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The Meaning of Eagle Scout

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Do the younger scouts look up to them?

 

Within the context of a troop, that illustrates the second part of the scout oath because there's no reason they ever have to even talk to the younger scouts. Just as in society, there's no reason any of us have to look out for anyone else.

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Do the younger scouts look up to them?

 

Within the context of a troop, that illustrates the second part of the scout oath because there's no reason they ever have to even talk to the younger scouts. Just as in society, there's no reason any of us have to look out for anyone else.

I like that. Just to stir up the pot. How about adding an Eagle requirement? Maybe something like a vote of 50% of the troop?

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I like that. Just to stir up the pot. How about adding an Eagle requirement? Maybe something like a vote of 50% of the troop?

Get all the requirements done and at the last minute lose out on eagle by one vote. Not my cup of tea. One earns the rank on their own efforts, not the whims of others.

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An Eagle Scout should exhibit the characteristics that make him someone that we would hold up to other scouts as an example.   Living and demonstrating the scout oath and law is in my opinion the most important requirement for Eagle, yet many are inclined to ignore it because it is by nature subjective.

 

Eagle is an  award that to the public embodies the Scout oath and law.  Picking out just the first 3:  Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful

Is a scout that has camped 20 nights in 3 or 4 years trustworthy, loyal or helpful to his patrol?  In my opinion he is not, because he let his patrol mates down by skipping so many campouts. It is not demonstrating loyalty to his patrol; he was not there for them to be helpful; cannot be trusted to show up or participate.

 

Is a scout that demonstrated a  requirement once and then never did it again because it was signed off Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful? Again, in my opinion he is not, because how can he help other scouts learn a skill, be relied on in the wilderness, be prepared for an emergency, if he does not willingly practice skills nor teach them to others? A scout that has met the requirements no more no less does not fit the image that has been promoted to the public of what an Eagle scout is.    Some years ago, someone posted a comment something like  Mom:  "Help! Help! My baby is choking!"  Eagle Scout:  Sorry lady, I took First Aid merit badge when I was 11 at Summer camp.  I only did it once, so I don't remember what to do."  

 

Is a scout that has not attended a troop meeting for 2 years, and then shows up and expects time from leaders to help him complete rank requirements for Eagle an Eagle scout?  How has he demonstrated trustworthy, loyal, helpful?  He has left his troop and patrol mates to fend for themselves instead of being helpful or loyal to them.  (In this, I also fault leaders because they continued to register an inactive scout in their troop, which is not trustworthy, loyal, or helpful to the troop).

 

Is a scout that concentrates exclusively (or mainly) on requirements in pursuit of rank advancement being trustworthy, loyal, or helpful?   It is a bit of an oxymoron that a scout that so focused on obtaining Eagle that he does not pay much attention to helping fellow scouts, or participating fully with his patrol is given the award and held up to other scouts as something special.  When we as adult leaders have done that, we have taken eyes off the aims of scouting - character, citizenship, fitness.

 

 

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Of course as we know, in some cases, a scout will successfully complete the established requirements, only to have his SM - and/or someone else - begin to make subjective determinations on the scout and then add additional requirements as a way to justify their own subjective criticisms or judgments against that scout. Is that fair in any way to the scout?

 

If there are disciplinary issues and if the scout is not living by the scout oath and law, then that's another matter, but as long as the scout meets the requirements, and challenges, that have been put before him, then why try to hold them back or deprive them of what they've rightfully earned.

 

Who's interests in those instances are really being served? Certainly not those of the scout.

Near the end of working an Eagle project for one of our scouts on a hot Oklahoma summer day, the scout's parents showed up to stand with him as he pulled the adults together and told us that his girlfriend was three months pregnant. He was one of those scouts that was Eagle material even as a Webelos. He had great character and was one of the older scouts that the younger scouts liked and respected. Just a great kid. His parents (dad was an Eagle) were full supporters of our troop and we all were really family. Not much was said about it at the time because we all believed he brought honor to the award. But the situation did hang over our heads. "What was the right thing here?"

 

The scout married his long time girl friend a year later after he graduated from high school. He went to collage and came home five years later a strait "A" student with an Engineering and Business degree. He lives down the road from me and is a scout leader for one of his three kids.

 

I ponder now and then on that hot Oklahoma day and sometime wonder what might have happened if just one of us had over reacted; sometimes the simplest plans can turn complicated by a simple act. What is right? What is fair? Life isn't so simple. Neither is scouting.

 

Barry

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Get all the requirements done and at the last minute lose out on eagle by one vote. Not my cup of tea. One earns the rank on their own efforts, not the whims of others.

Or one vote on the EBOR? Of course there is then an appeal process.

 

I guess the point I am pondering is who should determine if a Scout is an Eagle? The Adults or the Scouts?

Edited by King Ding Dong

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I think Venividi sums up my feelings on the matter quite well - the only thing I would add is that an Eagle is a Scout - a Leader who is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful and all the rest of the things in the Law, Oath, Motto, and Slogan.  I expect all Scouts to be what we promise in the Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan, but by the time they have reached Eagle they need to be a natural leader as well (whereas we expect younger Scouts to demonstrate leadership qualities, by the time they reach Eagle there should be no doubt that they'll take charge if left alone in a room with a bunch of younger kids), and they need to have taken those words they've recited thousands of times and shaped their character to be the living embodiment of those words.  Do Eagles sometimes slip up?  Yes.  There are days I've been less than Friendly or Cheerful, everyone has a bad day.  But when an Eagle catches himself slipping up - that needs to bother him deeply.  I know it bothers me when I realize I've done exactly the opposite of what I've been promising for so many years.

