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Should We or They Be Embarrassed; or Both?

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  • #16
    Pack....no whimpering or whining going on here....

    So how many times at roundtable.......

    A new male face shows up.....and one of the first few questions ends up being are you an eagle scout????? no wonder they don't come back.

    Or at a woodbadge or volunteer ceremony they ask the Eagle scouts to stand........

    Does that diminish the contributions of the other adult volunteers??? I think it does

    Heck we even had a fellow here a couple of years ago asking about getting his eagle awarded as an adult because he was to busy in high school to finish it.


    How many troop trailers or scoutmaster brag at the number of Eagle scouts they turn out a year????


    So we are turning out 50,000 eagle scouts a year......Where are they going?????? why are they leaving????? What percentage have their own sons join scouting?????
    Last edited by Basementdweller; 09-01-2013, 01:28 PM.

    Comment


    • Scouter99
      Scouter99 commented
      Editing a comment
      We've got ~100 Eagles in 50 yrs. To my knowledge, 1 ever came back after college.
      I completely agree about diminishing non-Eagles' service. I'm not an Eagle; when some hotshot makes a joke I tell them to look around and tell me how many former scouts from our troop they see, the answer is 1, me, and they can put that in their pipe and smoke it.

      Fun fact: Adults could earn Eagle until like the 1940s.
      Last edited by Scouter99; 09-01-2013, 03:08 PM.

  • #17
    Spelling...
    Last edited by Eagledad; 09-01-2013, 07:04 PM.

    Comment


    • #18
      Scout Spirit is an attitude and the SMART (acronym, not shouting) requirements for Eagle won't create it. What does create it is the scoutmaster, and it's very subjective.

      That said, this is the crux of scouting, this is what parents want for their kids. Better training for scoutmasters is the only thing I can think of that would help.

      Comment


      • #19
        As a scoutmaster, a good scouting experience is my goal for each youth first and foremost. Eagle is great if they want to work towards it. Developing skills, confidence, and a giving attitude are the true products of scouting. Not all achieve it, but if the program is utilized to develop the youth, then that is what we are striving to acheive.

        Training like Wilderness First Aid, Leave No Trace, NYLT, 50-milers, BSA Lifeguard, Order of the Arrow, Shooting Sports, Climbing, Canoeing, High Adventure Camps and Merit Badge Activities are core in developing scouts.

        It is also a great vehicle to have scouts associate with adults in a safe environment.

        We generally award Eagles in our Troop Court of Honor Program, so that they are part of the troop, not set apart, and to keep the achievement in perspective. Striving to have a good scouting experience helps the Eagle Scouts stay in the program, because of the activities and personal development.

        Comment


        • #20
          What the society expects from the Eagle is representative of the time. When I was a scout in the 60s and 70s, OA Arrowmen held the highest honor in our troop. First of all only two scouts a year could be voted by their fellow scouts to be candidates for Ordeal. So only the best of scouts were selected. Ordeals back then sorted out the boy from the outdoorsmen and it would not surprise anyone if the scouts failed. Arrowmen were respected as special forces of scouts. They were the best of the best. Now look at the organization. Not that the Eagle wasn't held in high esteem as well, but even back then the Honor was a personal quest of climbing through requirements. I do agree with MattR that it's the SM who sets the bar on the Eagle in each unit, but I disagree that better training would produce better Eagles. The Eagle respresents a vision of the perfect scout. For some Scoutmasters the perfect Eagle is a woodsman who can survive in the wilderness for months. For others the Eagle is man of character that doesn't let temptation get the best of him. And then for others, the Eagle is the Gold Ring that represents accomplished academia. What is the true Eagle? You can't train visions in or out of someone, you can only train them to follow the directions of advancement. But for the most part, our culture instills what most of us consider are traits of a good citizen. And my experience is that most Scoutmasters are satisfied if their Eagles just represent a being good citizen of our time. Barry

          Comment


          • Eagledad
            Eagledad commented
            Editing a comment
            Oh, you meant qualtity control in a positive context, I understand and agree. Personally I've never seen a scout go shopping for a SM with different standards, it was always the parents. Still, there is a fine line between quality controller and gate keeper.

          • Basementdweller
            Basementdweller commented
            Editing a comment
            Maybe the Current SM is gatekeeper????? How do ya know?

            This was just prior to my becoming SM....... Our current SM told the lad thats great and he would need to hold a POR with our troop before he would sign it off.

          • Scouter99
            Scouter99 commented
            Editing a comment
            We had a kid come to our troop after his SM in old troop told him he would "never be an Eagle." He had his MBs, he served in a PoR to satisfaction, camped every month, did a more involved project than most of our native guys--I wish all our scouts were like him.

