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Was at a RT last month...saw a 15 year old Vigil member. I just had to laugh. Back in the day You could count the Vigil guys in our lodge on one hand and most of them were 17 nearly 18 and Eagles. There were 5, all barely 5ft, standing talking to each other.
Trophies for everyone.
"Back in the day..." I find this very sad. I've had to take scouters aside and kindly ask them to stop belittling the current active youth arrowmen by making statements like this. It is, I think really shameful. Please don't ever say this sort of thing around the scouts.
Krampus is 100% correct. I, too, was around "back in the day" and have observed the same thing. And I'm sure that Krampus would have the "good taste" not to mention his feelings around the scouts as well. What is it with the current generation of scouters that cannot accept honest criticism from those of us who have "been there, done that" ?
I must respectfully disagree with both Krampus and Frank Scout in regards to 15 year old Vigils. If the process follows the way I have seen it done in two different lodges, THEY WERE NOT GIVEN IT AS A TROPHY. (caps for emphasis, not shouting.)
I too have been involved in Scouting for a long time. I too remember when it was common for 14-16 years to be just elected into the Order as that seemed to be the case in my troop growing up. But a few things have changed over the years.
1) In 1989 they removed the time requirements between T-2-1. While it was possible to get First Class in as little as 4-6 monthsper 9th ed. BSHB 2 months before Tenderfoot (and those could be waived if a Scout earned the AOL as a Cub), 2 months for Second Class, and 2 months for First Class, for most folks in my troop it was 12-18 months. As a result Scouts had to wait for the lower ranks. Now it is possible to have 1 BOR for T-2-1 in the same night after a month as a member minimum.
2) Again in 1989 they changed the joining requirements. Again using the 9th ed. BSHB, which was around from 1979-89, you have completed 5th grade AND 10.5 years old or 11 and not yet 18 to be a scout. In 1989 that changed to "completed 5th grade, or has earned the Arrow of Light, or be 11...."
Now I don’t know when the AOL age/time requirements changed, but currently it reads ”Be active in your Webelos den for at least six months since completing the fourth grade (or for at least six months since becoming 10 years old), and earn the Webelos badge.” (emphasis mine). If we go by National’s standard of June 1st is when the school year ends, then December 1st is the earliest a Webelos can join. So my son could join a troop as early as 10 years 2 months and 20something days under that methodology. If we used the actual date he finished 4th grade, it’s now mid-November. And although my pack is active over the summer, even if we did not meet June - August, using National’s definition of ‘Active” he would still be eligible to move up in the November-December time frame.
So Scouts are getting younger. And that means they are becoming eligible for the OA at a younger age.
3) Sometime in the late 1990s, the OA changed the election process. I remember the old 50% rule and how very few got in on the first election because of the process. Heck my third election was the charm. While it was theoretically possible for everyone to get elected, it is mathematically possible under the right conditions and saw it happen 1 time only to later discover the SM bragging about how he rigged the election to get everyone eligible into the OA after the fact, usually 1 to 3 Scouts would get in based upon the number eligible. Now it is possible for everyone to get in on the first try.
Using the info above, I’ll write about one scout I know who is now eligible for Vigil. He Joined Boy Scouts at age 10 because of his late birthday and he got the Arrow of Light and within a year he was First Class. however because of the yearly election cycle, he go First Class a month after the troop’s yearly OA election, so he was 12 before he was eligible and got in on the first try.
At 13 he got Brotherhood, and now at 15 is eligible for Vigil. Why do I feel he’s worthy of the Vigil? Well he’s met the standards for any youth who is a Vigil, whether 14 or 20: HE HAS GIVEN BACK TO SCOUTING BY SERVING OTHERS. ( caps are emphasis again). He continues to serve his troop, despite getting his Eagle and being asked by some parents why he is still around. He has served his chapter as an officer and being on the chapter level ceremonies and dance team. He has served the lodge by representing the lodge at conclaves and NOACs, as well as teaching new Arrowman AIA stuff. He has served his district by being on Cub Scout Day Camp Staff for 2 years when he was my den chief, and is now on his second year on summer camp staff.
Would I trust my life, and more importantly my family’s lives in his hands, ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY YES! ( this time I am shouting )
As Aerosmith sings, “ Never judge a book by it’s cover…..” And to paraphrase Master Yoda, Age matters not.
Having been a Chapter Adviser, I've sat in on a good number of our annual Vigil Selection Committee sessions and watched the process in action as the youth discuss the candidates and vote. They are a tough crowd who take their responsibility serious. For those who may be unaware, only the youth vote and Arrowmen who are eligible can't be involved. We go with two youth from each chapter who are either already Vigil or not eligible yet. The discussions and voting are frank and honest concerning who is deserving and why. Now, that being said, I don't really recall all that many kids 15 or under being considered as the standard the boys use is fairly high for how long a boy has been giving service to the Lodge. I know that as an Adviser, my rule of thumb was that I would not nominate a guy from my chapter unless he had given the chapter two solid years of service in ceremonies, elections, chapter leadership and service projects. But sometimes kids do get elected and do get voted when I personally think they shouldn't have based on my own standards. The year I was eligible for Vigil, I was not allowed to attend the selection committee.. At the callout, I was surprised to hear the name of a kid from my chapters name called. I had no idea who he was as he had never darkened the door of a chapter meeting or provided service thru ceremonies or elections. I believe what happened was that he had served that summer on summer camp staff and his buddies voted him in. I've never seen him since either. So sometimes some slip thru the cracks, but as long as they are providing selfless service, I have no problem with a 15 year old boy getting Vigil.