Eagle Scout Projects – Getting Started

Basic Requirements:

1) YOU MUST USE the MOST CURRENT Eagle Project Workbook from the BSA website ONLY (all prior versions are invalid) – this is a downloadable, “fillable” pdf form. This form has been modified half a dozen times in the past 3 years! –start by checking the BSA website for the correct form!

2) Your Project cannot be started until you are a Life-rank Scout (but can be thought about and researched anytime!)

3) Your Project cannot be started until you have a fully approved Proposal (requires SIGNATURES from the Benefitting Organization, the Scoutmaster, the Committee Chair, and the District Eagle Board Representative!) If you fail to get these approvals, YOUR PROJECT WILL BE NULL AND VOID.

4) YOUR PROJECT SHOULD BE YOUR IDEA – Not just you providing unpaid labor to complete a project that someone else wants or needs.
[Comment:  It is understood that you may simply be unable to come up with a viable Project idea – If so, ASK THE TROOP LEADERSHIP for ideas – DON’T ASK AN ORGANIZATION what they want done! – See additional comments about this under #8.]

5) Your Project cannot be done for the benefit of the Troop or any other BSA Unit. Cannot be done for the benefit of the BSA or on BSA property. Cannot be done for a business or other profit-making organization.

6) Your Project must have “Semi-Permanence” – Will it still be here a year from now? Ten years from now?  Or will it need to be re-done in 6 weeks?

7) Your Project must have Adequate Scope in order for you to “Demonstrate Leadership”

    a. There is NO HOURLY REQUIREMENT; however, there is an UNOFFICIAL EXPECTATION of 100 Hours or More (that is, enough time for you to “Demonstrate Leadership.”) Most of the hours should be from YOUTH volunteers – not adults
    b. Officially, you must lead at least 2 Scouts or other youth volunteers in completing your Project – Obviously, you should lead far more than 2 Scouts! (or else your Project will take many days to complete)
    c. One day is OK – Two or three days is better

8) Your Project CANNOT be “Routine Maintenance”

    a. Routine Maintenance is something the benefitting organization will eventually do anyway – If you ask a benefitting organization what they need done, it will almost always be routine maintenance!
    b. Routine Maintenance CAN be used to SUPPLEMENT a Project that is NOT “Adequate in Scope” for you to “Demonstrate Leadership,” but must be a minor aspect of the Project (i.e., less than half, and preferably less than a third).
    c. Exception – Some “Routine Maintenance” Projects are acceptable if the Benefitting Organization has no resources (manpower, money, and equipment) to do it, ever, and the “object” will therefore fall into ruin from neglect. These are unusual, especially in Arlington.
    d. Sadly, many Routine Maintenance Projects are IMPROPERLY approved in other Troops – DO NOT VEX YOURSELF focusing on what other Scouts “got away with” – The value of an Eagle Project is the same as your Scouting Career – You get out of it what you put into it.

9) Your Project Must be Safe and Reasonable – There are countless Projects that need doing, but realistically they can’t be done with youth volunteers, or at a reasonable cost, or in a reasonable amount of time, or in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations (including BSA regulations).

10) Total donations totaling more than $500 in value must receive Council approval BEFORE starting. There is a special form to submit for this approval (it is NOT required for the proposal!) This takes 2 to 4 weeks!

———-

Here are some examples of “Routine Maintenance” Project Proposals THAT WOULD NOT BE APPROVED by Troop 111’s Leadership (all would be good service projects, some would be good supplements for a related Eagle Project that needs expansion, and a few would be good Life Practical events, but none would qualify as an Eagle Project):

Painting the Main Hall in the Parish Center (or anything else around the campus)

Re-Painting the Parking Lot Lines and Curbs

Removing Graffiti from Bridge Underpasses or Sound Barriers

Trimming the shrubs, raking the leaves, or removing snow around the Parish

Weed-whacking the invasive species at an Arlington Park

Conducting a trash cleanup at an Arlington Park

Mowing and doing brush and trash removal at a Cemetery

Re-Mulching a trail at an Arlington Park

Re-Painting Fire Hydrants

Clearing snow away from County Fire Hydrants after a mega-snowstorm

Running a one-time Blood Drive, Organ-Donor Drive, Food Collection Drive for AFAC, Voter Registration Drive, Clothing Collection Drive for ASPAN or a similar organization, Book Collection Drive for a school or library, Flag Collection Drive and Retirement Ceremony, Daypack Collection Drive for a school, Toy Collection Drive for Toys for Tots or a similar organization, or any similar, one- time activities. HOWEVER, a recurring, multi-year version of these activities would qualify – but that is difficult to set up so it will survive in your absence.

———-

Here are a few examples of Project Proposals THAT WOULD NOT BE APPROVED because of safety concerns, excessive costs, need for advanced expertise or equipment, excessive time requirements, or non-compliance with applicable laws and regulations:

Installing lighting on a 150 foot steeple on a neighborhood Church

Planting trees or shrubs in the narrow median strip of a busy interstate highway

“Deconstructing” an abandoned residence or large shed

Building 3 miles of new trail

Removing invasive species from 1,000 square yards of overgrown parkland

Cutting down multiple, large dead trees at a local Park

Installing a new roof on a 2-story residence for abused women and children

Building a new pit latrine at Goshen Scout Camps

———-

Here are some examples of Good Eagle Projects, all of which have been done by Troop 111 Scouts:

Building a section of new trail (from 200 to 500 feet) at a local Park (many Scouts)

Expanding (Widening) an existing trail at a local Park (many Scouts)

Building Erosion Barriers, Water Bars, Bridges, Staircases, or Trail Lining along a local nature or hiking trail (many Scouts)

