Help! Eagle Project Requirements Expanding

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Postby Mrw » Thu May 15, 2008 4:18 pm

It sounds to me like there are issues on both sides. But like every one else, I don't feel I have enough information to add anything constructive to the conversation.
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Postby aflmom » Thu May 15, 2008 4:30 pm

Based on our recent experience, I can see where it could take two years. ;-) Our son spent one year with two different organizations. He did all the preliminary paperwork, including the research and plans, but could not get either organization to follow through or make a commitment.

With the last organization, he went around and around for 3-4 months trying to get something done. The youth pastor would never follow up. Finally, he started emailing the youth pastor with a cc to the senior pastor along with dropping the hint that sufficient funds had been donated for the project. Things started moving a lot more quickly then;however, it was still difficult coordinating volunteers. A rental company was willing to donate their equipment (if it wasn't out on a job), but the youth pastor wasn't available on those days. From the time he started talking to the last organization until he got his "completed" signature was 1 year.
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Postby t305spl » Thu May 15, 2008 5:28 pm

What do you mean a Scout shouldn't be able to take 2 years to complete his Eagle Project? That is ridiculous.

The only requirement is that it is completed by the scouts 18th Birthday.

An Eagle Project is not meant to be a project that takes up all his time for 4 months. Scouts, and I think us Scouters sometimes fail to realize this, have other things to do...Scouting is not the only thing.

It's like the wonderful teachers we had in High School that wanted a paper done the next day but failed to recognize we have many other classes that also want things done right away.

fritz1255 stated that 500+ hours have already been put into this project and $3000+ has been donated. Thats certainly not dragging your feet...I do know that the number is not for the scout alone but 250 hours a year is still should not be considered dragging their feet.

We always love to discuss when other people aren't following the Requirements to the letter, but then how can we sit here and post that a scout shouldn't take as much time as he is alloted.

I firmly believe we need to light the fire sometimes to get them going or keep them going but it's up to them to complete and they have until they are 18.

With regards to the organization adding more:

NO...the Project Proposal signed by the Scout, Organization, Committee Member, and Adv. Committee Member is what they have agreed to complete. You can not add more. That is the work agreement. If they ask the scout to do more then the scout can figure out if it can be done, but he is not required to do it.

Scouts are providing a FREE service to these organizations and they should be thrilled to receive this no matter how long it takes.
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Postby smtroop168 » Thu May 15, 2008 7:10 pm

t305spl: WE DO NOT HAVE ALL THE DETAILS.

That's why we're asking so we can better understand and possible assist the scout and poster.

Depending on the project/manpower you can accumulate 500 hours pretty quickly, especially over a 24 month period. I had a scout with a workforce of 20 over 3-8 hour saturdays of Appl Trail work almost hit 500 hours

$3000 could be one big one and a bunch of smaller ones or if it includes the materials, it could be easy to get that much. We had a scout build an eight car playground train for a church school that cost $2500 which was achieved though donations.

I agree he has until his 18th birthday but that's what kicked off this discussion....he was running out of time....and why? This crisis could and should have been avoidable.

He could be lucky the organization didn't cut him loose before now as was explained in a different thread in this forum. The other scout also had a "signed work agreement" and they walked away. fritz was looking for a BSA rule on this to hang over the sponsor's head and I do not believe there is one.

Most organizations are thrilled with FREE labor but they also should assume and have some expectations of a reasonable completion time. What did he promise to do for them 2 years ago? The project plan is supposed to include a schedule. Did he tell the sponsor I'll get it done before I'm 18?

Remember, HE chose the project (I hope). So HE is responsible for it's execution.
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Postby cballman » Thu May 15, 2008 11:37 pm

Since the info was not complete on to exactly what the project is and was. I will have to add my opinions. since the project is question was mulching and landscaping around the church or was it rebuilding the senior citizens center recreation area or what was the project? who was the project to be done for? without this info I will have to say that if you want help and opinions dont just give the board here tidbits of info, lay it ALL out so we can be the helpful people to lean on. now if you have had trouble out of the group before then why in the world would you send another scout to work with them? I hate to be critical of any scout leader but if a Eagle project has been laying on the table for longer than 1 year then where was the adults in your troop to find out why it has taken so long? maybe the original plan had to be changed because of something the group had to do in the last 2 years waiting for him to start the project. I know that some of this has been harsh but then again we dont know the story.
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Postby mhjacobson » Fri May 16, 2008 12:07 am

