How To Prepare For An Eagle Project Approval
Many a scout thinks that meeting the Eagle Project Approval Board to present an eagle project and get it approved is the most daunting task on his way to the rank of Eagle Scout. I want to dispel that myth and help scouts, scout leaders, and scout parents by making clear what needs to be done and what happens at that approval. Knowing is more that half the battle. When there is a large presentation on the horizon, for me, the more I know about my subject and the environment in which I will present, the less nervous I feel.
What needs to be filled out before you go:
The first thing you need to do is download the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook. BE CERTAIN that you have the latest one! This is very important. This workbook changes at least once a year, sometimes more. Click HERE for the current version. You have to download this PDF to your hard drive and then open it to see the contents and to edit it. You can type right into the PDF once this is done.
Secondly, read the entire workbook! This is paramount! This will answer any questions you have and give you the best direction. This is where I find answers to almost every question asked of me about eagle projects. When a scout signs the proposal as the eagle candidate, he is giving his word that he has read the entire workbook; and remember, a scout is honest.
This book is divided into three sections: The Proposal, The Final Plan, and The Report. The Proposal section is the only section you need to fill out in order to have your project approved. Also, the last page in The Final Plan section may need to be filled out before your approval meeting if you are doing a fundraiser outside of your unit’s area.
Fill out every part of The Proposal section, including the contact information page. Get all signatures on the last page EXCEPT for the “Council or District Approval” signature. This signature is obtained during your approval. The scout should sign and date this page FIRST, then the others follow. Call and set up an appointment to come in and present it for approval.
That is it! It is not difficult if you are thorough. You are writing your proposal and then presenting your proposal. That’s it. Once it is approved, then the details will be written up and the work can be done.
What happens in an Eagle Project Approval
An Eagle Project Approval only lasts 10-20 minutes. You are there to present your idea, show the board that you have thought it through, and obtained the proper signatures for approval up to that point. Parents or scout leaders can sit in with their scout during the project approval. However, they should not do the talking. The eagle candidate should be the one presenting and answering questions.
Here is how an approval is run generally.
- The Proposal section of the workbook is presented for the board members to look over.
- While they are viewing the workbook, the board member running the approval will ask the eagle candidate questions to further clarify. The main question that will be asked is for the eagle candidate to tell the group all about their project idea. The approval board looks for three things: to insure the scout is the one planning the project, developing the project, and that the scout will have the opportunity to show leadership. Be prepared to answer those types of questions.
For more detailed information about choosing a solid eagle project, read the How To Pick An Eagle Project That Will Be Approved blog post. Once the approval board determines that your plan is an approvable project, they will sign your approval and clear you to fill out The Final Plan section of the workbook. Then, you may start real work on your project.
If it is determined that your project does not qualify for approval, don’t worry. They are there to help you be successful, not to judge you. They will offer suggestions on possible changes or what you can add to turn your idea into a project that will qualify.
The purpose of an approval isn’t to put pressure on the scout or to discourage him from continuing. It is to make sure that he will succeed. The approval board is ensuring that the project will not be denied by national or the board of review at the end of the process. It is common that scouts need to make slight adjustments or additions to their project idea in order to make it qualify, so don’t let that discourage you.