Building a Treadway Trail at a Local Park

Building and Installing Signs on Trails at a local Park, or at bike trail intersections

Removing (not just weed-whacking) the invasive species at an Arlington Park

Planting 50 to 100 Trees on a barren or nearly barren Interstate Cloverleaf, or as a Riparian Barrier at a Park Boundary

Planting trees or decorative shrubs at a local Church, School, Community Center, Nature Center, or Park

Building heavy-duty planting or garden beds at a school or Community Center

Building and Installing Recycling Bins for a local Park or other appropriate locale

Building and Installing Compost Bins at a School or other appropriate locale

Building and Installing Park Benches or wildlife observation posts in a local Park or nature preserve

Building and Installing Bird Houses for endangered Bird Species (e.g., Bluebirds)

Building and Installing Bat Houses for endangered bats

Installing Split-Rail Fences

Building or re-building a storage shed at an appropriate facility (Church, School, or Community Center)

Building storage shelves for a Church, School, or Community Center

Conducting a Habitat for Humanity (or similar type organization) house building/improvement project

Develop (or upgrade) a comprehensive Webpage for a Church, School or Community Center (the St. Agnes websites were started by a Troop 111 Scout!)

Building or Improving a Religious Statue area

Building an appropriate sports activity facility – horseshoes, volleyball, bocce ball are three that at least four 111 Scouts have built

Build a holding facility for disabled birds of prey at local Nature Centers

SOME OTHER GOOD PROJECTS THAT SCOUTS FROM NEARBY TROOPS HAVE DONE:

Continue the “Chesapeake Bay Drainage – Do Not Dump!” marker installation program on the County’s culverts and storm drains

Building and Installing anti-theft bike posts along the County’s many bike trails

Building and Installing picnic tables at a local park

Conduct a Bicycle Registration Drive (including imprinting numbers on the crankcases) and Safety Instruction Course for youth riders

Conducting a House Number curb painting drive for elderly/handicapped residents

Create an informative CD concerning a topic of interest to youth (anti-drug, anti- suicide, anti-runaway, anti-bullying, anti-texting, anti-drinking and driving, etc) and get it on local TV and on school websites and similar youth-oriented sites

Permanently renovate a poor drainage area at a park, sports field, or dog park

———-

A Basic Chronology:

A) Once the Scout has an idea or two (or three), he discuss it (or them) with his Scoutmaster or Eagle Scout Overseer. This is REALITY CHECK #1, and may result in the preliminary approval, expansion, modification, or discarding of an idea (or ideas).

B) Once he has received the preliminary blessing of an idea from the Scoutmaster or Eagle Scout Overseer, the Scout schedules a visit with the benefitting organization to discuss the potential project. A parent MAY wish to attend, but this is more appropriately handled by the Scout alone. This is REALITY CHECK #2, and may again result in the preliminary approval, expansion, modification, or discarding of an idea.

C) If preliminary approval was received from the benefitting organization’s representative, the Scout initiates the formal proposal writeup, using the most current Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook. He returns to the site of the proposed project and takes photos which illustrate the current condition of the site as an aid to explain what he intends to do and how it will improve the current situation. If appropriate, he should also obtain map(s) of the area involved, schematics of building projects, or other appropriate literature, as illustrative figures. The Scout uses all this material to compile a draft Proposal.

D) Once the draft Proposal is completed, the Scout runs it by the Troop Eagle Scout Overseer for a quick review. This is REALITY CHECK #3. Generally, this review results in suggested corrections and expansions of the initial writeup. The Scout should work with the Overseer to make the presentation a reasonably polished product; this may take 2 or 3 iterations, depending on how meticulous the Overseer is in reviewing the draft(s).

E) Once the Proposal is complete to the Eagle Overseer’s satisfaction, the Scout acquires approval signatures, IN ORDER, from the following four individuals: (1) A representative of the benefitting organization authorized to approve the work – note that this is usually the same person who the Scout discussed the project idea with in the first place (but not always!)*; (2) The Scoutmaster; (3) The Troop Committee Chairman; and finally (4) A member of the District Eagle Board**. This is REALITY CHECK #4. The Scout should first call each of these individuals to set up formal appointments to review his proposal. Note that the names, addresses and phone numbers of the members of the District Eagle Board are available from the Eagle Scout Overseer or Scoutmaster.

* If the benefitting organization has agreed to provide financial support to the project, the Scout should get that confirmed IN WRITING.

** Additional comments on the District Eagle Board – this Board is made up of senior Scouters in the local District who are well familiar with the Eagle Scout process and have formal oversight authority over all Eagle Projects and Eagle Boards of Review.  Note that this is NOT the Troop’s Eagle Scout Overseer – that is an informal Troop Committee position, not a District position!  The Eagle Board member is an advisor who ensures that the Scout’s project will meet BSA guidelines. Much later in the process, he/she will also do a comprehensive review of the Scout’s advancement records and administer the Scout’s Eagle Board of Review.

F) Once all four approval signatures have been acquired (AND NOT BEFORE!), the Scout completes his final plan if he wants to and gets ready to initiate his project. The Final Plan does not need to be prepared, reviewed, or approved, BUT it is an excellent idea for the Scout to prepare it and to have the Eagle Overseer review it, to reduce future problems. The better the Final Plan, the easier the Project will go. Fair Warning – Projects that are conducted based on only their proposals are usually plagued with problems.

Another helpful set of hints to review before starting the final plan is “Hard Learned Lessons”, which is also posted on the Troop website.

There is much more to the process, but this will get you started on the right foot.

-END-

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *