Need help with Life - Eagle Process

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Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby Cowboy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:27 am

For those of you who have not caught a majority of my posts: I am an ASM, adult grub/quartermaster, MB Counselor, Trainer, and currently working to repair the pack. My wife is Advancement Co-Chair and MB Counselor. My son (14.5 yrs.) is currently Life, ASPL and Webmaster. He has "perfect attendance" which means every Troop meeting, every PLC Meeting, every service project, every outing, and every pack opportunity (Cubby Klondike, Cub Day Camp, even Den meetings to train on the flags). He has been acting SPL since school started due to the SPL being involved in sports, etc. Another whole diatribe there. He has already talked to both me and the SM about wanting to be JASM when he is old enough, and Den Cheif until then. Our Troop has four other life scouts. Three of them have completed the physical work on thier ELSP almost a year ago, but have not completed the paperwork or gotten the completion signed off. These three have attendance ranging from 47% - 67%, and all have several ER MB's remaining. My son is the first Eagle hopeful that I have had actual "hands on" dealings with. He obviously has never been through the process, and I have only been involved as far as labor for projects and discussion of projects at the TC meetings. So we are nubies to the Eagle process.

My son had a SMC on 12 January. The SM spent about 5 minutes with him and told him to come back next week. The reason that he gave was that my son was not in the right frame of mind for a SMC. This was true. He had to come in blind to the PLC (received a call 1/2 hour before the meeting) try to reconstruct from notes (scribe was not there either) and memory what to discuss, develop Troop meeting plans and an outing plan. After an hour of PLC they moved into the Troop meeting. We had 5 Weeblos joining us that night and the boys were working on an Engineering project and developing menus for the upcoming outing. Agreeably, and understandably, he was stressed and burned out. The next week he came back and held his SMC before the meeting, with only myself, one other scout (Acting ASPL/close friend) and one other parent in the building. At that time he told the SM that he had an Eagle project in mind and that he was kind of pressed for time because some of it needs to be done as soon as the frost comes out. He also does not want to be messing with it during the summer as he is registered for NYLT, CIT (2 weeks), High Adventure, and a couple of "non-Scout" service activities this year. "Passed" SMC, went to the BOR at 8:05 pm. He finally got done with BoR at 9:15 pm. :oops: A discussion between one of the BoR members and the SM was overheard by one of our friends. This discussion revolved around holding my son back so that the three of us would stay active longer. The next two weeks were a series of "meetings" between myself and other adults in the Troop where I made it very clear that any attempt to hold him back from what he has earned would result in the three of us transfering to one of the other 6 units within 10 miles of our home. BTW: He has all ER and enough electives to acheive one Palm. I had thought that was the end of the situation. I knew that there was some passive resistant to him moving along, but last night it struck home.
He has "completed" his Eagle project workbook. He has spoken with the receiving organization twice. He went in front of the TC and presented his project, received the TC signature. He presented it to the SM, received his signature. He scheduled a meeting with the District rep to get her signature. When we arrived last night she first said that he would have a lot of work to do in the next few months. She stated that she had already talked to Mr. X (the one who was overheard talking to the SM) about this project and thought it sounded very good. When he reached in his breifcase and pulled out two binders with his entire plan (workbook included) she seemed shocked. After looking through the workbook she informed him that she would not be signing off because it was not complete. He needs to go out and get the donation committments before she can sign off on the project. When I questioned this, she said that it is National policy. I replied that it does not make sense. If he gets donations and then they do not approve the project the donors may not be willing to donate in the future. Additionally, the fund raising is suppose to be part of the project, and that would constitute starting before all approvals are received. She maintained that this is National policy.
Fine, he will do it her way. We still think it is ass backwards. All of this is to blow off steam, but also: I need to know where I can find more information than just the 12 Steps from Life to Eagle so that he/we are not blindsided with this type of thing again. And, does anyone know when this went into effect?
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:35 am

It is not a National Policy that you must have all your donations done.Ask her to show you IN writing where it say that.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby Cowboy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:08 am

I am thinking that is what will need to be done. My big concern is that he is going to go out, get the donations (about $900 worth) and then they will disqualify because he started working the project (fundraising) before he had all approvals.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:37 am

Cowboy wrote: After looking through the workbook she informed him that she would not be signing off because it was not complete. He needs to go out and get the donation committments before she can sign off on the project. When I questioned this, she said that it is National policy. I replied that it does not make sense. If he gets donations and then they do not approve the project the donors may not be willing to donate in the future. Additionally, the fund raising is suppose to be part of the project, and that would constitute starting before all approvals are received. She maintained that this is National policy.
Fine, he will do it her way. We still think it is ass backwards. All of this is to blow off steam, but also: I need to know where I can find more information than just the 12 Steps from Life to Eagle so that he/we are not blindsided with this type of thing again. And, does anyone know when this went into effect?


