Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: medical related Eagle Project (Again??) (long post)
Re: medical related Eagle Project (Again??) (long post)
Sat, 6 Feb 1999 03:00:19 -0600
Robert Cataldo <RCataldo@MFI.COM> wrote:
>I have a life scout who will be 18 in 4 months. (He has been
>life for 3 years and had all requirements for Eagle except
>project 2 years ago ).
>He is very active in 2 volunteer ambulance corps ( 1 in the
>school district - he can respond to calls during the school day )
>and 1 at home - nights and weekends with his mother - she's an
>He wanted to do a blood drive for his project but the district
>counselor said NO ( he also does the Eagle board of reviews ).
Why? Did the Eagle Counselor say why not?
>Does anyone have any suggestions? Please HELP!
I remember that this very question came up, Robert, either last
year or the year before (I believe it was last year).
I found it; it was the year before last and here was your
------ insert previous posting --------
Robert Cataldo (rcataldo@MFI.COM)
Fri, 6 Jun 1997 11:37:10 PST
One of the Life Scouts in my troop wanted to do a blood drive. The
existing blood drive in our village ( run by a local church ) is
lucky if it can get 45 pints.
He wanted to expand this to include all churches in the village,
get the volunteer ambulance corp and fire departments involved.
Prior to doing any write up the scout spoke to the District Eagle
Project Coordinator and he said NO to the project. His reasoning
was that a blood drive is a "canned" project, did not benefit the
community and if the scout set a goal of 60 pints and did not
achieve it, his project was a failure.
I need to help the scout find an alternate project which he wants
to do. He does not want to do any old project for the sake of
doing it, he wants to do a project that is health related.
Does anyone have any suggestions for a project or how to possible
improve the blood drive idea to make it an eagle project?
Troop 55 Irvington, NY
------- end of included posting --------
Bob, if I remember correctly, you got a lot of great advice here
and it led to a even greater discussion concerning what *exactly
is involved* in approving an Eagle Scout Service project. Here's
some extracts from that discussion:
Stuart R. Estrade (stuestrade@SPRINTMAIL.COM)
Fri, 6 Jun 1997 13:22:17 -0500
Check out <http://www.why.net/users/smith_randy/eagleprj.htm>
A Project" LINKS. There is a blood brive project in Nevada Area
Council Eagle Projects # 7; E-mail them with your situation.
It's impossible to assess (nor would I want to) that this was a
fair decision without talking to the scout or reading the writeup.
I once steered a scout away from a Blood Drive Project because the
scout did not demonstrate how he would show leadership of others
and his general approach (come if you want). I try not to turn
projects down based on success/failure but would certainly help
the scout toward a successful conclusion. I do attempt to steer
scouts away from canned (repetitive) or freshly done Eagle
Projects and toward projects that challenge their particular
abilities that haven't been done before. I do insist that the
scout demonstrate how he will show leadership of others plus the
other requirements stated in the Life To Eagle material.
Bob Caron, Computing Services <email@example.com> wrote:
Our council routinely rejects blood drives as well. Why? Well, if
the American Red Cross does them, they come in and take over the
whole show. The provide their own pre-announcements, advertising,
staff of professionals and volunteers, juice & cookies, the whole
nine yards . . . you get the idea.
That's why they're considered "canned" projects around here too.
There's nothing for the Eagle candidate to plan, manage, decide,
organize, direct or supervise except to select a time and place.
And I'm not so sure that "health fairs" would not also turn out to
One of the rules of thumb we are told to use in evaluating project
proposals is "is this project likely to be done otherwise by
someone else if the Eagle candidate didn't do it?" If the answer
is yes, it's viewed as a "routine" or "maintenance" task not
appropriate for an Eagle project.
>From Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
I know this issue has been discussed before and there are many
that feel that blood drives do not provide opportunity for the
Scout to demonstrate the requisite leadership, but I disagree.
Over my years as an advancement chairman I have found blood drives
to be one of the most challenging Eagle projects, and often one of
the most difficult. This has gotten progressively more so as more
and more people are reluctant to donate because of a misplaced
fear of AIDS or contamination with some other disease. I am
disappointed to hear that one of my colleagues in a neighboring
council has the opinion he does.
Yes, blood drives CAN be canned projects. Were a Scout to want to
"take over" an existing, established drive and just "host" it, as
it were, with no efforts to expand the reach or size of the drive
I would probably not approve. Also, as I understand it, in some
places everything is done by the blood center, including the
canvassing of the community. That is NOT the way it is in NYC or
Long Island, and probably not in Irvington, NY which, I believe is
also served by a unit of the Greater NY Blood Program.
Here, the blood center won't even agree to show up unless the
sponsor can commit to a minimum number of units. That number has
risen over the years and in NYC I believe it is now a commitment
of 70 units for a weekend drive. They figure that they will get 1
unit for every 2 commitments, so they are really looking to
collect 35-50 units. It is totally up to the sponsor, in this case
the Scout, to find those donors. That is not easy and I have seen
Scouts do everything right and still not come up with anything
close to what they need. The fact that most of those who do
blood drives are successful is a testament to just how well these
young men and their cohorts do in persuading a reluctant public to
do some civic service.
