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Scout "Too Young" to be an Eagle?

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  • #31
    How does when a scout earned Eagle affect his activity level in a troop? Does holding them back really keep up their interest in scouting? Others obviously have more experience with this than I but I would think a boy who is going to drop out at 14 or 15 is going to drop regardless of the patch or not. I think the problem is putting Eagle on such a high pedestal that the boys can only see it as a destination and not part of the journey.

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    • #32
      My oldest son got his Eagle at 15. I think if he'd been much older getting Eagle, he would have stopped Scouts after getting the Eagle. I think getting the Eagle younger would tend to keep scouts active longer.

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      • #33
        You can only keep an achiever idle for so long before they leave to find somewhere else to achieve.

        From what I saw, a scout that completes everything early wants to complete things. If scouts stops offering things to work on, he'll move on. Even if he doesn't have Eagle. Even if they stay, it tends to poison their experience.

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        • #34
          KDD speaks my mind.
          If the Troop, thru the mentorship of the SM and ASMs and etc. doesn't provide the adventure and activity and challenge (for physical skills, "getting dirty" and leadership and service) then the Type AA kid will move on to the groups that do challenge him. CAP, ROTC, Outdoor club, Young Republicans, whatever. The Young Eagle does it because he CAN and WANTS to.
          Others may watch TV or do Wii really well, or smash car windows. It all depends on our offerings and the boy's family support and/or encouragement.
          All one can do is offer, but if the offering is lacking......

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          • #35
            It's all about the journey, and a constant reminder that Eagle isn't a destination. Eagle Scout should never be a young man's goal in scouting, it should be a possible byproduct of his journey through scouting.

            Scouting isn't about pretty patches, and cool titles, they are mechanisms designed to support achieving the "aims of Scouting" ... something we must never loose sight of.

            "Aims of Scouting." They are character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness.

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            • #36
              If Scouters put the National Outdoor Award on as high or higher pedestal than they do Eagle I think a lot of these problems would take care of themselves. Eagle is a Rank not really different than any of the others except for the project. The NOA, now that is an major accomplishment not just for the Scout but the Program the Scouter provides as well.

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              • #37
                Hmmm, start out as a private, work your way up to sergeant, take officer training, go from captain to general. Then what? Retire? or serve as you have been trained to do as a general. How many troops have actively serving Eagle scouts under the age of 18? I'm thinking that percentage is pretty low. I'm thinking that the majority of them have gotten the JASM patch and are pretty much doing very little. Yes there will be an exception or two out there, but that's what they are, the exception. The rank means very little to me. I have seen an Eagle scout get kicked out of summer camp for shop lifting at the trading post and I have seen some fantastic scouts of great character at every rank including Eagle. The rank might make a real scout, but character makes a scout real.

                Stosh

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                • #38
                  Stosh, so who is to blame for the "Eagle and Finished" problem? National for its over marketing of the rank? Parents for demanding it their son's resume? The Scouters for making the ultimate s#%| test? Probably all three but I place the most responsibility on the Scouters for making it such a BFD and failing to provide the right environment that the "Generals" want to continue to serve in.

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                  • #39
                    I agree. Most "kids" strive to live up to the expectations that are set by Adults. These don't have to be "in your face" expectations or anything, but if the Scouts understand that "the Troop's" expectation is that you're going to stick around regardless of the age you earn Eagle, most Scouts will do that, especially if they've seen other Troop Members do it in the past. One of the most important questions that I ask at Eagle Scoutmaster Conferences is what they plan to do to continue their Scouting career and "give back" to Scouting. If they're 15, that's a much different question than if they're 17 and about to age out.

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                    • #40
                      I wonder what the Webelos cross-over retention would be if the den had an Eagle DC?

                      I wonder how effective right out of the blocks the NSP would be if they had an Eagle TG?

                      I wonder how well the boy-led, patrol-method of scouting would be if the PL's were all Eagle PL's?

                      I wonder what a Venture Patrol would do if they were all Eagles?

                      The more I think about it, the more I wonder how much potential BSA passes on because they don't run the program efficiently nor effectively.
                      What a lot of missed opportunity goes on with the system they have created.

                      Stosh

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                      • #41
                        I don't see many minions from Irving out running the Program. That is the Scouters job. I wonder what would happen if BSA required a summer of CIT for Eagle?

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
                          I wonder what the Webelos cross-over retention would be if the den had an Eagle DC?

                          I wonder how effective right out of the blocks the NSP would be if they had an Eagle TG?

                          I wonder how well the boy-led, patrol-method of scouting would be if the PL's were all Eagle PL's?

                          I wonder what a Venture Patrol would do if they were all Eagles?

                          The more I think about it, the more I wonder how much potential BSA passes on because they don't run the program efficiently nor effectively.
                          What a lot of missed opportunity goes on with the system they have created.

                          Stosh
                          For a person who doesn't put much stock in Eagles or military hierarchy, you sure have high expectation in their hierarchy of rank in the BSA. I know the answers to all your questions because I have observed all those situations. If you want any credence to your skepticism, then stop referring to Eagles by some systematic hierarchy of expectations. In the world you describe stosh, the Eagle isn't the problem, the Tenderfoot is. If the Eagle is truly the last of the scouting experience as you keep hinting, then the only way to raise the bar of the Eagle in your program would be to raise the bar of every rank before it. Not a bad idea really, but the Eagle isn't the highest or end-all to a boys scouting experience. It is just one step of many.

