This is the story of my own Screamin’ Eagle. My eldest achieved his Eagle rank about four years ago. He worked with his school to complete a project they needed for their marine programs. His project was an outdoor sink with countertop, plumbing, and electric.
The requirements for an Eagle rank includes a project that benefits the community and highlights the scout’s project management, organizational, time management, and presentation skills. The Eagle project is one of the biggest accomplishments in the process of becoming an Eagle Scout. A major hurdle is to complete all the requirements and the Eagle project report by the scout’s 18th birthday. My son was 17 going into this project.
Well this first Eagle project for our family was going along well, with minimal setbacks and problems. We got permissions and permits, poured concrete, built the framework, and installed plumbing and electric. We had wonderful volunteers from scouts, school, friends, and family. They were paid in donuts, pizza, and volunteer hours. We appreciated them all. My son did a fantastic job at managing the people and the project. I was so impressed by this 17-year old man and what he could accomplish. Then we hit the wall called: BUILDING DELAYS!
There is a term for an Eagle Scout who is at the end of his time limit for completing all the requirements for the Eagle achievement. He is known as the ‘Screamin’ Eagle.’ I have identified two types of Screamin’ Eagles in my experience. There may be more, I just haven’t seen ‘em yet. The scout who races to the finish-line terrified he’s not going to make it. He is screaming the whole way through only stopping to breathe when he finishes his Eagle Board of Review. Whew! These Screamin’ Eagles must be exhausted.
Then there is the scout racing to the end of the project like a stock car racing for the finish line. They’ve hit problems, delays, and stoppages. These also keep going and come across the line sideways with squealing, screamin’ tires just in the nick of time. Some of these eagles may fly across that finish line.
My son was a little of both. He negotiated, he cajoled, he screamed (mainly at home); nothing he did could clear this delay. The sponsor was depending on a specific contractor and we needed his work and cooperation. We worked on this for months. It was agonizing to see the almost finished project sit stagnated. We were getting closer and closer to his 18th birthday. The deadline loomed.
We hustled to get the final report done, and prepare for the presentation while, pushing to figure out a way to finish the project. Finally a week before the deadline, a benefactor took over the project and the organization gave final sign off on the project report. He proceeded to file his report on the Friday afternoon before his Monday birthday deadline. His Board of Review was scheduled for the following month.
On the night of the Board of Review, I of course was a basket case which is why…my Screamin’ Eagle did not allow me to be anywhere near the Board of Review. I got to sit at home twisting my hands wondering if my Eagle boy would succeed or fail… It was all on him. He did the work. He worked with the organizations. He managed his team. Now he had to complete the presentation convincing the Board his project was worthy of approval.
For the project, I brought the donuts and kept the thirsty crews well-watered. Oh and my son assigned me to keep track of his volunteers and their hours. Woo hoo. This was my input into his project. Other than supporting him, it was all I was allowed to do. It was so hard to let go of the reins and allow my son to do this on his own. My baby boy was now responsible for his success.
My bedtime is usually 9:30ish. I waited and waited, holding my breath till they came back close to 11 pm. I practically sprouted wings and flew to the door when they walked in. I watched them. Both my husband and son had their male impassive faces on. “Well?” I ask.
My Screamin’ Eagle breaks into a grin, fist pumps his fist in the air. “I got it!”
“Really?” I ask to make sure I heard him correctly.
He grabs me in a big bear hug lifting me off the ground. “Of course! Didn’t you think I could do it?” He drops me back on my feet.
“Well Yeah!” I defend myself and smack him on the shoulder as he goes in search of food.
He did say he was disappointed in not being able to complete the entire project himself. He had to accept the delegation of the project to another person. But my Screamin’ Eagle brought it home with those tires squealing sideways over the finish line!
Here! Here! For all those Screamin’ Eagle Scouts that don’t quit and hurtle themselves over the finish line. I also raise a toast to all the Mama and Papa Eagles sweating it out on the sidelines and letting those Eagles fly!
Until Part III have an awesome week!