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Showing content with the highest reputation on 05/09/19 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    @thrifty I don't like labels either. "Eagle factor" is a shallow snide label not worthy of a scout leader. Be specific in what is wrong wrong or what should change or don't say anything at all. ... Nothing against the original poster. It's just a term that has been thrown around too loosely for way too long. One statement in the article hit me. "“I think it’s a credit to several things but mainly the boys themselves have made the troop a fun activity within their curriculum, " ... Magical mixtures of scouts and scout leaders happen that make the program shine. In my 15+ years in troops, the most recent was the best. Scouts became best friends. Built close friendships. Kept busy with many activities. The SPL really owned his leadership and kept getting re-elected. He worked to make the troop a fellowship of fun and they did things. More than once they'd ask us when they could camp next or do specific activities. The scouts built connections that us adults had a hard time knowing when and how they were communicating and coordinating. But they were doing it. These scouts did a lot, earned MBs, helped each other and almost all earned Eagle. Plus, I'll proudly boast what they learned about leadership, responsibility, boy-led, etc against anything any adult leader tries to shove at the scouts. Some might look from the outside and call it an Eagle factory, but they'd be wrong. It's the natural result of these guys having a great time. The Eagle rank is just not that hard if you enjoy the path to get there and your friends value it too. I truly believe so many earned Eagle because they had fun ... enjoyed the fellowship ... wanted to be like their troop mates who also earned Eagle.
  2. 2 points
    Eagle Mills area programs primarily designed to turn scouts into Eagles. Patrol method boy run programs, on the other hand, can be designed so well that scouts intuitively find themselves with the Eagle simply by participating in the program. One troop that always amazes me is Troop 232 in La Junta Colorado. Their program is based on the theme of the Koshare Indian Dancers. La Junta is about 3 hours from Philmont and they provide a place for troops to stop overnight for a small cost, and to watch their troop dancers in action. Well worth the visit. But, their list of Eagles is very impressive, and likely one of the largest list the Nation. Is that troop an Eagle Mill? Boy! it would be hard to find a troop where scouts work harder to earn their place of stature in that program. It's no gimmy. I'm not sure what good or bad we should say of Eagle Mills. I use to be an fierce anti-Eagle Mill person until I volunteered at the district level. Eagle Mills are basically adult run programs that set goals agendas for the scouts. Most Eagle Mill programs I've seen design the program to get the scout his Eagle by age 14. Our "put the adults out of business" program philosophy was at the opposite end of that spectrum. But, through humility, I learned that Eagle Mills do provide a place for families that would otherwise not participate in scouting. Is that so bad? That was the question that still challenges my idealistism of traditional scouting. On the positive side, Eagle Mills generally have well run programs. The scouts and the program look sharp and uniform. The adults are usually well trained and have a good reputation with the District and Council. There reputation is so good in fact, that they often set the standard for the district, which is where I struggled with them. District set the standard for units, and if the district standards are being developed by Eagle Mill programs, well it can hurt all the units as a whole. The only reason I still monitor and participate on this forum is to help units build a patrol method program where scouts can reach whatever dream they have for their scouting experience. Truth is that reaching the Eagle is just a matter of crossing off a list of actions. As some have said here, it's really not that big of a list. But, looking from a distance at all the requirements to earn Eagle, the goal appears daunting and a lot of work. Not what most boys want from their scouting experience. I was told by a lot of scouters that I should set the goal of Eagle into every new scout. But, is that fair for an 11 year old? Our program encouraged scouts from their first day on, to take one step at a time. Set one goal to learn one knot, when you reach that goal, set another goal for another another knot. Don't look at the bigger goal until you want the bigger goal, until you feel ready for the bigger goal. Write that goal in your book if you need. One small step at a time, that is all we asked. The scouts learned a process of planning small steps to reach larger goals. Not just in advancement, but in the goal of planning the next meeting, the next hike, and the next campout, the next high adventure trip, and on and on. It's a process that most successful businesses use. In fact, it's the same process that Eagle Mill use. The only difference is that the process in a patrol method program is controlled by the scout, not the adults. Developing a plan of small steps to reach bigger goals became woven into the fabric of leadership and running the troop. I didn't understand the success of this approach until the district OA representative visited a troop meeting. When and I asked why he was visiting us, he said that the last three sets of leaders for our OA came from our troop. He wanted to know what we did differently. I was on the inside and couldn't see how, or even if, our scouts were different. But he said our scouts were good at setting long range goals and creating realistic plans to reach those goals. The Scouts from the other troops were intimidated by long range planning, so they always voted for our scouts. Reaching big goals by setting small goals is exactly how our program developed our scouts, so that made sense to me. That was moment that I though, "hey this really works". Five years into our program, our troop had grown from 17 scouts to 70. Far larger than we wanted for a patrol method program. I learned that we were producing the 3rd largest number of Eagles in the district that year (we were averaging 1 Eagle every 2.5 months). The other two troops were mega Eagle Mill troops of more than 200 scouts. I guess what I'm trying to say is what some others here are saying, if the troop encourages scouts to dream and provides a program that doesn't get in their way of their dream, Eagle is just part of the program. One last thing, I always like to express my observations of the topics we discuss here. The one difference of Eagle mills compared to other troops is they don't typically have a good older scout following. Even the mega troops in our district had to add a Venturing Crew to entice the older scouts to stay on. Our troop that was 1/3 the size of the Mega Troop Eagle mills had more scouts over the age 14 than any unit (Venturing or troop) in the whole Council. 