What’s Cooking?

Cooking Merit BadgeUnless you are planning to submit your Eagle Scout application by the end of this month, the Cooking Merit Badge is now required for Eagle Scout advancement.  In a recent announcement, however, BSA has stated that either the requirements for the old or the new Cooking merit badge may be started in earning this merit badge throughout 2014.  Then, on January 1, 2015, you may only begin the merit badge with the new Cooking requirements.

To emphasize, if you have already earned this merit badge, it will ALWAYS count toward your Eagle advancement.  You do NOT need to earn it again.  If you have not earned it, you may begin it with either set of requirements in 2014.  In 2015, you may only begin the merit badge with the new set of requirements.

Those new requirements have not been published yet.  Watch for them in early 2014.

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

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Exhibits for Your Eagle Service Project Workbook

Board of ReviewWhen you finally appear before your Eagle Scout Board of Review, a substantial portion of the time will be spent reviewing and questioning your Eagle Service Project.  If your workbook is well prepared with lots of exhibits, this time will be short and fairly easy.  If your work is incomplete and lacking in substance, it could be much longer!  What can we do to make this an easier process for you?  In addition to the actual workbook (filled out completely, of course), the following exhibits will add a lot of substance and credibility to your report.

1.  A project log or diary that documents the hours spent by you and your volunteers.  The final report calls for an accounting of man-hours by type of volunteer, and if do not have a log or diary, how are you calculating these hours?

2.  Sign-in sheets, or an “assisted-by” spreadsheet that documents your volunteer hours at group events.  Once again, this is evidence of how your final hours were calculated.

3.  Pages of photos are not necessary, but a single page with 4-6 photos showing the various stages of the project can really create a vivid image of your work.  Photos, arranged in chronological order, documenting “before” conditions, fundraising, construction, installation, and completion become a story itself.

4.  Thank-you letters.  A Scout is Courteous!  How many volunteers helped you?  They all need to be thanked, and your volunteer Scouts should receive some sort of documentation from you totaling their individual service hours.  You should NOT include all your thank-you letters in your project report.  However, several representative letters, one to a Scout, one to an adult, and one to a company or person who donated money or materials, are a real good indication of a considerate Scout.

5.  A copy of your receipts.  This is necessary documentation of your expenses.  Your Eagle Scout Board of Review needs to see where your funds were spent.

An Eagle Scout candidate who documents his project in this fashion will usually sail through this portion of his Eagle Scout Board of Review.  Let’s make sure that you are one of them!

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

(Would you like to receive an email every time there is a new post at EagleCoach?  Just register in the left-hand column.  We promise your email will not be shared with anyone else.  Scouts honor!)

 

BSA Expandable PDF Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook

EagleScoutWorkbookA subscriber alerted us to his difficulty in opening the official BSA “Expandable PDF” Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook.  Since there is a process to opening this file (rather than a simple click of the mouse), we have changed our link for this workbook to the official BSA site which includes full instructions.  I highly recommend that as a first step you upgrade your copy of Adobe Reader to the most current version.  (It’s free at http://www.adobe.com/products/reader.html.)  Then you must open Adobe Reader first.  Now you can open the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook PDF from within Adobe Reader.

When in doubt, completely follow the instructions on the BSA website, which includes versions for both Mac and PC.

Oh, the possibilities!

Coach Hunt

Eagle Scout Service Project – Tracking Your Volunteer Events

Car WashWhen a group of volunteers is getting together to help you out during your Eagle Service Project, you will want to keep a record their time. This could be a bake sale, a car wash, construction, installation of a project, or any event where a number of volunteers gather.  Keeping track of your volunteer hours is very important for your final report, and an easy way to do this is with an “Assisted By” spreadsheet, which is available on the downloads page of this website.  This spreadsheet is different than a project log because it only tracks events with groups of volunteers.

First and foremost, always have a sign-in sheet for your events.  As Scouts and adults join you during the event, have them record their names, and enter the time that they start.  Also have them record the time when they leave.  (A sign-in sheet is also available for download on our downloads page.)  After the event is over, you can enter all the names from your sign-in sheet into your “Assisted By” spreadsheet, along with their hours.  The beauty of this spreadsheet is that it will automatically total the hours for each participant, as well as each event.

