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years. “I tell kids, ‘If I ever find myself working harder than you’re working, then I quit,’ ” he says.


BEYOND SCHEDULING and motivation, the biggest task most Scouts need help with is Requirement No. 5: “While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institu- tion, any school, or your community.” It’s easy to exclude obviously


invalid project ideas. It’s harder to determine whether a particular idea will pass muster with your district advancement committee. (Remember, coordinators do not approve final plans.) Sparks suggests focusing on these words from Requirement No. 5: “plan, develop, and give leadership.” “I really pay a lot of attention to


that,” he says. “How’s this kid planning this? Can he develop it into something significant? And when he does it, is there plenty of opportunity for him to give leadership?” Take the classic example of build-


ing a bridge on a state park nature trail. The project would be valid if the


Scout had to research plans for the bridge, solicit the materials, create a work schedule, and lead a team of Scouts and adult volunteers to build it. But the project would probably fall short if the park manager already had secured the plans and materials and the Scout and his dad could slap the bridge together in a couple of hours. If that judgment sounds subjec-


tive, it is, which is why an Eagle Scout coordinator’s experience is so impor- tant. A coordinator can help screen project ideas that would most likely be approved by the advancement committee. But ultimately, the com- mittee is the deciding authority. Recognizing this scope and depth


might be tricky for a new Life-to- Eagle coordinator after the BSA adjusted the requirements in 2011 to ask only for a project “proposal” (versus a detailed project “plan”) for approval before starting a project. Before this change, approved project proposals were required to include so much detail that a Scout’s project could be carried out without needing additional information beyond what appeared in his approved Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook (No. 512- 927). But, as the most recent Guide to Advancement states: “It is inappropri-


Plan, develop, lead an Eagle Scout Service Project. Move ahead.


ate to expect a Scout to invest the time required for detailed planning, only to face the prospect of rejection.” Councils and districts now approve


a project proposal, which represents the beginning of the Scout’s planning process, explains Christopher Hunt, team leader of the BSA’s Program Impact Department. “Further plan- ning necessary for success continues to be important, but it is evaluated as part of the project at the Scout’s board of review,” Hunt adds.


LIFE-TO-EAGLE coordinators should become familiar with the latest edition of the Guide to Advancement (No. 33088). Section 9 covers the Eagle Scout rank, and topics 9.0.1.0 through 9.0.2.16 are devoted to the Eagle Scout service project. But it is also very important to understand how the district operates and how its advancement committee works with BSA procedures. Recently, Sparks worked with a


Scout who was running out of time before his 18th birthday and was


Complete Eagle Scout board of review. Move ahead.


College applications due soon. Move back.


Take part in unit leader conference. Move ahead.


30 S COUTING ¿ MAY•JUNE 2014


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