Frankly, I cannot understand how anyone can claim that a blood
drive does not benefit the community? How can saving lives, in a
multiple of the number of units collected, NOT be viewed as being
a community benefit? How can possibly changing peoples minds about
the risks/benefits/discomfort of giving blood and, thereby,
possibly creating lifelong donors NOT be viewed as a community
benefit. That part of the statement just does not make sense to
and a couple other postings from an earlier discussion, in 1996:
Cynthia Hair <Cynthia=Hair%EdServices%District@BANYAN.CCCD.EDU>
Thu, 17 Oct 1996 12:44:57 PDT
Just thought I would share a frustration about blood drive
projects. While my son was a star scout, he had decided that when
he become a life scout and had completed all the required merit
badges, he would coordinate a blood drive as his eagle project. He
had made his idea known to the adults who would have to
approve his project. Some of these adults indicated to him that
they thought it was a good idea--a worthy community service
project. When the time came and he started his pre-planning, one
of the adults then mentioned that if he came to the committee with
a blood drive it would not be approved. This adult told him that
blood drives did not have enough of the leadership and planning
that was required for eagle; they were prepackaged from the
Although, I strongly disagree, because there is plenty of planning
and coordinating before the drive actually takes place, we were
not in a position to argue with the person who must approve it. I
just believe that this should have come up sooner rather than
waiting till he was ready. This has caused a temporary set back in
doing his project. He has spent the last six months gathering new
ideas. He has now picked one and just finished his first draft
last night. I wish the best of luck to anyone going for Eagle!!
Some times, I don't believe its the leadership quality that the
boys are learning, its more how to jump through the politics of it
And finally, my comments piggy-backing onto Cliff Golden's
Cliff Golden wrote:
>You questioned the validity of two Eagle projects I posted
>concerning a blood drive and another project straightening
>headstones. I have to take a moment and defend those projects
>because I feel they were exceptionally good Eagle Service
Both projects are good projects in my book, Cliff. Here's where I
feel that a lot of Districts and their Advancement Chairs or
perhaps the DE/career staff get "bent out of shape about".
Scout talks with Red Cross chapter about "doing a project for a
badge in Scouts". The Blood Drive coordinator takes out his or her
date book, rattles off a couple of dates and tells the kid to show
up then with his "friends". The Scout goes home, writes up the
project, informs the Scoutmaster that "I'm running a blood
drive and I need some Scouts to be there to help me out", the
Scoutmaster says "Sure! I'll make arrangements to get the day off
to help too!" and the Scout goes home happy.
The week before the Drive, the Blood Drive coordinator calls the
kid up and asks him to place some posters around town or to
perhaps talk with some groups about the drive. The Scout says
"Sure! I can do this", and does. The day of the Drive, the
Scout shows up with his fellow Scouts, and are given tasks of
insuring that folks are fed, that nobody leaves out looking like
they are going to fall or faint, emptying out the food
trash cans, and giving people stickers that state that they gave
*THIS* is NOT an "Eagle Service Project", but this has in the past
"passed" as an Eagle Service project. The purpose of the Project
is NOT to "get something done for the community", but rather to
EXERCISE LEADERSHIP IN DESIGNING, PLANNING, COORDINATING,
EXECUTING AND EVALUATING a project which will benefit a community
need or a need of the chartering partner organization. While yeah,
we can say that the Scout did go and do some planning, and some
coordination, it was basically the Red Cross that did the rest.
Re-read Cliff's example and you will see the difference:
>The blood drive was much more than a mere drive. It involved a
>community education program. He talked to several groups about
>the safety of giving blood and the need for it. He developed
>special awards for boys to subsribe donors, the "Count Dracula
>Award" for anyone that subscribed a quart. The blood drive was a
>huge success. Many of the donors were first time givers, and
>have continued the practice. The church sponsoring us was so
>impressed that they have picked up the project as an annual
>event. The Scout exhibited a tremendous amount of creativity and
>resourcefulness in carrying out this project.
In both cases, the Scout's ability to "use his resources", to "get
and give information" and to "involve as many as possible" made
these acceptable Eagle Service Projects, and I am sure that once
they reached the National Court of Honor, there was no problem
with their approval. The key here is that the SCOUT, not some
community agency, not the parents, not the Scoutmaster or Coach,
not even other community members -- the SCOUT must exercise what
he learned through Scouting in the conduct of the project.
It doesn't have to be original, nor does it have to be done with
other Scouts present. It DOES have to meet a community or
chartered partner need and it DOES have to be "gamed out
completely" by the Scout involved, hence the purpose of the Eagle
Scout Service Project Wookbook.
As Cliff ably stated in his defense in posting these two ideas:
>Don't dismiss an idea without giving the Eagle candidate a
>chance to plan and develop it *fully*.
(I added the emphasis on the word "fully").
Hope this all helps out; the archives are really chock-full of
great comments and ideas, Robert!! It's not hard to use it or the
partial archives available at http://www.compass.scouter.com