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An interesting topic...I like the "you know it when you see it" identifier....probably fits.


The more I see of my Scout's troop, the more I suspect that it falls (at least slightly) into that category.


If I understand my wife correctly, at least three boys will Eagle this year, one age 14 and two age 13.


At the last CoH, the 14 year old was running the show, there were only 3 other Scouts older than him were present.


I wasn't too impressed when he received his 11 merit badges either...the whole fist pump in the air kinda spoiled the moment.


I sure this kid is a good kid overall, but I don't see where Scouting made him any better.

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I have seen a plenty of people who put a lot of preparation into a presentation only to look disorganized and unprepared during the presentation simply because they are afraid of public speaking, or something distracting was going on that disrupted the presentation. You simply cannot judge someone's character or other achievements based solely on one presentation.


He is a teenager giving a presentation to a group of (how many) critical adults who seem to think that because someone earned Eagle they magically have awesome public speaking skills.


There is an entire chapter in my communications textbook dedicated to speech anxiety. It talks about how speech anxiety can make you "disorganized, flustered, and generally ineffective." 95% of Americans have some form of speech anxiety. The severity of the anxiety varies from person to person.


Do not degrade this scouts Eagle simply because of one presentation.

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Sorry Packsaddle, been kinda busy (it's recharter time. Got your YPT done? Dues in? Do you know if Cole's mom plans to be on the committee next year? Oh, and how's popcorn going?).


To answer your question, the Scout was letting the district leaders know about a Council-wide program. His troop, perhaps his Lodge, are heavily involved in it. Good for him doing that, sure.


And I appoligize if folks dislike the term Eagle Mill, I didn't mean to push buttons and I'll be more circumspect going forward. Moosetracker and Evmori's definitions are pretty close to what I meant by it. More specifically for me, it's setting the lowest possible bar for checking off the requirements. On another thread, someone made the comment about checking off the Patrol cooking requirement for 1st Class the first time the scout did the cooking vs letting him learn from his experience. The requirement says "On one campout, serve as your patrol's cook." Does "serve" mean anything vaguely resembling cooking, or does it mean cooking competently and with some skill? It doesn't literally say "serve competently as your patrol's cook" but I don't think it would be adding "extra requirements" to assume competence is implied.


My own son is still in Cubs, and we're working on his knot tying achievement. I won't sign off on it the first time he fumbles a bowline together - he needs to demonstrate that he can repeatedly tie the knot with confidence. He needs to demonstrate that if he needed to tie a bowline and no one else was around to check his work, that he'd get the knot right. It's more work for him, more work for me, and it takes longer, but ultimatley it's more valuable. If he finds himself at the bottom of a cliff and needs to tie a bowline, his Bear Badge isn't going to tie it for him.


Getting back to the Eagle Scout and his presentation, jet526 said "Last I looked none of these (poise, confidence and general competence) are requirements for Eagle". True, there are no checkboxes for those items, but I would expect them to be byproducts of accomplishing all the things that are.


Jet526 also said "I'd guess that he will end up being in that special 10% with a bit more experience." He may, he seems like a decent kid. I hope he does. But if he does, it won't be something that happened while he was earning his Eagle - he's alredy been given that award. And as Stosh said, if he already thinks he's a high achiever, he might not realize he still needs to make that leap.


And just to clarify, it wasn't simply poor speaking skills, it was poor preparation too. If he'd stammered and stuttered and fumbled around with the words, but knew what he was there to tell us about, I wouldn't have thought twice about any problems. But he didn't know much about it and seemed a little surprised when folks asked questions. He went through the motions, he didn't actually do the task. That's what flips up the red flags for me.


Okay, back to recharting. Got your YPT in? You can do it on-line. Here, let me send you the link...





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I wonder if the lack of preparation was his fault, or if maybe some adult leader told him, at the last minute, to toss on his uniform and head over to the roundtable to tell them all about the Whatchamacallit-oree next weekend.


In other words, I wouldn't read too much into one example of a kid giving a lousy speech in front of a large group.

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JMHawkins, thanks for the answer to my original question. The term "Eagle Mill" isn't really a hot button for me. To me it is simply a nebulous, misused, pejorative term that I don't fully understand. But you wrote, "More specifically for me, it's setting the lowest possible bar for checking off the requirements."

What happened to simply meeting the written requirements? Those are the bar. Not the lowest nor highest...simply the bar. To me, if anyone wants to set the 'bar' higher, it should be the boy himself, with the support of the leaders if that is his wish. Am I wrong about this?


