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"A Scout who doesn't camp isn't a Scout. "


Sorry, but I disagree.

One of the finest Eagle scouts from my troop, who is now a minister in Atlanta, a missionary for two years,

an excellent Troop Guide, did not like to camp. He Eagled with the minimum number of nights camping.

He participated in every camporee the troop attended.


This scout learned and lived the scout oath and law. And he did it without a sheath knife or a cotton Coleman sleeping bag.


His younger brother may join us next year, and I am looking forward to that.

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John, the original poster (SpencerCheatham) did tell us the outcome, in his second post in this thread:


We advanced him to his Eagle BOR despite our concerns because he did meet the requirements.


That terminology ("advanced him to his Eagle BOR") is not really familiar to me, but I assume it means that the SM signed his handbook for his Eagle SM conference and that his SM and CC signed his Eagle Application.

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You were right to advance him to his Eagle BOR. He met the requirements. The Active requirement, which now allows units to develop reasonable participation guidelines, also only require the Scout to be Active for 6 months, and the Scout can piece those 6 months together however he wishes, which pretty much negates the whole idea of units developing reasonable participation guidelines, doesn't it? He could be 100% active for 3 months, then not active at all for 6 months, then 100% active for 3 months, and Viola!, he's met the Active for 6 months requirement!


Now I have a couple of questions - when he came aboard, what did you do with him? How did you fail to use a Scout who was a Life Scout for at least 6 months (per your statement that he completed ALL of the requirements except the project and some merit badges) be a resource for the Troop? Did you just drop him in a patrol with no leadership position? Was he ever made to feel that his experience, skills and input was welcome? Or was he shut out of the crowd? Sometimes, when a Scout transfers in at that level, neither the youth leaders or the adult leaders figure out a good place for him, and that will certainly lead a Scout to treat himself as a bit separate from the Troop, because that's the message they're getting.


You say that the Scoutmaster met with him and asked that he plan a weekend trip and a day trip. Was that done with the knowledge of the PLC and if not, why not?

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"A Life Scout joins a troop 4 years ago. As a Life scout with his previous troop he completed all of the necessary Eagle rank requirements except for 4 merit badges and his service project. Over the 4 years since joining the troop, he earned the merit badges and completed the service project."


This statement says, in so many words, that the subject fulfilled all of the current requirements. I do not understand why there is a question.



However, the OP may have missed a requirement. Was the subject living according to the Scout Oath and Law? Was he trustworthy? Was he loyal? Was he helpful? If so, to whom?



The only information to allow any conclusions about why the subject was so minimally active for four years is "work, Prom, school play and chorus." Is he a performing arts type, and is he going that direction post high school? Is he leading the prom committee or is one dance supposedly keeping him inactive? As for "work," some kids have to work to help stay clothed and to help put food on the table. I did. (A Scout is thrifty. He pays his own way.) Not a whole lot to go on.




I do believe that it is unfortunate that BSA does not require that Eagles show leadership and good citizenship within the Scouting community given the objectives of Scouting. That requirement might reduce the number of Eagles, now 400% of the percentage when I Eagled - and climbing.



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Sorry it took so long to repost, but I appreciate the input from everyone. I guess the use of "hypothetical" was pretty ridiculous. Obviously this is a real situation.


There were so many questions that other posters had, but I am sure I will miss a few.


We did let this scout down in the sense that we were not in contact with him until the last year. A poor excuse, but the current adult leadership came in a little less than two years ago, so I cannot say what happened before that time.


We did not want to pass this Scout to Eagle because of our frustration with his lack of participation. Had we consulted with others, we would have known about what many posters have stated regarding not signing off and allowing him to explain his situation further up the chain. We will know in the future. When we stepped back from our personal feelings about his participation, we realized that he had met the requirements of Eagle and signed off.


I still do not think this young man should advance to Eagle. It is not a reflection of his character. He is a polite, intelligent, reverent, hard working young man who lives the Scout spirit outside of Scouting. My issue is just that. He made choices which did not make Scouts a priority. These choices meant he was not there as a role model to inspire other Scouts; not there to be a PL or SPL; not there when other Scouts needed him for their service projects; and not there to congratulate or encourage his fellow Scouts when they met or failed a challenge. Instead he chose to be more active in other extracurricular activities. There is nothing wrong with this choice, however there are consequences to choices and I feel the consequences for non-participation in scouts should be the inability to receive the prestigious rank of Eagle. The opposite demeans the rank.


I dont anticipate it ever happening, but I am also one who believes in a practical test for Eagle as well. I think every Scout who reaches Eagle should be able to prove several things in a few hours: knots, first aid, fire building, etc. Basic skills which define a Scout. It is especially difficult for me to accept that he is moving on to Eagle because this young man can accomplish few of these basic skills as demonstrated in the recent meetings he attended or admittedly in his SM conference.


Obviously we made mistakes with this young man and hopefully we will learn much from those and use that knowledge to help future scouts.