 

That's what an Eagle is.  The camping, knots, service projects, etc. are the means to make young men into leaders who are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, etc.  They aren't the goal.  The goal is making young men into leaders who can make a Scoutmaster and parent proud.

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That's what an Eagle is.  The camping, knots, service projects, etc. are the means to make young men into leaders who are trustworthy, loyal, helpful, etc.  They aren't the goal.  The goal is making young men into leaders who can make a Scoutmaster and parent proud.

 

Disagree on the last sentence. If you throw out the whole skills topic then leadership has to go to. 

 

You can have a guy who lives the Oath and Law and not really be a leader, can't you? If he does all that but is still not "a leader" is he no longer Eagle-worthy?

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An Eagle should be a leader - no question about it.  Why do you think we have boys lead a service project?  It isn't because we need more service projects - we all should be doing those whether we have Eagle candidates in our units or not.  It's a test.  Really it's the final exam.  If the boy can lead the project, he is ready to be an Eagle.  If he can't lead the project, then he shouldn't advance until he can.  One thing I really hate is all the focus on what was built for an Eagle project.  My feeling is that it doesn't matter what was created or done.  When I ask an Eagle about his service project, I want to hear how he led that project, not about what was built or completed.  What challenges did he face in getting it done, and how did he use the leadership skills he learned in Scouts to overcome those challenges.

 

That park bench, Gazebo, or bridge that was built as part of an Eagle project will eventually rot away and be thrown out.  The legacy of an Eagle Scout is the impact he has on the people around him.  Other people should see an Eagle when they look at him, and the people he leads should be better for it.  That gets passed down again and again - and that legacy is what will live on beyond the Eagle.

 

I don't know if my Scoutmaster was officially an Eagle Scout, but to me he was the living embodiment of what an Eagle should be.  I doubt you could walk around town and still find things that his Eagles built 20-30 years ago, but since he played a large part in making me into the man I am today, and now I'm doing my best to pass that down to my son and his generation - his legacy will live on long after anyone remembers Troop 809 and its Scoutmaster.  I don't know who mentored Keith, but I know that I owe him more than I can ever repay, and I just wish I could sit down with him one more time for a game of Cribbage to tell him what a difference he, and his mentors before him, made - and will continue to make if I'm half as successful in making an impression on the boys I mentor.

Edited by meyerc13

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An Eagle should be a leader - no question about it.  Why do you think we have boys lead a service project?

Leadership is a spectrum though. How do you measure whether someone is a leader?

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Get all the requirements done and at the last minute lose out on eagle by one vote. Not my cup of tea. One earns the rank on their own efforts, not the whims of others.

I don't use a vote so much as a poll, and I'd never use the result for a scout that didn't have time to fix it. This is all about encouraging a scout to do better, so nobody will lose out by one vote. It's up to me to do something about a problem scout long before he ages out. I've missed that a couple of times and had to hold my nose when I signed their app.

 

One thing it does bring up is that if an older scout has been gone for 2 years and the younger scouts don't even know who he is, then that scout has some work to do. He shows up for 6 months, puts some effort into it and all of a sudden he has a great experience and the younger scouts now have a goal of being Eagle. I've seen this several times.

 

What I have done using a vote is take the results of the OA elections and gone to a scout that missed by more than just a few votes and asked him why he didn't get nominated. It usually starts a really good discussion. The scouts listen to what the other scouts think a lot more than they'll listen to me. The nice thing about this is it doesn't put me in the position of being the bad guy. I could see this not working if OA is just a popularity thing but in my troop they're tougher on the scouts than I would be.

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I tend to think that in all advancement it is imperative that a boy demonstrate completion of all requirements, no more and no less. Most often, even in this thread, comments are about the boy demonstrating he follows the oath and law. O agree, and this IS one of the requirements; show scout spirit. Far too often this requirement just gets signed off as a rubber stamp. If this requirement actually meant something in reality, then I don't think this thread would be necessary.

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I tend to think that in all advancement it is imperative that a boy demonstrate completion of all requirements, no more and no less. Most often, even in this thread, comments are about the boy demonstrating he follows the oath and law. O agree, and this IS one of the requirements; show scout spirit. Far too often this requirement just gets signed off as a rubber stamp. If this requirement actually meant something in reality, then I don't think this thread would be necessary.

 

It DOES mean something. The issue is how to quantify it in a standard fashion. If a Scout is demonstrates 11 of 12 laws all the time but misses one frequently, does he get signed off?

 

I think there's a spectrum here:

  • Rubber Stampers: Probably a small percentage that simply sign anything to move the Scout along.
  • The Reviewers: Those folks who take the time to discuss on each requirement impacted the Scout, what they learned and how they grew from it. I suspect that is most of the people here. Hopefully most of the Scouters in general.
  • The Nitpickers: These are the barrier-builders, those folks who don't read or go based on what they *think* is right. I suspect those are a small percentage too.

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Leadership is a spectrum though. How do you measure whether someone is a leader?

I agree, how is leadership measured? Of course it is obvious for some people. One of the dads in our troop was and Air Force General. You knew he was a leader when he entered the room.

 

On the other hand I had scouts who were shy or slightly introverted and leader might not come to mind at first glance. But while these scouts are reluctant to step up when others in the group are capable, they always seem to be in the right place when the situation required it. Sometimes we forget that "Being Prepared" is also a leadership quality.

 

Barry

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