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It is possible for a troop to 'mis-use' the program by having merit badge advancement as part of the troop meeting and have no boys ever achieve Eagle...because the program is so lousy they drop out.

Also, if the balance you mention goes the other way with Advancement Method virtually absent, does that make it an "Eagle Dead Zone"?

You also wrote, "...only direct observation of a unit over time can tell you if its goal is to produce Eagles..."

I could see a definition using this approach in which the ONLY goal is to produce Eagles. I also doubt that you can find a single unit that will state the above as its only goal. Again, this is a subjective judgment on the part of the observer, still without much clarity to the process.


NC, show me the program where among all the other goals, support of advancement (ultimately to Eagle) is not one of them.

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I have read all the others discriptions and don't dispute them, as I said, I there are more indicators then my small list. Mine is a small list and really states the worst case scenerios.. Where anyone (except maybe packsaddle) could recognize the "Eagle Mill".. Similar to the term "helecopter parent" there are varying stages of how bad a unit can get with it, or if a unit might sway slightly to being more so. And like the term "helecopter parent" the term could be thrown out more easily by some then others.. And when you get into the units that have hints of putting advancement above all else in a program some will be quick to term the Eagle Mills and some will not.


Most people, including the original poster believe the term was in-appropriately used in this case, because you can not define a whole unit based on one of their Eagles that had a poor presentation for reasons unknown.


Also like a helecopter parent most units will not recognize they are one, or term themselves as one, they believe they are following the full program. Same as a hyprocondriac, same as a alcoholic, same as a perfectionist.. Until they are ready to change, they will not recognize it. Same as all these problems there will also be people quick to judge. Does that mean that there are none, or that those who are the quickest to judge are sometimes (or more times then not) getting it wrong.


Personally I have never seen a unit that I have labeled an Eagle Mill.. Doesn't mean I am unaware of what the term means, and may someday term some unit as one. Nor have I ever labeled anyone an alcholic, or perfectionist.. But I have labeled one of my grandmothers a hypocondric along with the rest of my family. And I have noticed a few helecopter parents, and have seen some descriptions in this forum that make me think helecopter parent, but I see people on this forum leap to the term much quicker then I would.


Packsaddle, you may never care to use the term yourself, but frankly if you can not find what people mean when they use the term, give up because you will never understand it, simply because you choose not to.

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I really dislike the term "Deathbed Eagle".

That one really does push my buttons!


I suppose that there is a Troop somewhere, some place where all the Scouts love to wear full uniforms, which is 100% youth led. Where the program is tailored to fit the wants and needs of each individual Lad and the methods of Scouting are used in perfect harmony and are in sync.

So far I have never ran into such a Troop. But I'm willing to bet that at least one forum member belongs to such a unit.

I have and much as I hate to admit it still at times do look down my nose at people who don't do things the way I think they should be done or go about things in a different way than I have or might go about them.

Most of the time I'm guilty of not knowing enough about what is going on or why it is going on, but I'm happy in my own mind to think that I'm right because I say I'm right.

At times I go on (And on!) About how the Scouts of today are not as good or well skilled in the outdoors as maybe the Scouts were when I was a Scout.

At one time, not that long ago! Scouts and Scouting was one of the most important parts of my life. I was unwilling to see or accept that others didn't share the same passion and attach the same importance that I had or did.

I didn't want to know or care what might be going on with them outside of Scouting. If they didn't show the same commitment that I had, then I was OK saying that they weren't as good a Scouter as I was.

I have had over the years a few what might be called "Super Scouts". That rare breed of Lad that everything seems to just come too without any real effort. The Lad who never gets lost, can tie a Sheep's-shank with one hand behind his back and has never ever not once managed to burn the bacon.

I've had a lot of cheeky little fellows who ten minutes after mastering a bowline forget it, who even when armed with the best maps and compasses and expert instruction get lost 300 feet from the camp site and have managed to burn holes in billy-can while making tea.

For the most part none of us adults know what the kids we lead take away from having been a Scout. Many of us like to think it's something with deep meaning that in someway shapes the future life of the young Lad.

I'm not so sure about that.

We can if we really try give deep meaning to something that a Scout that was once under our leadership tells us and maybe there is some deep meaning to it?

But when an ex-scout retells a story about a Campouts that was wet and the tents all fell down. He is telling a story about a wet weekend when all the tents fell down, not going on about some exercise in character building.

I never have really as a leader spend much time on advancement, mainly because we were too busy doing other stuff.

I was happy to wait till a Scout came to me and said "Hey, Ea will you take a look at my book."

This doesn't make me right or wrong. It was just the way I went about things.

It might or might not for others?

I think maybe the parents of the Scouts I had were maybe not as involved in what their kids were doing as the parents of todays kids are. But back then I remember complaining that the parents weren't as involved as I thought they should be!

