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qwazse

What to do with that Eaglet?

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... PROPERLY get in his camping and cooking and leadership and service requirements -- including the Eagle project -- by 14. Sure it happens, but in my experience I have yet to find an Eagle that young worthy of the true title. ....

Well, I've seen it. My 1st PL had Eagled at age 13. Great guy. Stayed in the troop until 18. His younger brother was a good scout as well.

There is something to be said for moving your leadership development along. Then use what you've learned by getting Eagle to make your high school career better.

But that's just me.

 

How do you all help your young eagles (if you have them) get the most out of their early achievement?

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Posted (edited)

We have a few young Eagles every year. Heck, I was barely 14 when I got my Eagle, same as both of my brothers (one was almost 15 and we teased him for taking so long!). I am grateful for your concern for the welfare of these young "eaglets" as you call them; lately people have almost thumbed their noses at these young achievers, as if somehow they were stealing prestige from the other Eagles whom they think are, somehow, "superior" to these hard-working 14 year-old leaders.

 

I just read this article that I LOVE from Ask Andy which I think we should all heed (my emphasis added):

 

"In 2015 we had 54,366 new Eagle Scouts, representing 6.57% of all eligible Scouts in that year. So the first thing we need to recognize is that in that year 827,489 Scouts of “Eagle age†stopped at Life or somewhere short of that rank. Further, when the average age of these Eagles is 17.34. This suggests that about 27 thousand Scouts were between 17.34 and 18 years old, while others were somewhere between 13 and 17.34. Of these, via crude extrapolation, some 6,000 or slightly more likely hadn’t reached their 14th birthdays before making it to Eagle.

 

In the face of these results—and this is the point here—we had maybe as many as 6,000 Scouts called “Baby Eagles†and up to 27,000 Scouts called “Cardiac Eagles.†So this could mean that upwards of 30 thousand or possibly more new Eagle Scouts were either diminished or deflated by these or similar pejorative remarks about their age when they achieved this landmark rank.

 

Really? Is this what we want to be doing? Especially when we look at some more numerical relationships… Do we realize that while Eagles in 2015 represented one out of every 15 Scouts, they represented one out of every 300 males between the ages of 11 and 18? That’s right: Only one young man out of every 300 in America between ages 11 and 18 becomes an Eagle Scout in any one year. So what happens when we count only those who fit into some people’s “acceptable†age range (somewhere between 14 and 17, or so it would seem)? Then we’re talking about one in 600. Let’s think about that. Is this really how we want to treat a boy—regardless of age—who’s just spent a lot of time and energy on the dozens and dozens of individual requirements for no less than 21 merit badges, plus all of the requirements for five (six, now) previous ranks? And he’s done this despite the challenges in every other part of his life, many of which are mandatory. Speaking of which, in Boy Scouting he’s a volunteer. That’s right, he can walk away from this anytime he wants, which as we’ve just learned, at least 299 out of 300 do, one way or the other.

 

The really weird part is that in other arenas, we do the reverse. We heap praise on the youngest gymnast to win an Olympic gold medal. We applaud loudly the oldest to win the Wimbledon trophy. But make it to Eagle at all and, when done sooner than 96% of all other Scouts, getting labeled a “Baby†is about as cruel a destiny as one can get, except possibly for those who earned Eagle within the stated time limit and got labeled “Cardiac.†Worse than wrong, this is insensitive and outright cruel.

 

In boards of review for this rank, I’ll often ask the Life Scout we’re chatting with why he believes he deserves to be an Eagle Scout. The very best answer possible—which, thankfully, we most frequently receive in response—is: “I’ve done the work and completed all the requirements.â€

 

That’s it, folks. When we do the work and complete the task, we’ve earned it. The Eagle rank isn’t “bestowed;†it’s earned. Let’s make it our solemn promise to honor every Eagle. He’s done the work, he’s earned it. Congratulations!"

 

- Andy McCommish, BSA National Advancement Advisory Panel

Edited by The Latin Scot
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I've seen a bunch of young Eagles over the years. Most quit Scouting shortly after getting Eagle. Some were pressured by parents to get Eagle, and once that was achieved they had no incentive to stay. Some get bored and drop. I've seen a few move on to Explorers/Venturing. And I know one young Eagle, who moved to Hawaii and join Sea Scouts.

 

The Young eagles that remain have at least one thing going for them: either the OA or a very active, boy-led troop. Several young Eagles remained solely because of the OA. For whatever reason the troop was no longer providing the challenges they wanted, and the OA did. Active troops will develop programs that interest all ages. When the boys have a feeling of ownership and develop activities they want to do, they stay.

 

Another thing that keeps young Eagles, as well as those of us who could have been young Eagles instead cardiac Eagles :) ) was the opportunities for HA and other advanced opportunities. I know I did a HA program at a local camp, Brownsea 22 ( NYLT today), jamboree, and a Canadian canoeing expedition. In my case, I was busting butt working fundraisers and having too much fun to focus on Eagle until near the end. Also I had a case of the fumes ;)

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Most Eagles I've seen making it by 16 have "Eagled out". Never seen one make it by 13-14 and stick around.

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In addition to "Eagle mill" troops, there is a growing trend of savvy parents working the system to produce an Eagle son before he enters high school, so 7th and 8th grade "Eaglets" are becoming more common.

