Eagle Scout Project: Solving Problems

Fred and his Scoutmaster, Brother Peterson, are meeting again to continue their planning of Fred’s Eagle Scout project, a genealogy class for his town.

Better to See Them Before They Eat You!

“Well, Fred, you’ve done a great job planning your project. However, we need to look for some alligators. Suppose you’re walking through a swamp and you know there are alligators everywhere. Why would you want to know where they are?” “That’s easy, Brother Peterson, so I could go around them.” “Exactly, Fred, so you could avoid them. Your project is the swamp, and you need to know where your alligators are.”

Brother Peterson continued, “I got caught by an alligator, Fred, when my daughter was baptized. We drove 45 minutes to the Stake house on a cold, December evening and found the building empty and locked. The custodian came an hour later and apologized for the confusion in the starting time.  We held the baptism in cold water….”

Oh No, More Brainstorming

“Let’s brainstorm again, Fred, and list the problems that you might have with your project. Here’s one to get us started. You are using a projector but the AC cord won’t reach the single outlet in the room. What can you do before the meeting to skip around that alligator?” Fred said, “Bring an extension cord.” “Good solution, Fred.” Let’s list in your notebook all of the problems we can think of and solutions to those problems.”

These Alligators Won’t Get Me!

After an hour of discussion, Fred had the following table in his notebook.

Alligator Solution
AC cords too short Bring extension cords
Building closed Call custodian the night before
Refreshments didn’t show up Call the providers the night before
Not enough people to serve refreshments Check with the people the night before
Speakers didn’t show up Check with them the night before
Speakers didn’t show up Have alternate speakers ready to go
Not enough room for the people Plan for a room larger than needed
Not enough chairs Have extra chairs in basement or truck
Building is cold Check with the custodian the night before
Roads are too icy for travel Have an alternate date/location scheduled

After they had completed their brainstorming, the Scoutmaster gave Fred an important caution. “Fred, when you call people, such as the building custodian and the food providers, to check on them, be careful that you don’t imply that you think they are incompetent. Thank them for their service to you, and mention that you’re making last minute checks to see if there is anything you can do to help them the next day. This will give them the chance to proudly say they are ‘ready to go’, and you won’t be in the position of doubting their dependability. You do need to call them, though, because you need assurance that everything is ‘ready to go’ and that you’re sidestepping around the alligators.”


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