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Is a beach sweep considered an Eagle project?

An Eagle candidate took his proposal for a beach sweep to his Eagle counselor who said that a beach sweep wasn’t an Eagle project. An additional element to his project is building fishing lure and line receptacles for placement at the fishing areas in our community but that was included in his proposal as something he would do on his own. However, I think this is the element that changes the project from community service to Eagle project. I talked with him about how he could include the Troop in the part he wants to do on his own (Help build the receptacles). Since then, his original Eagle counselor has moved away and his new counselor has not asked him to to change from his original proposal of him installing the fishing line receptacles on his own and then doing a beach sweep with the troop.
I guess my question is, Is a beach sweep considered an viable Eagle Project? I see some other troops have allowed it to be. Thanks for the advice!

A few notes from Guide to Advancement “Time that Scouts spend assisting on Eagle service projects
should be allowed in meeting these requirements. Note
that Eagle projects do not have a minimum time
requirement, but call for planning and development, and
leadership of others, and must be preapproved by the
council or district. (See “The Eagle Scout Service
Project,”” - Eagle Project Service Coach
“Meet with a Scout after the proposal has been approved but before work begins on the project plan.” - they are not the approver - District or Council is. Them saying (as I do as Scoutmaster) - “here is where the Council is going to have issues” is different. - Give Leadership to Others - it does not say lead the troop, it says others, could be family or friends.

Every Unit probably does it a little different - in mine they first have to present to me as SM. Then I advise them on needed changes. Then they present to Committee, who does the same. Then when approved they present to council. We do this so the Scout has practice presenting the Proposal and is also ready for questions about the proposal - and with combined experience we have more assurance that the plan will be approved.

With all that in mind - as a SM I would want to know the total area to be Swept, What the Scout planned to do with that which is collected, who the scout obtained permission for both the Sweep and the receptacles, how the receptacles would be maintained and emptied long-term. On the work done alone, it is very annoying and shows lack of planning to get to a project to see a stack of 2X4’s to build redundant frames that will take all morning to build, when the Scout could have planned that out over a few weeks to have prebuilt to their specifications; so pre-work is fine by me.


First question would be can the Scout define the scope of a “beach sweep”. One thing I noticed that will be key is WHO is the beneficiary, they need to sign off of the project too and really one of the most important ones. Is the beach the scout is looking at a privately owned such as Rod & Gun or by a City or State? Again, difference between community service and just cleaning up the beach one day includes the long term plan not just project itself. The scout would need to coordinate with the beneficiary, I know here in Western NY our city is responsible for a certain sections of the beach for Chautauqua Lake however Lake Erie is a whole other set of regulations–they already schedule a sweep by city employees with dozers and heavy equipment. As Donovan mentioned, the fishing tackle receptacles-who is then responsible for the long term maintenance and removal of them. Not saying it can’t be a viable project , check GTA but also these are just my opinions. I’m a CC for my troop and our approach to Eagle project is slightly different. First is discussing that the beneficiary is on board, if not then the project is moot. My SM looks at it first, then committee chair and just make sure the scout met the 5 tests (GTA
The project provides sufficient opportunity to meet
the requirement.
2. The project appears to be feasible.
3. Safety issues will be addressed.
4. Action steps for further detailed planning are included.
5. The Scout is on the right track with a reasonable
chance for a positive experience.
Then it goes to our council and Eagle board/coach. The SM nor I nitpick the project just look at the 5 tests as it is up to the coach and scout to formulate and flush out the more specific details.

As far as the new coach not mentioning the changes/addendum to the original…Did the Scout give the back history of the project to the new Coach. “I was working with XXX and initially the project was declined so we were working on adding this element to the project…” This shows growth and work done by the scout, counts toward his planning time–consider it like a rough outline.

The statement of “I see some other troops have allowed it to be.” is grossly misleading and concerning as you don’t know what exactly their project entailed unless you were directly involved as the coach or beneficiary. Again please refer to GTA and remember every troop, council, coach and beneficiary is different.


Thank you for the detailed replies! So thankful for the feedback and this forum to ask questions. Sorry if I seem misinformed.

