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How to address gaps in Eagle project


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#41 EagleonFire

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 06:39 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.


You sound like one of those old coger's that would drop off a group of 13 year old boys at the front gate of a 1300 acre ranch with nothing but some vieanna sausages, the water they brought with them, their compasses, and the distance and degrees to their next marker.

Man I hated those vieanna sausages.
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#42 Stosh

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 07:59 PM

But if one uses bacon cheeseburgers as bait at the final destination, it's surprising how well even the 11 year olds do.  :)

 

One of my Eagles went on into the Air Force and was part of an airborne tanker refueler.  As training for if the plane goes down, they got them up at 3:00 am put them on a chopper and flew them out into the desert.  They handed them a map and compass and said breakfast is at 6:00 am.  No one in his group knew what to do, but breakfast was beckoning.  He got them back to base in time to shower before breakfast.  One team didn't make supper that day.  Musta used the wrong kind of bacon.


Edited by Stosh, 02 April 2017 - 08:03 PM.

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#43 EagleonFire

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Posted 02 April 2017 - 11:01 PM

Dang you must have even taught that one about declination. Well done sir. And those bacon cheeseburgers will do it every time. My little ones (and their parents) will be doing their first course this weekend. They will have brand new compasses and homemade donuts at the end.

And as for the eagle candidate remember that while he made some mistakes he is still a kid that is trying to show he can be an effective leader. Not that he necessarily already is the most effective leader. I got my eagle nearly 20 years ago and still somehow seem to make mistakes. I always felt a lot of being an effective leader was how you deal with the hiccups when they arise. Shoot when was the last time anyone on here planned something that would be the equivalent of an Eagle Scout protect and it when as planned.
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#44 qwazse

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 05:34 AM

... when was the last time anyone on here planned something that would be the equivalent of an Eagle Scout protect and it when as planned.

I have a vintage pocket door hanger that's been reminding me for 3 months that things don't go as planned. :(
But then, I've only put in maybe 18 hours max of effort ... A few hours every weekend.
I guess it boils down to: did the boy go through enough twists and turns to push through a plan?
Sometimes that effort doesn't get put down on paper, and that's why we need BORs.
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#45 Back Pack

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 06:24 AM

I have a vintage pocket door hanger that's been reminding me for 3 months that things don't go as planned. :(
But then, I've only put in maybe 18 hours max of effort ... A few hours every weekend.
I guess it boils down to: did the boy go through enough twists and turns to push through a plan?
Sometimes that effort doesn't get put down on paper, and that's why we need BORs.


No. What we need is a process that will match what the expected outcome is. No one goes through all those steps just to get to a BOR and have someone torpedo him and his work. The final decision MUST come when everyone signs the final report and either accepts or rejects the project as having met the requirements. Doing such at the EBOR is not only silly, it's unfair!
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#46 qwazse

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 06:48 AM

No. What we need is a process that will match what the expected outcome is. No one goes through all those steps just to get to a BOR and have someone torpedo him and his work. The final decision MUST come when everyone signs the final report and either accepts or rejects the project as having met the requirements. Doing such at the EBOR is not only silly, it's unfair!

Do you realize how patently ridiculous that sounds?  "Add so many hoops that Little Johnny need never fear of embarrassment at the EBoR ..."

 

 

1. A tremendous percentage of young men do just fine with the requirements as written down in the handbook and a modicum of guidance. Some of them don't communicate what they did very well, so we have to account for that by pleasant conversation at the BoR.

2. Others will, in spite of any and all admonitions, will simply do less than they should, and their leaders will sign off anyway, kicking the can down the road. It might involve a service project, it might involve an MB that falsely signed. Whatever. That can only be handled by a BoR laying out what must be corrected.

 

Discerning between the two is the district volunteer's responsibility. Maybe on some Big Rock Candy Mountain he/she wouldn't have to. But ...

 

It is not the responsibility of every scout who hustles up and navigates Eagle requirements successfully to jump through increasingly laborious paperwork for the sake of those who may choose to ignore the plain language of the requirements in their handbook and on the Eagle application.


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#47 Back Pack

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 06:58 AM

Do you realize how patently ridiculous that sounds?  "Add so many hoops that Little Johnny need never fear of embarrassment at the EBoR ..."
 
