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Scout "Too Young" to be an Eagle?

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  • #16
    "disappear for several years then barnstorm the troop asking for help on their Eagle project from kids who've never even seen them, and squeeze Eagle in just in time to age out and be useless to the troop as an Eagle to begin with."

    How do adults reconcile this with expectations for scouts to be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful? Some mental gymnastics need to be done to explain away why such a scout is not loyal to his troop or his patrol? Why his troop and patrol cannot trust him with any task? How has he helped his troop, patrol, fellow scout? We once had a scout that absent for anything that required work. When SM didn't sign off on scout spirit requirement, his Mom called and attempted to argue that her son showed scout spirit in his theater group (i.e., every day life), so it shouldn't matter if he didn't show scout spirit at troop functions.

    If two of our aims are character and citizenship, what character trait is shown by a scout that only participates in the troop for the sole purpose of what the troop can do for him (receive an award to put on a resume?)? How do you reconcile that with being a citizen of the troop? Scout spirit has to mean more than "he never has been arrested".

    We used to keep scouts on roster in the hopes that they would come back. We wanted to be welcoming. We finally woke up and realized that a scout coming back after several years absence only to work on Eagle requirements, was damaging our program. It was a lousy example to the scouts that did participate and demonstrated to the scouts that the adults may talk the talk of character and scout oath and law, but didn't walk the walk when they gave awards to scouts that did not participate, and were therefore not trustworthy, loyal, nor helpful to the other scouts.

    There is a subtle, silent message to a 15+ YO that does participate - that he is foolish for puting in effort towards an award that adults approve for individuals that don't participate. Peer pressure will result in more scouts disappearing after 15 - (Why are you hanging out with all those little kids?) It becomes the culture. The culture wont change by itself. If you want to change that culture, the adults will need to lead that change.

    Comment


    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      I like those numbers BD. How does work when push come to shove. If Mom shoves you a check every year, will National allow you to drop them ?

      It bugs the hell out of me that a sports team can require attendance, but the BSA does not.

    • Brewmeister
      Brewmeister commented
      Editing a comment
      Well that is an excellent point KDD and one that I don't have an answer to. How is it that a sports team can require you to be there for X number of practices or you don't play? Because people put up with it. There is a demand for sports.

      If a troop or pack were to require attendance, what would happen?

    • Basementdweller
      Basementdweller commented
      Editing a comment
      The immediate effect was the boys either got more active or dropped out....... We lost one boy out of 18 at the time......Our attendance has been excellent at meetings and activities since the policy was enacted at the time the first GTA was introduced .....

      For advancement it has yet to be tested....Honestly I don't expect it ever will.

      I understand sports and band interfere......We do quarterly cycles like sports......If a lad wants a board of review he needs to meet the attendance policy the three months prior. So a boy can disappear for marching band and return in time a BOR for the winter court of honor.
      Last edited by Basementdweller; 09-18-2013, 07:59 PM.

  • #17
    As has recently occurred in our council, a parent has worked the system through legal technicalities, threats, and troop and district changing until he got what he wanted, his eleven year old passed through. And, of course, even though he passed, the whole thing has simply left an acid pall over the proceedings. The boy has a lot of potential, and hopefully may yet prove himself; but I have a feeling even he realizes he really should not have passed; but he is too young to stand up to the parental intrigue. Bad example for the boy, and even a worse example for those that know him. It started in cubs where he somehow "earned" every loop and pin available, even though none of the other boys even knew the opportunity was being offered for many of them, and they were last minute by the, you guessed it, parental "leader". Moved into a troop at the absolute minimum age, then transferred soon afterwards when the leadership said he had not satisfactorily met certain requirements and that the "parent was not authorized to sign off stuff like in cubs". Buffaloed the new unit for a few months, then it again hit the fan, eventually resulting in parental legal threats and moving to another unit in a neighboring district. Again worked the system and got a board. Current unit had developed huge concerns, but nobody was willing to stand up to the realities of what went on and force a final challenge at National. Do not make waves is the norm once these things reach a certain stage.

    The really sad thing is that the boy himself likely would have made it on his own and actually felt good about it; but you can tell he is embarrassed when confronted by those that tried to challenge him early on to "earn" rather than just get blanks signed and then forget, and to prove himself with his peers. Now he has little or no respect even from them. Still, he could grow into it, assuming he stays around long enough with his current peer level issues and the bad feelings generated on the adult level, he will have learned a really good life lesson. Of course, he will have to be able to confront the poor parental example to succeed. One can hope.