Ah the rub. For those of you who are Eagle mentors, you will understand the procedure for the project, for the rest:

1) the project should be explained clearly in terms of both the need, the method of completion and the scope (including approximate timeline, budget, volunteers, etc;

2) the project proposal should be approved in writing by the organization, the troop committee chair, and the scoutmaster PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTATION

3) if there are changes to the project, as proposed by the scout, they need to be made in writing, and the changes are to be approved by the organization, the committee chair, and the scoutmaster

3) the scout should clearly document the progress of the project and how the project (as amended), as described in #1 & #3 have been met

IF THE STEPS THAT ARE DESCRIBED ABOVE HAVE BEEN FOLLOWED, THIS SITUATION WOULD HAVE NEVER OCCURRED. If the organization unilaterally decides to change the project, then the scout, the committee chair, and the scoutmaster, have sufficient documentation to bring the project to the council advancement committee with an endorsement that the project has been completed in terms of the original project design.

Skipping these steps is what causes the 'never ending Eagle project syndrome.'
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Postby smtroop168 » Thu May 29, 2008 10:14 am

fritz1255...will you give us an update?
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Postby evmori » Thu May 29, 2008 11:25 am

cballman wrote:Since the info was not complete on to exactly what the project is and was. I will have to add my opinions. since the project is question was mulching and landscaping around the church or was it rebuilding the senior citizens center recreation area or what was the project? who was the project to be done for? without this info I will have to say that if you want help and opinions dont just give the board here tidbits of info, lay it ALL out so we can be the helpful people to lean on. now if you have had trouble out of the group before then why in the world would you send another scout to work with them? I hate to be critical of any scout leader but if a Eagle project has been laying on the table for longer than 1 year then where was the adults in your troop to find out why it has taken so long? maybe the original plan had to be changed because of something the group had to do in the last 2 years waiting for him to start the project. I know that some of this has been harsh but then again we dont know the story.


I hope it wasn't mulching & landscaping that is taking this long!

An Eagle project can take as long as necessary but two years seems more like and on going service project, not an Eagle project.
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Postby Bill Pitcher » Thu May 29, 2008 11:57 pm

Fritz1255 . . .where are you?
Without all of the details of the project, it's hard to form an opinion here. Look at what mhjacobson wrote. If the project proposal has all of the signatures, it's a contract. PERIOD! If the sponsor wants to make changes, the candidate only needs to say I'll get back to you and call the Eagle mentor who provided the fourth signature. If the scout agrees to do the "extra," fine. Put it in the report under "Changes." If the extras are above and beyond . . . and doesn't want to do it (or runs out of time), then the mentor should step in and inform the sponsor that it isn't fair and explain how the process works.
I have mentored Eagle projects for our advancement committee for over 15 years and have had a couple that took a long time (1 1/3 yrs +) and I have had to step in on a few. Adults and organizations will try to take advantage of "kids" sometimes. but all said and done, the council person now needs to take charge here.
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Re: Help! Eagle Project Requirements Expanding

Postby fritz1255 » Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:43 am

Update: Project was completed and signed off. We were able to compromise with the organization on some of the expanded requirements. Thanks much to the folks who tried to help here. Still not going to share details - I do not know who is lurking on this forum, and we still have a couple of active projects with this organization, so I don't care to get them angry at us by commenting on a public, scout-related forum.
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Re: Help! Eagle Project Requirements Expanding

Postby Bill Pitcher » Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:50 am

OK! But what was the project (without naming the organization)?
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Re: Help! Eagle Project Requirements Expanding

Postby evmori » Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:09 am

We will never find out! It did sound like this project was either poorly planned or just shouldn't have been an Eagle project! Took too long!
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Re: Help! Eagle Project Requirements Expanding

Postby fritz1255 » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:42 am

Even if I don't name the organization, they will know who I am talking about. No way.