 
1. A tremendous percentage of young men do just fine with the requirements as written down in the handbook and a modicum of guidance. Some of them don't communicate what they did very well, so we have to account for that by pleasant conversation at the BoR.
2. Others will, in spite of any and all admonitions, will simply do less than they should, and their leaders will sign off anyway, kicking the can down the road. It might involve a service project, it might involve an MB that falsely signed. Whatever. That can only be handled by a BoR laying out what must be corrected.
 
Discerning between the two is the district volunteer's responsibility. Maybe on some Big Rock Candy Mountain he/she wouldn't have to. But ...
 
It is not the responsibility of every scout who hustles up and navigates Eagle requirements successfully to jump through increasingly laborious paperwork for the sake of those who may choose to ignore the plain language of the requirements in their handbook and on the Eagle application.


How many times do YOU get agreement on something with people you are working with, who come back AFTER THE FACT and AFTER approving what you did, and saying, "Ya know that contact we signed and I approved? Forget it. Do it again or do something else. I've chanaged my mind!!"

Of the patently ridiculous statements in this thread, that's the one that takes the cake.
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#48 Stosh

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 07:49 AM

Dang you must have even taught that one about declination. Well done sir. And those bacon cheeseburgers will do it every time. My little ones (and their parents) will be doing their first course this weekend. They will have brand new compasses and homemade donuts at the end.

And as for the eagle candidate remember that while he made some mistakes he is still a kid that is trying to show he can be an effective leader. Not that he necessarily already is the most effective leader. I got my eagle nearly 20 years ago and still somehow seem to make mistakes. I always felt a lot of being an effective leader was how you deal with the hiccups when they arise. Shoot when was the last time anyone on here planned something that would be the equivalent of an Eagle Scout protect and it when as planned.

 

One has to constantly remind oneself that the Eagle project is to show leadership, not managerial expertise.  A good leader can successfully lead through diversity, confusion, disappointment and failure.  Too often the scouts are judged on their attention to detail, planning, the weather and the morale of his team.  These are either management issues or issues beyond his control.  If we are judging these projects based on conception, planning, execution and conclusion then we are judging their management, not leadership.  The boy can make mistakes, how well does he recover?  His team can make mistakes, how well does he recover?  The beneficiary changes their mind, how well does he recover?   These are leadership issues, he is showing how well he can move the management process through adverse situations.  That is leadership, nailing two boards together correctly is not.  How well does the scout lead people while at the same time, at a lesser level of evaluation, how well does he manage the task at hand.

 

I've had a few discussions on this issue with EBOR's and never had a boy fail.  I knew when they started their projects, as I said, totally on their own, that they had shown effective leadership before attempting the task.   After all that's what the requirements indicate.  

 

And how many "failed" projects are there out there where the beneficiary backed off, changed their mind, or whatever and then the SM and ASM's and parents all ran around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to save this boy's project requirement?  To me this is how leadership gets stolen from the boys by well-meaning adults that are only focused on success.  It is at that point that I corral up all the maverick parents and scouters and remind them, "When at first you don't succeed, try, try again."  This is why my boys tend to be very successful with this whole process.  Leadership always trumps management.

 

No. What we need is a process that will match what the expected outcome is. No one goes through all those steps just to get to a BOR and have someone torpedo him and his work. The final decision MUST come when everyone signs the final report and either accepts or rejects the project as having met the requirements. Doing such at the EBOR is not only silly, it's unfair!

 

The reason for this is the EBOR is incorrectly judging the project on successful management of the task instead of the leadership and struggle the boy is going through to lead his team through adversity.  While a beneficiary not signing off and/or changing their mind, has nothing to do with the boy's ability to effectively lead his team.  Managerially he might have figured in such a contingency plan for such an occasion, but that's not leadership, planning of tasks is management.  To lead, the boy needs people following.  If the plan goes sour, how does he handle the SM? the ASM's? the parents? the beneficiary?  his team?  This is what I judge, not the plan.


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#49 fred johnson

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 09:40 AM

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.  

 

Talking with beneficiary is really just letting them know BSA expects out of the scout.  There is nothing you can expect out of a beneficiary related to following the BSA program. 

 

I do find it a mis-match in the process that the Eagle Project workbook beneficiary signature says the beneficiary has the opinion the scout met the requirement.  How would the beneficiary know unless they are part of scouting?  The whole idea is to reach out into the community.  Reaching out beyond scouting.  So it's a contradiction.  

 

IMHO, the beneficiary signature should just say the beneficiary has accepted the project and the scout met the expectations as laid out in the project proposal.  


