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Rush to eagle rank

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  • Rush to eagle rank

    I ran into a scout from my previous troop. A year ago he was 13 and 1st class. Had issues functioning as a PL. Was elected as SPL but could not setup, plan, or manage a PLC, troop meetings, or outing. Skipped most camping trips. Refused to hold PLC's He would mentally shut down when asked to make a decision. In short a13 yr old. The scout is a good kid. He changed troops when I left. He is now wearing life rank and excited because he is working on his eagle project. He said his dad has been working on the project with him. I feel conflicted. Part of me is happy for him. But the other half knows that his dad is doing the work and setting up the project for him (past experience). If rank is given out for time in grade and parents doing the work, what message does that give other scouts? Is this the BSA program today? Are POR's supposed to teach management and/or leadership? Or are they an excuses to wear a patch?

  • #2
    You cannot save a Scout from their parents. We know the way the program is supposed to run. We know that rank advancement is a means to an end. Many parents view Eagle as the most important end to the program.

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    • #3
      Welcome to the world of Paper Eagles. A lot of people don't like that term, but we hear over and over again, the criteria for such a stereotype.

      I have a boy in one of my troops I'm a commissioner for. Every week beginning about Thursday he starts begging people to come help with his eagle project. Every week an adult here and there helps him out. Where's the leadership here? Where's the management here? The boy is doing the project for the sake of doing a project, not to gain any insight into this leadership and management skills which are obviously nonexistent. This week the SM sent out a notice telling the boys to step up and help out because the day's coming when they'll need help on their eagle projects, too. Now the adults are stepping in and begging for help too. It's kinda sad all the way around.

      I have PL's putting in more leadership/management on getting their patrols to summer camp than I see out of some of these eagle candidates.

      Stosh

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      • #4
        I agree with the comment that you can't save a kid from their parents... happens in other youth activities too. I don't know if or what it says to other scouts that actually do the work? Maybe part of their learning process is that life isn't fair. Maybe its understanding that just because another scout wears the same rankas they do (in this case Eagle) - it doesn't always mean the same work was put into the achievement. To me - the Eagle (or any rank for that matter) is a matter of personal pride in the work done to achieve a goal. In scouts, as in life, some people will attain more while doing less for it and others will work their butt off to manage to scrape by. Ultimately, thats a good lesson for youth to take away from scouts too.

        It would be nice if their was some magic metric that could accurately measure the leadership of a scout. If you can come up with it, you can market it to large corporations and make HUGE money, IMHO. Is the scout who has disorganized meetings, and barely competes as SPL at camporees with a motley crue of 'Bad news Bears' types of scouts any more or less a leader than an SPL that has a high functioning ASPL / PLs and really good "followers" in each of the patrols and basically doesn't have to do much leading or managing because the patrols pretty much run themselves? Which of those SPLs are the better "leader"? Which of those boys "deserves" to be called an Eagle more than the other?

        Dean

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SM bob View Post
          If rank is given out for time in grade and parents doing the work, what message does that give other scouts? Is this the BSA program today? Are POR's supposed to teach management and/or leadership? Or are they an excuses to wear a patch?
          Accountability in positions of responsibility would go a long way in curbing paper Eagles, and therein lies the irony: The troops get the paper Eagles they create themselves. Scouts will do exactly as little as you let them in a PoR, and if you sign them off for doing nothing, they'll do nothing. The Guide to Advancement makes it difficult to deny credit for PoR, but I think its guidance is the correct guidance--it's fair to the scout and unit.
          In the end, the entitlement mentality central to postmodern thinking means that accountability is bullying. People aren't brave enough to hold people accountable anymore, and the ones who do are regarded as hardassed jerks--parents will transfer Johnny or councils will gladly overrule you.

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          • #6
            That minimalist tendency, while not universal, is a problem aggravated by Merit Badge millism. In the setting described by BSA - the Scout and the Counselor - there is at least the chance that the Counselor can get the candidate excited about the Merit Badge. There is almost zero chance of that happeneing in the mill (or mint) setting.

            As for POR's, so few troops allow youth leadership that being a leader is often not possible or, to the extent possible, discouraged. The QM in our ARCCFB had to come to me for any suggestion about what he should actually do as QM. Neither the the title-only SPL or the adult SPL had given him a clue. That is actually an improvement. When I joined threee years ago, the QM - by title - was an adult. Baby steps.
            Last edited by TAHAWK; 08-18-2014, 04:00 PM. Reason: -g

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Scouter99 View Post
              ... The Guide to Advancement makes it difficult to deny credit for PoR, but I think its guidance is the correct guidance--it's fair to the scout and unit. ...
              Scouter99 ... fully comfortable with what you wrote. I agree. GTA has guidance that makes the process fair. The rest is about the leaders having the right combination of tact and guts to hold scouts accountable ... within the GTA boundaries.

