Planning Your Eagle Leadership Service Project

This is often the most difficult part of your project.  It is also the key to getting the project approved, and having the execution of your project go smoothly.  If you plan the work, and work the plan, you should have a smooth Eagle project.  If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

Preparation

If you have not done so yet:

  • Download the Chester County Council Eagle Scout Handbook and using links in the Handbook, download the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook and other documents to help you with the planning process. The handbook is full of information, instructions, and links to other information you will need, including the Workbook.

    NOTE: The above handbook is specific to Chester County Council, BSA.  The instructions included in the handbook are specific to Chester County Council, BSA.  Check with your Council, District, or Troop for instructions on how to submit your paperwork if you are not in Chester County Council, BSA.

  • Download the Parents Guide and review it with your parents and Scout leaders.

  • Download the checklist or checklists provided that are most applicable to your project.  There are links to all these checklists in the Handbook.  These checklists will be very helpful in helping you know what to include in your plan and how to organize your planning efforts:

    For construction projects: http://www.eaglescout.itgo.com/ConstructionChecklist.doc

    For landscaping projects: http://www.eaglescout.itgo.com/LandscapingChecklist.doc

    For trail construction or refurbishing projects: http://www.eaglescout.itgo.com/TrailsChecklist.doc

    For events projects: http://www.eaglescout.itgo.com/EventsChecklist.doc

  • Read the entire Workbook, the Handbook, and the checklist.  Before you start into the process you should know where you are going and what will be required.

  • Get a 3 ring notebook to keep your Workbook and all the associated papers together.  A binder with a pouch inside the cover is sometimes useful later.  A view binder, which allows you to insert a cover and a spine label, will help you make a professional looking presentation when it comes time to prepare your final report.

  • If your project involves skills or activities in which you are not experienced, you need to spend some time learning the skills needed so you can do the detailed plan and then successfully lead a group of youth in carrying out the project.  You need to become the expert.  There are many resources available to help you out.  You can get do-it-yourself type books at the library or home improvement centers on almost any kind of project.  Talk to your father, other adults in the troop, or friends who are skilled in the things you need to know.  You can search the internet for advice on many project, even plans.  Be sure that you understand what you have read before you decide to put it into your plan.  It my even be helpful to spend time watching professionals doing the type of work you are proposing.  For many types of materials that you might be using on your project, there is useful information available on the materials page.  Click to see this page and determine is any of the information is applicable to your project.  In many cases this is important information for you to review.

  • You should become familiar with both the materials you will be using, and the techniques involved.  If you are using products such as paint, concrete, glue, or chemicals you should carefully read the instructions on the package about how and where to use the product, tools and techniques, safety, temperature limits, and other information.  If you are using fasteners such as nails, screws, or bolts, you should know what material, finish, size, head, thread pitch, and style is best for your application.  If you are using lumber, you should know how to choose the correct size, material, grade, treatment, and other details.  Many do-it-yourself books have chapters about these basic components.  One of my favorites is the New Reader's Digest New Complete Do-it-yourself Manual, but there are many books available.  If you are doing an outside project using pressure treated lumber or cedar, look for books about building decks, even if you are building a bridge or a sign.  There are also thousands of resources available on the internet.

Filling out the Workbook

The workbook is a fillable PDF file.  Except for signatures, and drawings if hand drawn, all the information should be typed with a computer.  If you do not have a computer, check with your Scoutmaster, Project Coach, or District Representative for assistance.  The boxes do not expand (although the text will shrink to fit to some extent).  In many cases you will need to add pages for instructions, drawings, pictures, and other information.  Where you need more space, put a note in the box saying something like "See pages 9A-9C" and then insert the pages after page 9.

Front Page

Put your name on the front cover page.  If you are using a slip-cover or view-binder notebook, you may want to put this page into the front cover of your binder.

Contact Information Page

Fill in all the requested information,  If you are not sure of a name, address, phone number, email, or BSA PID number; ask.  You will need this information later.  For names and phone numbers of Council or District Project Approval Representative to contact, click here.