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#50 Col. Flagg

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 10:02 AM

I will jump in here...

 

The reason for this is the EBOR is incorrectly judging the project on successful management of the task instead of the leadership and struggle the boy is going through to lead his team through adversity.  While a beneficiary not signing off and/or changing their mind, has nothing to do with the boy's ability to effectively lead his team.  Managerially he might have figured in such a contingency plan for such an occasion, but that's not leadership, planning of tasks is management.  To lead, the boy needs people following.  If the plan goes sour, how does he handle the SM? the ASM's? the parents? the beneficiary?  his team?  This is what I judge, not the plan.

 

I agree. Once the proposal is signed off and the plan written, there's the execution. Then the final report is written, submitted and signed. If the beneficiary signs off on the final report, they are saying the project met their requirements. Same with the SM. The final report logs the differences from the proposal to the plan through execution. One does not judge the plan, per se, but they do check to make sure Requirement #5 and the aspects of the project met expectations and satisfied the requirements. So, in a sense, they are evaluating the final report, not really the plan.

 

Talking with beneficiary is really just letting them know BSA expects out of the scout.  There is nothing you can expect out of a beneficiary related to following the BSA program. 

 

I do find it a mis-match in the process that the Eagle Project workbook beneficiary signature says the beneficiary has the opinion the scout met the requirement.  How would the beneficiary know unless they are part of scouting?  The whole idea is to reach out into the community.  Reaching out beyond scouting.  So it's a contradiction.  

 

IMHO, the beneficiary signature should just say the beneficiary has accepted the project and the scout met the expectations as laid out in the project proposal.  

 

I don't think the beneficiary needs to know about Scouting. They know how to review a proposal and when a project meets their expectations. They are merely validating when signing on the bottom line that they received what they asked for. It is the SM and TC Chair that validate with the Scout whether the requirements per BSA were met.


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#51 CalicoPenn

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 10:05 AM

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.

 

My response:

 

 

1) Do any planning or development of his project.  It was handed to him turn key from a city looking for labor.    There is nothing in the requirements that say a Scout has to develop the project - there are many beneficiaries that already have projects developed that can be perfectly acceptable as an Eagle Scout project.  Just because a project has been developed and handed to the Scout as the project a beneficiary wants to see done, doesn't mean there isn't planning to do.  There is a big difference between developing a project and then implementing it - and there is plenty of planning that can be done to implement "turn-key" projects.  It a bit like building a house.  The architect develops the project plan then hands it off to a general contractor who now has to implement it - and implementing the work takes planning.  Don't confuse development and planning.  It will put you on the wrong side every time.

 

2)  Did not follow any of the District suggestions for changes.    So what?  They're suggestions - not requirements.  If the District thought their suggested changes were so important (and 99 times out of 100 they aren't - they're just adults injecting themselves in to the process because they think they know better or want to exercise a little power) then the District wouldn't have approved the plan with out their suggested changes.  The District approved the plan, as it was presented - you don't get to go back now and demand that changes be made or complain that your suggestions were not followed.  If you can't live with that, then the proper thing to do is to step back and not participate at all.

 

3)  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).  Instead of jumping to conclusions here, ask.  This is a good question to ask - it would be interesting to hear the answer.  In my state (Illinois), I would still expect this project to take a day for the Scout to complete.  Why?  Because the Scout would not likely be involved in spreading the herbicide (at least in my state, Illinois, where you are required to have an applicators license to apply pesticides and herbicides on public lands, a license which, while you can get at 16, requires a pretty substantial insurance policy - heck, if you're a farmer spreading pesticides and herbicides on your own land, you need a license).  If the District didn't question that part of the project before it was approved, I have to wonder how well the District read the proposal and why no one questioned this part.  Either the city did this work before hand or the city decided not to do it at all.  Just simply ask the question.

 

Once the District has signed off on the project, they are rightfully not involved until the BOR.  We don't need to add yet another requirement that the Scout provide progress reports to District/Council.  In fact, if I had my way, the District would only get involved if there was a dispute at the unit level.

 

As the District rep, your responsibility is to schedule the BOR - that's it - the beneficiary signed off - as a Scoutmaster, I would sign off if the beneficiary signs off - in the entire process, the most important people here are the beneficiaries - they are the ones that need to be happy with the project or not - and the Scout.


