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My son is just crossing over the Boy Scouts. One of the assistant scoutmasters of the troop had long hair until recently. One of the best scouters at our Council camp has long hair. So what?


As I read this thread again today, I remembered something the Scoutmaster said last night at the committee meeting: "I work for you folks. " Add to that the focus of the committee is "what is best for the boys."


In what way is cutting his hair best for him or anyone else? What purpose does it serve other than to show the scoutmaster's power? If the scoutmaster thinks he can hold a boy from being Eagle over the length of his hair, what else is he going to do that is totally against BSA policy?


If the young man in question goes to the military he will have to cut his hair, he may one day decide to cut his hair before entering the job market, or for a job such as police officer. That's fine. But that is not TODAY! It does not affect his ability to be an Eagle. If he keeps his hair clean, then he is following the scout law of being "clean".


I don't know any Eagles with long hair or I would let them know about this. Even if you find 6 long-haired Eagles, I would still say others (Committee, District) need to know about this scoutmaster.


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Is your hair worth the hard feelings that will result from forcing your Scoutmaster to bend to your terms.


Excuse me, DD, but I wonder just where you're coming from with that remark. Whose hard feelings? The SM because the Scout had his own mind? Or the Scout because he was forced to do something neither he nor his parents wanted him to do? Might I try changing that around as a for instance, and cast it back at ya?


Is an Eagle worth the hard feelings that will result from your Scoutmaster forcing you to bend to his terms?


And this from someone who is putting voice to his opinion that the Scout should learn to fight his own battles and not depend on other adults, or Mom & Dad.


What's more important to you...self-repsect or the badge? You seem to be telling the Scout to fight his own battles and learn to deal with adults, on the one hand. But on the other, this one, you're basically telling the Scout to give it up!! You're telling him that the kowtowing to his SM to get the Eagle is more important than his own self-respect, more important than what might be his own principles right now...as a kid...as a Scout... You're telling him that your opinion and message...(his hair is unimportant)...is more important than his own mind. You're telling him that his stand on his long hair is a childish attitude, and that he should give it up and become an adult...and all the time telling him that he should be "learning how to resolve problems on your own" (your words). Aren't you really just trying to tell him that you don't like long hair...that he should "bend" to the terms of the Scoutmaster? How is that learning what you preach? That's simply learning to give in to the personal tastes of an adult. And adult who should be helping the young man to learn decision making...not kowtowing. For Heavens sake...the Scouts parents don't find anything objectionable to their sons appearance...nor does anyone else, so it would appear. Only the SM seems to be forcing the issue to get the Scout the "bend" to his terms. What kind of learning is that?


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The Eagle Scout Rank is a demostration of a young man's charactor and moral strength. The requirements are designed to show a young man's willingness to serve others, set and fulfil goals, and ability to use skills he has learned in living in the real world.


To add to this already excellent set of requirements is very unfair to any young man who wishes to persue to this goal.


Grekonsz: I appauld your williness to seek advise outside your troop leadership. When I was a Scout, I had the advantage of knowing several adults outside of my troop to bounce ideas off of for a reality check of what was happening in my troop.


I would strongly advise you to speak to your Unit Commisioner or District Executive about this issue, for they can help in this issue.


Scott Hemgren

Eagle Scout, Class 0f 1980

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Part of good character is being able to work with others. Including those that are wrong, or with whom one does not agree. In his life, this young man will encounter many people like his Scoutmaster. How will he deal with them? Working out an equitable solution through dialog will take him a lot further in life than calling on a higher authority to intervene on his behalf.


This is not to say one should compromise ones principles or submit to the demands of the another. But make a strong effort to work it out directly with the Scoutmaster first. Failing that, turn it over to a higher authority.



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Grekonsz, I would honestly hope that your scoutmaster is just testing you to see how you react to this problem. Unfortunately, it appears that he is serious. I am 18 years old and received my Eagle Scout when I turned 16. I can't tell you what you should do. I can tell you what I would do however. Collecting 6 longhaired eagle scouts signature is just a way to get around your problem at hand and avoiding the bigger problem. The bigger problem is that your scoutmaster is adding requirements and judging people by their physical appearance. Even if you collect 6 signatures and get your eagle, what is going to happen to the next kid who has a pierced ear or who is a little overweight? Is he going to have to collect signatures too? If it was me, I would tell my scoutmaster that I am going to go to the council with this unless he changes his mind, because what he is doing is unfair and against policy. Just my two cents. Good Luck!

