Eagle Scout Service Project Process

To make sure we are consistently handling Eagle Scout Service Project (ESSP) approvals, here is the process Scouts should follow to take their project from an idea to completion:

  1. IMPORTANT:  The Scout and his parent(s) should attend the District’s Life to Eagle seminar – immediately after earning the Life Scout rank.  This training is only held a few times per year.  Please DO NOT wait until you are ready to begin your ESSP to try to sign up for a Life to Eagle seminar.  
  2. Before you do anything, please:
    1. Read the Eagle Scout Service Project requirements from your handbook with your parents:  While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project must benefit an organization other than the Boy Scouts of America.) A project proposal must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your Scoutmaster and unit committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, BSA publication No. 512-927, in meeting this requirement. (To learn more about the Eagle Scout service project, see the Guide to Advancement, topics 9.0.2.0 through 9.0.2.16.)
    2. Read the details in the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook with your parents.
    3. With your parents, read the appropriate sections of the Guide to Advancement that relate to the Eagle Scout Service Project (Sections 9.0.2.0 through 9.0.2.16).
  3. The Scout reviews preliminary ESSP ideas with the Scoutmaster, Committee Chair, and/or the potential beneficiary to identify a project that meets the ESSP advancement requirement.  The Scout indicates to the Committee Chair that he is ready to begin the process.
  4. The Committee Chair assigns the Scout an ESSP Coach – a single point of contact who will work directly with the Scout through the process.
    1. ESSP Project Coach Assignments
  5. The Scout should start keeping a detailed logbook of all activities and the contacts he makes while planning, organizing, and completing his ESSP.  This log will later be included in the final section of the ESSP Workbook.
    1. Print a copy of all emails, texts, etc. relating to your ESSP.
      1. It’s easy to take a “screen shot” of any text messages you send/receive – and then just print the screenshot for your ESSP workbook.
    2. Keep a log of all phone calls you make relating to your ESSP.
  6. The Scout should review the document about the Parent’s Role for the ESSP with his parent(s): 
    1. Link:  Parent’s Role for the ESSP 
  7. The Scout should carefully read these Frequently Asked Questions to prepare for the first meeting with his ESSP Coach.
    1. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE EAGLE PROJECT?  To give the Scout an opportunity to “plan, develop, and give leadership to others,” as noted in the requirement. Eagle Scout projects are evaluated on the benefit to the organization being served and on the leadership provided by the candidate. There must also be evidence of organized planning and development.
    2. DOES THE EAGLE PROJECT HAVE TO BE THE LAST REQUIREMENT FINISHED?  No. A Scout can begin planning his project as soon as he becomes a Life Scout. That said, many Scouts find it helpful to focus on merit badges first and the Eagle project second (or vice versa).
    3. CAN A SCOUT DO HIS PROJECT IN ANOTHER STATE OR COUNTRY? Yes.
    4. CAN A PROJECT BENEFIT AN INDIVIDUAL?  Only if the larger community also benefits.
    5. CAN IT EARN MONEY?  No. However, a Scout can conduct a money-earning project to pay for project materials.
    6. MUST THE SCOUT LEAD A CERTAIN NUMBER OF PEOPLE?  He must lead at least two other people, who may or may not be involved in Scouting.
    7. MUST THE SCOUT WORK A CERTAIN NUMBER OF HOURS?  Councils or districts may not require a minimum (or maximum) for the scope of the Eagle Scout service project.
    8. DOES THE PROJECT HAVE TO HAVE LASTING VALUE?  No. While projects such as building nature trails are popular, projects like planning community festivals are equally valid.
    9. CAN OUR DISTRICT MODIFY THE PROJECT REQUIREMENT?  No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add or change requirements or to require additional forms.
    10. HOW MUCH PLANNING MUST THE SCOUT DO BEFORE HIS PROPOSAL IS APPROVED?  The new workbook offers a major change: that only a high-level plan is required before the project begins. This proposal represents the beginning of planning, and it must be detailed enough to show reviewers that the project meets the requirement, that it’s feasible, that safety issues will be addressed, and that the Scout has considered his next steps and seems on the right track for a positive project experience.
  8. Make sure you print a copy of the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook – and read it from cover to cover before meeting with your ESSP Coach.  This will help the Scout to understand how the ESSP process works.
  9. The Scout meets with his ESSP Coach to talk about what potential ESSPs – based upon your ideas and any conversations you have had with your potential beneficiary, Scoutmaster, and/or Committee Chair.
  10. The Scout should contact the Project Beneficiary to talk about potential ESSPs.  It’s a good idea to have a favorite idea for a project – and perhaps 2-3 “backup” ideas.  
    1. The discussion could include one or both:
      1. Ideas the Scout has about potential ESSPs.
      2. Ideas the Project Beneficiary has about potential ESSPs.
    2. The Scout should discuss project ideas in detail with the Project Beneficiary. The Scout should also listen to (take notes!) the Project Beneficiary to make sure the Scout understands the Project Beneficiary’s vision for the project.  
      1. When the Scout meets with the Project Beneficiary, he should print out and give a copy of Navigating the Eagle Scout Project: Information for Project Beneficiaries from the ESSP Workbook to the benefitting organization. This helps explain the ESSP process.
    3. The Scout sets up a meeting with his ESSP Coach to talk about his project idea(s).  The ESSP Coach may approve the project (indicating that the project satisfies the requirements of an ESSP), work with the Scout to modify the initial project idea (to meet the requirements of an ESSP), or disapprove the project (because it does not meet the requirements of an ESSP).  If necessary, the Scout might have to meet with the ESSP Coach more than once to ensure the Scout’s idea meets the requirements of an ESSP.