        • #21
          I do agree with MattR that it's the SM who sets the bar on the Eagle in each unit
          I'll give you that the Scoutmaster is in charge of the advancement program within the troop but since the requirements for earning the Eagle rank/award should be the same for all troops - the Scoutmaster should not be setting the bar. I was a Scoutmaster to around 15-20 boys who earned the Eagle rank and I can honestly say that some stuck around to earn silver palms and remained active in troop (youth) leadership and some never returned after they earned the rank except for their ECOH.

          One of the best Scouts I've ever had the privilege to work with never got past 2nd Class and was a great PL and SPL. The Eagle rank doesn't make the Scout but it is a nice recognition for the Scouts who have completed the requirements.

          Comment


          • Eagledad
            Eagledad commented
            Editing a comment
            The Scout Spirit requirement is a bar.

          • acco40
            acco40 commented
            Editing a comment
            Eagledad - you are correct the Scout Spirit requirement is a bar so to speak and is an interpretive requirement determined by the Scoutmaster but I would hope that the variation from Scoutmaster to Scoutmaster would not be large and should have zero variation for different Scouts within the same troop (ie. same Scoutmaster).

          • Basementdweller
            Basementdweller commented
            Editing a comment
            Many parents and Scoutmasters need a tangible measure.

            Krampus's troop is a fine example of this. A boy shows up to the meeting, attends the outings, his patrol leader signed off the rank advancement requirements.

            How do you measure scout spirit for the scout lawyer parent....Tell me why my son doesn't show scout spirit.he attends all the meetings, but doesn't participates, he attends the campouts, doesn't do anything beyond the bare minimum.

        • #22
          Being an Eagle Scout is way overrated in the scouting community, the newer simplified requirements have made it much easier to obtain than in the past. The truth is obtaining 2nd, 1st Class, Star and Life are equally great achievements in scouting. In my experience many scouts who obtain Eagle quickly disappear from their troop never to be heard from again. Realistically the Eagle of today is little more than just another step in the scouting journey, it is not a bar or an ultimate symbol of success and those who still think it is need to stop living in their scouting bubble from the 60's and 70's and see it for what it is in todays scouting program.

          Comment


          • #23
            One of our troop's first Eagle scouts (of 40 years ago) came back for a visit and stopped in at a meeting. The boys really enjoyed talking to him. Hadn't done much in scouting. Retired, dropped in at his council office, and is now an SM for a special needs troop. It's generally a bad idea to judge a person before their whole life plays out.

            Comment


            • #24
              So this thread started out with this comment

              "Thinking about how often we discuss the "honor" and "respect" Eagle Scouts so often are shown, and how they are such great positive role models in our society. And, this is primarily very true. But, I am finding myself more and more challenged to accept certain Eagles as particularly good examples to scouts or society. What is particularly embarrassing to me are the great many that now populate our government at high levels, both on the national and state levels.

              It seems to me that the majority of these individuals have forgotten the simple precepts of the Scout Oath and Law. Certainly few are adhering very well to them, based on their lack of simply doing the jobs for which they were elected. Some have come out with positions and statements that blatantly slap the ideals of Scouting directly across the face. Of course there are similar examples in other areas of our society; but the worst, and most egregious to me are the ones getting overpaid by us to run our country, states, and communities, yet do nothing but spar and barter for money and power for themselves and their immediate "connections".


              Maybe these are the Eagles that should be returning their medals, since they seem to have forgotten what it still represents, in spite of their actions"

              It seems that the core issue being discussed is adherence to and demonstration of scouting ideals (aka scout spirit) in everyday life -- especially for those in the public eye where it becomes obvious to reporters who check out their bio file that they are an Eagle, etc.

              I've also read comments lamenting the "churn out" of 50,000 eagles a year based on completing the requirements, but not integrating a permanent(positive) change in their character to walk worthy of their calling as eagles.

              How do we build eagles of character? Learning first aid and cooking are good life skills, but they don't really address character.

              I've heard that scouting ideals are not part of the educational curriculum, but learned through experiential learning (looking to adults and older scouts as role models primarily, and perhaps the odd moralistic scoutmaster minute). (http://troop113.wordpress.com/2013/0...onal-approach/)

              Tenderfoot requirement #7 says to explain the oath and law in your own words. Considering that this is typically a challenge for an 11 year old, we probably have pretty low standards for what they say and how they explain something as key as "on my honor" (what does personal honor mean to an 11 year old? Did anyone discuss this and what it means to lose one's honor such as a government official who cheats on taxes, etc.) or "duty to God" (many scouters have confided to me that they're afraid to get into these discussions since many scouts come from "unchurched" homes and despite the assurance of the first clause of the declaration of religious principles actually arguing our responsibility to have that discussion) or the duty to self trio.

              How are we raising the bar on character?

              Character development is 1/3rd of the aims of BSA, but I fear it's far less than 1/3rd of the time spent during "program time" at most units considering the apparent results or legacy of scouts growing up to be people of questioned character.

