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eisely

Alternative to letter from religious leader for eagle

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It has been a long time since I initiated a thread here but I am back.

 

I am currently advising boys coming up for Eagle. One of the required references on the Eagle Rank Application is for a reference from a "religious leader". There is a permissable alternative for a youth who does not belong to an active church or other religious organization. That alternative is for the boy to write a brief statement of his religious beliefs. Is there any official guidance available as to the recommended content for such a statement?

 

Please advise ASAP as I have a young man coming up on his big 18 in about two months.

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The last boy we had who did not belong to any type of church left that line blank and made sure to have at least 5 other references.

 

I did warn him that the EBOR may well ask about his religious beliefs though.

 

If I remember correctly there is a line for an employer reference too, which would generally be left blank by a younger scout who has not held a job.

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My advice is to consult with your district (or council) Eagle advancement chair. From what I can tell, interpretation of this matter varies widely between councils. I have never heard of requiring a boy to write a statement about his religious beliefs; that sounds like adding to the requirements to me, but this would not be the time to rock that boat if it has been your council's practice. In my council, the several types of personal references on the form(education, religious, employment) are interpreted to be suggestions, not rigid categories. If a candidate does not have a religious leader, he can list any other person who can vouch for his character and qualifications to become an Eagle. The important thing (in our council) is to have five references listed.

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I believe it is a Council based requirement. Ours requires a letter by the scout declaring their religious duty. Its part of the Eagle packet application submitted to council and without it, its rejected.

The letter from religious leader can be substituted by the scouts parents.

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To clear up any misconceptions, the ACTUAL requirement on the Eagle application states:

 

"Requirement 2. Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your daily life. List the names of individuals who know you personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf."

 

Note...there is nothing in there about a letter or personal statement...the space for name and address merely says "Religious"...not "Religious Leader" or "Pastor/Priest/Rabbi". It could be a neighbor, or a sister, or a parent, or his best friend. But as long as the candidate puts a name in the slot, the requirement has been met. Questions about "demonstrating" can be satisfied at the EBOR.

 

IMHO, Councils which are REQUIRING letters are adding to the requirements, and getting away with it. Letters are nice, but not required.(This message has been edited by scoutldr)

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Oldest son used lay youth group leader, but second son used a member of our church (and scout leader in a different troop). Third son will likely get Eagle in the next year, and he will likely use the chaplain from our troop.

 

We do belong and go to a church (somewhat irregularly), but the boys have not talked about religion/beliefs with our recent pastors.

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It could be a neighbor, or a sister, or a parent, or his best friend.

 

There's actually guidance somewhere that if a boy is part of a formal religious denomination/church, then the religious reference should come from the pastor/youth minister etc. of that church (not a friend or parent).

 

Personally, since there's already a parent reference, our council likes to see a different person for this - peer, relative, etc., but not a parent. For "employer" when there is no employer, we encourage the boys to use someone/some organization for whom they have done substantial service.

 

For eisely's question, I'd say give the boy a copy of the DRP, and ask him to write about what "higher power" or "outside himself" he owes allegiance to, eh? When he makes "hard" decisions or choices, what does he use for a reference that allows him to get past "self interest" and personal foibles?

 

Beavah

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Not shooting the messenger, Beav, but this is another of my pet peeves. If there's "guidance somewhere" how is the Scout and the SM supposed to know about it? If it's not a published requirement, then it's just "guidance". In my line of work, which involves a good deal of regulatory compliance, I can't tell people, "well, there's guidance somewhere that says it's a good idea, so that's why you have to do it." I would be told in very clear terms what to do with my "guidance".

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Scoutldr,

 

Annually, we have a class at Roundtable called "Life to Eagle 101". Either our District Commissioner or our District Advancement Chair runs it. How our Council and District interpret and execute the content of various BSA policy is part and parcel of the material.

 

We invite Scoutmasters, Life to Eagle Coordinators, and Life Scouts to attend.(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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:)

 

Yah, scoutldr, that's mostly me bein' too lazy to go through all my materials to try to find it, eh? ;)

 

But yeh gotta remember that the BSA is nowhere near the same thing as the regulatory compliance environment you work in. Yeh just can't think of it that way. BSA doesn't have the staff, expertise, or compliance officers to do that, and as yeh know, regulatory compliance like that consumes a lot of time & resources. Most importantly, that's not what Scoutin' is about. We're talkin' about helpful education program materials for kids and their adult coaches, not detailed and carefully worded federal regulations for da banking industry. ;) I for one sure wouldn't want Scouting to develop the same approach as regulatory agencies!

 

I once coached youth rec. soccer, in the days before the 6th grade professional travel teams. Went to the bookstore, bought a couple of books on coachin' youth soccer, had a few rules from the league that more or less governed how games were played with other teams. Scouting is more like that, eh? A fun game.

 

Anyway, the guidance used to show up in ACP&P someplace, and it was also in a couple other national documents. Seems reasonable, anyway, that if a kid professes a particular faith that his Duty to God should be assessed by someone from that faith.

 

Beavah

 

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