Brent, a long time ago I saw a couple of examples of the boys you just described. However, that troop made their decisions, as I understand it, to try to stay alive, not to carve notches on their Eagle list. That troop hardly fit any of the other characteristics listed by Moosetracker. Almost all of their Eagles were 'deathbed' cases, although when I met with the boys, they were extremely-well-prepared in scoutcraft, etc. I was very impressed. On the contrary, pushing through advancement just didn't seem that important for them so they put it off until the bitter end.

As for the drug, theft, etc. stuff, I have no knowledge of the cases you evidently cite. But of the ones I do know about, those are viewed on a case-by-case basis and the units try to support the families. Some of those boys who made some really bad thinking errors, and got caught, turned out just great...BECAUSE they learned that the community would not simply turn away...BECAUSE they learned that other people care about them and would work with them to lead them out of the traps they'd rushed into. They and the community are better for it and I don't begrudge them their Eagle rank. Nor would their units qualify as "Eagle Mills" under the criteria I've read so far.

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I know, I know, I'm probably being too critical here. Maybe I'm a bit shocked still at the sheer number of Eagles I run into since I've gotting involed in Scouting as an adult. In my old pack.. ah, jeez, next I'll start yelling at kids to get of my lawn.


Okay, here it is. To me, and Eagle badge is supposed to represent a significant achievment, something out of the ordinary. Any young man who has earned - really earned - his Eagle is somewhat exceptional. Especially if he earned it young. To actually earn an Eagle by 14, that's a lot of work in a short period of time and anyone who does that is a truly exceptional young man. And those young men do exist! I've met them. Some of them are undoubtedly on this board. But they are exceptional, and exceptional people aren't common. If half the boys in a troop are earning Eagle before they're out of middle school, is it really an exceptional troop, or is it just one with watered down standards.


Looking over moosetracker's definition for an Eagle Mill, I guess what bugs me is a troop that runs that way turns Eagle into a participation award rather than an achievement award. Maybe that's the middle ground I can find with folks like Jet526, packsaddle and Horizon. Is three years of showing up, paying attention and following insructions enough for Eagle? That's certainly something and weeds out a lot of kids right there. But should Eagle require more?




PS: you might ask yourself why a Cub parent is even worried about this. I find myself thinking about this for two reasons. One, my son is not that far away from Boy Scouts (remember the adding machine tape presentation?). So far, he seems like he really likes Scouts, and at this point I'm assuming he will at least get started in Boy Scouts. I want to find a good troop, one in line with my standards (he's my son, I still get to pick! I think high standards will be more beneficial to him). Two, even in our Pack we have problems with leaders who want to hand out awards like candy, and it creates conflict with those who expect kids to earn their awards.

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JMHawkins - no sweat. As I mentioned, I do get testy on the subject since I came from a Troop described as an Eagle Mill, and I am a young Eagle as well. My older son earned his at 15, because he did not do the work to earn it at 14 (he delayed action on parts of his project and then discovered that some things don't happen overnight).


Should a boy get an Eagle, or any rank, just for showing up? Of course not. But let me tell you how I did it. I did not miss a single Troop meeting. I did not miss a single campout, and we camped every month. I did not miss a single summer camp (plus the monthly campout in the same month). This meant that I never missed any activity, never was missing a chance to show my skills. Now add a Troop that made every possible type of learning available - and you can get a 13 year old Eagle. There was always someone around who I could go to for learning - especially the older guys in my Patrol.


A lot of boys join Scouting, and a lot drop out. The ones who stick it out can make it either young, or death bed, or on their own pace, or however we wish to describe it. The poor presenter from the beginning of this thread might have only earned Communications MB (and not added Public Speaking). He might not have ever done a second presentation after that badge was earned, and his Troop might not have ever elected or selected him into a position that required him to make another presentation. The OA has a bar based on camping, plus elections, and a desire for service - nothing about public speaking. Eagle has one MB that focuses on presentations. Finally - some people will never be good at speaking to crowds (I love it, and do it for a living) - that says nothing about his rank or his troop.

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What happened to simply meeting the written requirements? Those are the bar. Not the lowest nor highest...simply the bar.


Packsaddle, the thing is, what constitutes meeting the bar? Take the cooking requirement I mentioned earlier. It says "serve as your patrol's cook." Okay, so a boy serves as cook. He burns dinner, forgets to add any of the seasonings, the PL needs to remind him to clean the pots and pans, an ASM had to show him how to start the stove because he didn't practice before the trip, and he forgot to bring the extra fuel bottle so there's no hot chocolate for desert.