As to the question of poor planning, projects always sound easier in the planning stage. Everyone is optimistic about what can be accomplished and how things will go. Adults frequently enter into contracts, then things go wrong. Any divorced parents out there? If these kids knew from the start all life skills including exactly how to plan and run a project, we would have no need for Boy Scouts. They would be teaching us. I recall something about a tunnel project in the Boston area that did not go quite as planned?

Two reasons why the project took so long:
1) Ambitious scope to begin with, and the organization added to it. There were more than the normal amount of "surprises" involved with execution of the project.
2) The work came in spurts, with lengthy periods of time with no action. This was on the Scout.

Lesson going forward for us: Construction projects need to be better planned in order to minimize "surprises". We are also going to encourage our Scouts to think "out of the box" rather that just doing the traditional construction projects.
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Re: Help! Eagle Project Requirements Expanding

Postby mhjacobson » Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:48 pm

Where was the Eagle Mentor in the process? One of the primary responsibilities of the Eagle Mentor is to assist the Scout in the concept and planning phases of the project to see that he does not bite off more than he can chew.
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Re: Help! Eagle Project Requirements Expanding

Postby Bill Pitcher » Thu Jul 24, 2008 4:17 pm

I agree with what mhj said above . . . where was the Eagle Mentor? When I sign off on a project (as a mentor) all of the i's are dotted and t's crossed. I meet with the boy and parent to make sure everyone understands what is going to happen and how. AND, I meet them AT THE JOB SITE. This way we all understand and all permits are obtained. Then, as I mentioned in another thread, I keep a copy of the proposal and drawings (if applicable) and go to the job site through-out the project development to make sure that the proposal is being followed, that the adults are not taking over, and to make sure the project is moving along in a timely manner. Overkill? Maybe, but it works. We have 2 other Eagle Mentors in the council and we all do the same thing. Makes for the best Scout image and happy customers!
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Re: Help! Eagle Project Requirements Expanding

Postby mhjacobson » Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:01 pm

t305sp[l has it correct when he said
NO...the Project Proposal signed by the Scout, Organization, Committee Member, and Adv. Committee Member is what they have agreed to complete. You can not add more. That is the work agreement. If they ask the scout to do more then the scout can figure out if it can be done, but he is not required to do it.


The approved project proposal, once signed is a contract between the scout and the organization. One cannot unilaterally change the project to the detriment of the other (which we are discussing in another thread "Half-a-Project." The Eagle Mentor's training should have clarified that for the mentor. As I have said in this thread some posts ago, "Where is the Mentor?" If the organization refuses to sign off on the project due to the scouts failure to do additional tasks from what are stated in the original project proposal, the scout should compile all of his documentation, including the required "after" pictures, and take it all to the Eagle Scout Mentor (and the Eagle Scout Coach) and request that they not only sign off on the project, but prepare a statement for the Eagle BOR as to why the organization failed to sign off. I'll bet that the BOR will accept the statement and allow the BOR to proceed.
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Re: Help! Eagle Project Requirements Expanding

Postby Ursus Snorous Roarus » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:42 pm

Wow, hindsight is always 20/20 and it's easy to armchair others!
Things do go wrong, statements are misunderstood, but hopefully things are LEARNED by the Scout. That is the process we are supposed to be working here, right? When you're in the midst of a mess, you need to find a way to resolve it through the best compromise for all. Hopefully the organization is going to be somewhat accepting of that and sign off on the paperwork. Agreed with the idea to have 'an adult-only sit-down' to discuss the situation, leave the kid at home (don't put him in the middle of it, at least not up front). Walking away from the project 'because they broke the contract' teaches the kid what!? To QUIT? No thanks, no quitters on our Eagle Role. Just like life, the kid will find himself in situations that need problem solved, I'm sure this isn't the first time this has happened to him, doubt it'll be the last.