    Comment


    • Basementdweller
      Basementdweller commented
      Editing a comment
      I gotta wonder what damage this does to the young men.

      Tough to peak when your barely 12...

      So I wonder when he will quit????

    • FrankScout
      FrankScout commented
      Editing a comment
      "Legal threats"? Yeah, right. Have your lawyer call me. When my phone doesn't ring, it's him.

      My wise old Scoutmaster said before he retired: "Always go by the book, and you'll never be 'called out'".
      Last edited by FrankScout; 09-20-2013, 04:59 PM.

    • Scouter99
      Scouter99 commented
      Editing a comment
      Probably will hear about it soon. It just occurred recently and found out it was approved just last week. The goal was specific; to be the youngest ever. Soooo.
      Then that will be a fun Bryan blog to troll.

  • #18
    There is a difference between being an Eagle Scout and wearing a patch. There are Eagle Scouts who never got the patch, and patch wearers who aren't Eagle Scouts.
    Last edited by DuctTape; 09-19-2013, 04:53 AM.

    Comment


    • #19
      Interesting discussion. I have a 12 year son who is a Star scout and is on track to make Life Scout in January. He got Star 2 days before he turned 12. At the pace that "He" has set for himself it is entirely feasible that he will "EARN" Eagle before or just after he turns 14. He is extremely motivated and is setting his own goals. While I am a leader in the troop I have never signed off on anything he has done and refuse to. I will likely have to on some merit badges as I am the only on in the troop who is a counselor for them but they will be done with a group of scouts rather than one on one so to avoid any concerns of favoritism.

      Some seem to think a youngster of this age can't possibly have it together enough to earn Eagle the right way. He is motivated and is a straight A student. He plays on a travel soccer team and last year asked to take the course to get is reffing license. He is a grade 9 ref and works games on a weekly basis to earn his own money. He was given Historian as his POR and has begun a project of putting together the history of all the prior Eagles in the troop. He has contacted (with moms approval) and tracked down and received pictures of the Eagles going all the way back to 1972. He has been able to obtain pictures for over half the eagles so far. He went through the training class and became First Aid/CPR certified rather than just do the first aid merit badge. The bottom line is he is very ambitious and has a goal in mind and is working hard towards that. Thankfully the troop leadership see that and wont try any nonsense of holding him back due to their own preconceived notion of when a scout is old enough to be eagle.

      Our troop has a couple more that will likely earn Eagle by 14 but we also have some that have turned in paperwork with only hours to spare.

      In my opinion as long as the troop leadership is doing their job from the beginning while the scout is working his way towards Eagle then there should not be a question of whether he has Earned it or not.

      Comment


      • 00Eagle
        00Eagle commented
        Editing a comment
        BD, he may not have a choice. Not every district has a "dean of merit badges" to compile a district counselor list. I've seen this happen once: units maintained their own internal list of counselors. He may be the troop's only counselor for that badge.

      • lechwe
        lechwe commented
        Editing a comment
        BD, I would estimate that half or over of his merit badges were earned outside our troop. Mainly summer camp or badges put on at the university. The others were done in the troop but I have not been a counselor for any of them. As 00Eagle brought up there is no list of counselors in our district to know who to contact. There are some I know personally but not many. I have read through the training guide but just don't remember it frowning on doing them with counselors in the troop. Can you expand on the downside of doing them with in the troop assuming I am not his counselor? It seems to be standard practice with most troops around our area. There are merit badge Blitz's but he has not participated in any of them at this point.

      • Tim in NJ
        Tim in NJ commented
        Editing a comment
        lechwe: One of the defining and most useful features of the merit badge program as its designed is the challenge given to the scouts to initiate contact with the counselors. As designed, a scout would need to pick a badge to work on, request contact information, and pick up the phone to call an adult stranger with the intentions of asking for a very big favor. He would then need to take the initiative to find a buddy (fellow scout or otherwise) to attend the meeting with him and have the courage to actually go out and meet up with this unknown merit badge counselor. Honestly, its a lot to ask of most youths, and quite frankly its a stretch for quite a few adults I know. This is not a flaw of the merit badge system, but a design feature, since it pushes the scout to overcome these difficulties at a young age. By bypassing this process via summer camps, merit badge fairs, and internal troop counselors, you are shortchanging your son and the rest of his troop from this important experience. I'm not blaming you, since its obviously a common practice in your area, but this is exactly the portion of the potential of the program that BD is referring to. Of course, changing things to the way its designed will likely meet with plenty of resistance from other scouters plus parents, none of whom may be comfortable with the difficulty this places squarely onto the scout's shoulders.