There are no National policies for the Eagle Project other than what is contained in the ESLPW, #33088, the annual BSA requirements book and BSA handbook. That being said, each council has guidelines that they publish on project approvals to ensure consistency between reviewers. We have a check list we use.

Now w.r.t. Financing. The ESP must have financial plan which should include a back up plan. If a scout is going to request donations, they need to understand that they need to think through what they are going to do if they don't get them. I see this with building projects. Home Depot or Lowes will tell the scout that they'll donate what they need and when they come to get the stuff, memory loss sets in. This is especially true right now. Donation committments are different than cash-in-hand. (Ask your DE about FOS committment uncollectables). I think that is where the District Reviewer may be coming from and trying to protect your son from over committing himself to the sponsor. There is a long thread from NY about a nightmare project in which the funding got out of control.

Now w.r.t. "starting". Starting is defined here as being on the job site. All other stuff including pricing of materials etc is planning. How does he know he needs $900 with out checking prices? I wouldn't worry about it not being approved for "starting".

You never did say what his project was?

Any more questions...post away!
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby joat » Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:57 am

Cowboy wrote: When I questioned this, she said that it is National policy.
My observation over the years is that whenever someone quotes "national policy" it means they are making up requirements and trying to justify doing so by quoting a nebulous higher authority which cannot be verified.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby Cowboy » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:22 pm

He will be doing a beautification project for the Legion Post. New landscaping timbers and mulch. Rain gutters, LST & Mulch (to stop leakage into basement) repair and painting of retaining wall, replacement of shrubbery, and then some minor "repairs" thrown in such as painting the flag pole. The minor cosmetics are mainly just to make it all look nice rather than just half done. Regarding his project plan: He had actually gotten some material donations, and had an entire list of everywhere that he is going to request from. Even had it listed out that he would only ask for 10 timbers from each of 3 lumber yards. Keep the request small to increase the chances of a "Yes". He did go to the local big box store and price everything out (including what it would cost to purchase what he already had committments for). Not only that, but part of his project has been to work with a MB Counselor to work with some boys on the Painting MB during the project. He has a list of about 20 people who have committed to labor on it, and also ambiguos "I will make a material donation when you are ready" from several people. The big problem with getting material donations this time of year is that we still have about 24" of snow on the ground. Think any of the stores around here have mulch, timbers or shrubs in stock? And as someone else said, easy to say "Yep, come back later", then forget the conversation when the shrub truck comes in.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby Bill Pitcher » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:19 pm

Cowboy: I've been advising Eagle Candidates about their projects for over 17 years, and can flat-out tell you that there is no National Policy that states that funding must be secured before the Council Advancement person can sign off on thie project. She is making this up! Good Luck to you and your son.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:25 pm

I would confront her and ask her about a Scout being Trustworthy then ask for her resigantion for not being trustworthy :twisted:
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:29 pm

Mr X is the one who needs to go.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:30 pm

smtroop168 wrote:Mr X is the one who needs to go.


Mr X nd the Advancement Chair that said it was National Policy.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:42 pm

I missed the AC somewhere. I thought it was the District rep who was saying it was National Policy.

We'll pick 'em off one at a time!
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby Nuts4Scouts » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:52 pm

Make sure he has donation letters from the American Legion Post that he can give to his contributors.

Perhaps he can get a letter of commitment from the stores stating what they are willing to donate.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby VenturingL » Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:36 pm

My son received a $25 gift certificate from Home Depot & yes, that was a struggle partly because he had to talk with a different person each time he contacted them. The balance of his project, over $2100 total, he acquired through personal contact & direct contribution. He waited until he had initial discussion with SM & a meeting with Troop's Eagle Advisor & then in June, he started by sending letters explaining his project with "as is" photos to out of town relatives and friends. He also gave a letter to every adult Sunday School class at our church and each dance team member (we're cloggers). He received final sign-offs for actual build in late Aug/early Sept. No problem with the idea he started before project approval signed off. As project plan changed through design changes requested by school distric, he kept pushing for donations from other sources (individual & corporate).
The key for him was personal contact, having photos to present, choosing whom he approached - people who have watched him grow up & want to see him succeed. When the need increased, some people gave a second time without being asked.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby kwildman » Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:49 pm

once again we have Adults screwing up a youth program. :twisted:
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby Cowboy » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:31 am

I am a bit of a hothead, but have learned to take the time to cool off before I confront someone. This usually takes me about a day. I am still too angry to talk to her about this. I did contact our DE. Knowing that BSA National does not have much by way of guidelines, I wanted to make sure that this was not something that our Council requires. He responded: " checked with our registrar and the proper procedure is for a plan to exist for raising the money. This plan should be included in the Eagle Project workbook. It would not be recommended that a Scout raise the money prior to having his project approved (since his project could be denied and he would already have raised the money for it)."

In my original post, I forgot to mention that she also told him that we (his parents) are not allowed to pay for the project. She said that my business could make small material donations, but that I could not foot the bill, and he could not contribute money either. Not that we could afford to do this anyway, but the main thing is telling him two definative "falsehoods" is really grinding at my "Scout senses". The wife and I are trying to figure out how to approach this without screwing our son up. He is suppose to be working this, but on the other hand it is our job as parents (and Scouters) to protect and teach him.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby wagionvigil » Thu Feb 26, 2009 10:35 am

A scout is Trustworthy and She is Not.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby smtroop168 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:23 am

Cowboy wrote:In my original post, I forgot to mention that she also told him that we (his parents) are not allowed to pay for the project. She said that my business could make small material donations, but that I could not foot the bill, and he could not contribute money either. Not that we could afford to do this anyway, but the main thing is telling him two definative "falsehoods" is really grinding at my "Scout senses". The wife and I are trying to figure out how to approach this without screwing our son up. He is suppose to be working this, but on the other hand it is our job as parents (and Scouters) to protect and teach him.


Eagle Scout Leadership Projects are not designed to put the scout or his family in financial burden or "buy Eagle". She is wrong to say you or he can't contribute anything. Have her show you the Council guidance that says so. Most of the projects I review have the family providing lunch/snacks/drinks. I did have a "me and my Dad" project I reviewed where the scout's financial plan was to have Dad pay for everything. (the materials bill was $3000.00). Dad didn't know! Needless to say, he reworked his financial plan.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby jr56 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:05 pm

I have approved many Eagle projects as a district advancement chairman. I can state that if an Eagle project requires supplies to complete, the right-up must include provisions where the supplies are coming from and how they are to be obtained. No way do you have to raise the funds before the project is approved. That is certainly not a National requirement.
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby smtroop168 » Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:31 pm

jr56 wrote:I can state that if an Eagle project requires supplies to complete, the right-up must include provisions where the supplies are coming from and how they are to be obtained


So jr56, does the left-up have to have any other info. :lol: :P

Just kidding....I agree with your statement
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Re: Need help with Life - Eagle Process

Postby FieldSports » Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:53 pm

Cowboy,

Do not confront her or your troop with this issue. Do not have your son deal with this. This is an adult issue of "creating their own rules." I just worked through a similar issue with my son and our District Advancement Chair. You will get nothing but grieve trying to change their attitudes. (The DAC was an Eagle, 20+ years, SM, Silver Beaver, etc.) People told me to "just do what he asks, we know he is wrong, but he will hold up your sons Eagle" You did the right thing of contacting the DE. However, you can do better with a couple more meetings with:

The Council Advancement Chair
The District Chairmen
The Scout Executive

Approach these meetings causally and not as an "upset parent." When I met with them, I was just a Scout leader wanting to know the policy and procedures for the process of Life to Eagle. I ask a lot of open ended questions like "where can a scout get the money to do a project?" Slip in questions like "is a parent procluded from paying for the project?" Keep all your questions to fact gathering basis.

Only after the Council Advancement Chair and the others have given you the answers (hopefully based on the National Policy), do you get ask these specific question:
"Do you know why "Name" our District Advancement chair would not be following what you just told me?"
"What advice can you give me to deal with this situation..........? It continues to create significant distress and is effecting a number of youth."
"Can I talk to you again, if "Name" continues to cause problems with the youth and not follow our procedures?"

I did this. The DAC was replaced within the month (after 5 years of frustration for the youth). :D :D The new DAC even held a roundtable break-out session on Life to Eagle the next month and followed the correct procedures to the letter. :wink: Only three people ever knew why he was really replaced
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