career is ruined. If it really matters to him, let him get it done as Big John. I wonder how many thousands of these "rush under the wire" applications would ever even get submitted if nobody felt that deadline approaching.


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#27 DadScouts

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 10:57 AM

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.

The project is the "Eagle" Scout's responsibile, not the coach's.  

 

"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)"

 

I believe that is the Scout's issue.  

 

Sadly, for you, it is up to the EBOR to determine whether or not the requirement was met and if he didn't then he didn't.  (Yes, the EBOR can look towards other ways the Scout demonstrated leadership if the project is a weak one.)   


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#28 DadScouts

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 12:42 PM

So my real question is if the current process allows situations like this to happen, how do you avoid it?  Does the District have to check in with the SM and see how each project  is progressing?  Should the Eagle coaches check in with the district advancement teams?

 

Once the District approves the proposal, there is no check on the plan or the  execution until the BoR.

Current process had a potential flaw exactly how you described.  (Old process had a flaw in that some Scouts were spending tons of hours pre-approval on plans that never were approved.)  For our Troop I approve all proposals for our TC Chair.  I tell each Scout, with parent there, there is a flaw in that their plan and the requirement itself is formally approved at their EBOR and they can deny the requirement.  

 

The way to avoid this is to have their Final Plan informally reviewed and unofficially approved before construction by an ad hoc committee that the Scout picks and convenes.  This process is STRONGLY recommended but officially optional.  The Scout would select a recent Eagle who had a good project and 2-3 adults with project management experience.  Names are given to the Scout but up to him on who to ask.  Recommended that the Scout have this meeting no less than 10 days before construction so if they recommend changes/improvements the Scout has time to incorporate into his plan.  

 

So far 100% of Scouts who had their Final Plans reviewed have sailed through their EBORs.  Both Scouts who decided not to utilize this optional benefit have had issues at their EBORs - most likely since both Scouts (and their parents) were cutting corners every step of the way.

 

BTW, please no comments on "adding to the requirements" because we are not requiring anything, only recommending it for their benefit and to avoid exactly the problem raised here.  

 

I do ask every Scout after their project is done if their taking the time to have their Final Plan reviewed was a waste of time or not.  Half said the comments they got actually saved them time and hassle completing their project.  Half said they didn't save time but the time spent reviewing their Final Plan made for a better project.  Not a single Scout has said it was a waste of time.  


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#29 5yearscouter

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 02:21 PM

Waiting a week for the herbicide is no issue, perhaps the use of said herbicide was targeted on unwanted plants only instead of broadcast spread, so replanting right away did not effect the new plants.  Or that roundup was used, but roundup resistant plants were planted immediately after so there was also no effect.  Or the scout showed up, and as you said the city provided all the stuff, so the scout did was the city provided, an on their schedule. Or the city changed their mind when the scout asked them about doing this project on two weekends instead of one. You do not know these details until you review, and if the city signed off, it is likely that the replacement plants didn't die due to the herbicide.

 

I really don't care that this is a turn key project where the scout did very little to plan.

We have things like blood drives all the time, where a scout CAN'T do anything except advertise, recruit volunteers and maybe provide snacks and thank you's, and on the day coordinate people signing in and standing in lines to do whatever the Blood Bank requires.

 

In lots of city projects, the city requires use of specific tools they know are safe, requires specific use of plants that they have purchased, likely at bulk huge discount, or paint or whatever other supplies the city often REQUIRES the scout use exactly what the city wants them to use and provides it and then shows up to make sure the plants are put exactly where the city wants them. 

 

So the scout's leadership is shown in the advertising of the project, recruiting enough scouts to do the work, and then hopefully leading the scouts on what to do when thru the project itself. But everyone knows that adults OFTEN jump in to try to tell the scouts what to do and how to do it.  If they were mixing and pouring cement and the adults were showing how to mix cement, you would not question that the scout who doesn't know how to mix cement should be showing how to do it, the scout would be expected to defer to the specialist.  The scout then has to coordinate only the scout side, which scouts help with this part and which help with this part and who does what at clean up time.  And feed and water his scout helpers and make sure safety is followed. 

 

There are sooooo many ways the scout could have shown leadership.  And even though there is a Eagle project workbook, being able to write clearly to explain everything you did to show that leadership is NOT part of the whole process.  A discussion for the scout ahead of time can make it clear to him that on paper his leadership on the project doesn't shine thru, so when he shows for his EBOR perhaps he should be prepared to talk about that specifically and discuss how he overcame adult pushiness if it was happiness, or if he couldn't overcome adult pushiness (cause that has happened and doesn't reflect on the scout as much as it does on the adult)


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#30 Back Pack

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 07:40 PM

The project is the "Eagle" Scout's responsibile, not the coach's.  
 
"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)"
 
I believe that is the Scout's issue.  
 
Sadly, for you, it is up to the EBOR to determine whether or not the requirement was met and if he didn't then he didn't.  (Yes, the EBOR can look towards other ways the Scout demonstrated leadership if the project is a weak one.)


