So to me it seems the primary issue here is the continuing separation of society from nature. People living in big cities, with limited skills, are being drawn to the woods. If you live in northern Illinois go to Starved Rock State Park on any given summer Saturday and you'll see the same thing. But, I'd argue it's not a technology problem or a nature problem, mostly it's a complacency problem.
I get the opportunity to ride the Chicagoland metro every day for my commute. Every train platform has bright yellow lines on the deck, most have two feet or so of bright yellow deck plate running along the edge of the platform. There are announcements and signs to stay behind the yellow line for your safety. But as soon as the train warning bells are heard or an arrival announcement is made, there will be at least a couple of people who walk out to the edge of the platform and stick their head out to see if the train is really coming. You see the same thing around at-grade railroad crossing. Big signs, bells, bright flashing red lights, people drive around anyway. Same for the 20-something man or woman racing down the highway at 100 mph weaving in and out of traffic. The odds they have the skills to drive like that are indistinguishable from zero. I write all that to say people are complacent in familiar environments and no amount of warning signs will make a difference.
So we get to the "fixes" put in place at this park. Building a stair case for example. We already know the risk takers will continue to take the risks, climb over the railings, etc. The fixes might make thing more dangerous for them. I have to wonder how many people came up to the base of those falls before the fix, saw the climb, and turned away thinking it wasn't worth the risk. But now, with a shiny new stair case, will those same people, who still have no business climbing up, make a different decision? Will they be lulled into a sense of complacency because of the familiar stair case and hand rail?
As you all know, I'd have no problem with an adult completing his term in leadership (or any other requirement) while serving as a fully trained ASM. I think there would be slightly fewer helicoptered scouts that way. There might actually be slightly fewer Eagles as some of the procrastinators who think they have forever would actually take that long. The advantage for older girls joining next year (or any adult female) is they could then still have a crack at Eagle if they continue as an ASM for units who need one. That's not making an exception. That's removing an ageist policy that preceded the advent of bookwork MBs and gradual membership decline.
But those aren't the rules. Agism rules the day. Does it stink? I don't think so. I see advantages to removing ageist policies, but it doesn't stink that boys come up against an age deadline. The is no shame in ending tenure as a Life scout. The best scout I ever met aged out at 2nd class. All such scouts have good memories and great friendships under their belt.
We had a scout do his eagle project a week before his 18th birthday. He has a mild learning disability, but he did complete everything just in time. I hope that he'll get better about not procrastinating, but he didn't complete all of his required paperwork for Sea Base this year until the night before we left. I was close to telling him to not come to the airport, but he made. it.
For some scouts, it's difficult to convince them that they need to make completing these things a priority as earning that Eagle is something you carry for life.