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frankj

Eagle Rank & age

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When I was in scouts, the one guy in our troop who attained Eagle rank did not do so until he was about 16 or 17.

This was in the mid 1960's -- has BSA revised the program so that 14 year olds are the optimum age?

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The minimum age for attaining Eagle Scout is set only by the age a boy can become a scout then attain rank serve the required time in rank, then move to the next rank serve the required time, and so on. You must attain the rank of Eagle Scout prior to your eighteenth birthday. I beleive boys today are attaining the rank of Eagle much younger than our generation. Some say the requirements are too easy. I say that this generation is much smarter than ours. The requirements are very similar but the boys are not.

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The requirments have not changed much. However as a Eagle scout in this generation they do seem quite easy. I think boys need to incouraged to explore all that scouting has to offer. It is up to us to see that they have to opertuities to do so.

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As you saw in the prior posts there is no minimum age for Eagle but there is a maximum of before the 18th birthday. So saying, you will find many boys becoming Eagle at 14. This was discussed in another forum as to the maturity of the age for an Eagle. But as discussed also, that is not for us to decide. Wwakemen, as the parent of a future Eagle, if he gets his rear in gear darn soon, I'm not sure that I agree that this generation is smarter than "yours". I think perhaps they have just swayed the vote. :-) It seems that there is a certain age where they lose interest. Perhaps, there needs to be an added challange of some sort. Not necessarily added to the Eagle requirements, but perhaps to the program, to keep the boys hyped and excited.

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I don't think that the boys of this generation is that much more intellegent than the other ones. I do believe several things, one being that they have much more oppertunity to achieve a rank. The comment about the 60's brings back memories. It was much harder for us to earn the eagle rank than it is now, not because they changed the requirements but because of the oppertunities that we did not always have in our troop. The Scoutmaster was not able to pass off merit badges per the BSA national. The troops in our area only had one or two adults helping us at the time, and one of those was the Scoutmaster. We had to search for other people in the community to help us with our merit badges. It took a great deal of time to find these people and complete the requirements for the badges. We have developed over the years great leaders with our training in the local councils. With the help of these dedicated leaders and their traing it makes it much easier for some boys to obtain rank within the troop. When I made Eagle in 1970, my commitment was to return to my troop what was given to me and more if I could. I am going on 34 years now with the same troop. We have people that help us now and basically unlimited oppertunities for the boys. I think these thing has helped to improve Scouting and made it possible for boys to mature and complete requirements at a much earlier age. The boys eally have not improved but the leaders and opertunities have improved.

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As a Brownie, Junior and Senior Leader in Girl Scouts as well as a Webelo Leader and Committee officer in Boy Scouts(over a period of years) I can tell you that the requirements for most of the badges are truely not that difficult. I have found with my girls and boys that, at least in our area, many of them have done a lot of the activities and projects BEFORE. It becomes just a process of repeating in many cases. The Cub activities are repeated at several levels (Tiger, Wolf, Bear and Webelo) as are the Girl Scout activities for Daisys, Brownies, and Juniors (not so much Cadettes and Seniors where the badges are structured differently).

In our generally affluent area, also near a large city, many opportunities are available to youth. A large number of the kids have been in after-school care or extracurriculars for years. These opportunities may not have been available to kids in the past decades. I find that many kids have just "been there done that". Also our school system in this area is quite good so a lot of items, even unusual ones, have been done before in school too. The Boy Scout Merit Badges and Junior Girl Scout badges are quite similar and not that difficult and, of course, many adults expectations, sadly, are not that high. The badges seem well suited to a 11-14 year old boys and way too easy for most 16-18 year olds. As the requirements don't change for older boys I am sure that the older boys are not that interested in "digging deeper" for the same awarded badge......I am sure they think, why bother. These may be some of the reasons why the younger boys are finishing Eagles earlier than in past generations........ esposure and opportunities currently available to our youth.

All the same I don't think most 13 years olds would meet my expectations, or my image, of an Eagle Scout. When I see a YOUNG Eagle in the paper I think .......um, humm, where's the pushy, or overachieving mom or dad behind that smiling face and how much of that was really the child's initiative,hard work and drive. Generally with older boys I find it easier to believe that the Eagle was EARNED.