How didn't he meet it? Remember you must point out on the GTA how he didn't meet the requirement. That malarkey about waiting to apply the herbicide is a mistake. Not grounds for failing him. Show me an Eagle project that's gone off EXACTLY as planned. I'll bet you if I rolled up my sleeves I could find a problem with nearly all projects. The point is he has to have violated something severe to not get credit. How does one measure the amount of planning and leadership?
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#31 Back Pack

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 07:42 PM

Oh, and if the Eagle process is the sole responsibility of the scout I want to see all these helicopter parents with under 16 Eagles leave them alone and let them navigate this process alone and without a coach. We wouldn't have any Eagle under 16 then.
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#32 Stosh

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 08:13 PM

How many Eagle scouts would we have if it were dependent on just the scout?  One would think that after 5 or 6 years of training they should be able to pull off the project all by themselves.  From idea, to proposal, to plan, to execution, to satisfying the beneficiary, to leading his team, to bragging about it to the EBOR.  This is MY project and this is what I did!


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#33 MattR

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 09:02 PM

The only "structural" thing that I can think of to guarantee a scout an eventually successful BoR, if that's what he really wants, is to remove the age 18 deadline. (Sorry to those of you who are tired of my soap box.)


Why not just extend scouts to 21? A really good 20 year old scout would essentially be an ASM so what's different. They still can't drive scouts around. Scouts would more likely stick around if they're having fun and that could be a welcome change from all us old farts. They'd leave when they're ready. It would reduce the artificial pressure you mention. And there would still be a time limit.

 

I'm not sure this really helps the original topic because the BSA would never go for it. But it's nice thinking about.

 

Anyway, your tired old soap box is better than some of the others.


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#34 Stosh

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 09:25 PM

It all fits in with the convoluted rules of the BSA.  One can earn Eagle (a rank not of the Venturing program) as a  Venturing youth member, but not after age 18, and not if one is female.  One can be an adult in Boy Scouts while at the same time a youth participant in the Venturing program.  Unless it's Thursday then all bets are off.  It's kinda like the English language, none of the rules are really rules because there is an exception to every one of them.  But not on Saturdays between the hours of 6:00 am and 3:00 pm.


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#35 qwazse

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 09:34 PM

Oh, and if the Eagle process is the sole responsibility of the scout I want to see all these helicopter parents with under 16 Eagles leave them alone and let them navigate this process alone and without a coach. We wouldn't have any Eagle under 16 then.

i disagree. I've seen 16 y/o's projects scuttled because of too many discouraging words about their plan. What really ticked me off was the boys who were showing the greatest independence and creativity were the ones getting brow-beat. That just didn't happen when I was a scout. Or maybe it was where I was a scout (more rural than sons' and daughter's district).

Half my job as a volunteer is coaching parents to back off.
The other half is simply telling boys that whatever project is on their heart, we will stand by them.
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#36 Back Pack

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 07:43 AM

i disagree. I've seen 16 y/o's projects scuttled because of too many discouraging words about their plan. What really ticked me off was the boys who were showing the greatest independence and creativity were the ones getting brow-beat. That just didn't happen when I was a scout. Or maybe it was where I was a scout (more rural than sons' and daughter's district).
Half my job as a volunteer is coaching parents to back off.
The other half is simply telling boys that whatever project is on their heart, we will stand by them.


I didn't say adults sometimes don't complicate the issue. But there's no way a 14 year old can manage the Eagle process without adult help. It's just too complicated.
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#37 qwazse

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 11:56 AM

I didn't say adults sometimes don't complicate the issue. But there's no way a 14 year old can manage the Eagle process without adult help. It's just too complicated.

The process is certainly beyond the average teen. But we're not out to award average. Or, are we?
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#38 Stosh

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 01:00 PM

I didn't say adults sometimes don't complicate the issue. But there's no way a 14 year old can manage the Eagle process without adult help. It's just too complicated.

It is my opinion that unless the scouts are trained from an earlier age, it would be very difficult for a pre-16 year old to pull off an Eagle project on his own.  This is why it is important to press for boy led from the first day of scouts.  If a boy joins up at age 11 and has 3 years experience of putting together service projects and/or activities with adult support, it is totally conceivable for him at 14 doing a nice job on an Eagle project.  However if no opportunity is given the scout, then an emphatic no would naturally follow.  But do adults encourage this?  Not very often.  No one is going to allow a TF scout lead on a one day service project of cleaning up the road ditches.  But should they?  Why not?  It's not the end of the world if he misses a spot or two and he will learn from his mistakes.  I have found that boys as early as 11 can handle these things.  

 

The best "war story" I can provide is a 13 year old, non-medicated ADD scout who lacked focus was allowed to run the popcorn sales for the troop.  He became so focused on the task that he did it all except for the signing off of the popcorn inventory which needed to be done by "an adult".  It was the most successful sale the troop ever did.  He hounded the boys to get out there and get their sheets filled up, he collected them and made sure they got into the prize opportunities for the boys, he and his buddies sorted them all out and then hounded them to get their money back in on time.  And by hounded I mean hounded!  He was almost too focused, but no one could argue he wasn't on task.  Was he ready for an Eagle project after that at 13 years of age?  Really close!

 

Too often adults "steal" away these opportunities for the boys and then complain when they need a ton of help with the learning curve at the last minute and bail them out.  It doesn't need to be that way if done correctly. 


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#39 Back Pack

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 03:15 PM

The process is certainly beyond the average teen. But we're not out to award average. Or, are we?


I've yet to meet a 14 year old Eagle that could navigate this whole process alone. Few 16 year olds could.
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#40 Stosh

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 04:09 PM

Every one of my Eagle scouts navigated this process alone.   They ranged in age from 15 to 17, however.  But they were totally on their own, but could have done it earlier if they had focused more on advancement.  They don't seem to be in a hurry and spent time learning how to do and lead projects before they attempted one totally on their own.


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Stosh

 

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