Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
LeCastor

"Too Young To be Advancing..."

Recommended Posts

As many have mentioned before--and I agree 100%--a Scoutmaster Conference need not happen just before a Board of Review. In fact, we have SM conferences fairly frequently whether or not we call them that. I do it all the time with my patrol leaders. At any rate, I sat down with a young Scout last night for an "on the books" type SM conference just prior to his Star board of review. I asked him what the core ideas were for the Star requirements. (I was hoping to hear 1) active time commitment, 2) service, 3) leadership, and 4) merit badges.) He struggled quite a bit and couldn't get past the "requirements'. What do I mean by that, you might ask? Well, I'm not really concerned that you have to be a Patrol Leader for 4 months to become Star or that you have to do service hours to become Star. I'd like to know how being a patrol leader for four months and doing service to others helps you become a better Scout.

 

I asked this young Scout many questions and hoped to prepare him for the BoR. He had done so well in the previous (T-2-1) BoR, but I knew that Star, Life, and Eagle wouldn't necessarily be so easy for him. He is very driven by merit badges but the concepts of leadership and service aren't totally there yet. Of course, I'll be the first to remind the boys that Scouting is a journey and that we are constantly learning. But my Scout struggled to explain how leadership and service help the others and himself grow as as Scout and as a person.

 

I'm pleased to announce that he did pass the BoR and is a Star Scout. Though, he did tell the Troop Committee that the SM Conference was a little longer than usual. ;) The committee approached me afterwards and said he might be a little too young (12) to be advancing at his current pace. I've never been one to say you have to be such-and-such age to be an Eagle, but there is a certain level of maturity and understanding that we expect of our Eagles. I told the committee that you can't really put an age requirement on Star, Life, or Eagle, but I understand their sentiment. Some young men are more mature at 12 than others...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it sounds like you didn't tell the boy to "stop and smell the roses," and I consider that a good thing. So what if he eagles next year? So what if he isn't as articulate as a 17 year old about "the purpose of the game"? Just keep throwing down other challenges like palms, religious medals, and conservation awards.

 

The boy is learning that your priority is on learning to reflect. He'll probably wind up teasing you about it. But eventually he'll figure out that if it's important to you, it should be important to him.

 

P.S. - Scout, if you're reading this blog, and figured out this is your SM talking about you (just compare posting dates with what was signed in your handbook), get your parents' permission to open an account on the forums, and let us know your perspective -- it would be awesome to read it. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

qwazse: "Well, it sounds like you didn't tell the boy to "stop and smell the roses," and I consider that a good thing"

 

Quite the opposite, in fact. I told him that, in reality, he could be an Eagle in 12 months and that he'd have five years of adventure ahead of him after Eagle.

 

Also, wouldn't it be great if we had more Scouts sharing their thoughts on Scouting?? :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What? You mean that just because one reaches Eagle it doesn't mean they get put out to pasture as a JASM or moved out of the loop so far it's no longer an adventure?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to through a flag on the "too young to advance" mentality. Remember Clown Boy from another of my posts? He's only 12, and has had everything done for Star except for a leadership / service project done since June of this year. His buddy Aspergers boy is right there with him too - swimming is the only thing which was holding him back.

 

As a matter of fact, Clown boy is two merit badges, hard time, and a service project/leadership role from Life (I think Aspergers boy has all the merit badges he needs for Life done).

 

(ok, I'm going to get busted anyway, so yes, clown boy is my son). His Star SM approved service project is more involved than a number of Eagle projects I've seen approved.

 

If he does pull off Eagle at 14, who gives a flying flip that he's only 14? Completed merit badges (not the pencil-whipped ones) are how we measure a scouts progress, with a verification via SM conference and BOR.

 

I'll guarantee you, if you think about it, some of your 6,569 day old Life scouts do no better at their EBOR than Young Pup did at his Star BOR.

 

Rock on, Young Pup!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mixed emotions on this one. On one hand, I like the idea of this guy being gung ho and working on advancement. And from mine and others expereinces, I know how hard it can be active while in HS. So I like it that he's doign a good bit before HS.

 

On the other hand, I do have some concerns. 1) does this scout really know his stuff? Does the badge he wear "represents what he CAN DO (emphasis), not what he has done? 2) Is he enjoying himself and having fun?

 

Now from what I'm hearing, he knows his stuff, but is encountering new experiences in the area of leadership. I can deal with that. Sometimes leaders have to fail in order to learn. Our job is to make sure A) no one gets hurt and B) guide and mentor so they learn from the mistakes and grow.

 

Now if he isn't having fun, that would really concern me and I would want to know why. Is he in the situation some folks are in, i.e parents are pressuring him to get Eagle? I've encountered to many folks getting Eagle because of the parents, or grandparents, then getting out as soon as they have their ECOH because they were not having fun.

 

And I do know of 13, 14 year old Eagles who hang around a spell because they are having fun. Grant you you sometimes have to help them find opportunties for them i.e. "Hey you know Mr. Smith's troop? They got a few spots open for Philmont?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At 13 he can join Sea Scouts/Venturer's and start on that advancement! Plus he can get into the OA and start being even more Cheerful. Then he can go to any of the High Adventure Camps and go to Jamborees. There is just so much left to do....;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have to through a flag on the "too young to advance" mentality.

