Monday, August 4, 2014


A text message conversation with my wife:

Her: Why does it bug me so much when other parents let their kids do cop-out eagle projects? Tell me how to let it go because it's driving me crazy.

Me:  Because I've rubbed off on you a little?

Her:  Maybe. Maybe also because I used to believe Eagle Scout actually meant something.  Now the reputation of an Eagle has been marred by all the people who filled the requirement with little to no actual effort.

Starlings just getting by.
Image courtesy of Paul Brentnall,
Me:  That's why. Paper eagles, or perhaps starlings.

Her:  C. Jr. High principal sent out an email asking for scout groups to help: [Edited: We are in need of a volunteer group (church group or Boy Scouts) to (do about an hour's worth of pretty minimal, really, work).  If your group is available this coming Tuesday or Wednesday morning from 8-12 please contact me directly at principal@email].

Do service where needed, but don't accept mediocrity as a symbol of accomplishment.  That's not an eagle project. I'd rather B. (our 14yo son) not get his eagle than settle for what was convenient.

--Alternate title: Eagles or Seagulls?--

I think the reality is that many people, both parents and leaders, are more concerned with Git-r-dun than Do Your Best, and the quality of the work reflects that.  It may be a symptom of the larger cultural problem of getting rewarded for just showing up.  A simple question for a Project approver would be: "does this project proposal represent your best effort at identifying a need in the community, and marshaling the personnel and resources to fill that need?"

Seagulls may be the state bird of Utah, but they're still rats with wings, opportunists who will do the least amount of work necessary. Which do you want to be: eagle, or seagull?

Probably too late, I emailed the principal:  Mr. Principal, I sure hope you don't let someone try to call this his Eagle project, because it isn't eagle-worthy work, it's an hour of plugging in cables (and as the beneficiary, you have the authority to sign off on eagle projects, as I'm sure you've done before).

Prepared. | For Life.™


Fishgutts said...

Another blogger believes Eagles are Eagles. I on the other hand am tired of the "I am going to stick sewer buttons on sewer opening projects". Good luck telling future leaders and Scouts what a "challenge-less" project this was.

Allen said...

Or yet another Begging for Eagle project - "I am setting out boxes in the foyer for X group. In 6 weeks, I'll take everything in the box to X group."