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#52 fred johnson

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 10:06 AM

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


Of everything in scouting, the most Eagle project and it's associated workbook is one of the most straight forward and readable processes that exists. It's written exactly so that a scout can navigate the process on his own.

BUT, a scout can't succeed without reading it or having someone else tell him what it says. The workbook is relatively short, very readable, concise, quotes sources. It has a message to scouts and parents on how it works and what to expect. It gives scouts a format for the proposal. It asks the exact questions that the scout needs to answer.  

 

I really don't know what more you could want except your own process.  But then I guarantee you there will be others criticizing for valid reasons the process you create.  There is no such thing as a perfect process.   And, the process is not the target of the goal.  It's kept simple so that the good deed and leadership are the heart of the effort; ... not the process.  

The BSA Eagle project workbook is less complex than many of the classes I took in middle school and high school.  I really think these comments don't give enough credit to the scout.  

The real issue is cutting corners and looking to do the minimum. Even then, an EBOR conflict only occurs when you really really cut corners and you do significantly less than a debatable minimum. If cutting corners and doing as little as possible is what you want, then you do need the coach, a mentor and parents to escort you through the process and you need things signed and guaranteed as good. Beyond that, read the sentence and answer the question as written.

Start with more respect for our scouts. Step back and let them lead their own advancement. And ya know it should not happen often, but there will be negative results.


 

No. What we need is a process that will match what the expected outcome is. No one goes through all those steps just to get to a BOR and have someone torpedo him and his work. The final decision MUST come when everyone signs the final report and either accepts or rejects the project as having met the requirements. Doing such at the EBOR is not only silly, it's unfair!

 

The EBOR not approving a project is explicitly meant to be the rare, rare outcome. But the EBOR needs the flexibility because of the edge cases that can and do occur.

The only other option is to add other extra, non-value added steps to the process.


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#53 fred johnson

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 10:12 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've seen that over and over again.  Your advice is dead on.

 

Brow beating occurs by adults trying to justify their own value as an adult lead.  Sometimes the best thing we adults can do is just back off and let scouts own what they are doing.  


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#54 Col. Flagg

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 10:17 AM

I've seen that over and over again.  Your advice is dead on.

 

Brow beating occurs by adults trying to justify their own value as an adult lead.  Sometimes the best thing we adults can do is just back off and let scouts own what they are doing.  

 

This is what the SM and TC Chair are for. If they are the ones doing the brow-beating, it's time to get new leaders.


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#55 fred johnson

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 10:17 AM

I don't think the beneficiary needs to know about Scouting. They know how to review a proposal and when a project meets their expectations. They are merely validating when signing on the bottom line that they received what they asked for. It is the SM and TC Chair that validate with the Scout whether the requirements per BSA were met.

 

I agree.  But if scouts do repeatedly run into project issues with that beneficiary, a friendly conversation is useful.  BUT as you said, the beneficiary should not need to know anything about scouting.  That's why I think the workbook needs a minor change.  Above the beneficiary signature it does say that he is signing because in his opinion the scout fulfilled requirement #5.  How would the beneficiary know?  My opinion is you can't expect that of the beneficiary.  It's not reasonable.


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#56 qwazse

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 10:32 AM

How many times do YOU get agreement on something with people you are working with, who come back AFTER THE FACT and AFTER approving what you did, and saying, "Ya know that contact we signed and I approved? Forget it. Do it again or do something else. I've chanaged my mind!!"

Of the patently ridiculous statements in this thread, that's the one that takes the cake.

LOL, I'm on soft $, so ... every election cycle and budget crisis... :p

 

Requirement 5 on the application does not say in bold "only" as in "must only be approved by the project beneficiary".

 

In fact the wording places emphasis on "plan, develop, and give leadership to others". Like I said, it's entirely possible that 10  Life scouts in 100 did not make clear on paper how they fulfilled those parts in bold. It's the BoR's responsibility to find out how the boy did fulfill the requirements. Then it's possible that 1 in 100 did not do the parts in bold in spite of sign-offs. If I hadn't seen this happen myself, I wouldn't believe it. (It was regarding MB sign-offs, and the CC put his foot down not the DAC, but same principle). I'm glad I've only seen it once among scads of Life scouts in the past couple of decades. Our DAC has seen it more than once in more than one way. What would you expect him to do?


