The Eagle Scout Project is your last big step to getting the coveted Eagle Scout Rank. In this, you’re turned loose from the usual constraints of requirement-earning, and guided only by your abilities and the help of your advisors, you need to successfully propose, plan, and execute a project that will provide significant benefit to your community. As you can imagine, the possibilities are endless, bringing up the questions:
How to Choose an Eagle Scout Project?
What should I do for my Eagle Scout Project?
To answer these questions, we’ve compiled 6 points to ask yourself when deciding as a sort of guideline to help you choose an Eagle Project!
#1: What are the resources available to you? What is your skillset + time commitment?
First of all, we need to assess your limitations in the project. Resources that have the biggest impact on your project and the eventual product are money and volunteers. Eagle Projects can cost from about $100 to upwards of $1500, depending on what kind of project you are planning on doing. If, say, projects that are upwards of $500 are too expensive for you, you may have to resort to more affordable, lower-budget solutions to community problems. Conversely, if you have a strong volunteer pool available to you from your troop or area, you can hope to bear the weight of a more work-intensive project.
PRO TIP: If you don’t have enough money for an Eagle Project, you can opt to fundraise money through requests or events.
In addition, you need to be realistic with your abilities. Evaluate how much time you have to commit to your Eagle Project, as well as evaluate what are the limits to things you can do. Are you capable of building an entire play structure from the ground up, including planning and preparation? If not, then it’s time to look elsewhere for a different idea. Conversely, you can look for people with needed skills to join your team! (See #5 for more details).
#2: What problems have you seen/experienced in your community?
A Scout should help others at all times. To do this, one must first look within at the problems around them that they can solve. Oftentimes, we see things that can be improved in our community, but they get passively filed away. I encourage you to start thinking actively about local issues; even in mundane activities like driving around, be on the lookout for things that can be changed for the better.
Another strategy to find problems that need solving is to go directly to organizations such as churches, nonprofits, schools, municipal government, and more. This will easily find you a beneficiary (who approves the project and is the recipient of its benefits), which is required for each Eagle Project, as well as a more clear-set path to success!
#3: What type of project do you want?
Now, most Eagle Projects are divided into 3 types, them being:
- Building: As simple as building a new structure to help your beneficiary. Ex. building a bench in a park.
- Reconstruction/Renovation. Restoring a previously built structure to its former glory. Be careful with this one, as an Eagle Project is not allowed to be routine maintenance. Ex. fixing up a playground.
- “Service” Projects: This refers to anything that creates/raises something that isn’t as tangible as a building project. Best explained with an example of a clothes and shoes drive.
Now, if any of your predetermined ideas don’t exactly fit into any of these categories, don’t sweat it! The possibilities one can have to choose an Eagle Scout Project are endless, so don’t rule out your proposal just yet.
Note: As per the rules of Guide to Advancement, anything considered as “routine labor” doesn’t count as a project, nor can you have a fundraiser as a project (although you can raise funds for your main project).
#4: How do you want to solve ONE of those problems?
Now that you’ve (hopefully) identified a few potential community problems, you will want to devise a basic outline of a solution for each one. This allows you to compare and weigh the benefits of each project and problem to get your desired game plan. Understand that there are multiple ways to tackle each problem, meaning there are opportunities for an infinite amount of projects!
The next step would be to compare the multiple solutions to each problem you have and pick the best one. Try to end up with at least 3 to further narrow down in the next steps.
#5: Who can help you make your Eagle Scout Project a success?
For a great Eagle Project, you need a great team! Anyone can be a part of your project, not just Scouts. Friends, family, relatives, and even interested volunteers can join the effort. Picking people out of your immediate circle becomes immensely more important as your Eagle Project increases in difficulty and scope.
In addition, identifying potential groups is beneficial to acquire donors, or even just supporters to spread the word around. If you need specific permissions in order to carry out your work, those should be sorted out (or at the very least inquired about) before you go to choose an Eagle Scout Project. One other thing to consider is who can provide you with the resources to be successful, whether it be monetary, tools, raw materials, etc.
#6: What impact do you want to have on your community? How do you want to be remembered?
Finally, the ultimate question is, what do you want your end goal to be. It’s easy enough to take the easy route and do something minimalistic just for the Eagle Scout rank. However, that’s missing the point of the rank. You can have a much better learning experience and growth through an Eagle Project that challenges you.
However, the most motivating factor in your Eagle Project is what people make of you. Too many a project have been passed off as unoriginal and of minor benefit to the community. But if you go above and beyond to truly change the lives of your community members through your work, your name will be remembered forever.
With those 6 tips, you should now have a plan to answer your burning question of How to Choose an Eagle Scout Project. We wish you luck in your Eagle Project and future Scouting endeavors!
For an example of my own Eagle Project, check out facebook.com/eagledriveal!
Interested in getting started in Scouting? Have a look at our article on Reasons to Join Scouting.