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  • Eagle Scoutmaster Conference

    Our Scoutmaster will not give my son a Scoutmaster Conference for the rank of Eagle. He thinks 13 years old is too young to me an Eagle Scout and wants to "slow him down" and "hold him up" a little. Our Committee Chair Agrees. He was heartbroken when he presented his complete Eagle Scout Application (with completed project work book - all signed off) and was asked: "Where's the Fire?"

    My 13 year old son has completed all of the requirements for Eagle Scout.

    here is a summary of my son's scouting to date (just so you know something about his commitment to scouting):

    1. Earned 23 Merit badges, including all of the Eagle Required Badges;
    2. Served the Troop as Patrol Leader and Troop Guide since becoming a Life Scout (a total of 8 months so far);
    3. Completed his Eagle project (230 hours total) and had it signed off (the group he did if for said it was 'Magnificent');
    4. Completed all of his application forms;
    5. Received his 5 sealed letters of recommendation;
    6. Prepared a Resume of school, work and achievements; and,
    7. Written his essay on where he is and where he wants to go.

    He has been very active in the Troop, missing perhaps 5 meetings in 2 1/2 years. He has attended about 90% of Troop events, including just about every hike and camp out.
    He goes to Troop meetings 1/2 early to work on scout skills with the younger scouts.

    He actually buys boy scout tee shirts to wear to school.

    He has earned 3 scouting religious awards (2 cub scout and 1 boy scout).

    Is this delay proper? What do we do?

  • #2
    He got this far and now the SM is saying "slow down". Why did that not happen when the SM signed off on the Eagle project, and the Advancement chair should have been clued in by all the MBs. The fire should have been contained when it got started, not after it burnt down the building.

    I think you will get lots of info on how this is not right and that the SM has no right to deny the conference if every thing is done. (there's a whole thread on thr pros and cons of young eagles current active.) The knowledgeable people on this forum will guide you best,

    but I would be a "pushy" mom and complain to council.


    • #3
      I personally have mixed feelings about 13 year old Eagles. I think sometimes they have been lead by the hand by a well-intending parent that does a little too much for them along the way. Often these boys are products of Troops that are merit-badge factories as well.

      That said, it appears that your son doesn't fit into that category. He sounds like an outstanding young man.

      I'd start with the Scoutmaster. If the requirements have all been fullfilled, then he has no grounds to deny the rank. But try to understand his point of view and discuss things with him. Why does he think your boy is not ready? Numerical age is really kind of arbitrary. How long does he plan on holding him back and why? What impact does he think this roadblock will have on your son's motivation? After you are sure you understand the SM's motivation, then decide how to proceed. The next step would be to talk to the Unit Commissioner if you still feel the SM is out of line.


      • #4
        Maybe at a meeting the boy could ask to speak to the Scoutmaster. Pull up a couple of chairs and have a nice chat with the Scoutmaster. Part of the conversation would include "Gee Mr. Scoutmaster, what other specific things do I need to do before I'm qualified to sit for my Eagle Board of Review", and "Gee Mr. Scoutmaster, would you please let me know how I'm not good enough to sit for a Eagle Board of Review", and "has my leadership been deficient, or did I earn the wrong merit badges?"

        Put the old guy on the hot seat.


        • #5
          Nicely explain to the scoutmaster that it is the BSA's responsibility to determine what it takes to be an Eagle scout and that your son has met those requirements. You would appreciate him setting aside his personal opinions and following the advancement policies of the BSA program.

          No threats, no raised voices just a quiet request.
          If that fails you should contact the Council advancement chair and explain that the SM is adding a nonexistent age requirement to the advancement and that you would like to begin the Eagle appeal process and have the Scoutmaster conference waived, (your son has in fact had the conference. The scoutmaster agreed that he had completed the requirements but counseled him that he was too young to advance. The SM has merely refused to sign that the conference took place),and convene a special board of review to consist of scouters outside of the scoutmaster's influence.

          I am sorry this has happened to your son, I hope you can work things out quickly.

          Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)


          • #6
            Bob's got a good point. The SM conference took place when the SM asked "Where's the fire" and told him to slow down. I'd ask him to point me to the BSA age requirement for the Eagle rank.


