Friday, January 18, 2013

What Makes a Great Eagle Project?

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING POST CALLS FOR TOUGHER REQUIREMENTS THAN OFFICIAL BSA POLICY. IF MAKING YOUR YOUNG MEN WORK HARD IS OFFENSIVE, PLEASE DON'T READ ANY FURTHER...


I expect my son to have to do hard things in his lifetime. I see Scouting as practice for the hard things that he'll be asked to do when they really matter. For that reason, I see the eagle project as one of the hardest things he should have undertaken in his life so far.

So, when I get asked for suggestions for eagle projects, my response is probably not what people expect. Instead of giving ideas for specific projects, I share my three rules for great eagle projects. The list is pretty simple, but if used would create quite a different experience for many boys.

  1. The young man should select his own project. The more personally connected he is, the better. I have a friend who grew up very poor, never having shoes that fit. His eagle project involved collecting gently-used shoes and providing them to inner-city kids. That project had specific meaning to him as an individual.
  2. The project should be memorable enough that in twenty years the young man can still remember the details. This ensures the project was big, specific, and personal enough that he'll really learn something from doing it. 
  3. It should be hard enough that he wants to quit (at least once). That's right, bite off more than it's comfortable to chew. The project should be big and intimidating enough to give the young man second thoughts about even getting it finished.
The above rules should prevent a couple of things. Firstly, mom or dad doing the project for their son. Second, the off-the-shelf eagle projects that short-cut most of the planning and organizing that the project should entail.

The science behind a tough eagle project is sound. Research has shown that giving praise to kids for something easy actually communicates that you don't think highly of them. With the high praise that comes with an Eagle Scout ceremony, the work that goes into it the project should be pretty impressive too!

2 comments:

  1. Here! Here! Couldn't agree more. Painting fire hydrants or putting sewer buttons on drains just don't cut it.

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  2. Exactly, you're very kind of us about comment!. Orissa Ration Card Status

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