              Does every unit encourage its members to participate in the PRAY program that best suits their home/family faith, and if unchurched, to simply pick one and learn about it? Controversial question on my part, I realize, but consider that the declaration of religious principle states that

              "Section 1. Declaration of Religious Principle, clause 1.The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law." The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore,recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.

              I highlighted the word nonsectarian since many think it actually says "SILENT" or "INDIFFERENT". Based on this reading, I would assume that most units schedule at least an annual presentation on the program (or its approximate equivalent in the local CO, etc.) just like they'd promote an OA election or NYLT -- all of which are optional programs, but still helpful to the individual in accomplishing Personal Growth (as a bone fide "method" of scouting that is equally important as the "outdoor program" or "boy led patrol method")

              Isn't the new JTE matrix covering this for 2014?

              Anyway, I'd love to hear how other units are getting to that critical "aim" of scouting -- building character.

              http://troop113.wordpress.com/2013/0...-introduction/

              Comment


              • #25
                Asking at every BoR "What does the Scout Oath and Law mean to you?" is a great idea.

                Comment


                • #26
                  Originally posted by Nike View Post
                  Asking at every BoR "What does the Scout Oath and Law mean to you?" is a great idea.
                  Agree - its a step in the right direction, and i appreciate your input on an important topic affecting personal growth, adult association, advancement, and character development.

                  I also recognize that this type of discussion is part of T-2-1 requirements and is typically handled as the last step of advancement, and done during the start of the scoutmaster conference. (i.e. Tenderfoot #11 -- Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life. Discuss four specific examples of how you have lived the points of the Scout Law in your daily life.)

                  When do we (older scouts, adults, handbook, etc.) present the scout with the information needed to process, understand and master a requirement like Tenderfoot #11? I suspect that some troops could easily fall into a trap of simply expecting them to figure it out for themselves. The trap is that we wouldn't expect them to figure out plant identification on their own, or how to dress a wound on their own. Further, there's more about those topics in the current handbook than on the oath and law.

                  Hmmm.

                  I've seen this happen early in my 'adult" participation in the program -- while serving on a BOR, a boy is asked about meaning of oath and law, shrugs his shoulders and stares at his shoes, mutters, 'ummm, I guess the oath is something we say to remember to be good scouts" and gets a hearty congratulation from the BOR leader. I attempt to ask a follow up questions, and get shut down by the BOR organizer. The boy was passed and I had a long discussion afterwards with the BOR team. Eventually, we got better, but they were afraid to send boys back from a BOR over "idealist" issues when they were progressing in knots and fires. I ended up having to take these concerns to the direct contact leaders as a concerned father. It can be an uphill battle when it ought to be seamlessly included in the presentation of the program. That's why I'm searching for ideas on how to better incorporate character development.

                  Comment


                  • DuctTape
                    DuctTape commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I think you touched on the solution earlier. The SM minute and the boys leading by example. Both are a result of the SM. First the SM minute should be a yarn about how a boy demonstrated a scout's character. No discussion, just a story with an ending like "A Scout is Trustworthy". Kind of like Aesop's fables.

                    The boy led example is also a result of SM actions through PL training. The SM trains the PL's by leading by example. The PLC meetings/outings should model how the PL can make more explicit the living the scout oath and law. An easy way is to expect a reflection minute at the end of every meeting/outing for the PL to explicitly acknowledge a time when one of his members acted scoutlike. Ex: Tommy demonstrated Cheerful when he was on KP duty and he not only did the job but did so without complaining and with a smile on his face. He could also encourage the other patrol members to acknowledge their peers at this time. When patrols report at flag, they could also include one "living the scout oath" acknowledgement.

                  • PaulSafety
                    PaulSafety commented
                    Editing a comment
                    DuctTape commented "No discussion, just a story with an ending like "A Scout is Trustworthy". Kind of like Aesop's fables." Just curious -- why "no discussion"? I think that one of the goals here is to assure ourselves that the boys are "getting it' -- a discussion helps bring diverse points of view to the table and helps us to hear if the boys are getting confused about issues like Thrifty doesn't mean being a cheap-o or loyal means having someone's back even when they cheat or commit a crime, etc. Popular culture is sending messages in TV, movies, etc. that may not agree with the Oath and Law -- do we discuss popular movies and show good versus bad examples? Just brainstorming here. Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

                  • DuctTape
                    DuctTape commented
                    Editing a comment
                    The reason for no discussion is to allow for the story to sit in the mind of the scout and allow them to reflect upon it internally. A discussion at this point would take away from that. There is a time and place for discussion and when someone isn't being scoutlike, that would be an appropriate time. Discussion of the yarn will happen organically, it does not need to be forced. The SM minute is not a school lesson to be dissected, discussed and evaluated; it is a parable for the individuals to reflect upon internally. If the goal is ensure they are "getting it", observe their actions. If they are acting scoutlike, they are getting it.

