"It's ONLY A PROJECT!!" (was Re: Service Project Policy?)
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Mon, 23 Jun 1997 13:19:28 -0500
Mark Wright, Jeff Glaze and Tim O'Leary all commented along the same lines
as Jeff's reply below:
>> While I agree that Mike's preference to assist the community, rather
>> than scouting, is likely the preferable format of a service project for
>> the ranks, there is no restriction that I find in BSA policy limiting such
>> service to community benefit. We have always allowed projects which
>> benefit scouting for the ranks (naturally excuding Eagle), But have
>>always encouraged Scouts to perform service for the community at >>large!
I agree with all three of you that there's nothing in the BSA's guidelines
that says that a Second Class, Star or Life candidate can't do "goodwill"
for the BSA or a part of the BSA. But guys, let's look at this carefully:
are we setting up future Eagle candidates for potential falls as a result?
A Tenderfoot Scout spends an hour working with the District's Pinewood
Derby. Later, as a First Class Scout, he again works with the Pinewood
Derby because "it's easy and it was a lot of fun". Then, as a Star Scout,
he chooses to work with the Cub Day Camp because "it's not as good as
working the Pinewood Derby, but it's still a lot of fun!".
So what does he chooses for an Eagle Scout project?? Something to do with
the Scouts, because that's what he's been doing for service projects for the
other ranks. And, if we press him to do SOMETHING ELSE (even showing him
and his parents where it says that "Eagle projects cannot benefit the BSA or
any local Council or unit"), we get lots of grief from both Scout and parent
along the lines of "HEY!!! You let him do that OTHER stuff with the
Scouts...why won't you let him do this stupid project and be the head of
it...it's JUST A PROJECT!!!"
The Scoutmaster, District Advancement Chair, and others caught in the middle
are then forced to "approve less-than-Eagle-standard" projects to "shut the
kid and his parents up". The kid becomes an Eagle Scout, with
little or no REAL understanding as to what constitutes "service to others".
To him, "service to others" means "service to whatever Scouting group needs
my labor and smile".
That's what I disagree with, and I'm sure that you three also disagree there
too. But as a Scoutmaster, I don't have any real tools as to "dissaude"
those Scouts that want to use working at the Day Camps, the Pinewood
Derbies, the training courses, the new unit organizations as service
projects. Like all of you, I can't say "They're not service projects",
because they *are*, even though they serve only the local Council and the
BSA. What about national service projects like the Blood Donor program and
the Conservation Good Turn...do I "disapprove" those?
So why start them down that path if I can avoid it??
My answer to those questions were simple: If it's a organized project put
on by the BSA or my local Council, I would approve it as a service project
but NOT credit it toward Star, Life and certainly not Eagle. If it's a
project that is coordinated through the community, school, church, or one
that the Scout thought up (the best kind, in my opinion only), not only
would I approve it as a service project for those ranks, but I would
encourage other Star and Life candidates (and now Second Class candidates)
part in it to meet their requirements for *their* service project hours.
Because I'm the Scoutmaster, I get the final say on what "gets credited" and
what "doesn't". I have had a lot of Scouts to work with various District
Cub and Exploring events because "They love it!" and because some of their
friends are there doing the same things. Same goes for Order of the Arrow
stuff as well. They are still service projects, they still benefit the
community-at-large. But *I* don't credit them for Star, Life or Eagle.
When I'm asked, I only have two questions:
* is it a "good turn" (as in doing something for no benefit; the National
Good Turns and the Conservation Good Turns are examples; taking the trash
out for a disabled neighbor is also in that category as well as fixing the
lunch for a group of Cub Scouts at Day Camp) or is it an "organized service
project" (as in organizing a paper drive, or having a group of Cub Scouts to
take part in a series of outdoor games, or something that requires *some
degree* of coordination, leadership/followship and thought...not
neccessarily on the Scout's part).
* will it show the Scout off as a citizen or as a member of a organization?
If both, which does it tend MORE to do? Those that show the Scout off as a
member of Troop 000, I don't credit them toward Star or Life. If it
demonstrates that the Scout is indeed a member of his community and JUST
HAPPENS to be a member of Troop 000, then I would credit it.
I have NEVER "counted hours" in the evaluation of a service project. Some
projects can take an hour, like reading to younger kids one afternoon at the
public library. Others can take literally MONTHS to complete. What *I*
look for in a service project is the following:
- did the Scout have FUN doing it?
- would the Scout do it AGAIN?
- did the project make the Scout THINK about why the project was needed?
- did the project force him to WORK WITH OTHERS, both adult and youth?
- did the project place the Scout, his Troop and the BSA in a POSITIVE light?
- and finally, did the Scout APPLY some part of the Scout Law and
Oath/Promise other than "to help other people at all times" in the conduct
of the project?
So what do those projects get "credited" for if "that mean ol' Mike Walton"
won't let them use them for Second Class, Star or Life??
*merit badge work
*service hours toward the Congressional Award
*service hours toward the Hornaday Conservation Award or the World
*if during our 50-miler/Historic Trails adventures, toward the Historic
*school service hours (I would be more than willing to sign a statement
certifying the number of Scouting hours spent on service projects)
*religious groups service hours
Settummanque (that "mean ol' Mike Walton dude" *heheheheee*)!
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
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