        I've been a registered merit badge counselor for six badges for 21 months now. In that time, I've had exactly one scout contact me from out-of-the-blue looking to work on a merit badge like the program is designed for. As difficult as the requirements were (Automotive Maintenance is not an easy badge for a 16/17 year old with no practical knowledge of car mechanics), I honestly feel like his actions in contacting me will probably have a longer lasting effect on his life years from now. If not, at least he'll know how to change a flat tire!

    • #20
      The plain fact is that 14-year-old (and younger) Scouts have been earning Eagle from the beginning. If they pass all the requirements, they should not be held back. I will admit that a 12-year-old Eagle (which is theoretically possible) would set off my alarm bells as to whether he has actually passed all the requirements. I have never seen a 12-year-old Eagle, so the subject does not come up. In my troop I have never seen anyone make Eagle until he was past his 15th birthday, but that is not due to anyone being held back. In fact, until about two years ago the youngest Scout to make Eagle was about 16 and a half. (All of these statistics are for the past 10 years, I don't know about before that.) We have had three 15-year-old Eagles since then, two just in the past few months. Of those two, one was just re-elected SPL for a year and the other was re-appointed ASPL. We also have an Eagle as our JASM, though I think his BOR was either right before or right after his 17th birthday. That track record sounds pretty good to me, that they don't all just run off when they make Eagle. Of course we have our share of last-minute Eagles too, like my son who was 17 years and 363 days when he got the last signature he needed before his birthday, and was 18 when he had his BOR. But at least he was participating actively the whole way through, no leaving and coming back -- it just took him a long, long time to get his project together.

      Comment


      • #21
        The OP doesn't intimate that the boy hasn't earned his way so far. Maybe we're missing some details. If not, this could be the rotorwash of Helicopter-Scouterism hovering over the boy as the SM tries to ensure his scout experience is paced as the SM thinks it ought be.

        The rank won't be diminished because a boy earned it. It is a rank for Boy Scouts. It's not a Ranger Tab or a PhD.

        Comment


        • #22
          No matter how we think of the Eagle rank and the elevated esteem that we associate with it, the Eagle rank is nothing more than a set of requirements. Once the requirements have been, nothing more nothing less, the young man has earned the rank.

          Comment


          • #23
            Originally posted by DuctTape View Post
            There is a difference between being an Eagle Scout and wearing a patch. There are Eagle Scouts who never got the patch, and patch wearers who aren't Eagle Scouts.
            A mother once said this to me when she found out that I am not an Eagle Scout. I appreciated the sentiment, but, no, there are not Eagles who never got the patch. I made my choices, I live with them.
            Mike Rowe takes on the issue in a similar way, but with a more grounded message: Never got your Eagle? "[You're] in excellent company . . . I've got two brothers, neither one of them made it to Eagle. My Bother Scott was a Star Scout and way leads on to way . . . one night at home . . . Scott had his first job working as a lifeguard . . . the son-of-a-gun saved a guy's life. . . More than anything I remember the section in Boys' Life, Scouts in Action . . . they weren't Eagle Scouts, they were Tenderfeet . . . it's not the award, it's action . . it's their mettle, not their medals." http://youtu.be/kKie47V2lLY

            We don't need to be Eagle Scouts to have been great scouts, or to be great adult leadership, nor do we need people to tell us we're some kind of spirit Eagles to somehow account for our good service. I hit Star, that's what I am, and I'm in good company.

            Comment


            • Basementdweller
              Basementdweller commented
              Editing a comment
              There are several other posters that have reported the same thing regarding the ECOH. Some were boys who enlisted and off to boot camp others to college and others just not interested.

              They earned it but simply didn't care about it.

            • DuctTape
              DuctTape commented
              Editing a comment
              I hope I didn't come across as providing accolades in an attempt to make someone feel better. My point was more about the many who never fulfilled the requirements but were just signed off . It isn't the scouts fault, it is the adults who subtracted from the requirements.

            • Scouter99
              Scouter99 commented
              Editing a comment
              Ah, my mistake, DuctTape. I thought that when you said there are "Eagle Scouts who never got the patch" I thought you were being sentimental in the vein of people who say things like "well, you're an Eagle at heart."

          • #24
            We all know a Scouter who has Life for life syndrome.

            The guy who missed Eagle for whatever reason and spends his Scouter career trying to make up for it.

            Comment


            • #25
              Originally posted by Basementdweller View Post
              We all know a Scouter who has Life for life syndrome.

