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Could being a counselor at Rotary Camp qualify as an Eagle Project?


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#1 SpEdScouter

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 09:01 AM

Here in the Heart of America district they run a camp for special needs scouts called Rotary Camp https://www.hoac-bsa.org/rotary-camp. Counselors (regular scouts and adults) and needed to help the campers. it can be a challenging yet very rewarding experience.These campers can have mental, physical, and emotional disabilities such as autism, mental retardation, down syndrome, and physical handicaps. Many are non-verbal and some can exhibit obsessive-compulsive behaviors such as screaming, running away, and non-compliance. Age ranges are from about 11 to 60 so often the scout is dealing with someone older than them.

 

As a counselor they help them dress, bathe (yes helping them shower), toilet issues (including wiping), help with medications, help with activities, and just generally being their friend and must always be within arms distance from them the whole week. They sleep in the bunk above them. It is very humbling and definitely forces one out of their comfort zone. However while difficult, often the counselors get more out of the experience than the scouts and they often return. Plus the food is great.

 

This year though they had trouble recruiting counselors. Part of the problem is their is little incentive other than they get the Handicapped Awareness merit badge plus service hours.

 

So here is an idea - why not allow service as a counselor be used as a Eagle Scout project? It requires paperwork (more could be added), over 144 hours of work (6 days x 24 hours plus pre-planning time), working together with others, planning, and hard work.

 

So what do you all think?

Some Eagle projects are activities such as running  an event so I dont think its far off.


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#2 KenD500

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 09:19 AM

Are they planning, developing & giving leadership to others?  I'm guessing no on the planning & developing.

 

link to source
 

  1. While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project must benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.) A project proposal must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your unit leader and unit committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, BSA publication No. 512-927, in meeting this requirement. (To learn more about the Eagle Scout service project, see the Guide to Advancement, topics 9.0.2.0 through 9.0.2.15.)

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#3 Stosh

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 09:32 AM

Although a very worthwhile experience for any scout, I don't think I would count this as an Eagle project in and of itself.  As KenD500 points out there is no planning or developing, or even organized leadership involved with merely following directions given by others.

 

On the otherhand, if the scout where to plan out some special program for the campers while at such an event, develop it into an organized project, recruit and lead others in implementing the program, then I would be a bit hesitant on giving a flat out no to it counting as an Eagle project.  For instance the boy plans out the Friday schedule having the campers do some sort of activity in the morning and afternoon and then having an organized campfire in the evening, it might go a long way to prove the boy did show planning, developing, and leadership for the day.

 

Others may question such an approach, but I have had special needs scouts in my troop that require extra planning, developing, and leadership from other scouts and got no credit for it whatsoever.  They loved doing it for those who struggle with scouting and I guess that in and of itself was reward enough.  Giving up free time to get the boys to the medical office for medications, helping with feeding and personal care, making sure they get to the MB classes, etc. shows a true leader who understands what helping other people at all times is all about.

 

By the way, Rotary Club would be the sponsoring organization on this project.

 

My congrats to your boys involved with this program.


Edited by Stosh, 11 July 2017 - 09:33 AM.

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#4 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 09:48 AM

Are they planning, developing & giving leadership to others?  I'm guessing no on the planning & developing.


While I think it is admirable for Scouts to volunteer to do this, and would give them good experience (although it may not seem so at the time), I don't see how it meets any of the three parts of the requirement. Just because some planning might be involved does satisfy the planning requirement - the Eagle candidate has to plan the whole thing, the entire project. Here someone else is deciding what has to be done and how it is to be done, the Scout is basically just doing what has to be done. "Develop" presents pretty much the same problem. I don't see "leading others" here either. In most case the Scout will probably be providing services to the campers under the supervision of someone else. Even if it is an older Scout and he is supervising some younger Scouts, the older Scout is still under the supervision and direction of an adult staff member (and/or the director of the program.) In an Eagle project, the candidate must lead the whole thing. (There's that phrase again.) The Eagle candidate must be THE boss.