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I think the question in regards to long hair, earrings (another thread), etc. is the character of the Scout. My opinion is that if the Scout with long hair, earrings, etc. is of good character and a good example to other Scouts, then it shouldn't be a problem. I think where a lot of the controversey comes from is that although there are a lot of guys that have long hair that are very high quality people, the general perception (and one that is not necessarily unfairly earned) is that men with long hair and earrings tend to take part in a lot of "unscoutlike" activities such as drinking, smoking, multiple sex partners, etc.


There were a couple of guys I was in OA with in the late 80's that wore long hair and earrings and were active members of the OA (they performed on the ceremonies team) because their friends were also very active. There were times when myself and some of the other guys would go to the ceremony ring at a conclave and they'd be smoking while practicing for a ceremony (they were under 18). These guys also bragged about how drunk they'd get and how many girls they scored with on the weekends when they weren't at Scout events. As I've stated in previous posts, younger kids with long hair, "rattails", and earrings have been a problem 90% of the time. The older ones can separate the look and the attitude better, but generally speaking, the higher quality kids have kept a "cleaner" look about them over the years.


On the other hand, in the mid-90's, one of the big hair styles was growing your hair really long on top, then wearing it in a long pony tail with the sides and back of their head shaved. Our lodge chief at the time wore his hair like that and grew it down to the middle of his back. He was a young man of great character who not only was heavily involved in Scouts, but also a lot of school activities, including S.A.D.D. His solution when he needed to look more "official" was to put his hair up under a hat (it looked like he had a buzz cut when he did that) and he let his hair down when things were more informal and he didn't have to worry about being as much of a "symbol". He cut his hair off around the time he turned 21 and tooks bids for who got to shave it off (the money went toward camp scholarships) because he said it was time for him to grow up and he was tired of the time it took to take care of his hair.


Also, a couple of Scouts in my troop did the same thing. They were good kids (not angels) who stayed out of trouble. One eventually got his Eagle (he had cut his hair by then because he was tired of it) and joined the Army. We never had a problem with these guys, but it didn't hurt that both of their dads were very active in the troop.


As an SM, if I were to face the scenario of a Scout that has long hair, I wouldn't look at it as the long hair, but rather his character. If he is someone who played the sterotypical role of a "long hair", then there would be some Scout Spirit issues that would come up before I would recommend him for a board of review. However, if he just had long hair (or an earring) and he was other fulfilling the principles and ideals of Scouting, I would have no problem moving him on.

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If it was me, I would tell my scoutmaster that I am going to go to the council with this unless he changes his mind, because what he is doing is unfair and against policy. Just my two cents. Good Luck!


I AM ON SABATICAL! I REALY AM! Unfortunately, with my son weighing in with his two cents, I am compelled to post. This is the danger of having a son posting to the same site as you doSometimes you disagree.


Actually, truth be told, I don't think my son (YoungBlood) would really confront his Scoutmaster, or at least not without a lot of thought, humility, and respect. I agree with Dedicated Dad's posts. I think many folks are misinterpreting him. He is not saying that the Scoutmaster's demand is reasonable or right. Nor am I. He IS saying an Eagle Scout should give serious thought about approaching his Scoutmaster, and even consider getting a haircut. Not because the Scoutmaster is right, but because of the relationship (if there truly is one).


If your Scoutmaster has been no encouragement to youif he has made no sacrificesif he has done nothing to deserve your thankfulness or respect, than I suppose I would agree - Go over his head and call council. Why should you care what he thinks? On the other hand, if he has made sacrifices (spending countless hours chaperoning trips, counseling Scouts, working with committees, attending meetings, and the like), then perhapsjust maybe, you owe it to him to hear him out. Whether or not you get a haircut is your choice. But ask yourself some questions before you refuse. Is my Scoutmaster more than just an acquaintance with a title? Has he truly been a mentor? What kind of friend has he been? Do I want to have a relationship with my Scoutmaster that I can look back on fondly? What kind of a man is he? Yes! You have an absolute right to deny him that haircut, and maybe you should. HOWEVER, maybe you shouldn't. Forget about your rights for a second (everyone agrees that BSA policy is on your side) and ask yourself what would be the right thing to do? Per the laws of this land, I am free to do many things, but not all of them are noble.


If I truly respected my Scoutmaster and liked him as a mentor, this is what I think I would do -


I would tell my Scoutmaster, "I don't agree with your demand or the idea that a kid with long hair cannot be a good Eagle Scout. In fact, I am confident that your demand is not permitted by BSA policy. However, because I respect you for who you are, I am willing to make that sacrifice." My guess is, he'll stop you. If he doesn't, then you're building a foundation for a future relationship. Perhaps you can show him the error of his thinking over time. Could you take him to task? Could you get him in hot water for not following policy? Seems like there's no doubt about thatyou can.


My point (and I think DD's as well), just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Examine the situation closely. The following is from the Aid to Scoutmasters (Lord Baden Powell):


A further valuable aid to the training in fairness is the holding of debates amongst the boys on subjects that interest them and which lend themselves to argument on both sides. This is to get them into the way of recognizing that every important question has two sides to it, and that they should not be carried away by the eloquence of one orator before they have heard what the defender of the other side has to say on the subject, and that they should then weigh the evidence of both sides for themselves before making up their mind which part they should take.


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I totally agree with Bob. As a scoutmaster for the past 27 years I have had eagles with long hair, short hair, no hair, earrings, facial hair, other piercings, etc., and can state for a fact that each one of them met the criteria for Eagle, no less, no more. We should be concerned about their knowledge and character over and above the superficialities and individual quirks of our scouts.


This man should NOT be leading a troop

and instilling his rules and values on his members.

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Boy...I'm glad I'm not in troops where you guys are. There seems to be an awful lot of attendance to the "nobility" of the SM...and the sacrifices made by the SM....what about the "nobility", and "sacrifices" made by the young man who has worked hard to get to the point he's at? What about a little respect for the Scout that has all but made it? Or, is that respect only earned at the point of a pair of scissors? How sad that some feel that way.


Just what does any of that have to do with the Scout and his long hair? Please...tell me. Are you saying that although the Scout is admirable and well deserving of the Eagle, he does not respect his SM because he does not get his hair cut? Are you saying that the SM's desires and edicts are more relevant and deserving of attention than the boys principles, and the admiration of his parents for who he is, regardless of long hair, short hair, blad head? Are you saying that the Scout is that boy who has all the characteristics of the Eagle, and should have it, but without the hair? I don't believe I've seen that in any BSA publications, nor have I seen anything that would indicate that the BSA believes that a boy with long hair is less deserving of an Eagle than a boy with short hair. As to the Scout getting the haircut because it's "the right thing to do", well, that's all personal taste, and nothing more.


"Whether or not you get a haircut is your choice. But ask yourself some questions before you refuse. Is my Scoutmaster more than just an acquaintance with a title? Has he truly been a mentor? What kind of friend has he been? Do I want to have a relationship with my Scoutmaster that I can look back on fondly?"


Geez Rooster, talk about laying it on thick. How about a little undue pressure on the kid, huh? It's hair for pete's sake. If you really love me...if you really respect me...you'll get your hair cut! Wow! You're all but saying that if the Scout does not get his hair cut, then none of his Scouting experience counts for anything. He's lost it all and the respect of his SM, because he wouldn't get his hair cut. I'm aghast that anyone could propose such a choice to an Eagle candidate.

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My apologies to gregkonz and his family for having to go through this problem. I understand and appreciate the goal to keep this string positive. I cannot in good faith to the program allow some of the suggestions here go unchallenged.


Why in the name of great Ceasars ghost, as Perry White (no relation) would say, are we even discussing the "dedication and countless hours" that the scoutmaster put in. Who the heck is this program for? What about the dedication and hours this young man has put in to achieve a rank that only 3% of our scouts achieve.


Look if you want to form a bunch of boys into your image, then go volunteer at a cloning lab. That's not what the Scouting program is here for.


This boy is being kept from a recognition he honestly earned, by an adult who thinks because he is more important can set rules that are arbitrary and improper. At this point in time I'm not convinced that this SM is unaware of the rules, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I would ask him politely but directly if he is aware that no one can change the advancement requirements. If he says no, show him the book. If he says yes, show him the door. I don't care how many hours, years, decades he's been in the program. If he refuses to play by the rules he is as a poison to this program.


We have an 50+ year old man in our Council requesting to receive his Eagle Rank. It seems his scoutmaster in order to determine if a scout was ready for Eagle, required scouts to swim the bay at scout camp. This man completed all the requirements for Eagle and when he couldn't swim the bay after several attempts he quit the program.


He and his parents were unaware that the Scoutmaster wasn't a god. This man was cheated of a lifetime of being an Eagle Scout. For years a young man who should have worn our highest honor was disillusioned with a program he gave years to. There are young men throught this country who were turned off from scouting becuse of bad leaders. SHAME ON US.


It irritates me to no end the number of adults who hang around this program for their own ego gratification and then hold up their years of service as a protective shield. We are here for the boys. Serve them or move aside!


This Scoutmaster is wrong, period.


Going to District or Council for help, once it is established he knows the rule, is not going over his head. This is the Boy Scouts, the Scout is already over his head. Evidently honesty and fair play may be out of his reach as well.



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It seems that the problem is easily solved by asking the SM where in the requirements provided by BSA does it say that a crew cut is required for Eagle. This doesn't have to be a confrontation unless the SM makes it one. As far as giving the SM a break, this isn't about the SM, it's about recognizing the work done by the Scout. Maybe it is another test (not one that i would do, but everyone's different) to see if your character is developed enough to stand up to an authoritative figure for what is right.


Just my $.02

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You're still missing point...(I'm not sure why I keeping trying, but I'm a glutton for punishment).


Again, there's no doubt that the Scoutmaster's demand is wrong. I'm merely suggesting to grekonsz that he has information that we don't. He knows the relationship. He knows the history. We don't. Despite that fact everyone is telling him to "roast" the Scoutmaster as if they are intimately familiar with the troop and all concerned parties. For all we know, this "unfit" Scoutmaster risked his own life to save a Scout. We know absolutely nothing about the man, except this one violation of policy. From this single point of data, you're telling the Scout to run to his council.


Geez Rooster, talk about laying it on thick. How about a little undue pressure on the kid, huh? It's hair for pete's sake. If you really love me...if you really respect me...you'll get your haircut! Wow! You're all but saying that if the Scout does not get his hair cut, then none of his Scouting experience counts for anything. He's lost it all and the respect of his SM, because he wouldn't get his hair cut. I'm aghast that anyone could propose such a choice to an Eagle candidate.


I'm aghast that so many Scouters are willing to right off a Scoutmaster they never met before over one transgression. You've never stepped over the line? Ever stumbled? Ever heard of grace?


"So in everything you do, do to others what you would have them do to you"




Do whatever your heart tells you is right. If you're an Eagle, your old enough and wise enough to know which way to go.


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In all honesty, I agree with my Dad (Rooster7). However I would point out to him that Grekonsz's Scoutmaster hasn't even been around for 6 months. He also hasn't been active with the troop for over ten years. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it leads one to believe that the scoutmaster hasn't made as much as a sacrifice as Grekonsz has by dedicating his time and effort's to the program. If this was my scoutmaster, than yes, my dad is correct in saying that I respect him very much and probably wouldn't try to get him in any trouble. The reason for this is because my Scoutmaster has undoubtedly worked hard and sacrificed a lot for the boys in the troop and myself. Once again, I think this is something that Grekonsz needs to think about. If Grekonsz believes that his Scoutmaster has worked hard and made sacrifices for the troop. Then I would say that I would agree more with Rooster7 and DD. If Grekonsz believes that the Scoutmaster hasn't really gained the boys respect and his respect than I stand by my first post.

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