40% of our troops were scouts 14 and older. That is why I always say that the success of a troop program should be measured by the older scout program, not the younger scouts program. Build a program that challenges scouts through age 18, and they will stay long enough to trip over the Eagle. Over 40% of our Eagles pass their EBOR at age 17. Barry
  3. 2 points
    If you have a goal to have x number of eagles or if you measure your success by the number or percentage of scouts who make eagle, then you're probably an "eagle mill" that's overly focused on rank. The troop in the article sounds pretty unique. The troop members appear to be all or almost all from the same private K-12 school and their activities seem to be an integral part of their curriculum. That provides a level of support, continuity, and homogeneity that probably couldn't be duplicated anywhere else.
  4. 2 points
    I think it is based on intent. When the adults have advancement as the goal instead if a method; this is when it changes. Even if the scouts meet the requirements as written, they are denied a true scouting experience because the aims are not likely realized as they are not the desired outcome.
  5. 1 point
    The crossover ceremony can celebrate Webelos graduating the Cub Scouts program instead of crossing over to Troops. The pack could still use the bridge to symbolize moving on by recognizing every Webelos with a hand shake before crossing the bridge. Have the troops meet their new scouts after the meeting. I think a new scout getting their neckerchief handed to them by the SPL at their first Troop opening ceremony in front of the whole troop would be more fun and appropriate. AOL award is a little harder if the packs insist on doing group awards. One solution is award each scout the AOL after they earn it like all their other awards. The award will have a lot more meaning for the individual scout standing by himself and the other scouts who haven't earned the AOL yet don't stand out. Barry
  6. 1 point
    I'd say it's a [derogatory name] if advancement is the sole aim. When my troop had 70-ish scouts we'd have 6-8 get eagle a year. We also had two high adventure trips and summer camp every year because the scouts wanted to do all that. If anything, I added requirements (mainly, scouts would have to know all the skills they had ever been signed off on before any rank SMC). It was never a pass fail test. It was show me or let's learn it again. Another thing I noticed was that nearly all the scouts would get Life somewhere between 14 and 16 and then decide they had plenty of time. At which point they would go into what one scout called slacker phase. They'd still have fun camping. Then one day they'd wake up and say "AHHH, I'm running out of time!" I honestly tried to get them to set some reasonable goals but it was akin to squeezing water from a rock. Just about every scout that stuck around till they were 18 got eagle. That was completely self motivated on their part. The thought process was something like "I've spent all this time doing scouts, I should at least have eagle." I once tried to figure out our percentage of scouts that got eagle and of the scouts that joined about a third stuck around and got eagle.
  7. 1 point
    Actually, their 6% metric is based on at this point in time, +/- 850,000 Boy Scouts Scouts BSA registered for a specific year, 50,000 Eagles in that year, so roughly 6%. Sort of a false measurement based on what they say and what they report. Each year we do not get a new 850,000 Scouts, more like 200,000 +/-. Many are registered for 3 - 5 years (some longer). I would argue the number of Scouts who join the Scouts BSA program that get Eagle is closer to 25%. The real measurement would be how many unique Scouts (yep, I know, they are all unique) and bounce that against Eagle Scouts, then you would have a true measurement of How Many Scouts Get Eagle
  8. 1 point
    I have never liked the fact that districts and councils "measure" how many Eagle Scouts they turn out. And if a number is below some level of expectation the question is "what is wrong", if it above the level of expectation, it is "look at how well we are doing." I suppose it is human nature since it is one of the few methods that has some measurable. But if that is how we want to measure I would prefer to see an overall advancement measure, not just Eagle. Cubs is measured that way, but Scouts is all about the Eagle. The measure of a goo unit in my mind is are the youth having fun, are they learning, is the unit a good example of living he Oath and Law. I have seen high performing units (based on the above measures I listed) that turn out relatively few Eagles, and other that turn out high percentages. I have also seen units that do not meet those measure turn our high percentages of Eagles, but those units generally are not sustainable for ling periods of time because they do not have balance. Their attrition is usually high as those that "fall behind" on the path to Eagle drop out. Those units are often younger (average age of Scout) because those that attain Eagle "Eagle Out". There are several strong units in mu area that have many Eagles, but they also have many Eagles sticking around until 18 and beyond. They are active in OA and other District and COuncil events. Those units Scouts have fun. I am all in on helping youth earn their Eagle, but when the badge becomes the focus then we are short changing out youth. Some units just do not get that.