Maybe the more fundamental problem is that there is really no "project" here. There is work, for an existing program. Again, it's good and admirable work, but it is not a project.
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#5 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 10:01 AM

Others may question such an approach, but I have had special needs scouts in my troop that require extra planning, developing, and leadership from other scouts and got no credit for it whatsoever.  They loved doing it for those who struggle with scouting and I guess that in and of itself was reward enough.  Giving up free time to get the boys to the medical office for medications, helping with feeding and personal care, making sure they get to the MB classes, etc. shows a true leader who understands what helping other people at all times is all about.


We have had this in my troop as well. We had a Scout in a wheelchair with cerebral palsy go all the way from Scout to Eagle (actually all the way from Tiger to Eagle), and at all levels the kids and adults helped him as much as they could, or as much as he needed. And for about a year during that period, we had a second boy in the same situation, with the added problem that he could barely speak. Again he received the help he needed from his fellow Scouts and adults.

 

Helping a Scout (or other person) in that situation is being a good person, being helpful, friendly, kind, etc., and as you say, it can involve leadership as well.  But it is not an Eagle project.


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#6 Stosh

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:28 PM

While I think it is admirable for Scouts to volunteer to do this, and would give them good experience (although it may not seem so at the time), I don't see how it meets any of the three parts of the requirement. Just because some planning might be involved does satisfy the planning requirement - the Eagle candidate has to plan the whole thing, the entire project. Here someone else is deciding what has to be done and how it is to be done, the Scout is basically just doing what has to be done. "Develop" presents pretty much the same problem. I don't see "leading others" here either. In most case the Scout will probably be providing services to the campers under the supervision of someone else. Even if it is an older Scout and he is supervising some younger Scouts, the older Scout is still under the supervision and direction of an adult staff member (and/or the director of the program.) In an Eagle project, the candidate must lead the whole thing. (There's that phrase again.) The Eagle candidate must be THE boss.

Maybe the more fundamental problem is that there is really no "project" here. There is work, for an existing program. Again, it's good and admirable work, but it is not a project.

 

A scout does an Eagle project under the supervision of a larger program all the time.  The beneficiary in any project is an existing program.  They might make a foot bridge for a Parks & Rec trail, they might organize a food drive for a food bank, they might do a blood drive, etc.  If the Rotary wants a day off and the scout does the activity for the day, it would be the same as giving the Parks & Rec people the day off so they don't have to build a bridge.  The day activity project would definitely involve more than just showing up and helping out with the campers.  Organizing and running a craft or activity for all the campers would require a great bit of planning and developing and there's no way he's going to be able to pull that off by himself with every participant a special needs camper.  I for one would think it would be more of an effort for an Eagle project than many of the one's I've seen approved by the council in my area.


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#7 qwazse

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 01:36 PM

I think it would be insanely cool if having been a counselor one summer, and learning about the capabilities of these campers, to develop a service project that would involve these campers.

 

Even if this is the scout's first time on staff, he could talk to the camp director in advance, explain his situation, and see if there is something out-of-the-ordinary that he could get everyone to accomplish.

 

Just showing up as a counselor and doing whatever counselor's normally do ... that's routine maintenance. (Although I bet that in itself can be a real challenge.) Doing something that mobilizes everyone and gives them a sense of pride they wouldn't otherwise have ... that's soaring like an Eagle.


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#8 DadScouts

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 03:29 PM

What if the Scout developed and implemented a plan to recruit, help in process, and train others to become counselors at that camp?  Rather than one Scout doing great service at a camp he would be leveraging his time to get multiple people to do the same.  


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#9 SpEdScouter

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Posted 11 July 2017 - 07:09 PM

Sidenote - the actual Rotarians are not involved in the camp. They just own the facility and we rent it out instead of the regular scout camps because its more handicap accessible.

 

While I see your points I still feel this could be an Eagle project. I dont think you all really understand what the counselors go thru. Its hard, exhausting work. Harder than some Eagle projects I've seen.

 

Now I see your point that they should have to do something extra. I'm thinking help plan an activity and do some writeups.


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#10 scoutldr

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 05:12 AM

Have the scout draw up and submit the proposal, just like any other Eagle project.  Emphasize "planning and leading", not "doing".  I have seen projects approved for much less.  Good luck.


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