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Cubmaster Pete

Boys "Eagle Out" of troop

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Was having a light discussion with a few of my packs adult leaders, whom also have boys in the troop. One of them said something to the effect of "Yeah, John 'eagled out' of the troop so he is not involved much anymore" 

 

This kid is 15. Most the Eagles in the troop my pack feeds into are around 15, and they "eagle out". Has anyone heard this term used before? My gosh, getting your Eagle and leaving the program, when there is so much more to experience is, well, a tad disturbing to me. This particular dad used the same term when we were giving our report to our CO. Please tell me this is not the norm, that when boys get to this point they want, or are told, that the program is over for them.

 

I got my Eagle just before I turned 18. I was extremely busy with OA Exec Comm, Camp Staff, Troop Stuff, Philmont etc.... I had continued to work on it of course, just was having way too much fun doing other things. I could not imagine getting mine at 15 and being done. 

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At EBOR, I stress that an Eagle should be interested in "paying it forward" by continuing to be active in his troop, mentoring younger scouts and earning palms.  Many of them are knocking on the door of "adulthood" and will be going off to college, so I remind them of Alpha Phi Omega, or encourage to seek out a local unit and offer to help.  If you have scouts "Eagle-out" at 15, you're doing it wrong.

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Yup, heard that term before.  A lot more than I care to.

Usually it's one of two things...either the reason for being in Scouts was just to get Eagle (sigh), or they are also involved in other activities that are taking more of their time. 

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Yes, it's typical of troops that specialize in streamlining their programs toward making Eagles (Eagle Mills). 14 to 15 are generally the Eagle Mills age of exodus. We have an Eagle Mill in our district that averages about 180 Scouts. Imagine a troop of 180 scouts where the oldest scouts are 15. On the other side though, many of these troops have Venture Crew programs to keep the boys in the program. They are typically heavily adult run (even more than the troop), but some of the crews are successful. Successful being they don't fold inside 5 years.

 

As much as I personally detest these adult run programs, they do have a place in the BSA. There are a large number of families that want this style of a program and the boys do get a pretty good Boy Scout experience. It's not a boy run experience of being accountable for independent decisions. But they are exposed to monthly camping and practicing first class skills. Eagle Mills are better than no scouting at all.

 

Barry

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I'm not one who tends to be politically correct, and take my lumps for it, but here goes:

 

Some scouts go through the motions, do the requirements, earn the rank, and "eagle out", put such recognition on their college applications and job resumes.  They are what I call paper eagles.

 

Some scouts take the Oath and Law seriously, they do the requirements, earn the rank, functioning in leadership throughout those ranks, and in the end take to heart what it means to do one's duty to God and Country and help other people at all times.  Those I refer to as Real Eagles.

 

If one has difficulty understanding this, all one has to do is observe the boy for a few minutes.  They are easy to tell apart.

 

When a soldier achieves the rank of General and then resigns his commission that rank will become completely useless.  When a businessman/woman reaches the level of CEO and then quits, we view that as a total waste of that person's talent. 

 

The BSA Branding of the Eagle has become severely tarnished in the second half of the program's existence, but it has not gone unnoticed.  Early scouting literature encompasses this problem originating as early as the first few decades of Scouting so it's nothing new.  The only difference between back then and now is that what I call paper eagles today they referred to as Parlour Eagles, a term not many can relate to as well as paper eagle.  Real Eagles have always been Real Eagles right from the beginning.

 

Eagle Mill units may turn out a lot of  Eagle ranked scouts, but the jury is still out on whether or not those scouts are Real Eagles.  That question has always been in the forefront of the issue since day one, 100 years ago.

 

For the average observer, the ability to distinguish a Real Eagle from a Parlour Eagle is really not all that difficult.

Edited by Stosh
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I don't think I have ever heard the term "Eagle out" other than in this forum.

 

As for my troop, the number of kids who earn Eagle at 15 or 16 is what you would call a "small sample size", so it is difficult to draw conclusions.  It's probably about 2-to-1 in favor of those who stay around and give back to the troop through (and often past) their 18th birthday, and those who go on to other things shortly after making Eagle.  I am not sure how you would count one who makes Eagle at 16 and leaves the troop but becomes (or remains) active in a Venture crew, we have had at least one of those.  They are not necessarily helping the troop that helped them make Eagle, but they are still involved in Scouting.

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As we speak right now, how many Eagle ranked scouts are active in your council?  In all my years of association with this council, I know of only 2 maybe 3 boys that stayed active in the troop that Eagled prior to their 17th birthday.  Most of the scouts attained Life, abandoned the troop for a year or two and then came back made a major push and got their paper eagle at the last minute before turning 18.  That process I have seen repeated over and over again in many troops.  Otherwise the the younger boys simply "eagle out" and the ECOH is their AOL equivalent graduation from the program.  The term is used a lot in our neck of the woods.

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Volunteers at the district level become more familiar with the different programs NJ, so they can identify Eagle Mill type troops. Many (more than you would think) of these troops market their programs to prospecting families with organized schedules that show how their son can earn Eagle by age 14. The troop isn't purposely pushing the scouts out after the Eagle, but the programs typically don't have the maturity that encourages older scouts to stay on. So they build a Venturing Crew with an advanced adventure program to draw the older scouts. But don't assume all older scouts jump in, these crews typically keep less than 25 percent of the exiting Eagles.

 

I used to criticize Eagle driven programs while I was a patrol method Scoutmaster because I couldn't see the growth in their programs. But when I worked with them at the district level, I found that they do serve a purpose for many families who would otherwise not choose scouting for their son. They are usually loyal camping programs and camping does develop a lot maturity in a boy. I now refer to these programs as another choice.

