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After you have talked over possible project ideas with your troop leaders and chosen the right one for you, it is now time to begin the detail planning and initial write-up which will be submitted to the District for approval. Remember, you cannot begin actual work on the project until it is approved by the district, but there is a lot of planning to be done before you get that far.
Get a current copy of the Life to Eagle Packet, which includes the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, from the council office or from one of the troop leaders to use in preparing your plan. This is the official booklet which is submitted to the district for approval. Read everything in it before beginning to write up your plan.
The project plan may be typed on a typewriter or computer, or may be
hand written, but it must be very neat and written using your best grammar.
The plan should tell someone else everything they would need to know to
carryout your project without you. You should include the following information
as shown in the workbook:
Briefly (approximately 1/2 to one page) describe the project. This should not include any details, those will come later. Address this section as though you were telling a friend what you were going to do.
Name the group or organization who will benefit from your project and how your project will benefit them. Remember, the project cannot benefit the Boy Scouts (except in the most indirect way). Do not describe the project again, just focus on the benefit of the project.
This is the heart of the project plan and the area which will require the most work. The plan should include all details needed by someone else to carryout the project as though you were not around. The plan will include the sections discussed below, if appropriate. All sections are not applicable to all projects, so may be omitted if not needed. Since there is limited space in the workbook, you may attach extra pages with the details. You may prefer to write or type the plan on separate pages and then cut and paste them into the proper section of the workbook after your advisor has helped you get it into the final form.
Describe the current condition or situation that you are going to change. Do not repeat the benefit of the project, but focus on creating a word picture of how things are now. This is a good place to include pictures (either photographs or drawings) of the project area. Remember, the District Advancement Committee does not know what your church or school or park looks like so they cannot understand why your project is important unless you show and tell them.
If your project is to build something, you will need detail plans or drawings. These are like blue prints and should show all dimensions, paint schemes, floor plans, layouts, or other detail that can be drawn. Plans or drawings are usually done on graph paper which has guidelines, but blank paper is acceptable as long are you are neat. Photographs may also be of value here for some projects. If you have made a design (e.g. emblem, logo, etc.) include it in this section.
Materials are those things which become part of the finished product. Examples are lumber, paint, nails, concrete, etc. This is truly a shopping list, so include material specifications (exact size, quality, brand, finish, etc.), number of each item, and cost. Don't just say "lumber", you need to describe exactly what pieces of lumber. If items are to be donated, state so. This section is best presented in the form of a separate list attached to extra pages in the workbook.
Tools are those items used to aid in making the work easier, or even make it possible to do at all. Tools are not used up and should be saved and used again and again. Examples of tools are hammers, shovels, tractors, or saws. Provide a list of all tools required to work the project, don't take for granted that required equipment will just appear when you need it. Be very specific (e.g. number of hammers, type of shovels, type of paint brushes, etc.). Tell how those tools will be obtained. If you must purchase tools, include them in the financial plan. You should be able to borrow most tools from the people who are working on the project or from someone else. Try not to spend much money on tools since they are expensive but not part of the finished product. If you must buy tools, discuss what is going to be done with them after your project is complete. Are you going to keep them, give them to the troop or other organization, or maybe to the organization who is funding the project?
Supplies are those expendable things which do not become part of the finished product, but that are used to complete it. Examples of supplies are sandpaper, trash bags, posters, gasoline, pens, markers, paper, paint rollers, drop cloths, etc. Provide a list of all supplies you will need and where you will get them. Since supplies cannot normally be reused, you need to either buy them or have them donated. You cannot borrow something which you cannot return. You may choose to combine the materials and supplies into one list; but label it as such.
A good schedule is a necessity for any successful plan. It shows when everything is done and in what order each step happens. You must make your best estimate of how long tasks will take and in what order they will be done. Your schedule may be in the form of a Gantt Chart (like the one attached to this document, showing the time it takes to do the generic project), a calendar with tasks entered on the appropriate days, or just a list of tasks and the date when they will be done. Include project planning and approval on your schedule. No project follows the planned schedule exactly, but is helps make things happen logically. When you complete your project and do the final write-up, you will discuss how well the project followed the planned schedule and why you think it deviated from it.
In addition to the schedule which shows the dates when you think tasks will be worked, you will also need detailed instructions. These instructions should read like a recipe in a cookbook. These tell the workers exactly what to do. Include a list of every task you can think of, what order they will be done, who will do them. Include the clean-up of the work site in your plan.
Every project will cost something and you need to discuss those costs. Provide a list of all materials, tools, supplies, etc. with a cost of each. This information may be part of your list of materials/supplies. If items are loaned or donated, state so. Remember to include fees (e.g. city dump fees) in your cost estimate. Once you have determined how much the project is going to cost, you must find the money to pay for it. You may consider several sources for funding, including the organization for whom you are doing the project, donations from others, from your allowance, or any other legitimate source. While your project may not be a fund raiser, you may conduct fund-raising activities to finance the supplies and materials needed for your project. Obtaining the funds to do the project is your responsibility, don't assume that someone will cover cost until you have asked them.
A major part in any project, whether for Scouts, church, community, or a business, is funding. If you cannot come up with all the money you need, look at reducing the cost to get within your budget. You may even find that the project is too expensive and you will have to chose another one.
If you are going to use handouts, posters, letters, or other written materials as part of your project, include a copy of those in the plan. These should be included as attachments to the workbook.
Discuss who will be doing the work. You do not need to tell names, just the number of people, what organization they are part of, and what special skills will be required. However, if you can make a list of potential helpers (with their phone numbers) it will help you get volunteers later. For example, are you going to need a carpenter? Describe how you are going to organize the workers to get the work done efficiently. Will they be divided into teams and if so who will lead the teams? What tasks will each team be doing? How will you use adult leaders? Discuss how you will ensure the safety of the workers.
Remember, you do not have to DO any of the physical work yourself; you are responsible for LEADING others in carrying out the project and ensuring that everything is done the way you want it (i.e. show leadership).
Boy Scout policy requires at least two adult leaders be present at all times during any Scouting activity. At least one of them must have 'Youth Protection' certification. It is your responsibility to ensure that this policy is followed. Don't assume that the right people will just 'be there' -- arrange, in advance, for them to be there. You should state how you will ensure this in your plan.
Where will the work be done? If you are going to build something, are you going to build it at the location where it will be used or somewhere else then moved? Remember, you must get permission to use any work site from the responsible person/owner. If the location where you are going to work requires special facilities or tools, state so. Think about how the weather will effect your work site.
Moving people, materials, supplies, tools to/from a work site will most likely be required. Discuss what needs to be moved, what vehicles you will need, where you will get those vehicles, and who will drive. BSA policy places limitations on drivers under 21 years old; ensure you are aware of these limits and work within them. Remember that all passengers must be seated with a seat belt on whenever a vehicle is in motion. All of this is your responsibility.
Adapted from the Eagle Project Planning Guide by Randy Smith (used with permission)