I think that I'd like to see us all put more empathize on Scouts participating in activities than in just advancement, but then again maybe if they all participated more, more would advance?

I do hope that I'm getting better at not looking down my nose at what others are doing.

I also hope that I'm starting to understand that just because something on the surface doesn't seem to be right, might just be a different take on doing it than maybe the way I might do it.


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I understand. Everyone has to come up wiht their own definition.


I think the bigger message is a Troop has a pretty good shot at achieving the real goal of Boy Scouting (helping families raise young men to the entry door of adulthood) if the Aims and Methods are kept in pretty good balance.

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We have a troop in our council that has a troop trailer that says something along the lines Troop 123 were eagles soar....It goes on to list the count and then the names, by year. They have 10 or so a year, I am not sure of the membership so I cannot give you a percent of troop.


Does that qualify as an Eagle mill??? It seems like a danger sign to me.....



Realistically most parents could careless if their Scout can tie a knot, do a presentation or actually lead. They care about that extra line on the college resume, Period.


We have a scout who is going to Eagle period, mom said so because all of his cousins have done it, the funny part is he will not camp. They will visit camp for the day but will not spend the night. The two of them make my skin crawl when ever I have to deal with them. Little spoiled rich boy and his helicopter mom.

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Realistically most parents could careless if their Scout can tie a knot, do a presentation or actually lead. They care about that extra line on the college resume, Period.


Funny, I was going to reply "well, we ought to focus on the kids who are in the program to learn rather than earn." But then it hit me that kids who have parents driving them that way, focused strictly on the paper resume instead of the real person and character behind it, they might be the most in need of the experience a well-run program can give them.


Of course "most in need" isn't the same as "will benifit the most from" because they might not pay attention to anything but the badges.

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"Do you know what the term Deathbed Eagle means? If so, why does that term push your buttons?"


Most often the "Deathbed Eagle" term is used for a Lad who doesn't complete Eagle Rank until very close to his 18th birthday.

Why does this term push my buttons?

I would hope that we are in the business of helping and supporting the Scouts that we are supposed to serve, not going around putting them down with what to me sounds like something that isn't very kind.

Back to this "Eagle Mill" thingy.

As I posted, I've never really allowed advancement be the driving force for the program that we end up delivering.

For me Fun, Adventure and new challenges are the driving force. Even if at times I have been guilty of a little arm twisting in order to get the PLC to end up thinking that they came up with what we ended up doing, when if the truth be known it was what I had hoped we'd do in the first place!

To be really honest I think me spending a week at a Council ran summer camp, watching Scouts run from MB Class to MB Class, would drive me nuts. This does mean that the Scouts I have served have maybe not had the same opportunities to earn all the badges that are offered at your normal council ran summer camp or at least not as rapidly as the Scouts who do attend these camps.

I do firmly believe that each and every Scout needs to have all the skills needed to be a First Class Scout.

These skills are needed so that he can pursue a more adventurous and challenging program.

I have been both shocked and saddened when Boy Scouts have joined the Sea Scout Ship and they just don't seem to have ever mastered these skills.

I'm saddened because I just don't understand what they could have been doing for the past four or five years?

I'm even more sad when I find out that their leaders haven't been able to instruct these skills because they don't have them and in a good many cases seem to have no desire to ever learn or master the skills. This is really sad.

All the information that a Scout needs to advance past First Class is out there. I have never tried to hide it or keep it a secret. I like to think that I have supported the Scouts I have had in whatever goals they have set for themselves.

But I think that I'm very fortunate, because I was a Scout in a Troop where I learned the basic skills as a Scout. This means that we can go away for a weekend and have a great time building pioneering projects or going on hikes using maps and compass, without having to fall back on following a list of requirements that are in some MB Book. We are able to plan Troop meetings around these skills without having to fall back on the "Merit Badge Expert" just to fill in the time.

Sure it takes a lot more effort and more time to get the PLC to lay down a meeting plan that is skill based than it does to ask little John's Dad the plumber to come in and cover the requirements for the badge.

But I understand why the SM who hasn't got these skills has to do things like this and there have been times when I know that knowing more about plumbing might have served me better than knowing the workings of a Spanish windlass.

More and more I'm becoming aware that I'm what might be called "Old School".

For me Scouts and Scouting is about doing Scouting and outdoor type stuff.

I think a P/L who can lead his Patrol in setting up camp, cooking and cleaning up and then maybe go about building a monkey bridge is indeed a real leader. These skills can and do come in handy if and when the time comes for him to do a Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project.

I attended an Eagle Scout COH the other week. I asked the Lad about his project. He very proudly informed me that they had rebuilt the bathroom in the church. I forget how many hours he said he had in, but it was a lot. When I asked who "We" were he said him and his Grandfather.

