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Cubmaster Pete

Boys "Eagle Out" of troop

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We always advise Webelos looking for troops to ask questions regarding how many older Scouts (15+) does the troop have? How many Scouts stick around after making Eagle versus leaving or "Eagling Out"? This will tell you which troops are just Eagle Factories (churn out Eagles by the dozens) and which troops actually have a strong, long-term program the boys can rely on from 11-18.

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It's curious.  If our goal is develop character in the boys, why do we care where they practice it?  I can think of several examples where boys left at age 15 with their Eagle badge.  They went on to practice the leadership and personal development skills they learned in any number of other programs, school, sports, etc.  Why is that looked down on?  Seems to me that's exactly the kind of success we're looking for.  Putting some sort of life-long debt on a 15 or 16 year old boy sort of diminishes the good work we're supposed to be doing, no?  Good work, and watching a young man succeed in the world is its own reward, expecting a return on investment is a business deal.  

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It's curious.  If our goal is develop character in the boys, why do we care where they practice it?  I can think of several examples where boys left at age 15 with their Eagle badge.  They went on to practice the leadership and personal development skills they learned in any number of other programs, school, sports, etc.  Why is that looked down on?  Seems to me that's exactly the kind of success we're looking for.  Putting some sort of life-long debt on a 15 or 16 year old boy sort of diminishes the good work we're supposed to be doing, no?  Good work, and watching a young man succeed in the world is its own reward, expecting a return on investment is a business deal.  

 

For my money, it is because there should be a sense of stewardship with these younger Scouts that get Eagle. It's like someone who uses all the iPad battery and never recharges it. Then you come along and expect it to work and *poof* you are screwed.

 

In my experience when young Scouts make Eagle (say, before 16) and leave, they really have not learned or demonstrated a great deal. I won't use the term "Paper Eagle", but they are not deep-skilled or strong leaders for the most part. Again, from my experience.

 

Now, compare those guys to the kids who stay in the program and give back to the unit. Those Scouts are strong, confident leaders. Of course your mileage may vary.

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I like CalicoPenn's statement - the scouts don't eagle out so much as they quit.

 

Earning Eagle is just one method, it's not the aim. There are a lot of people that don't understand that. Part of the real aim is to keep them interested for as long as possible so they keep learning new things as they mature.

 

Some kids are just wired to only be interested in recognition. Fun or even challenge without recognition is of no interest. Those kids just want to get the patch and move on. I guess that's fine, we do what we can. But I'm not going to change things for them to make it easier or harder. The whole business about fumes and we have to get them to eagle before they quit is nothing I'm interested in.

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Some scouts quit instead of aging out. Sometimes they do it before making Eagle, sometimes after.

 

People just take it harder when it's an after-Eagle quit.

Edited by qwazse

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@@qwazse good point there that got me thinking which would disappoint me more: a 15 year old Eagle that quits or a 15 year old 2nd Class Scout? In both instances the program isn't offering enough of whatever it is the boy is looking for. One isn't worse than the other.

 

To answer the question Cubmaster Pete, other than on this forum, I've never heard the term "Eagle out."

Edited by Chadamus
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I always harp on the OATH when it comes to this issue.  Listed in order of priority, duty to God, duty to Country, helping other people at all times, and myself physically able, mentally prepared, and morally able to do that.

 

Paper eagles seem to reverse that when one hears them talk about MY eagle and during THEIR ECOH never expressing one word of appreciation for all the scouts ahead of him who helped get him there or the many scouts behind him who did so as well.

 

One of the principles (not aims, not methods, but principles) I emphasize is:  Scouting isn't just for you, that's why we have patrols and that's why we have leadership.  Other people need to be following you in order for you to be a leader.  If you're only in it for yourself, you're in the wrong program.  EVERY SMC I do has some variation of this included.

 

There's absolutely no way a scout can be following the Scout Oath if he's only interested in himself and the accolades he garners for himself.

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Yup I've heard of Eagling out. Trying to keep son from doing it.

