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rather to encourage him to make deci- sions ultimately leading to his success. It’s a position that demands both time, which many Scoutmasters lack, and experience, which most parents lack. But it’s a position that could benefit the older Scouts in your troop.


AS A LIFE-TO-EAGLE coordinator, you’ll typically start working with a Scout as soon as he reaches the Life rank. But just how you start can vary greatly. Because Dorn’s troop is large —


about 80 active Scouts — she holds semiannual Life-to-Eagle orientations for new Life Scouts and their parents. During these hourlong meetings, she goes through all of the Eagle Scout requirements in detail and fields any questions. After that, her first one-on- one contact might not come until months later, when a Scout is ready to start planning his service project. Another large unit, Troop 677


in Glencoe, Mo., takes a different approach. When a Scout reaches Life rank in the 150-member troop, Life-to- Eagle coordinator Jim Keller presents the Scout with an Eagle Scout binder. “That’s really more of a security blanket for mom and dad than it is


for the Scout,” Keller says. “Mom and dad have a lot of questions, and I keep referring them back to the binder.” If your troop is small, you might


opt for a more informal approach. In Troop 107 in Indianapolis, which generates about three Eagle Scouts per year, Life Scouts know to approach Assistant Scoutmaster Chuck Sparks, the troop’s de facto Life-to-Eagle coordinator, for help. “I don’t have an official title, as such, but everybody kind of knows you come to me,” Sparks says. Becoming an Eagle Scout is the


most complex project most Scouts have ever undertaken. As a Life-to- Eagle coordinator, you can help each one decide how to break a mammoth task into more manageable steps. Begin by helping the Scout


figure out which merit badges and other requirements he still needs to complete. He might be surprised to learn that he didn’t finish that Environmental Science merit badge or that he has only served five months in leadership positions, not six. Next, help him prioritize. That might mean encour-


aging him to finish his merit badges before he tackles his service project (or vice versa) so he can concentrate on one task at a time. It might also mean getting him to think through issues like how the weather could affect his service project. Setting deadlines is also important.


If one of Dorn’s Scouts has several merit badges to go, she’ll suggest a schedule for when he should com- plete each badge. Keller actually sets regular dead-


lines for his Scouts, asking each one to call him weekly with a brief update. “It may be, ‘I opened my Eagle book this week.’ OK. It may be, ‘I’m ready for my first review.’ That’s fine. But I need something,” he says. “Until they do that, I don’t overly engage them.” How much to engage a Scout —


and when to disengage — is an issue with which every Life-to-Eagle coor- dinator must grapple. There’s a fine line between guiding and directing, as Sparks says he has learned over the


Get driver’s license. Move back.


Serve in a position of responsibility in troop, team or crew. Move ahead.


Earn 21 merit badges, includ- ing 13 from required list. Move ahead.


Homework overload. Move back.


Have a date. Move back.


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