If the organization has a track record, yes, it's time to steer candidates away from them. I'm sure you have gobs and gobs of orgs in your area that cry for projects - no shortage there! Yes, the Scout's mentor should have been more involved, especially if these folks have an established track history of pulling this stuff. Man, hindsight and finger pointing is easy, just don't forget the big picture here...
Last edited by Ursus Snorous Roarus on Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help! Eagle Project Requirements Expanding

Postby mhjacobson » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:43 pm

I see that you are new to the forum. This is a place where we can politely agree to disagree. You tone does not bespeak this philosophy. Nowhere in my response to the siutation did I say anything like "tell the kid to walk away from the project." What I did say, after serving on many a council-level advancement committee, what was and still is BSA policy. Part of the Eagle project is the development of the 'contract' between the organization and the scout. There have been prior posts from members regarding what can happen when one of the parties (either the scout or the organization unilaterally changes the project -- for example, see "half-a-project" -- and the negative consequences on the scout.

When the recipient organization, after they have signed-off on a project unilaterally changes the conditions of the project, it is bltently unfair to the scout. As adults, and this is primarily an adult forum, we know that a contact should be a contract, and so does the council advancement committee. I guarantee that most organizations who change the nature of the contract without talking with the scout first, and not going to be so communicative about it in a meeting with a bunch of adults that they do not know (and if there is a conversation, the scout should be part of it -- it is his project and he brokered the deal in the first place).

The almost universal recommendation, is for the scout to approach the organization, state that he completed the project as approved, that he has his documentation that the project is completed as approved, and request the signature from the person who approved the project in the first place. IF the signature is withheld for reasons other than "we do not like the quality of the work", or "the work as described in the original proposal is not completed," then the scout can bring his documentation of the completion to the Eagle Mentor (that is what that position is for) and request guidance. 95% of the time the Eagle Mentor will handle the issue of the missing signature with the Council Advancement Committee. If the signature of the organization was withheld solely due to the fact that they changed the nature of the project, after it was approved, then the scout will probably be moved to EBOR.

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Re: Help! Eagle Project Requirements Expanding

Postby Ursus Snorous Roarus » Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:06 pm

mhjacobson wrote:I see that you are new to the forum. This is a place where we can politely agree to disagree. You tone does not bespeak this philosophy. Nowhere in my response to the siutation did I say anything like "tell the kid to walk away from the project."

Not quite new, been lurking for a number of years.
I apologize if my tone was upsetting, however my statements weren’t directed at you individually or anyone in particular for that matter. The tone I was reading was that collectively, there seemed to be (my interpretation) quite a piling on of this Scouter and his Eagle Candidate.
I am pretty well aware of the process and it’s intricacies as well myself, including the real implications on a young man trying to finish his project with a deadline looming in his future. No need to explain the ‘unfairness’ aspect of this, at least to me, regardless of how long his project has lasted. However, it should be resolved, with intervention if needed, such as I would suspect is warranted here. Together, they need to find an amicable solution and determine a completion point of the project.
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Re: Help! Eagle Project Requirements Expanding

Postby mhjacobson » Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:33 pm

Thank you. However, if the entirety of the thread was read, one could only come up with the interpretation that all were supporting the scout. The only area were there were some comments made were in the direction of the Eagle Mentor (or Eagle Coach, it is advisable for an Eagle Candidate to have both). IF the adults continued to do the monitoring that they should have been doing throughout the project phase, this probably would have not gotten to the point where it did. Even though the Eagle Project is designed (NOT to give service as most believe) to assist the Scout in implementing leadership in a non-scouting arena, the Eagle should receive the appropriate level of support when something out of his control goes wrong, and in this case it has gond terribly wrong, and the adults seemingly are standing in a circle with each one pointing to his left, saying, isn't it his job?

Fighting and arguing with the organization is not the way to solve the problem. Negotiating with an organization who breaks the 'contract, and the signature on the Eagle Scout Project proposal makes it so. In fact, that is why it is designed that way -- both to give the Eagle Scout the experience of operating under a contract, and to protect both the organization (In "half-a-project" we are discussing a project that is incomplete primarily due to the scout deciding that it was too much and he walked away from it with only half completed, and is trying to find a way to go to EBOR without completion) and the Scout (against the organization suddenly imposing additional requirements on the scout.

In this case the scout is correct, andt he scouting adults should, simply, do their job. Write up the documentation, make sure that the scout has his before and after pictures to demonstrate that he completed the project as described in the original proposal and march to the EBOR. (On a personal note, my son would be at the organization's door with a copy of the project proposals, the before and after photos, and any documentation that he might have of the organization's attempt to alter the project, and take it to the president.)
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