 

Darling son will be 17 in a couple of months, he got his Eagle just before his 15th birthday as a high school freshman. He is the troop's only Eagle. He has stuck around his troop and earned 6 palms with enough badges for 1 more. It has been a struggle to keep him and 2 other HS juniors and 2 HS seniors engaged in the program we have or should I say don't have at this time. The seniors and 1 of the juniors are Eagle bound, 2 should make it one probably not.

 

When son joined his current troop as an incoming freshman it was about to fold with only 3 paper scouts on the rolls. We joined and so did 20 others, we're down to about 13 active scouts and a couple more on paper only. We've lost 6 scouts in the past year due to our lack of program. We are boy led and the PLC has not planned anything that the older boys are interested in. When the PLC actually plans a meeting it is based on the advancement of the younger scouts or a merit badge the younger guys want to do. In most cases the badges are ones the older guys have and the teaching that needs to be done is by one of the middle guys needing to teach for rank advancement. The older guys have no real place in the troop, not PLC presence, and no need to be there.

 

No older boys are not allowed to be on the PLC because they have their time in for rank and others need it. Currently we have 11 boys between FC and Life. All need PoRs, so if you are Life and have your 6 months in your out of a PoR. Weekend camps are based on the middle school calendar no consideration for the high schooolers. Last camp was weekend before finals at the HS. So keeping older boys especially Eagles engaged here is tough, really tough.

 

Son loves scouts, but his main reason for hanging around is to be on camp staff at a local cub resident camp. The troop goes to a merit badge mill summer camp (kids get 6-9 badges in a week), so no desire to go there again. Did it once, and that was enough. He went to NYLT but isn't allowed to demonstrate the skills he learned since he isn't on the PLC. The age gap is starting to effect our troop. 5 juniors/seniors (seniors age out in 6 weeks) and 10-12 middle schoolers or lower. No common ground, no common focus. Don't now how much longer son will stay around. He hasn't Eagled and run, but he's lacing up the sneakers.

 

I really feel we need to make scouts from grades 5-8 and Venturing from grades 9-12. 17 year olds have nothing in common with a not yet 11 year old. With limited leadership opportunities and program options, like our troop, it is no wonder boys Eagle and run.

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Excellent responses, thank you.

 

The leadership of this troop came from the pack I am running now. They kept the pack running (barely) and it was not great. Have had to do some changes and program building to turn it around, but I feel like its growing and I am happy with the direction we are moving.

 

So they last of these leaders kids are crossing over next month, and they are going to be involved in the troop. My best guess is that a similar fate awaits the troop and that things will degrade and there may be nothing left. And here I am to build another program from scratch. Which I will do, but not that I am looking forward to it.

 

That all being said, could one say that boys who "eagle out" contribute to the demise of a unit?

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I don't think so.

 

My CO is a middle school.  Most of my scouts begin to lose interest in the unit as they move on from 8th grade to high school.  Those who stay on past their middle school years usually do so only until they "eagle-out" of our unit.

 

I don't mind.  We are primarily a middle school unit.  I don't think the boys who "eagle-out" do any harm to our program.  We can sustain our unit just with the middle school boys.

Edited by David CO
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Time to put on the Ill-tempered SM hat ...

That all being said, could one say that boys who "eagle out" contribute to the demise of a unit?

That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

 

Units who don't provide fellowship and service opportunities suitable for 15+ year olds (Eagle or otherwise) are worthy of their demise.

Units who dole out positions based on "need for rank" rather than desire to serve and approval of the boys are worthy of their demise.

Units who don't make serving as Librarian as demanding as SPL are worthy of their demise.

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That all being said, could one say that boys who "eagle out" contribute to the demise of a unit?

No, it's just indicative of the way the program is ran.  The troop I was speaking about has averaged between 150 to 180 scouts ever since I can remember.

 

Barry

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The question I always pose as UC when dealing with the lack of boys at the higher ages is what is the troop doing for them? 

 

No 17 year old scout wants to do the things most troops are focused on doing, new scouts, S->FC skills, leadership for the 12-14 year olds and ..... well nothing much beyond that.  Are we short changing our older boys by not letting them do what they want when it comes to real adventure?

 

So here's the options available.

