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Premature Eagle Advancement

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  • Premature Eagle Advancement

    Has anyone found a constructive way to sidestep a scout from becoming an Eagle too soon? We have a young boy whose dad has pushed him through multiple merit badges, troop responsibilities and experiences so fast that he has technically qualified for Eagle, but has no leadership ability, few skills, no idea why he is in scouting, no goals of his own, but knows it is part of his plan to do this (because his dad made the plan for him)

    His dad is an assistant scoutmaster and there will be complications no matter how this is handled. My goal is to allow this boy the opportunity to find himself and develop and I believe (as Scoutmaster) that becoming an Eagle at this point in his development will not be a benefit to further growth.

  • #2
    How old is to young? If this scout does not have any skills or leadership abilities how does he qualify for Eagle Scout? Who credited his requirements as he was completing them? Where was your board of review? I hope it was not all done by his father. The board of reviews should of had slowed him down some if he was not qualified for the rank. Why was he able to hold positions he was not able to control? I know it can and will be a trouble situation. I would not take the Scoutmaster position until my son had completed and was awarded his Eagle Rank. I would not even pass him off on any of his ranks. I knew a similar question might arise from me being the ASM. However the SM has the final say so on his Eagle project before he carries it to the Eagle Board. This could be a way to slow him down some. Make sure you sit down with the scout without his parents and with the help of other leaders and set up some goals and his Eagle project. Maybe with this you can slow him down some until he can become a leader. Talk with the Eagle Board Chairman of your Council and see if he can help you on stalling his Eagle Project by checking out the project very carefully if you know what I mean. Remember "Dad" should not help on the planning of his Eagle Project. It is his son's project not his. Good luck with your problem I hope it will all work out for you and the scout will become one of your better leaders.


    • #3
      I would like to speak to this as a parent of a Scout who lives and breaths Scouts. From the day he became a Cub to today, He is a Scout. He is 12.5 years old, a Life Scout, and is two merit badges from only having his project left for Eagle. My "problem" is slowing him down in order to gain the "seasoning" of leadership, scout skills, and confidence. For the record, I am an Eagle Scout and active Scouter. I have not pushed him, but rather have provided opportunities to participate in events, if he so chooses to.
      What his Scoutmaster and I came up with was working on Leave No Trace, snorkling, mile swim, etc. These 'other' badges take time and effort away from the Eagle rush. Additionally the youth can be given a job in the Troop that will divert his attention (for awhile anyway) from making Eagle. My son was moved into a troop guide position with a new scout patrol and is now responsible for the training and advancement towards First Class of six younger scouts. This is helping the new scouts and gaining my son the experience in teaching and practicing scout skills and exercising leadership.
      This has slowed him down without turning him off to Scouting. Will he make Eagle when he 14, maybe 15, rather than becoming a '13 year old' Eagle? Hopefully. But whenever it will be, he will be prepared for being an Eagle Scout.
      It takes the commitment of every adult involved in the Troop to help the youth maintain his sights on his goal, but to ensure the youth is 'ready' for the life-long responsibility of being an Eagle Scout.
      I hope this helps or at least gives you some thoughts to build on. Good luck!


      • #4
        I have been in the Commissioning business since 1961 and I can tell you that this is the greatest challenge of any Scoutmaster. There are boys who limp along the advancement trail like snales and those who memick rabbits. When I was a Scoutmaster, I told my sick new troop that the goal for every boy was the eagle (hopefully). That brought the parents on board in this small town. They wanted something for their children to achieve. Now back in 1968 the requirements were a bit different. The big hurtle was morris code and swimming. Nothing hampers a young boy like the code. We had to have code machines, proper instructors (I was a navy radioman) and time, time, time. Today, there are no built in brakes for the young scouts. Somewhere inside the troop you are going to have to require things like "Den Chief" duty, JLT troop and Council fulfilment requirements, and Patrol Leader, Instructor, or some other duty to slow these kids down. Make it interesting though. Get your parents on board by Involving them in the "plot" or as BP would put it "The Scheme" in developing their leadership skills before the Eagle Ceremony>


        • #5
          I hear you. I have a very young scout. Just turned 11. He has a number of merit badges and is advancing rapidly. He does not play sports and so his interest, and time go into scouting. Does anyone have a list or site of interesting or unusual awards to provide an outlet and slow him down.


          • #6
            As with every other posting, I understand the problem. How do you slow a boy down without fustrating him? And in my opinion, I think part of the problem lies with the "new" requirements for rank.

            When I got my Eagle (1986: I'm not that old!) the requirements included a time in rank, which if I remember correctly, as I was a Scoutmaster before my son entered Cubs, the new rules don't include this very clearly. This, to me is a shame, as boys need the time to learn what Boy Scouts is about.

            Now, recently I did meet one Scoutmaster that had a solution to this. His approach was through the Scoutmaster's Conference. This is your chance as Scoutmaster to slow a boy down a little and test him to see if he is really grasping the concepts of the requirements. He would use questions to see that the boy really understands what he's accomplished. Give him questions like what he will face at his Eagle Board: situations that require reactions. It's one thing to know enough to get the requirements signed off, but is he REALLY prepared fo the added responsiblities? That's what this SM and ASMs would try to determine.

            If the Scoutmaster felt he wasn't ready, or rather, hadn't sufficiently learned what he needed, He would reccommend the boy to review the requirements and try to understand the importance of them a try again in three months or so.

            Considering the value of the Eagle badge, this seemed that only fair way to make sure a boy is getting the most out of Scouting that he can.

            Something else to consider, I guess...


            • #7
              Especially for Yarrow,

              as was mentioned there is the Leave No Trace program, Mile swim and The Hornaday Award and the World Conservation Award, all of these will slow anybody up, and if the boy is not ready for eagle, tell dad the facts, its better to have one upset parent than an entire community who knows the boy is not an eagle. The other scouts will know what has happened and this will only further tarnish the eales lustre


              • #8
                Scouts who excel like that at a young age is a tricky one. In our Troop, we seem to have 2 very accelerated boys (both 13) who are determined to make Eagle before the end of this new Scout year. They are friends, they came up together from Cubs and they aren't getting special help from parents or leaders...they're just doing it. Interestingly, other Scouts in the Troop have recognized this in them and have accepted it. We are a multi-generational Troop with, I'd say, about 6 or 7 moving toward Eagle (In a Troop of 47 that's not bad). I guess you have to play it by ear. Our Troop does place a huge emphasis on JLT. We run a very, very elaborate JLT program for 2nd yr. Scouts on up. We probably wouldn't let these 2 young men to move to Eagle as quuickly if they didn't have our training which lasts all year. But they're both very good Patrol Leaders and are trained. In their case I say, "God Bless 'em".


                • #9
                  Our SM uses the POR for this purpose. If a Scout doesn't perform at his POR he isn't counted for that time.


                  • #10
                    Well, as long as we've resurrected a 12 year old thread...

                    If the BSA didn't want 13 year old Eagle Scouts, they would've set a higher age requirement. As it is, the BSA is just fine with a lad being awarded the rank right after he's completed his 6 months' of POR as a Life.

                    There are PORs completely appropriate to 12 and 13 year olds without a lick of leadership ability; you certainly don't need JLT to be a great historian, librarian or quartermaster. Beyond that, if a boy is a halfway-decent manager, he can do just fine supervising his project.


                    • #11
                      I feared we'd have more of these old resurections, with the oldest threads sorting to the top.. Well hopefully that young scout has made Eagle by now, or he has aged out!


                      • #12
                        I don't fret about young Eagles.

                        Most with "grow into" the rank.