Let’s take a look at a sample Assisted By spreadsheet, also downloadable.  In this example, the Eagle candidate had four events, a car wash, assembly, painting and installation.  All four events are entered at the top of the columns, along with their dates.  He had six Scouts help out, two non-Boy Scout friends, two BSA adults, and two adults who are not registered as BSA volunteers.  (These are the categories requested in the Eagle Service Project final report.)  You can see that some of his volunteers were at one event, but not another.  For your fellow Scouts, you will want to let them know their final volunteer hours, because they can use these hours toward service hours required for rank advancement.

At the very bottom of the page, the Eagle candidate is keeping track of his own hours at the same event.  This one spreadsheet gives you the total hours for each event, how many hours each person puts into the event, and subtotals by the category of volunteer!  The totals for each event can now easily be added to your project log as a one line item.  Awesome!

Oh, the possibilities!

Coach Hunt

 

Q & A – Answering Your Questions about Eagle Service Projects and Earning Eagle Scout Rank

questionsA new section has been added to the website, called Q & A (see menu above.)  Naturally, as an Eagle Coach, I am always tackling questions from Scouts on their projects or advancement.  But now I will publish the best of them!

Two questions and answers have already been posted.  The first is from a Scout in the Washington DC area about his Eagle Scout Project fundraising application and the approval required by his Council.  The second question, about the new requirements for the Cooking merit badge, comes from a Scout in my own Council, .

So what’s on your mind?  Are you trying to figure out the Eagle Scout Leadership Project Workbook?  Wondering if the project you have in mind will qualify?  Or perhaps a question about the Eagle-required merit badges?  If you are having trouble tracking down the answer, send me an email to CoachHunt@EagleCoach.org, and I will do my best to answer it!

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

 

 

Twofers in Scouting

One of the functions of a Eagle coach is to help a Scout accomplish the tasks necessary for advancement in an efficient manner.  This just means that you are getting things done with a minimum of effort.  Sound interesting?  You bet.

There are a number of advancement requirements that allow you to complete one task and have it count in two different places.  This is the Scouting version of twofers!  Let’s talk about several.

1.  First Aid merit badge:  A good portion of the First Aid merit badge is demonstrating your knowledge of the Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class first aid advancement requirements.  If you earn this merit badge early in your Scouting career (summer camp is ideal), you will also have completed the first aid requirements for all your rank advancement!

2.  Personal Management merit badge:  Requirement 9 asks for you to complete a written project plan.  This is a plan on paper, not a real life project.  As an Eagle coach, I always recommend that Personal Management be one of the very last merit badges that you earn.  One reason is that much of the merit badge concerns sophisticated concepts that are more appropriate for older teens.  But the other reason is that if you have completed your Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project proposal, this will completely fulfill the requirements of Requirement 9.  (Just the proposal is necessary, not the final plan or the actual project completion.)

3.  BSA allows a single project to count for both an Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project and a Hornaday Award.  If an environmental project interests you, it might be worth your time to explore this possibility.  The project alone will not earn you a Hornaday Award, as there are other requirements as well.  But carefully developed, a single project can be used for both.

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

 

 

The Thirteenth Point of the Scout Law

You had to memorize the twelve points of the Scout Law early in your Scouting career.  And perhaps when you were eleven years old, they were just words, not necessarily the way you lived your life.  Hopefully, as you advanced in Scouting, you also began to see how the Scout Law helped you with both your relations with other people and the conduct of your life.  And for many, the twelve points of the Scout Law are a guidepost for the rest of their lives.  And perhaps you, like many others, will add some additional points to the your version of the Scout Law!

As I grew in my spiritual life, I realized the importance of gratitude in our connection with Spirit, Source, or God (or the word that best expresses this for you), and the necessity of being thankful for all that we have been given – our very lives, our bodies, and all the other blessings in our lives. Gratitude is the attitude that deepens our awareness of Spirit, and allows us to more fully express the Love that is Spirit in our daily lives.  So my 13th point of the Scout Law is… “A Scout is Grateful.”