                          The problem with the BSA and adults is they focus on the method of advancement instead of the quality of experience of the scouts growth using all the methods. Sadly, we adults look for easy measuring sticks to view progress. Rank is the easiest of the methods, so we put a lot of focus on the method. But remember I said in another thread that the methods are the scouts responsibility, not the adults. Imagine if we put the same focus on each scouts growth in character, fitness and citizenship. Then the Eagle would be a by-product of the growth, not the goal. I know this because I've watched it work.

                          So how do we get away from the Eagle focus? Focus on a scouts growth of associating with others in all his scouting activities. Bring to focus the traits of character. Don't make the Eagle the end result of those traits, but just one step in the growth. A lot of folks are stuck on 14 year old Eagles, but what about a 14 years olds ability to contribute in the patrol method. How does the maturity of a 14 year old boy compare to a 17 year old? Don't worry about any scouts progress toward a rank, watch his growth of personal skills that we want of a mature father, husband and civic leader. Measure his growth of character and mental fitness. Do that and the Eagle AWARD, not rank, will be a natural acknowledgment of his growth as a man.

                          Strangely I saw this very thing last week while on vacation with my wife. We ran into a couple from the east coast and the husband told me a story about himself without even knowing my scouting background. He said he regretted never having kids because he wanted to get involved in Boy Scouts to give back what scouting gave to him. He said that scouting gave him the confidience to be independent. That was it, but isn't "confidence to be independent" really what it is all about. Can't we as adult leaders of a Troop just set "confidence to be independent" as our goal. Can't the step of growth of mastering all the skills required to survive in the woods for a weekend be a successful step of growth toward that goal? Can't leading a five mile hike be worth the acknowledgement of a great day?

                          If you really want the Eagle to be worth something, then quit thinking of it a the final step in a series of recognized statures. For each boy, the Eagle is something different. If they reach their vision of the Eagle, isn't that enough? The reason we have a debate is because we have our own personal vision of what an Eagle should be and want each other to accept that ideal. Instead, try to find what the scout thinks the Eagle should be and then let him go. In the mean time focus on his growth of using the scout oath and law in all his activities. Then you can not only feel confident that he will be recognized for his hard work to getting the Eagle Award, you will also have confidence that he has done the best he can in maturing toward character, fitness and self-servanthood. And then whether the scout leads new scouts or decides to be a JASM, you know that is only his next step toward confidence of independence. It isn't his final step of growth.

                          I can assure you that once you serve the scouts in that way, your biggest challenge is keeping each scout's maturity challenged because they grow a lot faster than we can keep up. Quite Frankly, some scouts will grow to have better qualities than their scoutmaster. That is a very humbling place for many reasons.

                          Barry
                          Last edited by Eagledad; 06-26-2014, 09:20 AM.

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                          • #43
                            "....the last of the scouting experience..." Interesting thought.
                            I guess the last of the scouting experience IS whatever the last experience actually IS for most boys, Eagle or not. But....I'd say that what we're all doing here is closer to the last scouting experience for many of us. JMO

                            Edit to add: I just remembered that last comment about some scouts exceeding the qualities of their leaders. Isn't this the goal, not only for the scouts but for all of our children? To be better than we were? At least that's how I feel.
                            Last edited by packsaddle; 06-26-2014, 09:50 AM.

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                            • #44
                              Well said Barry

                              I think this issue stems from a culture grown overly competitive, that has produced a full generation, or maybe two now, that are trained to "look for the win", and see Eagle Scout as that win.

                              We need to change the thinking of our leaders, from Tiger up, on the Aims of scouting, and the correct way to use all methods of scouting, in a balanced way, to achieve the Aims. This change would have to start with the DE pitching scouting in the school guy, include every training course, and flow through the youth and adults who put this program on.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Old_OX_Eagle83 View Post
                                We need to change the thinking of our leaders, from Tiger up, on the Aims of scouting, and the correct way to use all methods of scouting, in a balanced way, to achieve the Aims. This change would have to start with the DE pitching scouting in the school guy, include every training course, and flow through the youth and adults who put this program on.
                                LOL, I actually chewed out my DE for that very thing after doing the Eagle speech at a recruitment rally. He didn't understand my frustration, which just further explains the problem.

                                I have not read the most recent versions of the Scout Handbook, can anyone tell me how the Eagle is talked about in the present handbook? Is it referred to as the final goal or just one of many accomplishments of the Troop program?

                                I taught the troop leaders to use the Scout SPL and PL Handbooks to guide their program and the Eagle wasn't talked about in those guides that I remember. What we have to get to is using a standardized BSA reference of the program that doesn't suggest the Eagle as the reason for scouting. Training is were standards of operation are set. I had some control about the method of advancement and the goal of Eagle when I was the District Boy Troop Training Chairman, but the problem is how other Training leaders inject their own opinions over the expectations of the BSA. The BSA sadly puts high emphasis on the Eagle and mentions it somewhere in the Scoutmaster Specific Course via the Scoutmasters Handbook. So there is unfortunately some allowance of personal interpretation.

                                Barry

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