 

As for wondering if these young men are deserving of the Eagle, well there isn't a single two Scoutmasters on this forum that can agree on what defines the Eagle. We Scoutmasters have egos and rarely does one ego agree with another.

 

Barry

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Was having a light discussion with a few of my packs adult leaders, whom also have boys in the troop. One of them said something to the effect of "Yeah, John 'eagled out' of the troop so he is not involved much anymore" 

 

This kid is 15. Most the Eagles in the troop my pack feeds into are around 15, and they "eagle out". Has anyone heard this term used before? My gosh, getting your Eagle and leaving the program, when there is so much more to experience is, well, a tad disturbing to me. This particular dad used the same term when we were giving our report to our CO. Please tell me this is not the norm, that when boys get to this point they want, or are told, that the program is over for them.

 

I got my Eagle just before I turned 18. I was extremely busy with OA Exec Comm, Camp Staff, Troop Stuff, Philmont etc.... I had continued to work on it of course, just was having way too much fun doing other things. I could not imagine getting mine at 15 and being done. 

I've found that high school (and the fumes) gets in the way.  Middle school sports and extracurriculars don't demand as much time as do high school sports and extracurriculars. that said, my oldest Eagled at 15 and was an active troop participant until he was 17. the problem is the age gap between him and the youngest scouts (who are barely 11).  My youngest Eagled at the same age, but has hardly participated in Scouts since. 

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We average 4-6 Eagles a year, 70 Scout Troop.  Out of last 40 only 2 Eagled at 15; both remained hyper-active in Scouting doing Sr Patrol and then moving on to positions at Council (employee, NYLT staff, etc.)  Only really had one "Eagle and run" and he checked the boxes in the Troop and went on to resume pad outside of BSA to get into an academy.  Frustrated many but he turned around once at the academy big time and "gave back" then.  Good JASM assignments, beating them on their "legacy", annual high adventure outings in the Troop, and pushing NYLT staff help keep them engage well.  We also actively help some with resume padding and college applications and scholarship applications and that helps keeps some 17 year olds very engaged.  

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"Eagle Out"  yep.    "Age Out"  yep.    "Fumes" "Time involved" yep.

I have known not a few Scouts who Eagled (hate that term)  because of rewards offered by parent/grandparent.  Hand the boy the medal, pfffft he's gone.

Older Scouts stay because  A)  they like the program, camping, climbing, canoeing etc.    B) they like the idea of being a leader (a mixed blessing that) often because they are not leaders anywhere else.  C)  They like the idea of being an "older brother" to the younger Scouts, and can teach/pass on skills and traditions.   History remembered?

Even in Boy Led Troops, these ideas can be helped along. 

 

#A  is dependant on the adult leadership suggesting, supporting and getting out of the way.  

#B  is also dependent on  the adults setting up the system and then getting out of the way.   If the boys want to go bowling, well, that's a start.   

 #C is lost on a lot of boys, because, frankly, we have smaller families(single kids?) and lost the idea of extended family, (uncle Arthur isn't there very often to take the boy fishing).   We have professional teachers to tell our kids what's what.  If the Scout hasn't had the idea of BEING a leader to other kids (big sister? Big brother? ) modeled,  or is LET ( by his parents?)  to be the big brother, how would he know that's what he should be doing?   If the SM doesn't set things up so the "Instructor" instructs, how would the Scout know that's what he does?  

 I have a photo a friend took, it is one of my favorites. It shows Scoutson seated on a stump, axe and file in hand, with a younger Scout leaning over , as if he is asking a question.  I have had other Scouters tell me that is how they remember Scoutson in the Troop, modeling and instructing.   He got that way because of how we let him do things  at home, and encouraged him to do things at Scouts. 

 

The older Scouts need the Venturing program.  They need the peer group. But they also need to realize they have (can have) a connection to the younger boys.  The skills I have are really the skills I learned from older Scouts.   And maybe Bob, and Lee and Kenny and Chip are out there, som'ers, letting other Scoutsons 'Eagle". 

Edited by SSScout

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I've heard the term "Eagled Out" a number of times.  I usually try to correct the record.  A Scout can "Age Out".  A Scout can't "Eagle Out".  If someone refers to a Scout as having "Eagled Out", I tell them no, he hasn't Eagled Out - he's quit.

 

The Boy Scouting part of the program is designed to provide activities, adventures and learning opportunities for boys from 11 to 17 inclusive.  Advancement is just one of the methods used in Scouting.   As unit leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure that this program is offered.  When a boy quits - regardless of age or rank, then there is something missing from the program being offered.  Sure, there will be that occasional Scout that is in it just for the medal and entry on his resume - but at the same time, if he's 15, you've had 4 to 5 years to deliver an awesome program that will keep him engaged beyond that narrow-sighted goal.

 

There are a lot of opportunities that the BSA provides for programming for the older scout and keeping them engaged - it takes some work but it can be worth it.  If Eagle Scouts are "Eagle-ing Out", then take a look at your program.  Don't forget to ask that Scout why he's leaving - and listen to him.  Chances are, eagle-ing out is is common in your unit, and you don't think of yourself as an Eagle-mill, then you've been missing opportunities all down the line - are folks really listening to Scouts at BOR's, or on the trail, or around the campfire?  Are they truly engaged in the process?  Is the Troop hidebound by tradition? 

 

There's no magic wand to keep 15-year old Eagle Scouts around and no one way - it's all dependent on the Troop.  But to start, I think I'd keep Eagle Scouts out of the regular patrols and would turn them in to a Leadership Corps that could support the SPL, PL's and other leaders of the Troop, and could have their own activities, without being a separate Venture group that more often than not really separates the older boys from the rest of the Troop.

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