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Engineer61

What are the causes of the Eagle Mill?

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Once a kid reaches First Class, he's committed. He'll likely make Eagle unless he chooses to leave scouting altogether.

 

I don't understand this sniping at jtswestark, and I find this lack of decorum embarrassing.

 

A scout is courteous, for Pete's sake.

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Yeah, the first year program director at Camp Rainey Mountain brags that a new Scout can earn "90% of the Tenderfoot through First Class requirements" in five (5) half-days.

 

Their "Introduction to Outdoor Leadership" course consists of adults sitting around watching eleven-year-olds earn "90% of the Tenderfoot through First Class requirements" in five (5) half-days.

 

Yours at 300 feet,

 

Kudu

 

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There is a reason that National made a data error and pushed FCFY - the data showed that drop outs happen before FC, and if we get the boys to FC then they stay.

 

I personally would hypothesize that instead those boys who stick around and do enough camping to get to FC have decided that they like Boy Scouts. Once you like Boy Scouts and commit the time to it, if you have a good Troop and Council - you can earn the Eagle.

 

Now - in the Summer Camp Thread TAHAWK mentions the increase in the numbers of boys earning Eagle, and that goes along with the drop in boys joining Scouting. That also makes sense to me. Scouting is becoming only for those boys who WANT to be in Scouting. You have to decide to sacrifice other activities to be there. My son is benched for tournament play at the beginning of the season because he is going to summer camp and missing a week of practice. Another boy in my Troop backed out of Philmont due to his football coach (the coach said that he would not start if we was not at their hell week).

 

So we have whittled Scouting down to those boys (and families) that really want to be there, instead of just adding it as another activity that fills the time. We have lost a lot of casual Scouts and Scouters in our new society. It stands to reason that the Eagle percentage would increase once you reduce the volume of Scouts in that way.

 

The next thing impacting this is the internet. I can find the requirements to any MB now online. I can print out tracking charts. I can email a MBC, instead of having a short window at night to call their home (when I was a Scout, you did not call someone at work, you did not call after 8:30 PM, and you had to be careful about calling during the dinner hour). The list of Council MBCs is easily available in a digital file, instead of hoping to find the mimeographed list that someone has. The Eagle Project can be documented in a form supplied by NESA. Sample projects can be reviewed online with a simple Google search.

 

Technology has taken a lot of the uncertainty and questions out of the way of the Eagle candidate. Technology has also made it easier for MBCs to be recruited.

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At a recent summer camp SM training session we were given a sample camp schedule that showed how to check off 30 T-1 requirements in ONE campout.

 

I had a running argument with another ASM who wanted to do T-1 in 60-90 days and the training just cut the legs right from under me.

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Tampa Turtle writes:

 

At a recent summer camp SM training session we were given a sample camp schedule that showed how to check off 30 T-1 requirements in ONE campout.

 

Yeah, its called "Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills."

 

Yours at 300 feet,

 

Kudu

 

 

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Sadly, Rainey Mountain is not unique in that aspect, Kudu.

Horizon, I like the distinction you make between correlation and causality. Your alternative hypothesis makes much more sense. I wonder if they'll give it a try with the program?

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Some of this is because, as I see it, Scouting is counter-cultural. Our society places great emphasis on the illusion of optimizing each moment of the day for the greatest efficiency. Multi-task, buy tools not make them, map the most direct path between start and goal, maximize value, minimize cost. Taking your baby for a stroll --get on the cell phone. Watch TV, work on the laptop, talk to your wife. As a nation we do not invest and build like we used to.

 

We keep saying it is the journey not the destination that is important. We tell the boys to slow down and enjoy this time of their lives.

 

But we are increasingly surrounded by parents and scout leaders who see nothing wrong with speeding things along. They fundamentally see things differently.

 

Now I am OK being counter-cultural; I am a bit of a contrarian anyway. My special needs son as dropped me clear out of the my son will beat your son rat race. He will get there when he gets there and it has taught me a lot along the way.

 

I do think we have stumbled upon (or more likely regurgitated as issues here get rehashed) a fundamental point: the T-1 program has gone awry. I think it will work if done properly over 12-16 months. I think it is getting increasingly compressed and the resulting 1st Class boys are much less skilled even if committed. This ripples forward all the way to Eagle in the forms of token advancement, poor campers, and additional adult propping up.

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Then again, at Camp Minsi in Pocono Summitt, PA the First Year program (Trail to Adventure) tells the scouts that they will be taught quite a bit of the skills needed for T-1rst class but that the Troops will decide how to test and who signs their books, the Camp Staff does not.

 

IOLS is taught by the Training COmmissioner and the full sylabus was presented with only the adults in attendance

 

 

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I don't understand this sniping at jtswestark, and I find this lack of decorum embarrassing.

A scout is courteous, for Pete's sake.

