Last Sunday I was asked to sit on an Eagle Scout Board of Review.
Tyler Totten was making his final presentation in order to earn Scouting’s highest rank. Before Tyler came into the room to face our questions, we reviewed his portfolio. His Eagle project was the construction of 4 dugouts to improve his high school baseball and softball fields.
Lesson One: “To help other people at all times.” From the Scout Oath.
His rationale for choosing this project? The baseball program at his school had given him so much he simply wanted to give something back to the program.
Lesson Two: “Be Prepared.” The Scout Motto.
As part of his portfolio Tyler presented the materials he used to get permission from the town council to pursue his project. These materials included detailed renderings of the buildings, materials lists, a complete accounting of funds and manpower needed and a plan of action for the actual construction days including delivery and movement of materials, refreshments for his laborers and assignments of supervisory duties.
Before Tyler came in for our questions we were shown a video of him presenting his proposal to the council. He was organized and confident. He had distributed his written proposal to all the council members and he referred to his document as he made his presentation. He answered questions quickly, clearly and thoughtfully.
Later we had the opportunity to ask Tyler questions about his project and about his Scouting experience. I asked him if he was nervous when he presented his project the council. “No,” he replied, “I knew they were people just like me and I knew I had prepared the best I could.”
Lesson Three: “Serve in a position of Leadership.” From the requirements for Eagle Scout.
Tyler not only served in several leadership positions in his troop; to complete his Eagle project he needed to coordinate a crew of nearly 30 volunteers both peers and adults. He organized the delivery of materials and supervised construction on the site. He assigned duties including craftsmen and laborers.
He knew he needed help to complete his project. As every effective leader should, he found people with the skills and knowledge necessary for success and assumed the role of coordinating these people. He sought and considered advice from a variety of experts. He took it upon himself to assure that his team had the resources and support to do their jobs effectively.
To complete his project, Tyler needed to raise $8,000 for materials and supplies. He designed a system to solicit donations for materials by having customers purchase barcodes for the various pieces he needed at an area home center. During the Eagle Board interview one of the examiners asked him if he had help in this effort from other Scouts. In his mind, he was the one responsible and he told us that he felt he alone could best represent his project by doing the solicitation and fundraising.
Participating in Tyler’s Eagle Board of Review was a life changing experience for me. I make my living trying to perfect and teach the values that Tyler demonstrated through his project. It was an honor to be a small part of this remarkable recognition for a young man who embodies self-motivation, discipline and personal responsibility.
Each of us can apply these lessons in personal and professional life. I get the feeling Tyler would be just as comfortable presenting these lessons at a convention of leading CEOs, and you would gain much from his presentation.
Tyler is 15 years old.