Project Proposal

Follow the instructions in the Chester County Council Eagle Scout Handbook for filling out this Proposal.  You need to be able to convince the approvers that you will be able to successfully carry out this project including planning, developing, and leading the project execution.  The more you know about the project, and the more planning you have done, the better you will be prepared to do this.  You must get all the approval signatures before you start the fundraising or carrying out of the project, or you may be asked to start over with a new project.

Project Final Plan

This is the heart of your project plan.  A well done plan will do more to help you be successful than anything else.  Be sure to work closely with your Project Coach and frequently seek there review and input.  Use the Checklist described in the Handbook to be sure you have everything included that you will need to lead the project.  Add as many pages to your notebook as needed, but keep them with the appropriate section of the workbook.

Remember that part of the requirement is that you Plan, Develop, and Lead the project.  The final approval of your project, including the planning part, is done by the Eagle Scout board of review.  Be sure your plan shows that you are ready to Lead the project without someone else having to step in and take over the project leadership.

Test Your Understanding

If you have planned the project thoroughly, you should be able to use it to describe to someone who knows nothing about the project exactly how you will explain it to your workers.  Try explaining to your little brother, your mother, another Scout, or your teddy bear, exactly what you will say, such as: "First I will have 2 people take the 6 2x8x12' pressure treated lumber pieces and mark them for cutting according to this drawing.  They will mark each piece 5' 8" from each end.  Then the adult operating the saw will cut them into 12 pieces each 5' 8" long.  Then while two people hold this piece and this piece like this, a I will have a third person drill two 3/8" holes with an electric drill in the locations shown here...."  You should be able to go through the entire project this way.  If the person you are explaining to (except the teddy bear) can ask any questions that you can not answer, you are not ready.  It is often helpful to work with some scraps of wood to be sure that you can describe each assembly step.  As you demonstrate each assembly step, check that fastener (screw, bolt, nail, ...) sizes make sense and that your technique will work (for example you can not drill or screw up into a piece of wood that is laying on the floor).  Throughout this process check that your description, tools, materials list, and personnel requirements are consistent and agree with what you are describing.  In a construction project, you should be able to describe, for each piece in the project:

1) What piece from the materials list was it made from?

2) How was it selected, marked, cut, drilled, or otherwise prepared for assembly?

3) How, when, and with what material and tools will it be finished (painted, sealed, ...)?

4) How and where will it be placed into position and held for fastening?

5) What fasteners will be used to fasten it, where do they get located, how are they installed, and with what tools and techniques?

Check the instructions

When you have finished writing your proposal, go back through the instructions here and in the workbook.  Have you included all the information requested?  Have you followed each section of the instructions?  Don't waste your time, and those of others, by presenting an incomplete proposal, or presenting a proposal before you thoroughly understand what the project entails, and how you will lead others to carry it out.  Do your descriptions of what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, materials list, supplies list, tools list, and manpower descriptions all agree with each other?

Review Your Proposal

Once you think the plan is ready, have several people read it and make suggestions.  Your parents can be very helpful at this point.  Be ready to take suggestions and make improvements.  Have your Project Coach read it and make suggestions.  This is where a word processor really pays off. Be sure that all parts of your proposal are consistent including what you are planning to do, the detailed steps, the materials list, the tools list, and your time estimates.  In addition to checking the content, review it for spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and logical organization.  When you are talking with anyone about the proposal, take careful notes of any suggestions, and then check them off when you have corrected the problems.

Carry Out The Project

Once your Final Plan is completed, you are ready to start the project.  There are suggestions for making this step successful in the Handbook.  Remember that YOU need to lead the project.  Do not let the adults or others present take over your role.  The Board of Review will finally approve the project as carried out

 

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If you have comments or questions about this website, send me an e-mail.

This web site is a work-in-progress.  If you find any mistakes, links that don't work, typos, or other inaccuracies, please let me know.  If you have any suggestions of additional material that would be helpful to boys in earning their Eagle rank, I would always appreciate your input (Tom@Stalnaker.com).

Web site last updated 08/25/2014