Thanks again,


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SpencerCheatham - I'm saddened by your comments. Luckily this scout made his way home before you and your fellow leaders "knew better".




I don't know this scout, but given that you said "He is a polite, intelligent, reverent, hard working young man who lives the Scout spirit outside of Scouting." You also said he completed the explicit requirements to earn eagle. Merit badges. Position of responsibility. Project. Previous ranks.




SpencerCheatham wrote: "Instead he chose to be more active in other extracurricular activities."


What I'm hearing is that you and your fellow scout leaders are upset that most of this scout's journey was not done with your troop. You knew enough about him to judge him polite, intelligent, reverent, etc. But you wanted more.


Would he have been a more worthy Eagle scout if he had just completed those last four badges and his project several years earlier?


All I can say is send him my way. I'd be glad to help him find a supportive troop that will support him complete HIS scouting journey.




Our troop had a scout in this exact situation. He hadn't changed troops at the point of the problem, but was very busy for the last two years and all the troop leaders changed over in those two years. They wanted to get to know him and see him step up. But he had already completed everything that was required. He even had a signed Eagle project workbook. He stood his ground and I'm very impressed for him doing that. His troop stood it's ground. So, he transferred to our troop and we were glad to help him take the few final steps to receive his earned Eagle rank.




As for practical tests to earn Eagle, fine. Talk to BSA. Get them to change the advancement process. Until then, don't complain about the scouts or expect more than is required. Our job is to support the scouts and hold them accountable to BSA's requirements.(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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Yah, SpencerCheatham, that's the right way to think about things, eh? If yeh aren't seeing the kinds of outcomes you want from your program, then yeh have to sit with the other adult leaders and figure out how you're goin' to change your program in order to achieve better outcomes. That's how all troops (and boys!) grow and improve.


My experience has been that by and large most troops become larger and more successful based on how high the expectations are that they set for their boys. The higher the expectations, the more proud the lads are of being a scout, the more the parents see the value in the program, the higher the participation, the stronger the youth leadership and the skills. Those are the units where the high school boys don't fade away for three years.


Keep that vision. Shoot for it. Push yourself and your troop and your boys.


What we see too often is the other side, eh? When folks don't set high expectations, they try to substitute awards for real achievement. So it becomes a game of handin' out patches, because not handin' out patches would mean they'd actually have to take a closer look and work harder at improvin'. Kids fading out in favor of other activities becomes normal. Heck, being absent even becomes a virtue in some folks eyes. :p I reckon they just never talk to their truly active scouts about what they feel about it, because by and large those kids wouldn't agree at all.


Don't settle for that kind of weak program, eh? Work with your fellow adults and active youth leaders to chart a different course. I'd suggest yeh start by havin' your SPL or PLC go over the roster each year at recharter time and tellin' yeh who should be dropped from the roster because they haven't met their commitment or duty to the program as an active member. Adults too. ;)




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I agree with Fred. I too was surprised to see the words, "He is a polite, intelligent, reverent, hard working young man who lives the Scout spirit outside of Scouting" while completing the written requirements... and yet you still opposed awarding the rank. Wow. What the heck do you want if that's not a pretty good package that you just described in your own words? If the boy found his way to those qualities without the 'benefit' of your input, I'd say more power to him.

If character is the mission of scouting then what you just described sounds like "mission accomplished". Better yet, he did it on his own. Just because you don't get to hoist the banner over your own ship hardly diminishes his accomplishment.

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"I'd suggest yeh start by havin' your SPL or PLC go over the roster each year at recharter time and tellin' yeh who should be dropped from the roster because they haven't met their commitment or duty to the program as an active member. Adults too"


Really, you would do this?

And I guess you have, since you suggested it. How did that work out for your unit? What did you tell the parents of the scouts deemed "not worthy"?


Sounds like a Star Chamber to me.

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Beavah - I've got alot of respect for your well informed rationality and logical conclusions. But I think this is our constant difference of position.


I believe the whole scouting environment is to be used to teach lessons and develop character. I'm all for high expectations and a solid program. But advancement is only one of the eight methods to be used to achieve our goals.




The issue I have is that the advancement program is a commitment to the scout documented in his scout handbook. It lists specific steps to earn the next rank. It's a commitment that when the scout completes those requirements, he's earned his rank.


For this scout, he completed his POR. IMHO, logically it's impossible and practically it's almost impossible to complete a POR without automatically completing "active".


Again, IMHO, after a requirement is met, the requirement can't become incomplete again.


So now, he's being asked to do more to show he's active, to show his commitment to scouting, to show he's earned his rank.


Again IMHO, asking for more or deeming him unworthy is a horrible lesson to teach. It teaches that goal posts can be moved. That people will manipulate the rules for their higher purposes. That not everyone will be on your side. That you shouldn't necessarly trust those put in place to help you.


The most important lessons we teach are taught by how we conduct ourselves. High expectations, great! Knowing how the program works, great! BUT, the most important is being fair, trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, etc.


And giving credit where credit is due.




