Jump to content

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 46
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Eagledad, I think you really hit on something: inspiration.


Though I'm 10K miles away from my Philmont trek photo, black and white one, I can still see in my mind's eye my SM sitting in the front row. He's got his Eagle patch on his left pocket. In the back row, an ASM who turned 18 some months before is wearing his Eagle patch. I looked up to both these scouters, and no one at the time thought ill of them wearing the patch or not. It just wasn't a big deal.


As a camp staffer, late '70s, I served with an elderly scouter who was at camp every week. He earned Eagle in the '30s, and was an amazing hiker, speaker, inspirer of morale on rainy days, songleader, builder of old school scoutcraft items, etc. He had his own campsite and you could drop in any time, scout or scouter, and he'd have a cup of cocoa or coffee ready for you.


He had a very elegant old Eagle patch, oval sewn on a square/cut edge, on his left pocket.


Everyone admired this scouter, and just not for that ultra cool Eagle patch.


Me, I grew up with the impression it was optional. I wouldn't wear mine myself, but I certainly support those who do--they should have the freedom, and liberty, to do so.(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think some of us forget that the badge/knot recognizes/identifies the individual not the other way around. The individual makes the badge so to speak. The badge doesn't make the individual. My son's were no different ten minutes before they were Eagles as they were ten minutes afterwards.


I'm not minimizing the award/honor, but I think we put way too much emphasis on earning the rank. Advancement is just one of the methods we use. Do we give awards or honors to the Scout who associates with the most adults? Why not? Why does one of the eight methods trump the other seven?


To answer my own question (which was somewhat rhetorical), earning the Eagle rank requires perseverence (can't earn it in a week), effort (for most) and a desire because although relatively easy to earn in the eyes of most adults, for a boy it is a big deal. But it should only be a motivational tool to help the boy make ethical decisions, become a good citizen, etc. That is the real goal, not to "make Eagle."


I'll be honest. During many of my Scoutmaster Conferences I surprised many Scouts with this question - "Why on Earth are you in Scouting?" The question was usually reserved for Scouts just about ready to earn the Star or Life ranks. Sadly (at least for me) the answer for the vast majority was "to get Eagle." Rarely was the response to "earn" Eagle, have fun, learn outdoor skills, go camping, etc. I didn't expect them to state - to learn citizenship, develop personal fitness, grow in moral and ethical strenth and character. When I asked them why they wanted to "get" Eagle it was many times to pad a resum or college application. I never heard to be recognized as a person of character or similar statement.(This message has been edited by acco40)

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my Eagles, I call him that because I was one of his leaders through his path to Eagle and I think of him as mine, still wears his Eagle patch and medal on his uniform. He is now 19 and an adult in BSA eyes. He's registered as an ASM in our troop. He's also special needs. Asperger Syndrome. I've been to Philmont and Northern Tiers with him, so many campouts I can't count. He is very proud of his rank and wants everyone to know he's an Eagle. I don't' blame him. I'm not.

But I pulled him aside at a recent meeting and made notice of his youth patches and medal on his uniform. I told him that I was very proud of him to make that rank. He thanked me. I also said I'm very proud of you as an adult in the troop now. He thanked me. I said, you know, if those patches are a symbol for the youth. There's a very special symbol for adults who have earned that rank and its the Eagle knot. He knew of it. I said, do you want to be viewed as a youth or an adult? He made the right choice.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Eagledad,"I can't recall an Eagle I didn't like to be around."


I have, however they are usually young adults (25yr+) who think they know everything there is about being a adult scout leader but know nothing. Don't want to go to training and when a experienced scouter tries to steer them in the right direction they don't listen. Which in turn causes SG2S issues.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Acco40, in your last post, if we substituted "WB" and "beads" in place of "Eagle" and "badge" would you have the same conclusion?


I agree that Eagle can be overdone. Good grief look at some of these Eagle ceremonies, with the lofty creeds, oaths, pledges, preambles, etc. Resembles a coronation! And the cottage industry of Eagle doo dads and congratulation form letters from everyone including "...the Dalai Lama himself...the flowing robes, the grace, the bald head--striking...." is quite extensive.


However, the WB community, in general, in no way limits its bragging rights, as demonstrated by behavior, the wearing of WB belts, buckles, neckerchiefs, woggles, beads, etc. Depending on the council, and individual, there is no expiration date on their right to lord over the unwashed masses.


Vigil Honor? About the same, depending on your lodge.


So while I agree with toning down the Eagle Brag Machine, I take exception when adults do not feel they need to ease the volume on adult honors programs as well. (I don't consider the eagle pocket patch part of the brag machine.)


Here's my main beef--we should have the liberty to decide. But to restrict one community, and allow liberty for another? Just runs against the grain.


