Eagle Scout Priject guide
Any Eagle Scout can tell you just how important your Eagle Scout Project is. Not only will it teach you a lot about leading your fellow Scouts, but it also gives you an opportunity to make a positive difference in your community. Furthermore, a professional looking project report will give the committee the lasting impression you want them to have. But its not something you can do in a day, a weekend, or even a month. A complete project requires hard work, good planning, and of course, a Life Scout with an idea.
A Life scout with an idea. It sounds simple enough yet this is the step where most scouts struggle. If you are having a hard time coming up with ideas, check out this web site for suggestions. Also, talk to your principals and teachers or call Park Services in your area to see if they have any project suggestions. There is always an abundance of projects to be done, but be sure to pick one that you take pride in. You'll find it much more enjoyable to work on and you'll appreciate its significance.
Once you think you've found the perfect project, be sure to ask yourself a few important questions ... Is is realistic? Although you've always wanted to build a space shuttle, you might want to wait until you get that Rocket Science degree. Also, how much is it going to cost? How are you going to raise those funds? There's nothing worse than planning your project to perfection, only to find that you can't raise the required funds. Does it meet Requirement 5? Find out here. Finally, will it make a difference? Some of the simplest projects have proven to be the best, it doesn't take anything fancy, but don't pick the easiest project you can find either.
With a project in mind, the next thing to do is take some time to discuss your idea with the project representative. This person will be your adult link, so take the time to get to know them. Always listen to what they have to say and they can make your project run much more smoothly. Designate a 3-ring binder where you can put all of your plans, sketches, letters, and any other papers you accumulate over the course of your project. This binder will help you as you fill out your Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook, which can be printed here. I highly recommend the RTF file, which will allow you to open it in Microsoft Word and type all of your information directly. Typing your workbook will add a professional look and make it much easier to make changes and edit. A sample completed workbook is available here.
Before doing any work on your project, take a few "before" pictures to compare to at the end of your project. You'll be glad you did. Next, take some time and figure out exactly how you plan on completing it. Work out and write down all of the equipment you'll need, what you need to buy, where you will get it, how many workers will you need, how will they get there, how long will it take, etc. The more preparation and time you put into your project, the smoother it will run. Whenever possible, make sure you spend time at the site where your project will take place. That is the best way to prepare for your project.
You also need to communicate your plans with your community organization representative and others who are involved. Listen carefully to their comments and don't be afraid to change your plans accordingly. Be sure to print off an extra copy of your workbook at this point and give it to them to read and sign. Once you have completed your planning part of the workbook, it's time to get it approved.
First, spend a few minutes discussing your project details and goals with your Scoutmaster. Designate a copy of your workbook to be your copy for approval signatures and be sure he signs it. Protect this copy well by putting it in a folder and keeping it in a safe place. Second, ask your committee chairman to be put on the agenda for the next committee meeting. Bring several copies of your workbook and any other letters or pictures you have involving your project. When you introduce your project to the committee, don't just read your workbook. Any adult in that room can read the pages you put in front of them but it's your job to summarize the project's objectives and convince the committee that it will make a lasting contribution to the community. Here you will hear many suggestions and may have to deal with someone who is convinced that your project is unacceptable. You may have to work extra hard to argue for your project, respectfully, without getting upset or frustrated. It's important that you don't abandon your project and be open to their comments and suggestions. You may be asked to make some changes and come back to the next committee meeting or they may approve it right then. Either way, make sure you thank them for their time and have them sign your signature page. Finally, you will have to bring your finalized project workbook to the Council office. They will copy it and forward it to the Council Eagle Representative. Upon hearing from him or her, you are finally ready to begin your project.
Carrying It Out
With the preparation of your project out of the way, you can finally get to the best part: doing it.
As you are carrying it out, be sure to keep track of everything! This will make your write up much easier to do. You should record the number of hours people have worked on the project, any changes that are made to the original plan, how much money was spent, and anything else that you want to include in your final write up. Ask your parents to take lots of pictures as you are working. These "action shots" can add a lot to your final write up. Most importantly, have fun! This is YOUR Eagle Project - enjoy it!
Completing the Project Workbook
After your project is done, there is only one more step to do. Update your write up to include actual hours and cost, photos taken of the completed project, and any changes that were necessary. Have your parents or another adult review the write up for accuracy and professionalism. Proudly sign the Approvals for Completed Project section and obtain the Scoutmaster's signature as well as the signature of the community organization's representative.