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There is only the minimum age that is required for rank advancement for a boy to become an Eagle. The important thing to do is to keep the boy involved in Scouting after he reaches Eagle to give back to younger boys what Scouting has given to him. Boys also need to be encouraged to take the side roads that Scouting offers such as Council JLT programs, the Order of the Arrow, high adventure trips and other such offering of Scouting on his way to Eagle.

Our troop has at present two young men who reached the rank of Eagle at the age of 15. both have continued as active members of the troop, but have looked as Scouting in different ways. One of the boys has been interested in merit badges and earned as many palms as he has been able to. The other young man has been active in the council's JLT program and has taken several high Adventure trip. Both young men have continued to reap the benefits of Scouting even after reaching Eagle.

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The boys are already too far along by the time they reach boy scouts. Tiger Cub and Two year Webelos with extensive camping, take away too much of the magic of Boy Scouting.So there is no reason not to just do the advancement as fast as possible and get out.

 

Weak Trail-to-First-Class programs turn out so-called First Class Scouts in less than 6 months. Weak merit badge colleges which certify badges in less than 4 hours also contribute to an epidemic of 14 year old Eagles.

 

The kids today are smarter/more aware in many areas such as computers, math, and unfortunately sex. But they are dangerously under skilled in Scout skills, people skills, leadership, cooking, communicating.

 

This will not end until National starts tightening down the requirements, and beefing up the program. Put back time limits between all ranks. Separate Trail-to-First-Class into different Ranks.

 

No 14 year old is mature enough, skilled enough,been a leader long enough, and returned enough to Scouting to truly earn the Eagle Badge.

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I never thought I would say this, but I think it has become my mantra, "back when I was a scout..." Anyway, back then you couldnt earn merit badges until you were first class. And to earn first class you had to learn either semaphore (flag signaling to young guys) or morse code. That was the biggest stumbling block. Now, in our council first year campers attend the fist year program in the am and handicraft merit badges in the afternoon. By the time a kid becomes a scout he has a fist full of merit badges and by fist class all he has to do is put in his 4 months to be Star if he has shown any energy at all. I guess the basic question is, what is better, for the eagle rank to be a symbol of excellence, or for troops, councils, and national to thump already overemblazoned chests with pride over the latest flock of mass-produced eagles?

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Eagle must always be a symbol of excellence.

 

Those who wear the badge carry the honor of all their brother Eagles on their shoulders. If they fall and sully that honor we are all diminished. Those who wear the badge and do not fully embrace the obligation of what it is to be Eagle diminish us. I will never sully the honor of my brother Eagles, and I expect my brother Eagles to let me know when I let them down so that I can correct myself.

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Like many I feel that 13-14 is too young for Eagle. Some of the boys that age with Eagle don't really understand. But I know more set my mind to this I come across two exceptions. Just goes to prove everyone is different. In the 'good old days' we were expected to act look and dress as scouts. We were expected to show what we learned, not just go through the motions. We had to SERVE in the ranks for a period of time. We could not or did not sign off on multiple rank requirments. Today we have more adults involved, as leaders in troops and for merit badges. But I have seen some boys signed off on merit badges 'because they were there'. I think we need to ask is this the right thing and are we cheating these boys. I don't have the answer but if get back to the basics and make this game of scouting more challenging everyone would benifit.

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I had my Eagle Court of Honor before my 14th birthday. I stayed with my troop until I left to attend the Naval Academy. I am now a Captain in the Navy.

Earning my Eagle at that age taught me a lot about leadership that has served me well.

I much prefer to see a young Eagle that can give back to the troop than see a young man of 17 3/4 about to leave for college rushing to finish his Eagle project. I sit on the local Eagle Board and 2/3 to 3/4 of the Eagle Candidates we see are at least 17 1/2 - what a waste.