            • #7
              I agree with the posters that the SM is in error. This is not the time to "throttle back" a boy's advancement. If he felt he was advancing too fast, he should have attempted to handle that with the earlier ranks.

              Side note - I'm all for slowing down a boy who appears to be hell-bent on being the youngest eagle in the history of mankind. I've seen some boys (usually with an agressive mom or dad standing behind them), that fit that description. A SM has some latitude in slowing the pace down and making sure the boy is developing his leadership and service abilities in addition to signing off on MBs.

              With that said, this is not the time to do it. He should have handled it at Star & Life, then he would not be in this situation now. Talk to the SM, escalate to your council if necessary.


              • #8
                Nice reply whitewater. Welcome to the forum.



                • #9
                  To me, asking a Scoutmaster "How long do you intend to hold my son back?" is like saying to a thief "how much of my stuff do you plan to steal?"

                  Isn't he in the wrong the moment he takes the first item? Isn't the scoutmaster wrong the moment he disregards the advancement requirements, policies and procedures of the BSA.

                  The is no "acceptable" amount of time to "hold-back" a scout who has completed the official requirements. To suggest to the SM that there is an agreeable time period only empowers him to gig another scout another day.

                  What your personal feeling is on 13 year olds has no place when it comes to actually dealing with the scout. Any boy who completes the requirements is as ready to receive the rank advancement as anyone else who has, regardless of their differing ages.


                  • #10
                    Bob, I'm totally in agreement with you. How to get the SM to back away from his position is the question. Going straight to the council advancement committee or the DE would be likely to be met with defensiveness from the SM. I don't think continuing a dialog with the SM about his position empowers him. The hope would be that he might think a little about how his position is indefensible and back off. I might say something like "Do you think the council advancement committee could help me better understand why we need to hold up potential 13-year-old Eagles?" Of course the council would not support that idea and the SM should know that and might then back off to save face. A little guided persuasion is sometimes better than a direct confrontation.


                    • #11
                      With all due respect to the august body of posters, there has been a level left out of this.

                      I suggest confirming with the scoutmaster and committee chair there is an effort to "slow" the advancement process down. If this is true, the next step is to appeal to the District Advancement Committee, then to Council, then National.

                      As an Advancement Chairman for our District, I would rather not embarrass a scoutmaster by telling him he was wrong and awarding the scout an Eagle Board of Review, then again, the scoutmaster should not have embarrassed me by placing me in the situation where I HAVE TO award the scout the Board of Review because he followed the requirments and earned it.


                      • #12

                        I agree with you that the SM is wrong based on what I've heard so far. The point of the question 'How long do you intend to hold him back?' is only to further understand the SM's motivation. Perhaps it was not a good question.

                        I do think though, that questions and a discussion should be the first step and not a confrontation. Perhaps the whole story isn't coming out.

                        My mixed feelings on 13 year old Eagles is only that I've seen a few that didn't seem worthy. I strongly support the program and agree that if they have completed the requirements they should receive it. I just worry that some of them come from a merit badge factory type troop.


                        • #13
                          "I just worry that some of them come from a merit badge factory type troop."

                          And some do. Some also come from troops who are to liberal in following the program, some come from parents who push, and some are just goal oriented scouts.

                          The point is you cannot tell which is which based on age. And none are the fault of the scout.

                          Your personal opinion is irrelevant. It is not your award to give. The advancement program and its recognitions belong to the BSA and each scout need only to satisfy the BSA requirements to be eligible to advance.(This message has been edited by Bob White)


                          • #14
                            My personal feelings are that Scouts who are left handed need to be held back. Every knot that they tie seems to be tied the wrong way. While we at at it I think that for all ranks above First Class that the Scout should bring in the latest copy of his school report. Scouts who are not A students are not worthy of advancing.
                            Sound like a bunch of gobbledygook?
                            I hope so!! But holding a Scout back who has passed all the requirements is the same gobbledygook. I don't give a rats tail what anyones personal feelings are. We as adults are here to deliver the program. If you don't like it or feel that your personal feeling are getting in the way of delivering the program, please don't go away mad just go away.
                            Play the game by the rules or feel free to start your own game.


                            • #15
                              OK Eamonn, but how do you really feel? As you know I agree with your view 100%. I just felt that dragging a rat into the discussion was unfair to the rat.