Trevor, a Life Scout, recently got his Eagle Scout Project Proposal OK’d by his unit leader, unit committee, the project beneficiary and his council or district.
With that complete, next up in the process is filling out a Final Plan, which the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook says is a tool for the Scout’s use only. Nobody approves it, though it’s recommended Trevor share it with his project coach.
Here’s where a little bit of tension arises.
Trevor (not his real name) asks his Scout leader whether he can simply begin work on the project and complete the Final Plan section of his Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook after the project is completed. In other words, he’d essentially be creating an after-action report rather than a plan.
He wants to take a “wing-it-as-I go” approach to planning the project and write down what he does as he does it.
His Scout leader — we’ll call him Paul — isn’t sure how to respond. There are no Scout leader approvals required at this stage. So he coaches the Scout to encourage him to develop a plan before beginning the project.
It works, and Trevor agrees to complete the Final Plan.
However, because Paul’s approval isn’t required, Paul wonders what would have happened if Trevor refused to complete his Final Plan in advance of beginning work on the project. Trevor, Paul tells me, tends to challenge authority and might have said, “it says I don’t need your approval, so I’m going to do it my way.”
So Paul wrote me asking, “Is there any mechanism in place that requires a Scout to complete the Final Plan of the Eagle Project Workbook before beginning work on his project?”
Michael Lo Vecchio of the BSA’s Content Management Team helped me find the answer, which you can find after the jump.
Guide to Advancement
Section 188.8.131.52 in the Guide to Advancement states: “Remind the Scout to share his plan with the project beneficiary; the beneficiary should be fully aware of what will be done. Note that a final plan for an Eagle Scout service project is between the Scout and the beneficiary. Coaches do not approve final plans.” (I added the bold, by the way.)
Remember, Eagle Scout Service Project Coaches are optional. Working with one is the Scout’s decision.
That means Paul doesn’t have the authority to require a Final Plan or approve/reject one once it’s filled out.
The Final Plan is not required or approved by the BSA or a Scout leader, but the beneficiary organization can require the Scout to complete that plan so they would both have the same understanding of what is expected.
The document “Navigating the Eagle Scout Service Project: Information for Project Beneficiaries” (PDF) explains this.
Look for the section on “Approving Final Plans” at the top of Page 2.
Remember this document is speaking to project beneficiaries, so when it says “you” it generally means the person in charge at the project site. It’s not speaking to Scouters.
Here’s the excerpt:
Approving Final Plans
Before work begins, you should ask to see the plan. It may come in any format you desire or are willing to accept. It could even be a detailed verbal description.
That said, the BSA includes a “Final Plan” form in your Scout’s Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, and we recommend that you ask your Scout to use it.
If in your plan review you have any concerns the project may run into trouble or not produce the results you want, do not hesitate to require improvements before work begins.