 

1) Let the numbers dwindle and rave how great your program is because you have produced 1 or 2 eagles now for the past 20 years.  Of course those eagles either got them at 15 years old and left or they left and came back at the last minute to get their eagle on their credentials.

 

2) Send the boys over to Venturing where maybe hanging out with girls might keep them interested.

 

3)  Use the patrol method and have the older boys patrol up and do challenging outings that aren't the same old, same old the troops been doing every year for the past 10 years.

 

4) Quit making excuses for the boys and find solutions.  If the program was worthwhile to them, they won't be looking around for something else more exciting to do.

 

Sorry, but if the unit is not going to provide the adventure that was promised, then quit whining when the boys leave.

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That all being said, could one say that boys who "eagle out" contribute to the demise of a unit?

 

I am going to disagree slightly with a few previous posts.

 

While I agree that the unit has to develop a program to keep the older boys interested, exactly WHO should do that in a group we call BOY SCOUTS? The adults? No! It's the BOYS!!!

 

So YES, if these kids leave after Eagle-at-15 and don't do their part to 1) develop a program worthwhile for a 15+ Scout, 2) don't exhibit enough leadership to help design, develop and run such an older Scout program, and 3) don't stick around long enough to fine-tune said program, then THEY ARE TO BLAME.

 

Oh, and Venturing? Who does ALL the planning and execution for that? The kids!! So, if they can do it in a Venturing Crew, why can't they do it in a Troop? Because there's so many middle schoolers around? That's just an excuse. I might buy the coed angle or the slightly wider array of things a Crew can do that a Venture Patrol cannot, but Venturing is not the panacea for keeping older Scouts involved. Don't get me wrong. I love Venturing. But if the goal is retention in the Troop of 15+ Scouts, running off to Venturing is not the answer.

 

What's the adults' role in all of this? For my money, they do what they always do: Advise the older Scouts how to build and run an effective program. Eagle Scouts -- if they actually earned the badge they have -- should be MORE than capable of taking the bull by the horns and working with the SM to develop a good program for the 15+ plus crowd.

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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.

exactly what I was wondering Stosh!  As I think about it I have seen only a very few scouts wearing an eagle rank.... ever.

 

We had a scout pass his eagle BOR yesterday evening.  I have not seen this scout in my year with the troop, save for about a handful or two of meetings.  I think he's got a couple more years till 18, so there might be hope though.  We've got a couple other scouts on track I think to get theirs "early" too I think.   Might be good.....

 

I am going to disagree slightly with a few previous posts.

 

While I agree that the unit has to develop a program to keep the older boys interested, exactly WHO should do that in a group we call BOY SCOUTS? The adults? No! It's the BOYS!!!

 

So YES, if these kids leave after Eagle-at-15 and don't do their part to 1) develop a program worthwhile for a 15+ Scout, 2) don't exhibit enough leadership to help design, develop and run such an older Scout program, and 3) don't stick around long enough to fine-tune said program, then THEY ARE TO BLAME.

 

Oh, and Venturing? Who does ALL the planning and execution for that? The kids!! So, if they can do it in a Venturing Crew, why can't they do it in a Troop? Because there's so many middle schoolers around? That's just an excuse. I might buy the coed angle or the slightly wider array of things a Crew can do that a Venture Patrol cannot, but Venturing is not the panacea for keeping older Scouts involved. Don't get me wrong. I love Venturing. But if the goal is retention in the Troop of 15+ Scouts, running off to Venturing is not the answer.

 

What's the adults' role in all of this? For my money, they do what they always do: Advise the older Scouts how to build and run an effective program. Eagle Scouts -- if they actually earned the badge they have -- should be MORE than capable of taking the bull by the horns and working with the SM to develop a good program for the 15+ plus crowd.

I want to agree Colonel (love the username, btw)

but can't completely.  

Without adults at the helm that foster it, it's not very realistic I think in man cases to think a scout is going to have what it takes to make significant change in his short time with a troop.

I'm 50 years old, but as MC I'm nearly powerless on my own to stave off the adult onslaught against the patrol method.  What's a young scout to do?  I'm starting to realize that It's a big ship for one person to turn, if he's not one of the "key 3"

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