Eagle Scout Project: Estimating # Helpers Needed

Fred and his Scoutmaster are meeting weekly after church to plan Fred’s Eagle project. Fred wants to create a beginning genealogy class for his town. In their first meeting, last week, Fred and Brother Peterson brainstormed and came up with a list of 15 major tasks that will have to be completed. Their goal for today’s meeting is to estimate how many people will be needed on Fred’s “crew”.

“Well, Fred”, Brother Peterson asked, “how did things go this week.” “Great!”, Fred responded, “I’m really getting excited about this project! It doesn’t seem as overwhelming as it did when I first came up with the idea.” “Good planning always has that effect”, said the Scoutmaster, smiling.

Brainstorming Never Stops

“Let’s look at your list of things to do”, Fred, and see if we’ve missed anything.” Fred studied the list for a few moments and then said, “It looks good to me.”   Brother Peterson paused for a moment and then asked, “Who did you say would be your sponsor?” Fred replied, “My town’s Historical Society.” “Have you asked them?”, the Scouter wondered. “No”, said Fred. “Good”, said Brother Peterson. “You need to get Council approval before you contact a potential sponsor.” “In looking at your list, I don’t see anything about getting a sponsor. In fact, your list doesn’t mention getting Council approval, either.” “Oh, you’re right”, said Fred, “we were focusing just on the class itself. Let me add those two things.” Before he wrote anything, Fred asked, “Where should they go in the list?” “Good question”, responded Brother Peterson.” Where do you think they should go?” Fred studied the list for a moment and then said, “The Council probably wants to know what the class would be like, so I’d put getting Council approval as #6 and getting a sponsor as #7.” “You could put it there”, said the Scouter, “but the Council doesn’t need to know details about the class, just an overview. How about putting them as #2 and #3?” “Sounds good to me”, said Fred.

“Fred”, the Scoutmaster suggested, “look at your first few items. They concern technical aspects of the class, such as how many teachers will be needed and what they will teach.” Do you feel qualified to make those decisions?” Fred quickly said, “No, I don’t know much about genealogy, I just love what I do know.”  “So”, asked the Scouter, “how can you solve that problem?” Fred thought for a moment and then said with a sigh, “I don’t know, get somebody to help me, I guess.” “Somebody who knows all about genealogy”, said Brother Peterson, “Somebody who could advise you about the technical aspects of the project.” “Yea”, said Fred with a smile on his face, “that’s just what I need!” “OK”, said the Scouter, “let’s add that to your list.” Fred added it as #4.

Food isn’t Just for the Soul

“One other thing, Fred”, said Brother Peterson. “After the people will have spent an exhausting day learning genealogy, they might like to socialize a bit before they go home. What could you do to help them enjoy that time together, something all teens like to do…”   “Refreshments”, said Fred, “of course!” Fred added that to his list, and the list then looked like the following.

  1. Decide when to hold the class
  2. Get Council approval.
  3. Get a sponsor.
  4. Get a genealogy adviser.
  5. Decide how many teachers will be needed
  6. Decide who they will be.
  7. Create an agenda for the class
  8. Assign teachers to particular parts of the class
  9. Locate a place for the class that is big enough and convenient for the people
  10. Get permission to use the building
  11. Schedule the building
  12. Arrange for enough chairs and tables
  13. Arrange for chalk boards, projectors, cork boards (if needed)
  14. Raise money for rent (if needed)
  15. Form a list of interested people.
  16. Invite the people
  17. Prepare refreshments
  18. Conduct the class
  19. Serve refreshments.
  20. Send thank you letters to those who helped

Now, On to the People

Fred said, “You mentioned that today we’d be deciding how many people I need to get to help me?” “Right”, said the Scoutmaster, “and you’ll be their leader.” “How do we figure this out?”, asked Fred. In response, Brother Peterson asked, “How can your list help us?” “Well”, said Fred, we have a list of 20 things to do. I guess we could estimate how many people I’d need for each of those things.” “Great idea, Fred!”, said the Scouter.

Fred looked at his list and said, “I’ve already done the first one, getting a date.” “Do you have an exact date?”, asked the Scoutmaster. “Well, no”, said Fred, “just sometime early next year, so I guess I haven’t done the first task after all.” “I think for that one, I’ll need just me and maybe the adviser”, said Fred.

“Fred”, suggested Brother Peterson, here is a good way to record the # of people in your notebook. Use a table format with columns for the tasks and # of people and rows for each task. Also, we need to estimate how much time will be spent and the total number of man-hours.” “Cool”, said Fred, “I’ve seen tables like that in my science book at school.”

After Fred drew a table in his notebook, he and Brother Peterson discussed each task on Fred’s list, and Fred estimated the number of people who would be needed to help and how much time they would spend. The Scouter cautioned Fred that those numbers were just estimates that might change as Fred did more detailed planning.

Task # People Clock Time # Man-Hours
Choose a date for the class 1 1 1
Get Council approval 2 1 2
Get a sponsor 1 4 4
Get a genealogy adviser 1 2 2
Decide # teachers needed 2 1 2
Decide who they will be 2 1 2
Create an agenda for the class 2 2 4
Assign teachers to topics 2 1 2
Locate an adequate building 2 2 4
Get permission to use the building 1 1 1
Schedule the building 1 1 1
Arrange for chairs and tables 1 2 2
Arrange for teaching equipment 2 4 8
Raise money for rent (if needed) 10 4 40
Form list of interested people 2 3 6
Invite the people 4 4 16
Prepare refreshments 3 4 12
Conduct the class 8 5 40
Serve refreshments 5 1 5
Send thank you letters 3 4 12
Totals ~ 55 166

“Wow”, said Fred, “that’s a lot of time!” “And a lot of people”, said Brother Peterson. “You’re their leader!”

“What do we do next Sunday, Brother Peterson?”, asked Fred. The Scouter replied, “We have enough information to apply to the Scout Council for its approval, so let’s fill out the application form.” “Then on the following Sunday, we’ll plan your presentation to your town Historical Society. You can’t contact the Society, though, until you have approval from the Council.”

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