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!