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By:    On: 2013-04-16

I traded emails last week with a Scouter who’d purchased The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook. He and another adult in his unit were having a dispute about the option in Star and Life (but not Eagle) that lets the Scoutmaster assign a leadership project in lieu of a Scout serving in a position of responsibility. One of them thought a half-day project to clean out a storage shed would suffice; the other thought the project needed to last four months for Star and six months for Life (in other words, as long as the Scout would have served in a position of responsibility).

So which of them was right? Probably neither.

There’s no requirement that the leadership project take a certain number months, but the project should be comparable in skills-development terms to what the Scout would have done in a formal position of responsibility. Here’s what the Guide to Advancement (No. 33088) says:

“For Star and Life ranks only, a unit leader may assign a leadership project as a substitute for the position of responsibility. If this is done, he or she should consult the unit committee and unit advancement coordinator to arrive at suitable standards. The experience should provide lessons similar to those of the listed positions, but it must not be confused with, or compared to, the scope of an Eagle Scout service project.”

I don’t think a half-day project would quite measure up, although I could imagine expanding that project to make it work. I also think a project lasting four- to six-months would be comparable in scope to an Eagle project, thus going beyond the expectations behind the requirement.

What do you think? Send me samples of projects you’ve assigned, and I’ll share them in a future tip.

Republished with permission of Mark Ray at

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