Scouts-L Mail Archive for April of 1999: Re: My First Try at Processing an Eagle Project.......H E L P
Re: My First Try at Processing an Eagle Project.......H E L P
Mon, 26 Apr 1999 14:56:26 -0700
To me, the key words to note in Paul's comment are "...every time the issue
has come up..." This issue comes up when failed Eagle boards of review are
appealed to the national advancement committee. I'm not sure what you would
expect them to do at that point - add to the requirements by creating
criteria that are stated nowhere else? Certainly "registered" is the
absolute rock bottom limit for "active", so if it comes to a test, that
would be the definition I would expect them to use.
That doesn't have to be your expectation, or mine, or even theirs, whoever
"they" are, of what an active Scout is like. I'm sure we all expect Scouts,
especially Eagle candidates, to be more active than just simply registered.
The question is how to put it into practice. In your years of experience as
a Scout and leader, I'm sure you've seen troops operated in all kinds of
ways. How do we create requirements to suit every person and every
Here's an example of different points of view regarding the meaning and
"requirements" for Eagle: In the current issue of Scouting, there's an
article about a troop with over 500 Eagles in its history. They intend for
every Scout to reach Eagle, and they have a program that is designed to help
them reach it before 9th grade. I know Scoutmasters who will have fits when
they read this article. They believe that becoming Eagle demands some
maturity to understand the responsibilities it implies, that 14 is too young
to have such maturity, and furthermore that not all boys who enter Scouting
are "worthy" of Eagle. Who's right? I would say neither one. Both
positions have merits, but more importantly troops can successfully exist
with either point of view.
When my son crossed over from Webelos, we visited several troops and he
picked one that seemed to fit him the best. We've had Scouts transfer out
of our troop because it didn't suit them, and we've had Scouts transfer in
because it did. I have my own expectations about what Eagle Scout means and
share them with my troop and my district, but I'm personally comfortable
with the flexibility we all have to interpret the requirements and operating
procedures for Scouting.
I advise leaders in our district to realize that all the requirements have
minimum limits, but that they don't have to create programs designed to
strive only for the minimums. As long as the troop and leader expectations
are clearly stated, known to all Scouts at the time you join the troop, and
uniformly applied to all Scouts, then everyone shares an understanding of
what is expected of them.
I also advise leaders that the opportunities and flexibility for high
expectations diminish the further you get away from the unit, so quality
starts at home. I get annoyed and tend to deliver lectures when a unit
leader says "we thought that the Scout's proposed Eagle project was pretty
lame, so we were surprised the district approved it." In our district, we
review projects to make sure they are being done for an acceptable
recipient, are not strictly routine maintenance or fundraisers, and that the
Scout has the appropriate signatures and approvals. In other words, that
they meet minimum technical requirements. On a slightly less firm footing,
the advancement guidelines book states that it is the responsibility of the
Eagle board of review to see if the project was carried out according to the
plan. We interpret this to imply a "requirement" that the Scout actually
has to have a written plan so that the Board has something to review. We
expect the Scout to answer only the questions asked in the service project
workbook, but we expect answers to all of them. About 50% of Scouts coming
to our district reviews have to come back with more written detail in their
plans, and this is despite continuing efforts to make sure everyone knows
exactly what the district review team is looking for.
At the district project review, we expect the Scout to explain how the
project will demonstrate leadership to their Board of Review, since that is
the primary purpose of the project. We conduct district Life to Eagle
seminars for Scouts and leaders 3 times a year to make sure that the Scout,
unit, district, and council roles and expectations are clear. Since the
workbook clearly states that there is no minimum size for an Eagle project,
we use the seminar as a way to make the point that small projects involving
very few people will be less convincing to the Board of Review than large
projects when it comes to leadership. We don't teach people how to do the
smallest possible project; we show them examples of very impressive projects
and hope that they'll take up the challenge.
So my suggestion is this: don't blame "national" for having minimum
standards that are too low to suit you. In order for them to set high
standards and apply them to all of us, I think the whole structure of
chartering organizations and independent Scouting units would have to
change. We should be concerned instead when Scouts and leaders start asking
"what's the minimum I have to do to get by." When they are asking that,
we've got a real problem. But that's exactly the problem Scouting has the
tools and methods to solve.
Committee Chair, Troop 573, Woodinville, WA
District Vice-Chair and Eagle Advancement Coordinator
North Lakes District, Chief Seattle Council
> -----Original Message-----
> Date: Sun, 25 Apr 1999 07:48:57 EDT
> From: "Gary A. Musselman" <Gaalmus@AOL.COM>
> Subject: Re: My First Try at Processing an Eagle Project.......H E L P
> I am deeply disturbed by the position, "National-supported"
> or not, that mere registration is sufficient to fulfill the Eagle
> for being "active" for six months (Paul Wolf wrote: "Very Simple. BSA
> has defined "Active in your troop and patrol" as maintaining membership
> in BSA. It has been consistent EVERY time the issue has come up that NO
> may define criteria for that requirement other than membership.") .
> Lord help us! Can any claim that he possesses and demonstrates the
"spirit" of any group to which he belongs if
> he isn't active (not merely "signed up, dues paid") in that group?
> Gary M.