Don't hold back a scout that is making progress towards Eagle because you don't think he is "mature" enough. You might kill that spirit forever. Or you might kill the only opportunity that scout had. I personally know a scout that was discouraged from making Eagle at a young age by a well meaning SM. Less than a year later his family was transfered out of town to an area that did not have a good scouting program. The boy never made Eagle. The SM now regrets his actions.

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I take strong exception to Yarrows comment assuming that a young Eagle Scout probably has a pushy parent. I was a thirteen year old Eagle and I earned it. I am in my forties now and hold my eagle metal more important than my college degree. Instead of tearing this Scout down, may be you should go meet him, he just may be president some day.

 

When you obtain the rank of eagle, much will be expected of you from that point on and you had better be prepared! Rank is very easy to earn and it has not changed very much since the 60s. It has more to do with the size of the troop and the level of activity the troop plans. It is very easy for a scout to make it to First Class in 6 months if there are two activities a month. But, in order to make it to eagle you must be a leader and hold the scout-like spirit in your heart. It takes a good role model and lots of nurturing to teach a young man these skills. Its not pushy parentsa pushy parent can get his son to First Class, but not from Star to Eagle.

 

The Scoutmaster, the Board of Review are there to make sure the boy is worthy of the rank. The Eagle board of review is a district function. The parent should not be permitted to sit on any of these boards. If you troop allows parent of the scout to sit on his board of review, you need to change your by-laws.

 

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Congrats! ASM84 and SPOTTEDBEAR! That is what I think earning Eagle is all about. I think that sometimes there might be a pushy parent, but we never know. My son earned his Eagle at the age of 13. I was not pushy, but I was there for him. He made his decisions on what he wanted to do, my wife and I supported him. Since earning his Eagle he has helped his Troop in many ways. He is a strong boy leader. He has the opportunity to appreciate his Eagle rank. He is now 17 and will be aging out soon as a boy. His skills learned and earned as a boy has helped him in many ways. If he was stopped from earning his Eagle at an earlier age, he may not have earned his either. He may have been turned against the "long" process of waiting on a time limit. It has also allowed him to to other things, he has used his talents to do missonary work internationally and nationally. I am proud of his accomplishments,he has done things that I did not have the opportunity to do. I earned my Eagle when I was 16 1/2 and I only had 1 1/2 years to to enjoy that rank as a boy. I personaly don't think age equals maturity, like some people. I have been working with youth a long time and I have not been shown that to be a true fact. Keep up the good work!!

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This is such a debated subject, is it not? I don't think it will ever be satisfactorily solved. Personally I have not yet met the 13 year old Eagle that is mature enough to hold the rank. I am not saying that he isn't out there, I'm simply saying I haven't met him yet. Then again in my council there aren't too many of them. National cannot be held accountable, IMHumbleO, for what some folks call merit badge factory troops. I have seen them myself. I wish there was a way to halt this activity, but I don't know how to do it. Of course it makes the boys who actually earn the badges feel less than satisfied. It was my understanding, and perhaps wrongly so, that new scouts were encouraged to earn First Class by/at about their first "anniversary". Apparently this is not the case as some scouts in my district earn First Class before six months. These are scouts in a "merit badge factory" troop. My son, same age as these boys is still second class and will be in his troop a year quite soon. Naturally he is quite disillusioned. I have probably mentioned this before. These boys will probably be eligible for Eagle sooner than say, my son because of the merit badges. No doubt they have a good deal of the required ones out of the way. I say this without malice. I am simply stating what I know. This leads to younger Eagles by age. They have to pass, as Mike said, excellence stadards, we hope along the way before they get the rank. It is a rank to be proud of and cherish as only two of 100 boys obtain that goal. (I hope I recalled that correctly.) Ultimately the boys have to live with themselves and know in their hearts, if they have done their very best.

 

AFA the Tiger program, I'd like to see it completely redone. As a trainer and pack leader, I've had a good deal of negative feed-back from parents on it. AFA Webelos and two years, it is actually designed to be an 18 month program with the boys graduating in February of their fifth grade year, age permitting, and hopeful AOL. Family camping is the cubbing way. In Webelos, it's parent-son but not lots of extensive camping, overnighters on occasion. Sorry, there is that darn trainer coming out again. ;-)

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