Completely random but related thought: I think our Lady Scouters should be allowed to wear their Gold Award on their BSA leaders uniform. They deserve the right to do so, or not, their call.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ya know, a Silver Star's a pretty significant award. How about allowing that too? Someone had mentioned a Sunday School award. It's not as big a deal to me as a Silver Star, but it might be to the wearer, and it was earned as a youth. So maybe that might be even better.

Why can't we just follow the uniform guidelines as outlined in our official Scouting materials? It's a Scouting uniform, and there are guides regarding how to wear it. Pretty simple, really.


Link to post
Share on other sites

BDPT, it's that simple. And yet it's not.


It's simple as long as the reg grants you and yours liberty. Then you are fine.


When it restricts you but not someone else, Not so simple.


And we aren't talking about military awards v. sunday school pins. We are talking about a little oval patch, about 2.5 inches tall, issued by BSA.


Apparently, granting an adult scouter the liberty to wear that isn't so simple. Hence the debate.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Would I begrudge an 18yo ASM wearing his newly-earned Eagle? No. Would I think it looked out of place on a leader's uniform? Yes, but I'd probably bite my tongue. Would I begrudge a 40yo Scouter wearing his long-since-earned Eagle? Probably not, but if I were a friend I would pull him aside and gently tell him how silly and out of place it looked.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If adults can wear the Eagle patch, why not all the rank badges?


The idea is this a program for BOYS. The BOYS are allowed to wear patches to display the rank they have earned. At age 18, you are no longer a boy in the program, you are a leader. Leaders are given a way to display the award they earned by way of the knot. The same is true of the AOL. Why not wear the AOL light patch on the adult uniform as well.


If you don't like the rules, work to change the rules. The whole issue always boils down to a UNIform. UNI meaning one. People seem to chafe against the idea that there are rules and the rules say the uniform is to be worn in a very specific manner. But since the 70's when everything became the ME generation, following the rules seems to be bad.


Get over yourself. If you earned the rank of Eagle, act like one and follow the rules. Stop making excuses to do what you want and make an example of yourself by being the best Eagle possible. The rules allow you to display your award with a knot. Grow up and be an adult and wear the adult eagle patch, the knot.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As an adult, I'm allowed to wear my WB beads, trained strip for my adult position, etc. I'm not allowed to wear youth rank patches (although I'm tempted to wear my Lion rank badge just for curiosity sake).


There are boorish Eagles, Bobwhites, Beavers (almost all!) - but of course no Bears. :)


I may wear my Wood Badge beads to a troop meeting or roundtable and it will draw many reactions. Some view it as "bragging", others recognize it as a sign that I've been trained (at something but they usually think it was some type of Scout skill expertise), etc. I usually treat my beads like OA regalia - appropriate for Wood Badge events only. However, sometimes it communicates to other adults and Scouts that like you, I take the effort to get trained. I agree, some take the training for the do-dad or patch or bragging rights but i don't think that is the majority.


I have a graduate degree. I don't hang it up in my office at work (who cares?) but I did put it in my office at home for the simple reason that I wanted my children to see it and get the implied message that at least their dad thinks that getting an education is of and in itself a worthwhile goal. I'm sure some would see it as bragging or worse.


It reminds me of college football. How many like those buckeye stickers on the OSU helmets? I think most Wolverine fans think they are stupid, boorish and childish. I'm sure that alumni of THE Ohio State University think differently. Same goes for WB beads and Eagle patches.


I'm more proud that my sons have earned Eagle than anything that I have done in Scouting but I also know that wearing the "Eagle Dad" and "Eagle Mentor" pins are not appropriate on a Scouter uniform - so I don't wear them on my uniform.


For the past few years, I've been a sponsor for our council's year end Eagle Award Banquet. We (sponsors) are paired with an Eagle Scout we don't know based on career or hobby choices of the Scout by the council. Sometimes I wear my Scoutmaster uniform - it is a Scouting event after all and an adult wearing the uniform sometimes puts the boys more at ease. Sometimes I wear a business suit but when I do, I make sure my Eagle Dad and Eagle Mentor pins are on my lapel. My WB beads spend the night at home in either case.(This message has been edited by acco40)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Resqman, I mentioned an elderly eagle scout in an earlier post, he earned it in the '30s, served as an adult scouter till he passed away in the '80s.


He wore his eagle patch as an adult.


Would you give him the same speech?



Link to post
Share on other sites

acco40, I follow you completely.


You have the liberty to display your degree, wear your beads, or not.


You make deliberate choices, and err on the side of modesty.


Other scouters with your credentials don't.


I am championing the idea that each scouter have the liberty to decide, whether it's beads, eagle patch, or any thing else.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am going to throw a curveball into the melee on this topic. :)


In the past, I think up to the late 1940s/ early 1950s, Adults could earn youth rank, inlcuding Eagle. Further they could wear it on their uniform.





... if you have an adult in a vintage uniform from that time period I have no problem with them wearing the rank patch from that time period. ;)





Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...