 

Just to be clear, Oddball, I'm pulling for this Scout and don't agree with the "too young" mentality. :cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mixed emotions on this one. On one hand, I like the idea of this guy being gung ho and working on advancement. And from mine and others expereinces, I know how hard it can be active while in HS. So I like it that he's doign a good bit before HS.

 

On the other hand, I do have some concerns. 1) does this scout really know his stuff? Does the badge he wear "represents what he CAN DO (emphasis), not what he has done? 2) Is he enjoying himself and having fun?

 

 

Hey, Eagle! Yeah, he's definitely goal-oriented which I think is a byproduct of his particular school environment. But I've asked him about his gung-ho-ness and he legitimately likes earning merit badges and advancing at his present pace. As far as knowing his stuff, he is on that continual path of learning, as I mentioned earlier. He might be lacking on some basic Scout skills but he's always happy to review that, especially with his patrol mates. (He knows that's important to me, too.) For the most part, I think he enjoys the learning aspect of Scouting but not necessarily the camping part. :(

 

Without a doubt, he's got his eyes set on earning Eagle in a year and I believe he'll do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stosh and Huey, I like your attitude vis-à-vis the continued adventure! One of my questions to the Scout was based on his post-Eagle goals. He said he's planning to stick around and earn some palms. And, heck, he might be ready for Sea Base or BWCA by then!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Generally speaking, the older a boy gets, the more broad-based his learning will be from any one experience, and the more deeply he will learn whatever the lesson happens to be. I encourage my Scouts to advance at whatever rate is comfortable for them, to work on their own timetable - not mine and not their parents. This means I have 13-year-old Star Scouts and 13-year-old Tenderfoot Scouts. All of the Eagles in the Troop the past 10 years have been 16 or 17 when they finished, mostly 17. One of them is an Adult Leader for our Philmont trip next Summer.

 

I'll bet LeCastor's Scout is going to remember that SM conference and he'll "be prepared" if the same kind of questions are asked at future opportunities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I'll bet LeCastor's Scout is going to remember that SM conference and he'll "be prepared" if the same kind of questions are asked at future opportunities.

 

:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm thinking there must have been a few prior threads on this topic but it's worth repeating once in a while.:)

I've confronted this attitude locally in the past, not so much these days though. On those past occasions I've asked the persons who seem so adamant about preventing a boy from advancing, simply because they 'think' he's not old enough, to articulate clearly on paper the new rules they would be willing to apply fairly to all boys which would overcome their 'belief'...and to do it in a way that all boys, parents, and leadership could understand the reasoning. Not a single one has ever been able to do this. And yes, I think all of the boys in question were able to advance at whatever pace they had set their goals on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is interesting to note that many of the Eagles noted in various synopses of those that succeeded well above the average reached that level before 14. Now we really cannot count the first couple due to the inconsistent requirements, but they both were 13 (not absoltuely sure about the second one, but was young), and you had to be 12 to even join. That would indicate that the spark to earn Eagle is just part of the broader personality likely to surpass the norm in society, and hopefully contribute in a positive way. Of course we also have a few in that category we prefer to not admit to, as occasionally is brought to our attention. On the other hand, most of my Eagles that have shown above average contributions so far, were the the last minute ones for the most part; they were so busy with other things that they struggled to fit it all in, but gradutated in the top 2% of their high school classes and were in student government, church, and sports too.

 

So, while I do not push them to get there too soon, I do try to encourage them to learn. If they get there sooner, great; but it is mostly their choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I asked him what the core ideas were for the Star requirements. (I was hoping to hear 1) active time commitment' date=' 2) service, 3) leadership, and 4) merit badges.) He struggled quite a bit and couldn't get past the "requirements'. What do I mean by that, you might ask? Well, I'm not really concerned that you have to be a Patrol Leader for 4 months to become Star or that you have to do service hours to become Star. I'd like to know [i']how[/i] being a patrol leader for four months and doing service to others helps you become a better Scout.

 

I asked this young Scout many questions and hoped to prepare him for the BoR. He had done so well in the previous (T-2-1) BoR, but I knew that Star, Life, and Eagle wouldn't necessarily be so easy for him. He is very driven by merit badges but the concepts of leadership and service aren't totally there yet. Of course, I'll be the first to remind the boys that Scouting is a journey and that we are constantly learning. But my Scout struggled to explain how leadership and service help the others and himself grow as as Scout and as a person.

 

As a parent of a 12 year-old and a scout mentor to most of the 11 and 12 year-olds in the Troop, I can tell you that the lack of theoretical response is more the age rather than the maturity. Simply put, 12-year olds aren't able to take the definite (requirements) and extrapolate to the abstract. Give them two more years and you can have all the metaphysical discussions about the meaning of life (that is what makes backpacking with those guys interesting).

 

It is also unfair if you've never had those discussions before with the scouts. My scouts know that leadership means being responsible for others and you start by being responsible for yourself (they hear that a lot the first year at camp). Being "helpful" means doing something when it needs to be done ("if you are sitting around when others are working, you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing"). Service leadership means helping others to get things done. At every opportunity, I'm having discussions with scouts about how to learn and how to lead.

 

Also, you can phrase the questions better. What did you do for your service projects? What did you learn from those projects? What did you do for leadership? What did you learn? How could you improve? What would you tell new scouts who would be in that position?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×