Did he meet the requirements? If you have a low bar, sure. He literally served as the patrol's cook. If you have a high bar, he failed, because he didn't do it very well. Of course, you don't stamp a big red X on his forehad and say "BZZZZZ! You failed, ha ha." You slap him on the shoulder and say "Not bad for your first time. Lot to remember. Being a good cook is important and it takes some practice. Now you'll know what to do for the next trip, eh?"


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Packsaddle as suspected you knew perfectly well what it was, you just wanted us to list them so that you could dispute them..


Lets take #1 again.. I started out saying Have the expectation that the majority of boys To argue that that means that if one boy waits until 18 this may disqualify them from the label.. wouldnt work because Expectations & majority.. does not mean 100% success or you are disqualified.


We could redo the entire list, but no need..That would be redundant.


Lets analyzed hypochondriac when do you move from just being someone who takes care of their health to being a hypochondriac? Do all hypochondriacs have to have all the same exact list of symptoms, complaints and personality traits exactly all alike to be labeled? If a doctor labels his patient a hypochondriac, and it is later discovered they did have an illness does that mean no one is a hypochondriac?


Lets discuss when a person who committees premeditated murder is worthy of 20 years, life, life without parole, or the death sentence. What is the concreate checklist formula for each sentencing.. If one of these people are discovered falsely accused, does that mean we have falsely accused them all, and should release all the murderers currently behind bars?


As BrentAllen stated, you will know one when you see it. It is enough of the mixture of the list, that the boys are not running their own program, and they are run through a formula set up by the adults to get them to Eagle rank as quickly as possible, like little puppets. It could be any or all of this list or many others I am not aware of. You need to get these boys to eagle by 13 or 14 or else the rebellious teenage years will start to kick in when the boy will no longer follow obediantly.


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JMH please accept my apologies in advance if the following offends you, but your opening post was one of the most judgmental I've read in quite a while.


Do you know this boy? Maybe the presentation you saw represents a light-years improvement over where he started. Maybe he has challenges you are unaware of? Maybe the adults dumped the presentation on him 30 minutes earlier? Maybe public speaking just isn't his thing? Maybe you are prejudging him based on your preconceptions of his troop?


One of the best Eagle Scouts our troop has produced during my tenure can hardly say his name in front of a group. Several years ago he applied and was rejected for a job at summer camp because he interviewed so poorly and didn't meet the camp director's pre-conceived ideal of what a glib, outgoing, full-of-Scout-spirit Scout should be. But he was offered a job after our troop started an email campaign on his behalf. According to the camp director, what tipped the scale in his direction were the emails from boys for whom this kid served as troop guide. One-on-one, the fellow is a great teacher and had been a real asset to our troop. So he was put on staff working in the new scout program area. This past summer he was an area director an on of the most senior staff members.


He still squirms and stares at his feet when speaking to more than a small group, but I wouldn't trade him for a room full of ToastMasters.

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I wasn't talking about stuttering and other things like that. The second time I got up to talk in front of a crowd it was for student council elections at my middle school. I practiced 3 time a day for a week, had my speech down pat. Got up on the stage looked at the crowd, promptly forgot what I wanted to say, and I think I forgot how to read because I looked down at my note cards and had no idea what they said.


That is not me now, but I have met other people for whom that is a continual problem. Also as other people have stated he may have just learned that he had to do it. Maybe someone decided at the last minute that he had to do it. Perhaps the person who was supposed to do the presentation got sick, or their car broke down, or any number of other things.


Yes, there are first impression and all that jazz, but also remember that it may not have been his fault. Don't be so quick to judge the quality of a person, or their achievements based solely on one presentation.

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JMH please accept my apologies in advance if the following offends you, but your opening post was one of the most judgmental I've read in quite a while.


No worries Twocub - I've got pretty thick skin, so let me know what you think, I'm not going to be offended. Of course, I don't think being judgmental is necessarily a bad thing so I'm not offended anyway. I think you can be judgmental in a bad way, or use poor judgment in it, and perhaps you think that's true of me here. Could be (hey, judging is a two-way street). But I do think it is important to be willing to make judgements and evaluate performances.


For sailingpj, I'm pretty familiar with speaking anxiety. I (usually) still get vertigo when I speak in front of a crowd. I don't think that's what happened here, but no, I don't know the Scout in question well enough to be sure. And yes twocub, I am tarring him a bit with a broad brush, I know that. It was definitely a case of "jeepers, another kid with an Eagle who doesn't come across as very accomplished."





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Our troop is often called and eagle factory. I guess that's the same thing. 55 on roster and 42 eagles over the troops 16 year history so about 4 to 5 eagles each year I guess.


