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It's great that you care about yur Scouts, but it is ultimately their decision. Part of Scouting is let them grow, make their own decisions, and accept their consequences. Advancement isn't a goal of Scouting, but a method. I know a bunch of great scouters made it as far as Life. Is not making eagle a regret, yes it is for them. But they got out so much more from Scouting than 'just a pretty badge."

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over the years we've had a couple of Life Scouts who stopped short of Eagle because, for some reason, they thought they didn't deserve, or weren't good enough, to wear the Eagle. What would you have done then? These were excellent Scouts in all ways

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what would i have done?

i would have sat them down and talked to them find out why they feel the way they do.I would have told them you have come to far to give up and why i think they deserve it and told them to get it done.


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Yah, Mr. Maynard, I love that yeh care about your lads!


Here's da thing. I don't think you care about 'em the right way.


Some dads want their sons to be good people, and for their sons to find happiness and their own way in life.


And some dads want their sons to be just like them, and carry on the family business, getting the awards that dad cares about.


You're slipping in to thinking like da second one.


The goal of Scouting is to help the boys grow in fitness, character, and citizenship. If your scouts aren't really showing strength in those areas, if they aren't really growing into men with good values, then you should intervene, eh? Push, prod, pull, etc.


Advancement is not a goal of the program; it's not a goal that we adults should care about. It's something that we use to help kids set goals or to challenge 'em, but it's only one of those things, eh? Youth leadership, patrol method, outdoor adventures - all da other methods also are ways we help kids strive and achieve.


If some of your boys don't care about advancement, your job as SM is not to try to force them. Your job is to find some other challenge to help 'em grow in fitness, character, and citizenship. Maybe that's more advanced high adventure? Maybe that's stronger use of youth leadership? Maybe that's more patrol spirit?


You know your kids, eh? Find what motivates 'em, and care enough to keep your eyes on da real prize. Not Eagle. Building young men of character.


And yeh might find, if you up your use of youth leadership, if you up your patrol method, if you up your high adventure... then da advancement might come along for the ride, too.




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This afternoon I had the pleasure of a 30 min car ride with my oldest son. He is 15, been a life scout for a year now and was on his way to meet some friends from his scout troop to go swimming.


On the way there he asked me if I knew of one of his friends earning his eagle award yet? I did and he mentioned a couple of his other friends whose parents where not letting them get thier drivers license until they get their Eagle. (I have heard parents say this a lot)


This was the perfect time to not push or force but to talk. I asked him if he had thought about his project and I got the usual "not so much". We then spoke of his favorite groups outside of scouts and he is really close to his youth group at his church. I asked him if he would like to do somehting for them and got the usual, "maybe". He then talked about another project done at the church and then others boys projects in our troop and came up with a couple of ideas. We talked about the first steps he should take if he wants to do something for them.


That was about it. I very nice 30 minute discussion with my teanager. These are times that it is great to be a parent.


To answer the question, to push or not? I understand it is hard not to push but I believe it is a good time to talk and keep it in front of them. I also agree with the some of the other posters, a lot of times they don't know where to start and need some guidence.


We leave for camp next week for 10 days. It is great that he is excited about his 5th year at camp and hopefully he will bring up the idea for his Eagle project when we get back.


I know it is tough for us parents because we want everything for our children now but it is also fun sitting back and watching them do it themselves.

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Maynard, your intentions are good. There are kids, though, who will simply dig in their heels deeper if pushed. I know, because I probably was one, and now I have one. (sigh - sorry, mom and dad!)


My son is 16, a Star scout, and has been in scouting since 2nd grade. Why is he still "only" a Star scout? Well because rank is not especially important to him. He spent more than a year as a Tenderfoot. Not because he wasn't attending or doing things, but because he was too busy doing things to bother getting sign offs. He blew off the "first year" program at his first summer camp because it was boring and he wanted to go catch frogs instead (hey, he earned his reptiles & amphibians MB that year!). He only earned 1st Class when it became necessary in order to do something else he wanted to do in scouting (I don't recall which, but it was some camp program he wanted to do, and had to be 1st class for).


He was 1st Class forever, it seemed, and only earned Star because the troop requires a boy to be Star rank or higher in order to run for SPL. He has been sitting on Star for more than a year, with just a couple of Eagle-required merit badges holding him back from Life rank.


He has more service hours and more leadership experience than most boys in the troop. He has enough "optional" merit badges to fill out his Eagle requirements (though not all of the Eagle-required ones). In his 5 1/2 years with the troop he has probably attended 40-50 weekend camp outs and has gone to 4 week-long scout summer camps. He also did NYLT last year and loved it. He just finished a year as SPL and learned a lot from it (didn't always love it, but it was still a good experience). He is in OA. He is going to jambo later this month.


Will he earn Life? I hope so - he just needs 3 Eagle-required merit badges, and to be honest, he could earn several of them in short order if he wanted to do it. He is getting to an age where, if he is going to earn Eagle, he'll probably be one of those "death bed" Eagles. This is his choice, though, and it isn't because he hasn't been active.


When other adults in his troop push advancement on him - and there are a few who do, relentlessly, with (I assume) good intentions - he gets annoyed. One attempted to write out a schedule by which my son would do some Eagle-required badges. Without my son's input. Another asks him weekly "what are you doing toward rank?" Another wants to know regularly, what needs to be signed off in his handbook. My son views this as so much nagging. He can't see what their "problem" is. He is certainly NOT going to finish up his merit badges just for their sake. He'd like them to back off, but he also would prefer not to offend them by saying so. The more they pester him about rank, the less interested he becomes.


That might not be your personality or style, but it is the personality or style of some boys. I think you have to respect that. It is one thing to offer help or to teach boys how to take the steps necessary to empower themselves (like helping them overcome the "it is too big, I can't do this!" scary feeling). It is another to try to force them into something. These sorts of kids have to want it for themselves, more than you want it for them.





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I think the wording is wrong...


it shouldn't be "push or don't push"


but rather "make sure the boys know whats available"


in working with my son's troop when we are on a campout and it's free time the SPL announces that it is free time and that for those scouts wanting to work on rank advancement to let him know to make arrangements for those boys to do the work with another scout. When there is a campout that has activities that can be used in rank advancement that is announced with the rest of the info for that trip - so if the upcoming campout the boys are hiking over 5 miles the SPL announces this at a meeting for sign-up and reminds the boys to bring their books. At summer camp the adults or the SPL will say "hey who needs to build a fire for their rank, we need one built today" and it's the adults that will see an older boy starting to goof off way too much and new boys being bored that will walk up to the older boy and suggest "hey I think you need to settle down a bit, why don't you do that while helping some of the new boys with learning their knots"



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