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#57 Col. Flagg

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 10:40 AM

I agree.  But if scouts do repeatedly run into project issues with that beneficiary, a friendly conversation is useful.  BUT as you said, the beneficiary should not need to know anything about scouting.  That's why I think the workbook needs a minor change.  Above the beneficiary signature it does say that he is signing because in his opinion the scout fulfilled requirement #5.  How would the beneficiary know?  My opinion is you can't expect that of the beneficiary.  It's not reasonable.

 

Yes, agree. As I have said earlier, I would like to see both proposal and plan signed off before works starts. I'd also like to see the final report signed off on by the district/council rep. This would avoid the candidates being "shot down" at the EBOR.

 

I would say 99.9% of guys never imagine that they could get denied at the EBOR.


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#58 Col. Flagg

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 10:43 AM

In fact the wording places emphasis on "plan, develop, and give leadership to others". Like I said, it's entirely possible that 10  Life scouts in 100 did not make clear on paper how they fulfilled those parts in bold. It's the BoR's responsibility to find out how the boy did fulfill the requirements. 

 

And yet the SM has to sign Requirement #5 as being completed, as well as signing twice that the proposal and plan met requirements. Not to mention signing the application that the Scout has met all requirements to make Eagle.

 

I have to agree, it is VERY silly to go through all of that and have someone in an EBOR -- who might not even know much about the Scout, the unit or what he did -- tell the Scout that he did not meet requirements when the beneficiary, SM, district rep and TC Chair all signed and said he did.


Edited by Col. Flagg, 03 April 2017 - 10:44 AM.

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#59 fred johnson

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 11:32 AM

My response:

 
1) .... It was handed to him turn key from a city looking for labor.    There is nothing in the requirements that say a Scout has to develop the project


"Develop" is the 6th word of the Eagle rank project requirement. It's explicitly there. It's repeated throughout the GTA and workbook.
 
On the flip side though, "develop" is a subjective term.  I would expect that "develop" refers to the efforts that the scout is looking to use to fulfill the rank requirements.  IMHO, if the scout doesn't "own" his project (concept, development, etc), then the scout is really just coordinating labor for another person's project.  Effectively, a service project and not an Eagle project.

 

 

2)  Did not follow any of the District suggestions for changes.    So what?  They're suggestions - not requirements.  If the District thought their suggested changes were so important (and 99 times out of 100 they aren't - they're just adults injecting themselves in to the process because they think they know better or want to exercise a little power) then the District wouldn't have approved the plan with out their suggested changes.  The District approved the plan, as it was presented - you don't get to go back now and demand that changes be made or complain that your suggestions were not followed.  If you can't live with that, then the proper thing to do is to step back and not participate at all.

 
District comments can be suggestions or directions or warnings.  Usually, it's easy to tell which is which.  And even then, it's more about what the EBOR will be expecting.  

You have identified a short-coming in the process.  Discussion (comments, directions, warnings) from the reviews are hit and miss recorded at the beginning of the plan at a later time.  So the short-coming are 
 
#1  District signer should have a place to make comments in the proposal.  GTA says to have the scout hand-write corrections and updates in the proposal.  The purpose of hand-writing is to expedite signing without sending the scout home for minor edits.  The trouble is not all comments fit clean into a single field.  In addition, comments are often warnings that if you take it one direction it will be a valid Eagle project.  If you take it the other direction or don't do something, then it is not a valid Eagle project.  District reviewers could really use a place to record those comments.  Having the scout write that after-the-fact in the plan in the first box is just too hit and miss.  The scout might miss the comment or record it differently to make the project look better.  Then, we have the question of whether the scout did receive the comment or not.  
 
#2  District signer should make a copy of the proposal and provide the copy to the EBOR.  Proposals get cleaned-up and re-written after signatures are done.  I've been in some EBORs where I was sure the proposal had edits that changed the scope or boundary of the project.


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#60 fred johnson

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Posted 03 April 2017 - 11:35 AM

Yes, agree. As I have said earlier, I would like to see both proposal and plan signed off before works starts. I'd also like to see the final report signed off on by the district/council rep. This would avoid the candidates being "shot down" at the EBOR.

 

I would say 99.9% of guys never imagine that they could get denied at the EBOR.

 

99.9% of the guys don't have trouble at the EBOR.  It's a 99.5% correct assumption.  

 

The only reason to not have it signed by the district/council rep is that it just adds an extra chase / hoops and it would move much of the EBOR content earlier.  Effectively, creating two EBORs.  BUT I could accept one more signature.  I think it's just assumed the EBOR is that signature. 


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