It does not bother me too much to be called an eagle factor. We've never had a guy make eagle before age 14 and most get it at 16. We camp 11 months a year and go to Philmont almost each year. Every once in a while we have a guy get eagle who does not really like to camp, skips Philmont and is a resume builder. These guys are list checkers with stage moms and dads pushing them along. You do what you can to make sure they earn their way and have fun but you wonder if they really like it. For the most part though the guys who earn eagle camp about 70 nights by the time they earn it and they like to camp and are good scouts. They have good scoutcraft knowledge but I will say not too many are going to wow you with their public speaking. A few will but most are just good guys that like the outdoors. That does not bother me. When I think eagle scout I do not think "great public speaker", I think trustworthy kid who knows first aid, is a good camper and is someone you enjoy on the trail. The kind of kid who drops his pack at the top of a hill and comes back with a smile and insists that he carry yours because he knows you are dead tired. Yeah, that happened to me. That's an eagle scout.


Here is a story that sums up what I like to see in an eagle scout. True story that happened to a kid named Zach. Could have happened to any number of our guys but it happened to Zach. Zach is very involved in his church. Also plays foorball and is pretty good at it. Good kid who is a beast on the backpacking trail and could probably do 20 miles with terrain change if you turned him lose. Good sense of humor too. But I digress... Anyway Zach goes camping with the 7th and 8th grade boys youth group at his church. He is in 8th grade and is a Life Scout at the time. They get to the campsite and the youth pastor opens the trunk and gets out the tents. Nobody on the trip (about 15 people) knows how to set up a tent (except Zach of course). Youth leader asks who can figure this out. Zach steps up and says most tents are kinda the same let me take a look. Of course he has helped the new scouts set up tents (we are a BYOT troop) so he has seen and set up several different brands. Later that night guess who they turn to to get the fire started. Guess who sets up the stove the next morning. Guess who they turn to when a kid twists an ankle playing frisbee. Now when the youth pastor mentioned this to me a few weeks later I asked Zach about it. He kinda brushed it off as no big deal. Me, I was pretty pumped up that our program had done what we hoped it would do.


So yeah we make a lot of eagles including some good ones like Zach and also occasionally wannabes.

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Moosetracker wrote, "Packsaddle as suspected you knew perfectly well what it was, you just wanted us to list them so that you could dispute them.."

I'm still trying to find where I indicated that I "knew perfectly well what it was..." In fact, in my last post I wrote, "To me it [Eagle Mills] is simply a nebulous, misused, pejorative term that I don't fully understand."

I do know "perfectly well" that people throw the term around but I don't know "perfectly well" how to identify such a unit. That is the reason I asked the question.


After reading all the diverse opinions (including yours) on this subject, I'm no clearer in my mind about "Eagle Mills" than I was before you listed your criteria. I don't dispute that people use the term. And I don't dispute that you think your criteria are the ones to apply. Rather I contend that there are troops that few would consider to be "Eagle Mills" but meet some of your criteria. My comments address the need to identify the 'boundary' with "Eagle Mills" on one side, and regular units on the other.

To me, your follow-up using Brent's "you know it when you see it" is no more illuminating than the criteria were. The "you know it when you see it" approach leaves the judgment completely subjective (and perhaps prejudicial) by the observer whose opinion could be based on anything.


If Knot Head's admission that his program is an "Eagle Mill" is correct, then based on what he described, I would have to say that it is good to be an "Eagle Mill". But the sense I get from you and some of the others is that it is NOT good to be an "Eagle Mill". So, taking Knot Head's example of an admitted "Eagle Mill", please show me where the problem is. Or is Knot Head wrong? Please explain.

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To me, there's a difference between a very successful Troop and an Eagle Mill:


- A very successful Troop uses the Aims and the Methods ... all of them ... in balance.

- A very successful Troop looks to the program as the tool to raise up the youth.

- Everyone in a very successful Troop looks down the line towards the younger, and seeks opportunities where the youth can develop themselves.


OTOH, an Eagle Mill...


- Has an imbalance to the Advancement Method, weighting it over others.

- Mis-uses elements of the program, such as having merit badge school classes during unit meetings.

- Does not have an ethic of solid skills foundation at each step of the ladder.

- Has a distinctly higher rank advancement rate than the national average.


4-5 kids in 55? That's not quite 10% a year. That's not bad. OTOH, if I were to hear 15-20 Eagles a year, that's 30-40% and I'd be asking questions.


At the end of the day, though, only direct observation of a unit over time can tell you if its goal is to produce Eagles, or simply great young people.


My 0.013 adjusted for inflation...

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