The Department of Natural Resources is the beneficiary who came to our troop seeing if our scouts would be interested in taking on the project of building the receptacles. One of our scouts asked if he could turn it into his Eagle Poject. Long term maintenance would be done by DNR.

DNR also would be sponsor for the beach sweep.

Thanks again!

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@HollySutcliffe - following the GTA and knowing the project proposal form are key. Perhaps if your council offers a life to eagle class it may be a good idea to attend it.

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Study this section of the Guide to Advancement:

Especially pay attention to:, and

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@Christopher.Schuster - exactly. The units should have a copy on hand and all parties involved in the process should be very familiar with it.

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Plan, develop ,and give leadership to others in a project that benefits the community.

No rocket science, no brain surgery involved.

What a lot of people, a lot of them don’t understand is the Eagle Scout Project is not about the project. It’s all about the Scout; it’s never been about the project.


@Christopher.Schuster - yup… I have along time friend of mine that earned Eagle even though the project never did happen (and no fault of his) all requirements were met. Folks are always hung up on the project.



Had to get a chair - @Stephen_Hornak can you give us a brief explanation of your friends project and what happened?


@DonovanMcNeil - I will have to ask him… it was back in the late 70’s early 80’s and he grudgingly says "I made eagle but… "

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I would give this project a maybe. A lot depends on the level of leadership and planning that goes into the event. It you are talking about a community event that cleans up a dirty and neglected stretch of beach, I would say yes. It you are talking about giving some trash bags to a few of his scout buddies and walking the beach I would say no.

As was pointed out above, it’s what goes into the project not the project itself.


We have had similar ideas in the past, activities that (at first) sounded more like regular troop service hours than Eagle projects.

As SM, I work with the Scout to build on the idea to (1) meet the official requirements, with an emphasis on project planning and leadership and (2) make sure it is something he/she will be proud of. For the rest of his/her life, the Scout will get to explain the project to friends / parents / college counselors / job interviewers when they say “I see you are an Eagle Scout. What was your project and what have you learned?”

If the answer is “I mobilized and led 200 people on a beach cleanup, coordinating with the Surfrider Foundation, the DNR, Waste Management and the local radio station to raise awareness and we disposed of 600 bags of trash including 65 syringes, 5 tires, 37 diapers and 854 yards of fishing line, then put up 25 tackle bins to permanently reduce pollution” , then I think it’s a pretty good Eagle Project.

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I would NOT consider a beach sweep as an Eagle project. A “Service Project”, yes; and “Eagle Project” no. That is what I term ‘normal maintenance’.

Now, as @OlivierSalamin stated; if the project was to organize a community-wide Beach Cleanup involving xx people; that would take some planning and leadership and might qualify. The building of xx number of fishing lure/line receptacles and installing them on the beach, could constitute a full project on it’s own, with a small beach sweep as icing on the cake.

Having approved projects for over 20 years, we need to be careful that we don’t add requirements, but also that we make sure that the project is a challenge to that particular Scout, not just a ‘this-is-the-minimum-i-can-get-away-with-to-check-off-the-box’ project.


A beach sweep (or other cleanup effort) that involves recruitment, planning, coordination, et cetera - sure. Note GTA bullet 3: “There is no requirement a project must have lasting value.” Simply telling your troop “hey, show up and pick up trash”, no. But recruiting the public, coordinating with authorities (e.g. for vehicle access), refreshments, arranging for the trash to be disposed of… yes.

With respect to maintenance of the receptacles: The document “Navigating the Eagle Scout Project - Information for Project Beneficiaries” says “The Scout is not responsible for any maintenance of a project once it is completed.”

But “included in his proposal as something he would do on his own”? No. Nowhere does it say “do a project”. It says “give leadership to others”. Doing it on your own is not acceptable.


Beach sweep sounds like routine labor, similar to the example of “pulling weeds on the ball field” as not a project in the GTA.
Why build boxes on his own? Why not enlist others on that part of the project? With that, it might be a viable project.

It could work but he would have to show that it required extensive planning as required by the Guide to Advancement.

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