Troop 149 Service Project Guidelines
Service projects offer opportunities to learn and demonstrate leadership by planning, directing and following through a project to a successful completion. Service projects are an important part of Scouting and memories of service projects you have done will be a big part of your Scouting Memories later in life.
Minimum Requirements vs. What Troop 149 Recommends
The minimum requirements for the ranks of Star and Life call upon you to give at least 6 hours of service to others, either on your own or along with other members of your patrol or troop. Troop 149 has learned that leading a project at the Star and Life levels, rather than being simply a participant better prepares the Scout for the Eagle service project. It also allows for originality and creativity, and increases the amount of service we offer the community. Therefore, the Troop Committee strongly recommends that you develop and complete independent Star and Life service projects. This recommendation has proven successful, as demonstrated by the number of Troop 149 Eagles.
The Eagle Scout project specifically requires that you be a leader. You must plan, develop, and provide leadership of others in a service project of real value benefiting the environment, your community or a religious group, school, or other worthy group. However, if you have followed the Troop Committee recommendations, the Eagle Project will seem like a familiar process and will not appear to be a daunting task.
What is an acceptable Service Project?
Service projects do not have to be based on original ideas, but they can be. In fact, there are several service projects that Scouts in our troop typically take responsibility for every year, such as the church luminaries, Norton Road Clean Up and the occasional Flag Retirement Ceremony. The central idea is that you take the responsibility to plan, direct and follow the project through to successful completion. Service projects can take many forms - community cleanup; repairing a church, a museum or the home of an elderly person; improving wildlife habitat; volunteering at a hospital or with a public safety group; organizing a recycling effort; cleaning up a neighborhood lot or park; or any of a thousand possibilities. You can look on the Troop 149 website to see projects that have been done by Scouts in Troop 149. Ideas for service projects may come from visits with school administrators, civil officials, clergy, law enforcement officers, and park department or land management personnel.
A service project should "reach out" - outside the troop and Scouting, benefitting the community. Work involving BSA property, such as work in, on or surrounding the troop hut or work on chuck boxes is not acceptable.
The service project also cannot be "routine labor," or something you would do anyway. The project should not be performed for a business, be of a commercial nature, or be a fundraiser. Fundraising is allowed only for securing materials or supplies needed to carry out your project.
There are no specific requirements for the size of the service project (other than the 6 minimum hours), as long as the project is helpful to a religious organization, school, or community. The amount of time spent by you in planning your project and the actual working time spent in carrying out the project should be as much as necessary to demonstrate your leadership of others. A major goal of the project is to give you the chance to practice planning and leading. Generally service projects become larger as a Scout progresses from Star to Life and to Eagle. Most Eagle projects take over 100 hours to complete.
You should discuss your service project ideas with the troop's Service Project Coordinator or the Scoutmaster before investing a lot of time planning the project. He can provide guidance to help you select and plan your service project.
Your Star and Life projects must be approved by the Scoutmaster before you start work on the project. The Scout needs to have a written project proposal, after talking with the Service Project Coordinator, and present the project to the Troop Committee for their input and approval. Generally, this should be at least 2 meetings before you plan to carry out the project. Eagle projects require approval of the Scoutmaster, Troop Committee and the Council Eagle Advancement Chair.
You may not begin work on any project until final approvals are secured.
Your project proposal should be submitted through the project proposal web form or neatly written, typed, or computer generated. You should explain exactly what you plan to do. Be sure to address the who/what/when/where/why/how -- What is the project? Why is it needed? How will you carry it out? Where and when will you do it? Where will you get the materials? Who will help? What safety concerns are there and how will you address them? How will you provide leadership? A thorough proposal shows that you have thought about the project and are prepared for success. You need to have two adults (at least) who have agreed to be at your project to provide adult supervision. Fill out the Star or Life Service Project Proposal form to present your Star or Life project proposal to the Troop Committee.
Eagle Project proposals should be discussed extensively with the Scoutmaster and the troop's Eagle Coordinator. They need to be written up in lots of detail using the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project workbook After the Scoutmaster has approved the project, it must be presented to the Troop Committee as well, and signed off on by the Scoutmaster and Committee Chair. Then it must be emailed for approval to the Cherokee District Eagle Board at firstname.lastname@example.org and copied to the troop Eagle coordinator. The district Eagle Chair will provide feedback, may request changes, and will give final approval to begin.
After you have talked with the Service Project Coordinator and have a written proposal, present it to the Troop Committee during a troop meeting for their feedback and approval. Bring at least 5 copies of your proposal write-up. The committee may ask you to make changes or even come back and present again if there are major concerns. Once the project is approved and dates set, announce the dates and times on the listserv. However, you need to also ask people directly and recruit by phone or in person - don't rely on the listserv for recruiting helpers.
Think about the following things as you plan and perform your project:
- Are you demonstrating leadership of others?
- What will you need to do to be sure that you, not your parent or some other adult, is the one who is in charge of the project?
- Are you the indeed the project director, rather than doing the work yourself?
- Is the project helpful to the religious institution, school or community group?
- Is the project following the plan? If not, what changes are being made?
Be prepared to discuss your project and its outcomes in your Scoutmaster's Conference and Boards of Review.
Record your progress as you plan and carry out your service project. Keep track of who helped and how much time was spent on the project. Keep neat and legible records - print, type or write legibly. Take pictures of you and others participating in your service projects. Keep these for your Eagle notebook and submit suitable copies to local newspapers. You should also plan to turn in at least one photo of your project for the troop website and for the Troop scrapbook. Remember, your project could be an inspiration for future Scouts!
A Service Project Report must be submitted to the Troop Committee immediately after completion of any service project.