February 2016 - I Want My Eagle

All Is Well That Ends Well

For all of you that have commented and followed my blog for the last few months, thank you!  Interest and subscriber rates have dropped quite a bit lately.  I am going to be helping with another blog that my wife is going to start so I am saying farewell to all my awesome subscribers!

I will leave this blog up for reference just in case any of the posts can still be helpful to anyone out there.

Finishing Your Eagle Paperwork Is NOT The Hardest Part!

Finishing Your Eagle Paperwork Is NOT The Hardest Part!

Over the years of working with Eagle Scout candidates, I have seen many times where finishing the paperwork scares them more than anything.  Because of this, there have been quite a few that have earned all their merit badges, served all their leadership time, and finished their project, then they freeze and don’t want to finish that paperwork and turn it in.  Don’t let this happen to you!

The myth I want to bust today is that the paperwork is hard to finish.  If you are this same point, this is the easiest part to complete, compared to what you have done already.  I wrote another post that covers all the paperwork you need to turn in  here: What Paperwork Needs To Be Turned In For Eagle Rank.

Today I wanted to talk about the last section of the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook called The Report.  For some reason, this is the number one thing that most scouts do not want to fill out.

This section should only take any candidate one hour to fill out or less!  Most scouts take much less time than that.  This should be the most fun part also, since it is just reporting on how your project went.  You are done with the project!  You should feel excited at this point!  I worked with three candidates that that were at this point in their progress and waited over one year to just finish this part.  Don’t let that happen to you.

All you have to report in this section are the following:

  1. Date you started and ended
  2. Description of the project and the impact it had
  3. What went well and what did not
  4. What changes you made during the project
  5. What was challenging
  6. How did you demonstrate leadership, challenges, rewards and what you learned being the leader
  7. Did you have shortages or overages in materials that you planned
  8. Hours spent on project by you and others
  9. How you paid for the project and how you got the money
  10. Pictures
  11. Signatures

If you look at this list carefully, it is all the same information that was already collected throughout the Eagle Project process. It is just a matter of gathering it and putting the information in the form.

I hope by reading this you realize that it is not worth stalling and putting this off.  Just get it done and turn it in.  You will be grateful for the rest of your life that you did!

Planning Out Your Eagle Project

Planning Out Your Eagle Project

Planning out your eagle project is one of the things that most kids struggle with.  This is always a subject they are terrified of.  The unknown scares them just as much as it does adults.  They don’t know how to go about planning their project.  They don’t know at the beginning of a project what it is going to take to complete the project.  It seems so huge and overwhelming to them, they don’t want to even start.  We all have these types of moments in our lives.

Overcoming this and just starting the process is all it takes to conquer this fear.  This is why only 4-5% of registered scouts attain the rank of Eagle also, because they let the fear stop them!

Let me help alleviate your fears a little bit.  Everyone has these fears when they decide to work on an Eagle project.  You are not alone and it isn’t as bad as your mind makes you think it is.  There are helps!  Ask any Eagle Scout, most will say, that once they started, they realized it wasn’t as bad as they thought.

Your first help: Find an Eagle Coach in your district.  This is one of the things, as a parent, I didn’t know when my oldest boy wanted to work on his Eagle.  I thought we were on our own.  I found out that there are trained adults to help you with all the paperwork and steps and to “coach” you through it.  Yes, BSA knows that scouts and parents need help through the process so they train adults to do just that.  Take advantage of this!

Second, The Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook has a section that walks you through planing out all the details of your project.  This Workbook is broken up into 3 sections: The Proposal, The Plan, and The Report.  I wrote a post named How To Prepare For An Eagle Project Approval on the The Proposal section you should read.  The Plan section of the workbook is a very good step-by-step guide to planning out your Eagle project.  As an Eagle Coach I always had scouts take the time to fill this out after they got their project approved, before they started the actual work.

This section walks them through thinking out and planning all aspects of their project like:

  • Who it will benefit and why
  • Present condition or situation
  • Project phases (helps them think through steps)
  • Work process
  • Reminds them to take before pictures
  • Permits and permissions
  • What materials and supplies they will need
  • What tools will be used
  • Expenses they will incur and if they need to raise funds
  • How to give leadership
  • Logistics (when, where, how to get people there, feeding helpers, etc)
  • Communication plan
  • How to train your helpers
  • Safety for your helpers
  • Contingency plans in case your plan doesn’t work

In conclusion, do not let these two resources go unused!  They are there to help you succeed.  Remember, you are not alone in being scared to embark on this goal of an Eagle Project.  Everyone feels scared and overwhelmed.  Plan it out using the discussed resources and you will conquer it.

Remember the answer to the question “How do you eat and elephant?” – One bite at a time.

What To Pack For a Winter Overnight Camp

What To Pack For a Winter Overnight Camp

I have written about this subject once before but wanted to also give an actionable packing list you can use to prepare for a winter camp in addition.  Check out the other post I wrote about Preparing for Winter Camp – Backyard Prep

One  of the most important things to remember about going on an overnight winter camp is staying dry.  There are redundant things on this list for that purpose.  If a scout brings more than one of everything, he will not regret being prepared just in case.  I have heard quite a few scouts say that they hate winter camping and I was right there with them until I became more prepared and it was a MUCH better experience.

John Wayne (yes, it is his real name), our scoutmaster, is a master at this and I have learned quite a bit from him on this subject and actually enjoyed my last couple of winter camps.  The most helpful thing I learned from him was to bring a clean pair of wool socks and put them on right before getting into bed. If you wear them all day, then go to bed with them, they have body sweat and oils in them and they are cold.

Here is a list of what I tell my scouts to take:

___ Tent
___ Tarp to put under tent
___ Two sleeping bags (layers are important)
___ Pillow
___ Water bottle (Yes, drinking water while at camp is very important for warmth)
___ 2 pair of socks
___ 1 pair of wool socks (put on clean when going to bed – dry)
___ 2 pair of pants (this way you have a dry pair for the next day)
___ 2 shirts
___ Thermal underwear (put on dry before bed)
___ Boots (possibly two sets)
___ Coat
___ Gloves
___ Jacket for under the coat
___ Beanie hat
___ Toilet paper
___ Flashlight
___ Knife
___ Compass
___ Medications
___ Basic first aid kit
___ Sunscreen (yes, for snow reflection – more boys get burned at winter camp than summer)
___ Camp chair
___ Sun glasses
___ Thick sleeping pad (to keep you off the frozen ground – 3-4 inch thick foam pad is good)
___ Tent light
___ Mess kit
___ Reading material
___ Camera
___ Hand warmers (If boys use these make sure they don’t put them right against their skin at night)
___ Snacks (Don’t store in tent at night)