      1. Remember, this is YOUR project. The main purpose of the ESSP is to measure your ability to plan, organize, and provide leadership for a project.  Your ESSP Coach will help to ensure your project fulfills the requirements of an ESSP.
    4. The Scout completes a first draft of the first section of the ESSP Workbook and sets up a meeting with the Committee Chair to review the first draft of the ESSP Workbook.  Spend some time putting this section of the ESSP Workbook together.  You want to accurately convey – in detail – the work you plan to do and how you intend to do it.  DO NOT rush through this part of the ESSP Workbook. This section will include:
      1. Contact Information sheet
      2. ESSP Proposal
      3. ESSP Fundraising Application (if the Scout is fundraising for his ESSP).
  11. A Dropbox link has been established to make it easier to share your paperwork – especially your ESSP Workbook – with the team.  The Scout will request from the Committee Chair a link to the Dropbox account.  Since many of the forms are very large – again, especially the ESSP Workbook – using the Dropbox link will greatly simplify the process of sharing your information with reviewers.
  12. The Scout works with the District Advancement Team to have a District-level reviewer assigned to the Eagle Scout candidate.  This step should occur while the Scout is working to complete the first section of the ESSP Workbook.
    1. The District Advancement Representative is Bob Henderson.
      1. Email:  captainshutter@gmail.com
      2. Phone:  410.861.0070
  13. If the project involves any construction, it’s a good idea for the Scout to meet with Mr. Miller, Mr. Taylor, and Mr. Harris to review the project scope with them.
    1. They have a wealth of knowledge about construction, and they have many resources that might help you with your ESSP.
  14. The Scout should work with his ESSP Coach to determine if a Tour Plan is required. If it is required, the Scout should submit the Tour Plan to the Committee Chair no later than 2 weeks prior to the first ESSP work day so it can be filed with the Baltimore Area Council.  It is never a bad idea to file a Tour Plan…just in case.
  15. The Scout should arrange a meeting with the Committee Chair to review the ESSP Workbook.  He should ensure the most recent file is uploaded to the Dropbox site prior to this meeting.
  16. Once the ESSP Workbook is completed, the Scout will seek approval (signature) of:
    1. The Scoutmaster
    2. The Committee Chair
    3. The Beneficiary
    4. The District-level reviewer assigned to the Eagle Scout Candidate\
      1. The Scout will meet with the District Representative to obtain approval of the ESSP.  Once approved by the District Representative, the Scout may begin work on the project. The Scout may not start work on his ESSP – including fundraising – until he has received written approval from the District Representative.
  17. After obtaining all four approvals (Project Beneficiary, Scoutmaster, Committee Chair, and District Representative), the Scout will complete the ESSP Final Plan (the 2nd section in the ESSP Workbook).  The Scout will review the ESSP Final Plan with his ESSP Coach and the Project Beneficiary prior to starting any work.  If the project includes construction, he should review his final plan with Mr. Miller, Mr. Taylor, and Mr. Harris prior to starting any work.
    1. REMINDERS:
      1. While working on your project, always have a first aid kit available at your work site and always have two-deep adults present while working on your project with other Scouts.
      2. The Guide to Safe Scouting is an important reference in considering safety issues.  Follow the safety rules when using power tools.  Only adults can use power tools.
      3. Keep a log of all Scouts and adults who work on your project – and the days and hours each person worked.
      4. Upon completion of all work, give a copy of this log of names and hours worked to the Scoutmaster so Scouts working on your project can receive credit for Service Hours in their advancement records.
      5. Keep information in your logbook about your work and decisions that you make while working on your project.
      6. Take lots of photographs while working on your project – as well as photographs of the completed project.  Include these photos in your ESSP Project Workbook (3rd Section).
      7. Keep a record of all materials and equipment you use – including the cost of each item – and include this in your final writeup.  (Also include in the cost the value of donated materials and equipment).
      8. Keep a record of all changes to your original plan that you made during work on your project.
      9. Keep a spreadsheet showing your income and expenses for the project. You must account for all funds – to the penny.  At the end of the project, the costs should “zero out.”  Any excess funds will need to be donated to the Project Beneficiary.  Keep a record to show the excess funds were sent to the beneficiary – and include that in your ESSP Workbook.
  18. After completing the ESSP, the Scout will then complete the Eagle Scout Service Project Report (3rd section of the ESSP Workbook).   Spend some time putting this section of the ESSP Workbook together.  You want to accurately convey – in detail – the work you did and the lessons you learned.  DO NOT rush through this part of the ESSP Workbook.  Review this section of the book with your ESSP Coach.  When you and your ESSP Coach agree that the 3rd section of the ESSP Workbook is completed, obtain the appropriate signatures on the ESSP Completion Approval form.
  19. The Scout will print the entire ESSP Workbook (you should already have printed a “clean” copy of Phase I and Phase II of your ESSP Workbook prior to this point in the project) and place the pages in page protectors inside of a 3-ring binder.  Include all relevant details, including:
    1. Income and expense tracker spreadsheet
    2. Photos
    3. Supplemental materials
    4. Copies of thank you notes to people who helped
    5. Copies of all correspondence relating to your project (emails and screen shots of any texts)
  20. Once the workbook is done, take one more opportunity to review it with your ESSP Coach.  Once you and your ESSP Coach agree the binder is finished, you will need to submit the binder to the District Representative for District-level approval.  You may not move forward in the process until the ESSP Workbook is approved by the District Representative.

BEST PRACTICE:  Keep a copy of EVERYTHING you do.  EVERYTHING.