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Another "hypothetical" Eagle question

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Ok, so there's this hypothetical Scout in my troop.

 

At his last Scoutmaster conference, he said something like this (paraphrasing)I don't want to be in Scouts any more. My friends have mostly dropped out. The only reason I'm coming is because my parents say I have to. I can't wait to earn my Eagle so that they won't make me come any more. I don't really want to go on any more camping trips. I'm going to do all of the minimal requirements for Eagle - I don't want to do any other work beyond any actual Eagle requirements.The Scout is generally polite. He's not causing any issues in the troop. He does not openly flout any rules or disobey any leaders. The board of review said he did very well at answering their questions. He's not sullen.

 

In this hypothetical situation, I'm actually impressed that he was as open and honest with me as he was.

 

Would you advance this Scout to Life? To Eagle? We don't have other explicit requirements right now, but we might add some. This Scout would presumably then try to meet them.

 

If you wouldn't advance him, what would you tell him the reason is? What would he have to do in order to advance?

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I wouldn't add anything to the requirements, if he's met them, he's met them. sure someone would try to "flunk" him on scout spirit, but if he's wearing his uniform and being helpful and friendly I wouldn't hold him back on that alone. I would perhaps talk again about what things he likes to do, challenge him to add more "older boy" things to the troop/patrol calendars. I would certainly suggest a crew if there is one close by that does more challenging things. I might try to buddy him up occassionally with a scout who is similar to him that I think he might get along with who might make the whole things more worthwhile. And I might encourage him to get involved in more leadership to pass on his knowledge and explan that sometimes you aren't in scouting just for you, you are in scouting for them(the younger, little guys that need your guidance).

 

And I wish there was a way to get thru to the parents that if it's not the kid's goal, and they aren't having fun, then why are they forcing it on the kid? We have scouts whose parents won't let them get their driver's license unless they earn eagle. so then the boys say whatever and make parents drive them everywhere. it doesn't make them reach for eagle faster or harder, it's just another hoop to jump thru to make the parents happy. It often ends up with scouts frustrated and annoyed over the whole thing and they start to be troublemakers in the troop. thats not good for anyone.

 

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Tell him if his parents want it bad enough, he should hold out for an F-150.

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Have him read "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" to his parents.

 

I would wish him happiness and success on HIS trail to HIS life goals.

 

My $0.02

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Advancement is besides the point. Sure, I'll sign the book, but if the kid doesn't care....

 

I will assume the kid is older, has been in the troop awhile and has given Scouting a fair shot. That being the case, I offer the young man my support. If he likes, I'll meet with him and his parents and help him explain to them why he doesn't want to be in Scouting.

 

I've learned I need to be an advocate for boys like that just as much as the boys who want to be in the program but don't have the support at home.

 

Now if the kid is 11 and just being whinney and rebelious, my advice to the parents is that they are the parents and if they want their son in Scouts it's their call. At that age they get to decide such things for their children. But after a year or so, if the fellow still wants out, we need to listen to him.

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To paraphrase Beavah: ya, hmmmm...

 

I think we all occasionally need to step back and remember that Scouting is not a religion, and the Eagle award is not some kind of sacred relic or holy grail that teenagers need to spend years spiritually preparing themselves for. So this hypothetical kid honestly shares with you his goal and his motivation for his participation in Scouting. The fact that his goals and motivations don't fit into some overly romanticized version of a Norman Rockwell Scout aren't particularly relevant to whether or not he's qualified to advance.

 

How does the Scout actually behave within the troop? Does he continually grumble and complain about having to participate? Or does he cheerfully try to make the best of it?

 

Part of becoming a responsible adult is sometimes having to do things that you'd rather not do. Be honest: have you ever done something only because your parents, your spouse or your children have asked you to? I'll bet you have. And while you were doing whatever that thing was to the best of your ability, would you have appreciated a person in a position of authority criticizing you based on your motivations?

 

Now, if the Scout starts to develop behavior or participation problems, or fails to uphold the Oath and Law, then maybe you'd have grounds for delaying advancement. But so far it doesn't seem like that's an issue.

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This isn't family counciling......

 

I would thank him for his honesty....and ask how he would like to proceed.

 

I would not tell his parents, but suggest he have the discussion with them.

 

 

I would not fail him on scout spirit or penalize him, because of how he feels.....

 

 

I imagine this is why we lose so many older scouts.

 

 

Do you think he told you so he would be ejected from the troop or you would tell his parents?????

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Yes I would advance him. I might tell him that there are all kinds of reasons why people do things in life and some of them are for external motives. That doesn't always make them bad. At a minimum, we learn new things/stretch ourselves. And we might even find out that we come to value (or even enjoy) the experience as we do it.

 

Or not. We might choose to be so miserable to ourselves and all those around us while we engage in this forced task, that all anyone can say is 'good riddance!' at the end. But what's the point in that? Thankfully, it sounds like this hypothetical boy isn't taking that approach.

 

On a side note, it might be worth taking a look at the hypothetical troop program to see what the older guys are missing, that could keep them happily engaged for longer. Is the program getting stale? Are there new challenges or opportunities that would keep them around?

 

 

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Sure advance him. It's an honest conversation. I'm sure there are many kids in his situation. At least he was honest and not hiding things.

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I would advance him, but I'd take his situation as a challenge to improve the program.

Boy led is fine. But maybe some adult creativity light a fire for this boy, say mentoring?

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You know I counseled a boy right out of scouts. It really wasn't his thing he was really into Hockey (in Florida, yeah) and he was good. I said stand up to your parents and follow your passion. I miss him--he was one of my cubs--but he hated camping. It has been 3 years and he is happy as heck.

 

Now if a boy was just kinda drifting I might give him a helpful nudge to get it finished. Regrets and all that.

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Where do people get all of these hypothetical scouts?

Can I trade a real one who said that to me for yours?

 

Support the kid. Understand if his interests are elsewhere. Let him know you think he's missing out. Warn him that "just skating by" is not a healthy life strategy.

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"I don't want to do any other work beyond any actual Eagle requirements."

 

The advancement method presents a challenge to implementation in a meaningful way. Ranks are individual awards that are supposed to be a tool in achieving the aims of character, citizenship, and fitness within the scout. When a scout is focused only on what is good for him (i.e. Eagle for me), the SM/ASM's are faced with the challenge of counselling the lad to help him towards seeing that the requirements for Eagle include doing things for his fellow scouts in his patrol and troop (i.e., scout spirit). not just for himself. And communicate those expectations. Giving him this challenge may actually re-invigorate his interest in scouting as he rises to the expectations.

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Hypothetically, I would say there should be a follow-up conversation with this Scout to discuss with him whether there are other things he would like to do in Scouting that he does not get the opportunity to do now. As others have suggested, maybe a look at the troop's program is required. Maybe "I don't really want to go camping anymore" really means that he's bored of the same-old-same-old camping trips. Maybe he would be interested in more "high adventure" and isn't necessarily aware of what opportunities exist. Or maybe he has some interests for which there are merit badges, and he isn't even aware of them.

 

Or maybe not. But it's worth a try to see whether there is something that might make this Scout more enthusiastic about being in the troop, and then maybe along with those activities he won't just do the "bare minimum" to make Eagle.

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