                • #27
                  Great question Paul, the aim of character is one of my favorite discussions. Ignoring of course adult role modeling being a critical part of the aim (can't have a half uniformed adult asking a scout why isn't in full uniform), character development is getting the scouts to evaluate their "decisions" with the traits of the law and oath. Scouts make hundreds of decisions during scout activities, so we adults have a lot of opportunities. And most of the time adults don't have to say very much because the answers are obvious. Is a scout wearing flip flops in camp when the policy is no opened toed shoes? What about cussing? Even talking while someone else has the floor is obvious in it's right or wrong. A simple question of which law is being challenged is all a person needs to ask then move on without waiting for the answer. What I learned working with many hundreds of youth is getting them to develop habits of making right decisions on small stuff has a direct relationship on making right decisions on the hard stuff. Something as simple as brushing ones teeth every morning because mom ask you to. I tell the scouts often that developing good decision habits take practice, but they start with the smallest decisions. The uniform policy is easy in our troop because we use direction from the Scout Handbook. That way their is no confusion from one scout's opinion to the next as well as no confusion with adult opinions. So the choice of an adult or scout making a right or wrong decision is obvious and starts at the beginning while getting dressed. the key to the Aim of Character development is getting the scout to challenge himself to change. Motivate him to want to make right decisions. Get him in the practice of asking himself if he made the right choices. As I said, scouts make hundreds of choices a day in the scouting activities, so they have a lot of opportunities to practice. But without a doubt "leadership responsibility" pulls on charter decision making the most. We humans tend to make our worst decisions under stress and nothing in the scout program is more stressful than the true responsibility of leading others. Especially servant leadership. Servant leadership forces us to choose between them or me. Are the choices I am making to benefit me, or those for whom I am responsible? The oath and law are very clearly servant actions, so next to the Bible, I can think of no better guides for character development. The key for adults is to point out wrong decisions, not bad decision makers. Don't react emotionally or be lecturas. Don't yell, be calm, pointed and nonjudgemental or emotional. If you cant do that, either ask another adult to handle it or wait until your anger passes and you can talk in a quiet tone. Sorry this is long, the editor is a challenge. Barry

                  Comment


                  • #28
                    Originally posted by Eagledad View Post
                    But without a doubt "leadership responsibility" pulls on charter decision making the most. We humans tend to make our worst decisions under stress and nothing in the scout program is more stressful than the true responsibility of leading others. Especially servant leadership. Servant leadership forces us to choose between them or me. Are the choices I am making to benefit me, or those for whom I am responsible? The oath and law are very clearly servant actions, so next to the Bible, I can think of no better guides for character development. Barry
                    Barry you might enjoy this article -- http://troop113.wordpress.com/2013/0...ing-or-waning/

                    Comment


                    • #29
                      We don't build character, say "Done." and are good to go for life. Our characters are constantly being challenged, confirmed, rebuilt. A troop's effort to build or re-enforce good character should be relevant to all the members, adult and youth. I dare say there are plenty of adults who should work on building better characters.

                      Comment


                      • #30
                        Originally posted by PaulSafety View Post
                        Personal Growth (as a bone fide "method" of scouting that is equally important as the "outdoor program" or "boy led patrol method")
                        PaulSafety: Welcome to the forum from your anti-matter counterpart in Scouting.

                        The centerpiece of the "Personal Growth" Method when it was introduced, was the "Personal Growth Agreement Conference" with its own paperwork: the official "Personal Growth Agreement" contract. The Scout was required to list specific goals and then meet them before his next advancement. To accommodate the anticipated flood of "urban youth" who hate Scoutcraft, the goals need not have anything to do with Scouting.

                        And yes, when "Personal Growth" and "Leadership Development" were introduced in 1972, the Scoutmaster's Handbook asserted that these new "Methods" of Scouting were equally important (bold and italic emphasis in the original) to the Traditional Methods.

                        Camping was removed from the supposedly "equally important" Outdoor Method as a requirement (yes, in the ideal "leadership skills" program you could go from recruit to Eagle Scout without a single night away from home), "Real" Patrols (and Patrol Leader Training itself) were removed from the supposedly "equally important" Patrol Method and replaced with "leadership skills," and Scoutcraft (required by our Congressional Charter) was removed from Wood Badge and replaced with, um, "leadership skills."

                        So Personal Growth was introduced by those in Scouting with contempt for Scoutcraft and the Patrol Method, and lives on in the "Character and Leadership" battle cry of the BSA:

                        http://inquiry.net/leadership/sittin...ith_adults.htm

                        Comment


                        • Basementdweller
                          Basementdweller commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Boys am I glad I missed that as a boy
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