I don't doubt that the project was needed and is going to be of service, but I just don't see much leadership in it. Maybe he was lucky that I wasn't on that BOR?


I don't have a issue with Troops that produce a lot of Eagle Scouts.

I do have issues with adults who don't do what they are supposed to do.

In my book a requirement is just that a requirement. Either the lad meets the requirement or he doesn't. If he fails to meet it? Then we are not doing him or anyone else any good by signing off that he has.

If a Eagle Mill is a Troop that offers a program where Scouts do meet all the requirements? Then more power to them.

If an Eagle Mill is a Troop that is all about short cuts and maybe not really meeting the requirements? Then clearly the adults are not living up to our oath and law.


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>>> We have a troop in our council that has a troop trailer that says something along the lines Troop 123 were eagles soar....It goes on to list the count and then the names, by year. They have 10 or so a year, I am not sure of the membership so I cannot give you a percent of troop.


This fairly common, at least with larger troops. I can think of a couple of other things that could be put there, nights camped, miles hiked, service hours performed, etc. But then I suspect that there would be some people that would be critical of that as well. People like to brag. It is also not a bad thing to recognize things you are proud of. Heck, the troop's ceremony team trailer lists the Vigils Honorees on the back. Does that make us a "Vigil mill"?


I guess there is a bit of advertising involved, although I've never know a scout to join because of the list they saw on the trailer.


>>> Realistically most parents could careless if their Scout can tie a knot, do a presentation or actually lead. They care about that extra line on the college resume, Period.


They will be disappointed when the find out how little of a difference it makes on that college application. I also doubt that it is that big of a deal for most parents. Of the scouts that earned Eagle in our troop over the last few years, I can think of one mom that was like that. Most are very proud, a few are very surprised, but very few see that as the only reason for being a scout. This may be a factor in the older scouts earning Eagle, but after 6 years they have very little reason not to do their project and finish up. In those cases the parents are more of the attitude, "It would be a shame to come all this way and not earn his Eagle".

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Deathbed Eagle? That's the first time I've ever heard that term. I had my EBOR the night before I moved into my dorm room at college. I guess that itching sensation was the embalming fluid that they started to pump in...


Eagle Scout is an individual goal. It shouldn't be used as a measure of success or failure of a troop, and if it is, then the troop really needs to re-examine its priorities.

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Basementdweller - my son & I were talking about this thread. He mentioned one troop that seemed to every month bring one or two boys to the EBOR.. He asked if that was an Eagle mill.. Then before I could tell him "No" he figured out himself that it wasn't.. Why.. Because mostly all their Eagles are "deathbed Eagles".. The SM is frustrated with the way the play the game of chicken to see who can come the closest to that 18 yo cut off, but seems unable to make them understand, one day one of them will cross over that line and loose their chance at the Eagle award.


So alot of names per year making Eagle, can not be the only attribute.. Really you would probably have to know the troop very well to see what they do and don't do and if they have a well balanced program, or are way off balance and only concentrating on running Eagles through in order to judge with any accuracy if this is an "Eagle Mill" or not. At least that is my opinion, and why I have yet to label any troop with it.

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" The SM is frustrated"

I been involved with this game a while and have yet to be frustrated because a Scout didn't make Eagle.

For a long time my son decided that in his mind Eagle Scout didn't mean that much to him.

HWMBO wasn't very happy.

I decided it was his Eagle and his choice if he wanted to go for it or not.

In the end, it was only when he found out that the Council would pay an extra $100.00 to Summer camp staffers that had the Eagle Scout rank, that made him complete it.He sure as heck would never have got the $100 from me!


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Oh he is not frustrated with them not making Eagle.. Just in that they all want to make Eagle but do so in playing a game of "chicken" or "Dare" or what have you and try to one-up each other on how close they can get to their 18th BD.. It means in order to make it, the project is real close to their 18th BD and work weekends for it are not always convenient. Also if their planning on their Project goes haywire just a little they stand the chance of not succeeding. I am sure he knows in the long run if they don't get it then it is there fault. But, it is frustrating.


I hope they don't hear of the boy from a town over who got his project approved by the Board 2 weeks before his 18th Birthday, then still had to do the project within the 2 week time period.. His troop SM was not to happy with him either. In fact he applogized to my husband for having to bring in this piece of #!@#.. Because he too had the whole troop jumping hoops so he made it on time. The SM doesn't even think he was appreciative of all the scouts hard work and shifting of their schedules to make it happen for him..


Now if troop A knew about this Eagle in troop B, then they would have to out do him in having a shorter time period.. Has anyone gotten in the Guinness World Records for the shortest time period for an Eagle project & the longest time period? If so Troop A would need to break the shortest record.

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