Oldest Son is finally assembling his Eagle Scout project. It’s been a very long time coming…too long if you ask this Mom. He held work days yesterday and today. What an experience! It has been so fun to watch him figure out how to manage this project. How to take what all the different adults are telling him and determine what he thinks is the best way to proceed. And then to let everyone helping know the way he wants it done. Not an easy task at 17.
Being an Eagle Scout is definitely respected, but I think many people don’t really understand what it’s all about. I know I didn’t. I just knew it was a good thing to have and they should make it a goal to achieve. I’m still learning what it’s all about, but I know I will be much more prepared with the next two boys.
When you talk about Eagle Scouts people generally think of the project that is done, but really this is just one component. The project is really about the leadership skills required. The scout is not supposed to DO the pr0ject, but rather LEAD others to do the project. They do research, select the project, coordinate with the recipient organization, fundraise, recruit volunteers and supervise the work. And afterward, they do an extensive write up of what they did, what worked, what didn’t and what they would do differently next time. Oldest Son is through the research, selection, coordinating, fundraising and recruiting. Now he’s in the thick of the supervising stage. And he’s learning a lot!
Between the work days he had to make some changes to his design. I would call them tweaks, but for him it felt like he had really screwed up. After a little pep talk about how this is what the real world is like, it was neat to see him work through that challenge and learn to trust his own instincts. He worked it through in his head, then checked in with the adults who have been helping him. He was confident in his understanding and his plan and articulated it well. It was really neat to watch.
He still has a ways to go, like finishing, writing it up, an Eagle board of review. But he will get there and he will be changed because of the experience. In a good way. We chatted about his experience after the volunteers left today. He was challenged to listen to all the adults who had opinions about what he should be doing and respectfully disagree with some. He was most surprised how hard it was to keep everyone busy and stay a step ahead of them by having the next stage ready to go. Isn’t that the story of any manager? Looking three steps ahead to anticipate what will be needed. That’s good life experience.
Hmm…maybe that’s why Eagle Scouts are so valued.