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              • #8
                Just be happy for the kid and congratulate him on his achievement. To do anything else causes us to be bitter old goats who start assigning negative labels to the achievement of Eagle and forget why we do what we do.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by charmoc View Post
                  Just be happy for the kid and congratulate him on his achievement. To do anything else causes us to be bitter old goats who start assigning negative labels to the achievement of Eagle and forget why we do what we do.
                  I hold a different view.

                  "achievement" ? What achievement?

                  And why do we do what we do? To sponsor phony "achievement" as with the PC "Great job!" to encourage mediocrity? THAT will get them Ready for Life? Imagine this Scout's amazement when he finds out the world is not like Mom and Dad. He will find that university professors and bosses expect actual achievement and care little about "building self esteem." Try this af ew years down the road "Gee John, you did the absolute minimum at your job. I think that deserves recognition. You're fired."

                  Alternatives have been suggested. We can help get him ready for the real world. We can encourage the Scout to actually strive and achieve. We can at least try - do our best. To do anything else causes you to be a spectator at a slow-motion life wreck.
                  Last edited by TAHAWK; 08-18-2014, 06:40 PM.

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                  • #10
                    I work with helping a boy build self respect, not self esteem. You don't earn advancement without proving you have.

                    Stosh

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by charmoc View Post
                      Just be happy for the kid and congratulate him on his achievement. To do anything else causes us to be bitter old goats who start assigning negative labels to the achievement of Eagle and forget why we do what we do.
                      Well said ... and I like the phrase ... "bitter old goats" ...

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                      • #12
                        Spiffy put-down, but please eschew name-calling and tell us all why you view what the OP described above as "achievement." Maintaining average basal metabolism while in a POR?

                        I think charmoc's position starts with a false dichotomy (either/or) and does not explain why there has been "achievement" much less why the only choices are to look bad (As if appearance is the be all.) or to hail what seems to be a lack of achievement. Are there not other choices?
                        Last edited by TAHAWK; 08-18-2014, 10:27 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Here in the south we would just smile and say, "well bless your heart" and move on. All you can do is run your program and not worry about the rest.

                          Ultimately the boys know the deal. A couple weeks ago I attended a Eagle project work day with one of our Scouts. He had a number of the troop members about his age plus one kid who left our troop a few years ago under less than stellar circumstances. He transferred to the local Eagle mill across town. You should have seen the looks on the faces of my guys when this kid announced he had passed his Eagle board of review: they all turned and stared with their mouths opens. Finally one guys said, "well I never saw that coming." Later, when they started comparing notes about this kid's Eagle project, what he (hadn't) done for a POR and how his troop, that they earn 6-8 merit badges at camp every year and that the troop spoon-feeds classes for the rest, my guys could believe it. When he left they couldn't wait to tell me all about it. (Of course, I knew how the troop operated.) They kept telling me, "we could never get by with that."

                          Reminds me of the time I was coaching my son's t-ball baseball team. One of the boys asked me what the score was. "Well, we don't really keep score. Everyone plays and we just try to have fun." From somewhere in the outfield I hear this little, cherubic voice say, "It's 17 to 2. We're kicking their butts."

                          Kids always know the score.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SM bob View Post
                            Is this the BSA program today? Are POR's supposed to teach management and/or leadership? Or are they an excuses to wear a patch?
                            Well actually the PORs are supposed to develop and encourage character, fitness and citizenship.

                            I had a discussion with my dad about leadership and Eagles and he said that when he was a scout in the 40's, the Eagle represented character more than it represented leadership. Being a Scout in of itself represented leadership. Character was so important that judges were used by some councils for EBORs. Who knows why the BSA started requiring PORs as part of the Eagle requirements, but it has really muddied the water. If we were each asked privately the traits of leadership, I'm sure the answers would differ a lot. As a result, scouts outside of our troop transfering from other troops have been set up to fail. I'm not sure judging character was all that much easier. Barry

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                            • #15
                              Maybe back in the day POR's represented character and/or leadership, but today, discussion seems to revolve more around how the boys are working hard to get advancement credit with the least amount of effort when it comes to these POR's. Kinda makes one wonder just how much and what BSA has evolved into.

                              There's no requirement that says that a POR is to represent anything other than task management. Here's the task. You are responsible to just do it and you'll get credit. It has no reflection on leadership and very little on character unless the boy completely blows it off and gets a freebie handout on advancement.

                              Stosh

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