If you look back over this scout's last four years, I'm betting scouting has affected this scout's character and taught lessons. He's done four merit badges and an eagle project. And he has good character traits as described earlier. So that's involved the BSA methods of ideals, association with adults, leadership development, uniform, personal growth and advancement.


Again IMHO, this exact situation calls for celebrating the scout's achievement and congratulating him. Nothing else.(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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I appreciate Fred and other's similar perspectives regarding the fact that the young man met the requirements and should be rewarded the rank. My question is should a young man who does not place a priority on Scouting while petitioning for its highest rank, be able to achieve such an honor?


I understand that other things come up in life and that he did make Scouts a priority before coming to our troop, however it is not as if he chose to participate when it came time to get his Eagle. When it was time to achieve the remaining requirements for his rank, he chose not to participate with the troop, but to place all other activities above Scouting. He worked on the 4 merit badges in the last 6 months by himself and his service project was completed with the help of 3 Scouts who are friends in school. He attended the 2 meetings before his service project to announce (giving a total of 10 days notice) to the troop when he needed help.

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SpencerCheatham, what I see is that despite your opinion that the boy should not have been awarded the rank, you signed off anyway. If you feel this strongly, I think you were dishonest to yourself when you signed off. There's nothing anyone in these forums can do to help you reconcile the conflict that you seem to feel as I read your communications. You have to do that for yourself. I certainly don't encourage you to 'push the boys' in the future. I'd rather see boys 'doing for themselves' and the troop becoming boy led. Scouting is not a cult - at least I don't think it's supposed to be, some here seem to think so.


SpencerCheatham, I'll give you the same challenge that I've made before in answer to your contention that Eagle should only be awarded to boys who place a "place a priority on Scouting." For the time being let's just pretend that it's just fine to make additional requirements.

Write a clear, unambiguous statement which can apply ALL the boys as the new requirement which must be met to show they have placed "a priority on Scouting."

Write this so that it can be applied in a way that avoids subjective bias and be applied equally and fairly to every boy. Write it in a way that they and their parents can clearly understand. I'd like to read that statement from you, SpencerCheatham.

(I apologize for seeming to single you out in such an overt way, there is a tendency for some other forum members to jump in at this point and make the attempt for you...which just takes away the free opportunity that you have to do this for yourself...I'd like to see what you write without 'prompting' from other forum members. It's your conflict, and your idea, so I'd like to see your attempt at the statement.)

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I appreciate the advice. No issues with feeling singled out since it is I who is asking for advice. Related to being dishonest to myself in signing him off, the Scoutmasters did not feel they had a choice. He met the requirements of BSA and our troop. My frustration also centers on the fact that our troop's expectations for Scouts was low enough allow him to be signed off. Like many stated, how did he recharter for 4 years with so little participation? Why did it take us a year before he turns 18 to meet with him?


Please dont take this frustration I have as something I hold against the Scout nor something that "haunts" me. I will attend his Eagle ceremony and wish him the best in the future. My goal with putting this to everyone is to get other opinions from more experienced Scouters so that I can improve the function of my troop.


As for participation, I believe 1/3 is adequate. A third of meetings, camping nights, etc. I do not feel this is too much to ask. I also think there is leeway for the Scoutmasters to determine if there are extenuating circumstances for some scouts. If a Scout misses some of his third because of other necessary obligations, the Scoutmasters can give other assignments to make up for the lost time. For example a Scout who has to work and cannot make campouts, but makes meetings can make up for the camping nights with meetings or a service project or another worthy project.


I am still learning the rules of Scouting, but it is my understanding that the Scoutmasters can have rules for the troop such as attendance requirements, etc for recharter. Is that incorrect?(This message has been edited by SpencerCheatham)(This message has been edited by SpencerCheatham)

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He worked on the last 4 merit badges by himself -- Why is that a problem? You do realize that's how it's supposed to work, right? MBs don't have to be earned in troop meetings. If he was going to the SM first and getting a MBC's name and completing them, that sounds pretty active to me.


It also sounds like the SM really missed a great opportunity to have a heart-to-heart SM conference - make that four opportunities.


I have to say this sounds really familiar to me. I could have been this Scout. My troop held almost no interest for me after 15 or 16. I was active in Scouting - camp staff, lodge positions in the OA - but my attendance at troop meetings was fairly spotty. I approached my last summer of Eagle eligibility with a few MBs and a project left, and decided not to go for it. Camp staff was of far more interest than building picnic tables at the Little League park. My leaders never seemed to ask why that was. That's an opportunity you have now. Ask this young man what might have kept him engaged. Bigger trips? More leadership? A different SM? Think about your troop program, look at what it offers to boys of all ages, and make adjustments with the PLC as necessary. Work on this for the next fellow in his shoes.

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We absolutely missed the opportunity to counsel him when he wanted his blue cards and the advice to meet with him is gold. We need to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep the interest of those Scouts who meet his circumstances as well as the others.


Definitely understand that he should get the merit badges himself and we support that. My reference to that was in relation to his participation over the last six months.

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