              The guy who missed Eagle for whatever reason and spends his Scouter career trying to make up for it.
              Interestingly enough, adults could earn Eagle until like the 1930s or 40s.
              For myself, it's not something I really think about. I didn't make it, big whoop. Adult Eagle Scouts as a group don't impress me at all, which probably makes it easier to not care.
              Now, I was pretty pissed when I found out that it is not true that merit badge partials expire; my Scoutmaster lied to me and I could have been Life rather than Star if he had not, but again, oh well. It means I went and bought a copy of the Guide to Advancement and if I hear a lie like that now then I won't stand for it for the Scouts, because it's not too late for them.
              Last edited by Scouter99; 10-06-2013, 10:04 AM.

              Comment


              • #26
                I am a Eagle Scout. I earned my Eagle at 16. I believe he is to youg...he has not experienced anything about scouting. I have been to a National Scout Jamboree, Philmont Scount Ranch in New Mexico, 7 years of summer camp, many Klondike Derby's, fall and spring camporees etc. I am also a member of the Order of the Arrow. What are his "Scouting" experiences besides bookwork?

                Comment


                • #27
                  This is always a big can of worms. My opinion is age is not important, but the maturity, and experience to grasp the lessons along the scout trail is. If scouts are truly mastering the skills along the way; truly filling office requirements, not just the holding office for a period of time; and truly owning the project from vision, to plan, to communication, to leadership, to evaluation, they are old enough.

                  Where the process fails is where requirements are signed off without performance and understanding. No, I'm not suggesting testing on BOR, I'm suggesting testing before requirements are signed off.

                  Pattern of good instruction: Week one: Skill is taught with EDGE. Week two: scouts perform skill, and are guided to mastery. Week three: Scouts are reminded that they will have to demonstrate the skills, without assistance next week. Week four: Skill is tested, and requirements signed off.

                  Fulfilling POR: 1. Given a written job description, which he discusses with SPL or ASPL (depending on office) upon election. At this point it's determined that he has a full understanding of all expectations, and knows who will provide guidance, if needed, and where to locate needed resources. 2. Leader is correctly trained at unit level. 3. Leader has monthly evaluations with SPL/ASPL, SM or designee sits in every other month. 4. Leadership team has a reflection a the terms end, followed by exit interviews, where it's determined if the POR holder met stated expectations. 5. If expectations were met, credit for POR is given.

                  Eagle is not a graduation from Boy Scouts, not every scout should, or will, earn it. Those young who choose to test themselves, and want to explore their full potential, tread the path to eagle.

                  Scouting is about the journey, not the destination.

                  Comment


                  • #28
                    Old_OX_Eagle83 is right. Scout leaders talking about "too young" are not serving the youth. You serve the youth by putting on a good program and teaching and working the skills, the program and the requirements. As for advancement, that's an individual scout issue. Talking age is the wrong focus.

                    IMHO, a scoutmaster planning to not sign off on a scoutmaster conference is mean and contemptible. I would hope the scoutmaster would have the spine to be honest with the scout instead of leaving the scout out in the wilderness thinking it's something he did.

                    "Sorry Johnny. I know you've completed all the BSA Eagle expectations and officially per BSA you could become an Eagle Scout, but I just feel 12 or 13 years old is too young for Eagle. I know you are expecting a sign off now, but I just can't do it. Let's talk about this again in two or three years. If you want to pursue this further, here's the contact information for the district advancement chair. Also if this makes you upset, here's a list of other troops that you may want to transfer into."

                    IMHO, scouting is supposed to excite, motivate and open opportunities. When we talk about delaying a motivated scout, we've lost focus and we're promoting the importance of the rank instead of the importance of the scout.

                    Sorry ... this is a hot button topic for me. I've seen it happen.

                    Comment


                    • #29
                      Scouting is not a religion and Eagle is not a deity it is a rank with specified requirements. Meet the requirements you get the rank. You can make more of it than it is supposed to be but you are just serving yourself not the Scout.

                      Comment


                      • #30
                        While I wouldn't delay a boy, I have made it pretty clear I don't look favorably on 13- or 14-year old Eagles. We are not about advancement, and I never "push" boys to advance when they aren't interested. They all understand it's up to them. No Scout has ever quit the Troop because of this.

                        My personal belief is that good, servant leadership can only come with experience. Scouts of that age simply don't have it, and have a lot to learn about what being a "leader" really means. Maybe one in a thousand is a "born" leader. I would expect the percentage of Scouts who Eagle at 13 or 14 who are still in their Troop at 17 approaches zero.

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