  9. 1 point
    My troop was labeled like this in the late 70s, early 80s. We didn't have 12 in a year, but had maybe 3 per year when only 1% of scouts were earning it. We had a great program as a troop, lodge, and council. Never new of a district existing. We had the Mackinac honor guard each summer and is still going on today. Had a large group go to the National Jamboree, international camping in Canada, and every other year a group from council went to Philmont. It was the norm to have troop members on summer camp staff and to see eagles awarded often. It kept us motivated, as it was obtainable. None of us every thought we wouldn't become eagles. The encouragement, resources, and structure allowed us to excel. With this said, most of our eagles obtained the rank at about the 16+ or 17yr mark. We never had an eagle under 16yrs. We weren't pushed or put in a headlock to advance, our pace and fun was stressed.
  10. 1 point
    I'm glad that most of y'all see it as a positive thing that a troop can consistently get their scouts to Eagle. I agree completely with Fred --- the Eagle rank really is not all that hard if you stick to it, apply yourself, and have the support of a good, active troop. I suspect that most troops that consistently have large numbers of scouts reaching Eagle are seeing that result because they have a solid program and active support of their adults.
  11. 1 point
    I attend NOAC when I was a rather scrawny introverted 15 year old, solo of sorts. No one else from my lodge was headed there but I was able to travel with a Lodge 3 hours from me. The other Arrowmen went out of their way to include me and I had a blast. I even joined them on a basketball team and we came in second place for our region. OA is kind of like the magic school bus, you won't always know what you are going to be doing, but you know you will probably get dirty, and probably have tons of fun. And the key to that is to communicate. With OA members in your unit, or chapter, or lodge. Your solo plunge may turn you into the spearhead leading the charge.
  12. 1 point
    @mrkstvns, 12+ eagles awarded/year out of a roster of 90+ is not all that surprising. A troop's rate will wax an wane. This troop's is on it's high side. More boys will join, they will take their seniors' progress for granted, and many of them will have slower advancement. The trick will be making sure those boys always feel welcome even if they aren't advancing.
  13. 1 point
    I don't like it when labels are thrown around. Unless someone is familiar with the troop and scouts, it's impossible to know what the personality of a specific troop is like. Maybe the scouts are motivated and having so much fun that Eagle comes naturally. That being said, I know many adults, including leaders, who believe that Eagle should be the end result of scouting. SM told my son that the MB he wanted to do wasn't important because it wasn't an Eagle. I agree with DuctTape and he said it better then I could.
  14. 1 point
    I think part of the negativity towards this Scout is that there has indeed been adults saying their girls will be the first female Eagle, and they will do anything to reach that goal. Sidney Ireland is the best example of this as her troop has been pushing this issue since before girls were allowed. Sidney is currently wearing a Life rank, despite just having enough time as a Scout for only First Class, let alone Star and Life, and they have been pushing an Eagle Project on their council. Part of it is that a lot of experienced Scouts have seen this "Eagle at any costs" attitude before when it was just boys. Heck I ran into one Eagle whose family was SM, ASM, and COR/CC, as well as MBCs, and sped him along the trail. When his EBOR caught discrepencies and problems and told him how to rectify the problems, they appealed to the council (and lost), then to National. National granted him Eagle stating "you do not penalize the Scout for the errors of adults," which caused an entire district advancement committee to quit in protest. Those who have not truly earned Eagle, not only do a disservice to themselves and other Eagles, but to all Scouts. I believe the concern to keep the standards is the cause of the "negativity."