What would be your nomination for the 13th point of the Scout Law?  If there is some quality or character trait that expresses who you are, and is important to you, I suggest you adopt it as your 13th point of the Scout Law.  And since this is your personal list, you are not limited to 13 points either!  Add more, as you wish.  Over the years, I have asked Scouts what they would add.  According to them a Scout is… optimistic, perseverant, hard-working, punctual, and many more!

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

The Project Log – How to Painlessly Track Volunteer Hours

In the final report of your service project (page 4-3 of the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook), you are required to provide the total number of volunteer hours in your project, broken down by category.   There is no log specified by BSA, but it does say that you must log your hours.

I have added an Excel spreadsheet log to the downloads page that you can use for this purpose.  It is broken down into the five categories requested by BSA:  Your hours, other BSA youth, non-BSA youth (school friends, siblings etc.), BSA adults, and non-BSA adults.  A nice feature of this spreadsheet is that it painlessly keeps tracks of your totals if you fill it out completely.  Partial hours should be recorded in tenths of an hour.  So, for example, one and one-half hours would be recorded as 1.5, and fifteen minutes would be recorded as .25.

Let’s take a look at a Sample Log, also available on the downloads page of this website.  In this imaginary scenario, the first entry is a Scout doing research on the internet.  Obviously, he is only recording his time.  However, in the next entry, his dad drives him to meet with his Eagle coach.  The coach is a BSA volunteer, so the coach’s hours are recorded.  But the time that his dad spent driving is also counted.  How else would the Scout get to the coach?  Several other entries illustrate the types of hours that should be counted.  When you meet with your beneficiary, you will not count the hours of your beneficiary.  They are not volunteering for your project.  If a very helpful clerk at a store is helping you price materials, you would not count his or her hours.  They are being paid by the store, and are not your volunteers.  But if your Scoutmaster, friends, siblings, or other Scouts help out, all their hours must be counted.

The Eagle Scout Service Project is not designed for you to demonstrate how hard you can work.  It is designed to show how you can bring people together and lead them to get things done.  So, how can others help you?  Perhaps mom will proofread your workbook.  Or maybe there is an architect in the troop who will volunteer his time to draw out some plans for you.  Who has a truck and would volunteer to move your materials?  I’m sure you get the idea.

You are not required to have a minimum number of hours in your service project.  However, you must demonstrate your leadership abilities to your Eagle Scout Board of Review.  As a member of a District Advancement Committee, and a District representative at many Eagle Boards of Review, I look at the hours in the workbook carefully.  Considerable volunteer hours are powerful evidence of leadership.  If those hours are not illustrated, I will be asking a lot of questions about how you demonstrated your leadership.  A well-kept log is a good way to answer this question in advance!

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

 

I need a kick in the butt…

There are many new additions to the website, including several pages for parents or guardians on the importance of mentorship and the coaching process.  See the lead article in the For Parents menu, as well as “I need a kick in the butt…

There are now specific suggestions for advancement along the Eagle Trail under the Earning Eagle Scout menu, culminating with The Final Ascent – Earning Eagle Scout Rank.  Also, now there is a new menu item devoted solely to the Eagle Leadership Service Project.

Suggestions are welcome, particularly from Scouts.  Any questions that you would like answered?  How about difficulties that you may have had?  What’s holding you back from Eagle?  If you are facing a problem, there are probably many other Scouts with the same issue!  I’ll do my best to tackle problems that are presented and give you some suggestions.  You can post your question below.

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

 

 

 

Latest updates to EagleCoach.org – New Eagle-Required Merit Badges

The Merit Badge page has been updated to include the new Eagle-required merit badges.  It now includes the Sustainability merit badge, which is an alternate merit badge for Environmental Science.  The Cooking merit badge, which will be required for all Eagle candidates beginning January 1, 2014 has also been added.  Workbooks are available for both merit badges.

A new feature is being added that describes the challenges along the trail to Eagle.  There are step-by-step suggestions and action plans for each milepost on your quest for Eagle Scout rank.  It begins with Starting the Journey – It All Begins with Attitude  and is located under the Earning Eagle Scout menu item.

Would you like an email each time a new post appears on EagleCoach.org?  Simply register your email address in the left column on the Home page.  Your email stays at EagleCoach.org and is never given out.  Scout’s Honor!  And of course, you can unsubscribe at any time.

“Oh, the possibilities!”    Coach Hunt