 

Thank you Garrison. Sadly, it happens because people can hide anonymously behind handles and aren't held accountable for what they say. Small minded people only see their own way and any other way MUST be wrong. If we were sitting around a real campfire where we could look each other in the eye a fraction of the insults would be tossed that are. Anyone thats been in Scouting for any period of time will have their share of real disagreements. But theres always a point at the end of the conversation where we can agree to disagree and shake hands as fellow Scouters. Wish that would happen here more than it does.

 

I don't know how long you've been on this forum. I've come and gone a number of times over the years mainly because I get tired of this kind of garbage. Its easy to recognize that I have better things to do with my time with my family, Scouting, and my work than defend myself and my track record to such moronic statements. That is what kills the resource pool of a forum and drives away much of the breadth of input from so many different and valuable posters. That said, it used to be worse on here than it seems to be today. A couple of the worst offenders dont appear to be active anymore, thankfully. When I feel myself getting sucked into this kind of crap, I know its time to go camping with some boys and get back to why I love Scouting.

 

Youd think a Scouting forum, of all places, would be somewhere we could constructively discuss different points of view and perspectives without having to even reference the Law and Oath.

 

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jts

 

What a sanctimonius hypocrite you truly are. The "sniping" began and was continued by YOU for my disagreeing with one thing you had mentioned in another thread. You have been sniping at several other posters here as well for a while. Now you sit on your high horse crying feel sorry for me, what a crock. You truly are a complete waste of my time so I for one am through with you.

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Hmm. I must have missed the 13th point of the Scout Law where it says "A Scout is a complete waste of time."(This message has been edited by shortridge)

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At a REAL campfire, there might be a very small possibility of someone throwing actual horse turds at the other guy. THAT would at least be interesting. But no less informative than what I'm reading.

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I learned the hard way last year that the phrase "Eagle Mill" can, shall we say, ruffle some feathers and generate some unscout-like responses. Plus, the more I think about it, the more I figure it's a slightly incorrect moniker - the problem isn't limited to the Eagle rank, it impacts everything else too. I ran across a First Class scout recently who couldn't teach or tie any of the T-2-1 knots. Took three tries to get a square knot right (to borrow a phrase from the recent Winnie the Pooh movie, the lad could not knot). So I think a better phrase is "Advancement Mill" and I'd say the definition is an Adult run unit that focuses the majority of it's energy on awarding as much to the Scouts as possible as a resume/ego booster (for the scout, for the unit, and for the adults).

 

It's really just another example of Credentialism run amok in our society. Too many people are more impressed by the credentials someone proffers than by the individual. I believe it's a result of over bureacratization and an unwillingness to practice good judgement. When you evaluate a person based on their character, ability, etc., you have to make a judgement about that person and - horrors! - you could be wrong. But if you defer to their credentials, well, if they don't work out than it's the fault of whoever gave them the credential so you can avoid responsibility...

 

So we have some parents who think pencil-whipping a kid through the requirements, pinning an Eagle on his pocket, then hustling him off to the next checkbox (Lacross, Debate, DECA, Piano, whatever) is doing something for him. We have some Unit leaders who think advertising that 110% of their scouts make Eagle reflects well on their unit and themselves. But you can't spot those folks just by looking at numbers, you have to look at the program and at the young men coming out of it.

 

If a Troop is really boy-led, is going outdoors on adventures every month, is infusing the scouts with skills and knowledge through practical experience, it doesn't really matter what their Eagle percentage is - it could be 95%, it could the 1% - it's still a good program doing good things for the youth in it. On the other hand if a unit is a helicopter parent brigade running MB classes and nothing but dump camping with extension cords running to all the tents, it's a bad program no matter how many ECOHs per week it has. The mark of an Advancement Mill isn't the raw number of Eagle Scouts, or the average age it's awarded - it's not the presence of Advancement so much as the absence of the other methods (especially the Patrol and Outdoor methods).

 

But back to Engineer61's question, I think the root cause of Advancement Mills is that advancement is probably the easiest of the methods to do - you just fill out some paperwork, hand it in, and give the kid some cloth. The requirements for each rank and each badge are spelled out with handy spots to make checkmarks. And kids love getting awards, and their parents love seeing them get awards, so nobody is going to object. What could be easier?

 

The other methods take a little more work. The Uniform has a nice checklist to follow too, but scouts aren't always as eager to wear a uniform as they are to get an award, and parents aren't always keen on the cost. Patrols? Personal Growth? Ideals? Where are the checklists? Association with Adults? You mean beyond sitting through the adult's MB classes? Outdoor program? Yikes, that's real work. And there are mosquitos...

 

It's easier to run an advancement focused program than an outdoor focused one. It's easier to tally the number of MBs on a kid's sash than to evaluate the character of a young man. It just doesn't do as much good.

 

 

 

(This message has been edited by JMHawkins)

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