  15. 1 point
    We probably have different ideas about how the crossover is done. Most of the packs around here do not do crossover as part of a regular pack meeting, or even as an activity during Blue & Gold. Instead, the crossover (or bridging ceremony) is done as an independent event. The pack sets a time for their AoL Webelos SCOUTS to crossover and invites the local OA lodge ceremonial team to conduct the ceremony and welcoming teams from local troops to come. It's kind of a 2-part event: 1) the OA team recognizes the AoL recipients, 2) the scouts ceremonially cross a bridge at which time their Webelos colors are removed and boy scouts present them with new neckerchiefs etc. I imagine this kind of ceremony will be a thing of the past though now that BSA has decided to Lame-ify the OA ceremonial teams...
  16. 1 point
    In general, I would rather a qualifying Webelo cross over when he wants to. There might be something in the pack he/she wants to do. Or, maybe he/she hasn't settled on a troop yet. Or, maybe he/she wants to stick with his buddies. Our pack does have a single crossover at the Blue-and-Gold banquet. That's nice because the scouts can plan to attend. But, we now have enough older scouts with various free schedules that at least one of them could free up time to welcome an "off schedule" crossover.
  17. 1 point
    Just a couple more thoughts.... The group crossover ceremony is better from a "recognition" perspective. A boy is going to feel more special when there's 40 people witnessing his accomplishment than when there's 5. A crossover early in the year (January) gives the boy a better "leg up" in Boy Scouts. By crossing over halfway through 5th grade, he's got 5-6 months to earn some rank cred before summer camp. (Also, some troops that have strong in-house First Class programs have some activities fairly early in the year).On the other hand, the kid who crosses over in May might feel left behind, or he may have missed his chance to sign up for summer camp, etc. Early is better. While I see Latin Scot's point about letting scouts move at their own pace, I'll point out that not all of the kids are needing nudges to "catch up". There are often kids who are "go getters" who finish requirements early, meet age requirements, and are just itchin' to get into the Boy Scout program. There can be advantages to any crossover strategy you might like. Depends on the kid.
  18. 1 point
    As an LDS pack, we move our boys up to Scouts BSA based on age (on their 11th birthday), not the school year. As a result, we have boys crossing over throughout the year, making a group crossover illogical. As for the Arrow of Light, boys receive it when they earn it - for some that happens as soon as they meet the 6-month requirement, for others it takes the whole year they are in the Webelos den, but again, that means there are AofL ceremonies being conducted throughout the year. The advantage to this is that each boy gets more individual attention, and there is no push to move boys along so that they can "catch up with the group" and not "fall behind." Each Scout moves along at his own pace if needed, with support from the den, and usually it makes for a pretty good system! I also like keeping the AofL ceremony separate from the crossover, as each event is distinct and represents its own accomplishments, and I like highlighting those specifically, just as I like giving each boy the individual recognition instead of herding the kids like cattle towards some mass awarding. But of course, to each his or her own.
  19. 1 point
    Ours finish AoL whenever they get it done, but we do crossover as a group.
  20. 1 point
    Okay, maybe it's time to let this thread end. We are far from the OT and much further from agreement.
  21. 1 point
    So glad I found this. I just joined the site and ran across the post. Already called to get a replacement patch.
  22. 0 points
    My son's first troop was an Eagle Mill/Factory in the true sense of most definitions. Troop meetings started with the SM handing the SPL a sheet of paper with the announcements for the the opening. After the opening the troop broke into 2 groups and went to MB instruction for the next hour. One of the 2 badges was an Eagle required and the other was usually an elective. Sometimes there would be 2 Eagle required badges running at the same time. All scouts that had not completed the Eagle required badge were required to attend that session. The only way a scout could attend the elective badge session was if he had the required badge. No choices allowed. Badge instruction usually took 4 troop meetings and then the scouts were signed off for the badge. 90 day badges had the usual 4 weeks of instruction, then monthly check ins for progress. There was no T-2-1 instruction at troop meetings, no games, no activities other than MB instruction. If the scout wasn't interested in either badge offered or already had them, too bad, hope you brought a book to read. T-2-1 skills only happened on campouts and were only signed off on campouts. The meetings ended with the SM handing the SPL another piece of paper with the closing announcements on it. Campouts ran on a schedule, 30 minutes for each skill then sign off and go to the next one. Adults did the teaching, older scouts helped but never lead the process. Higher rank scouts not involved in helping with skill practice just lay in their tents and read or take part in merit badge classes run by adults. The scouts did cook and clean for themselves, but only under the strict supervision of adults. Campouts had just as many adults as there were scouts. Even at summer camp. The troop was adult run and advancement driven. There was only one path with these guys. They turned out Eagles on a regular basis. Palms flowed freely. But it wasn't scouting.