Project Approval 

9.0.2.7 "Proposal Must Be Approved ... Before You Start"

The Five Tests of an Acceptable Eagle Scout Service Project:  The proposal is an overview, but also the beginnings of planning. It shows the unit leader and any representatives of a unit committee, council, or district, that the following tests can be met

1. The project provides sufficient opportunity to meet the requirement.

2. The project appears to be feasible.

3. Safety issues will be addressed.

4. Action steps for further detailed planning are included.

5. The young man is on the right track with a reasonable chance for a positive experience.

The detail required for a proposal depends on project complexity. It must be enough to provide a level of confidence for a council or district reviewer that the above tests can be met, but not so much that—based on the possibility a proposal can be rejected—it does not respect the time it takes to prepare.

The form for preparing a proposal appears in the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, No. 512-927.Completing it will represent a reasonable time investment and an introductory learning experience, and also provide the information needed for approval. The candidate shall not be required to submit more than is described there or more than is necessary to establish that a project can meet the above tests.

Space is provided in the workbook for the candidate to record comments made during discussions with the district or council volunteer going over the proposal. A thorough review should generate numerous suggestions, cautions, and perhaps concerns (see "What an Eagle Scout Candidate Should Expect," 9.0.2.1). The Scout should be encouraged to write these down and take them seriously. When the reviewer is satisfied the above tests can be met, then approval is granted.

It is important to be as considerate of an Eagle Scout candidate's time as we expect him to be of ours. He is probably just as busy. Every attempt should be made to complete the approval process in one meeting. Then he should be challenged to work on his planning action steps and to consider scheduling time with his Eagle Scout service project coach for progress reports and further guidance (see "Eagle Scout Service Project Coach,"9.0.2.9). It is advisable that one of these meetings with the coach be held after a final plan is completed and the Scout is ready to begin actual work on his project.

It is acceptable for the coach or the advancement administrator responsible for approval—if he or she becomes concerned the project will not meet the requirements or it will not be completed to the satisfaction of the benefiting organization—to contact the Scout and his parent or guardian, or unit leader and, as appropriate, a representative of the beneficiary. However, even though the project coach may provide guidance critical to success, final design issues are ultimately between the Scout and the beneficiary. For limitations on the coach's role, see "Eagle Scout Service Project Coach," 9.0.2.9.

From time to time Scouts will "jump the gun" and begin fundraising efforts—or even work on the project itself—before a proposal is approved. This is counter to the requirements and well covered in multiple documents, but still it happens. Normally then, a Scout should select a different project. If circumstances are compelling, however—indicating leniency can be extended and a lesson learned without significant detriment to fulfilling the project's purpose—the Scout may be allowed to carry on and have his proposal or project approved after the fact.

Because it is virtually impossible to forecast every contingency, candidates must be allowed a level of flexibility in carrying out proposals and planning action steps. But essential elements of a proposal should not be changed without good reason. If this must occur, the Scout should consult his project coach or unit leader for advice. It is appropriate to strongly suggest he share substantive changes with the project beneficiary, and also with those involved in preapprovals.

If it appears changes will cause results to fall below what is required, then cautionary advice is in order. Except under extreme circumstances, it is not acceptable for unit, or council or district, approval to be withdrawn. If the young man decides to strike out on his own, this is his prerogative. At some point, responsibility must take over. The board of review decides whether planning was sufficient and if the requirement was met.