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In addition to "Eagle mill" troops, there is a growing trend of savvy parents working the system to produce an Eagle son before he enters high school, so 7th and 8th grade "Eaglets" are becoming more common.

 

I had an Eaglet that made it before high school. He put it on his college app. The savvy interviewer three years later asked him about his Eagle. When he learned that the young man had earned it before high school he essentially dismissed it, and literally told the Eagle, "Well, it would have been more impressive had you done all these activities AND gotten your Eagle while in high school."

 

That was a recruiter from a well known and popular southern university. Imagine if there are others who think this too.

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Check the box and move on as quickly as possible.  That's not "Scout Spirit" in my book.  I got mine...see ya.

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College applications are certainly on the radar of these parents so they push. Hard to say if being an Eagle is/was a factor.

 

I had an Eaglet that made it before high school. He put it on his college app. The savvy interviewer three years later asked him about his Eagle. When he learned that the young man had earned it before high school he essentially dismissed it, and literally told the Eagle, "Well, it would have been more impressive had you done all these activities AND gotten your Eagle while in high school."

 

That was a recruiter from a well known and popular southern university. Imagine if there are others who think this too.

 

I would be disappointed in a scout who didn't stand up proud of his accomplishments. What will happen in a job interview if the interviewer says "Well, it would have been impressive if you had graduated from an ivy league school."? No silence, no head-nod, with vigor and authority speak of the path you took and what you accomplished and learned.

 

So far, I know only of one of my scouts where his Eagle was a factor in college admission; that college was West Point.

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Okay, all you ageists who think this is a gripe session, please find other threads.

 

I'm sorry to hear about henpecked/rooster-pecked Eagles. (I've had to intervene in some of that shenanigans myself.) But, I've seen just as many at young ages as old. Specifically to those boys, be they 12 or 16,  I've said, "Hustle up. Get it done. Move on. I'll understand."

 

But to every other boy I say, "It's a nice feeling to have that silver oval on your left pocket for multiple summer camps. Hustle up. Get it done. Stick around. We got even better stuff."

 

What's in your offering?

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Posted (edited)

So far, I know only of one of my scouts where his Eagle was a factor in college admission; that college was West Point.

 

Of the 30 or so that have gone through our unit in the last 7 years, most have had interviews for college. I reckon nearly half of those I spoke with said Eagle came up during the conversation.

 

@@qwazse, two questions: What percentage of young Eagles do you see sticking around past 16? How do you get young Eagles to stick around?

Edited by Col. Flagg

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Posted (edited)

Wow, I am surprised by some of the thoughts here, especially the "savvy" interviewer (hardly) who thought he knew what he was talking about what with his insulting and untrue comments to the college applicant. I was accepted into Stanford University and they didn't care two figs about my Eagle, while at BYU (where I decided to go and eventually worked with the admissions office for a time), they value the Eagle award highly but never look into the age of the Scout when he received it. 

 

And according to the numbers, which are in fact published by the BSA every year, 7th and 8th grade Eagles are NOT becoming more common - they are in fact becoming rarer and rarer. In 1949 the average of a new Eagle Scout was 14.6, but by 2015 it had climbed to 17.34. That's a huge difference - and that's the average age!

 

And I find it sad that we look at 14 year-old Scouts as though it was their parents "working the system." The program is designed to make it possible for boys that age to earn their Eagle. It's not working the system - it's meeting the requirements and earning the rank. Those boys have earned it just as much as those 17 year-olds; and I mean it when I say the boys - not their parents. We do them a great disservice when we demean them by assuming it was their parents employing some under-handed tactics to accomplish their own goals. These boys are hard-earned Eagles as much as any other boys who earn it.

 

The whole point of the Varsity and Venturing programs is to provide age-appropriate activities to young men who have grown past the merit-badge earning stage and want adventures that are more tailored to their interests and lifestyles. If there are young Eagles who you want to keep involved in Scouting, offer them these older-Scout programs, which have in fact been created specifically for just such young achievers. The Scouting program has already come up with solutions for this issue; the problem is that not enough units take advantage of the structure already built into the program.

Edited by The Latin Scot

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Posted (edited)

Of the 30 or so that have gone through our unit in the last 7 years, most have had interviews for college. I reckon nearly half of those I spoke with said Eagle came up during the conversation.

 

@@qwazse, two questions: What percentage of young Eagles do you see sticking around past 16? How do you get young Eagles to stick around?

'Bout half. That's about same the portion as 18 year olds who I've seen come back to serve as ASM in our troop. Mind you we don't have a lot of Eaglets. When not part of adult machinations, they come in clusters. One boy shows how easy it is, two or three others follow, that lasts for a couple of years, then it's back to 17.5 year-olds just getting Life and having to scramble.

 

First, the kids have got to care for one another. So as much as I hate it, meetings need some space for a boy to come share the latest internet gizmo that they can get on their phone. Figuring out that balance between social time and work is part of real life, but I've seen that it doesn't matter if the boy is pre- or post- Eagle. They often don't get the face-to-face time that we think they do outside of scouting.

 

Second, they gotta find a position of responsibility or a service project. Lot's of ours made better den chiefs after becoming Eagle than before. I would actually say that sense of being needed is a higher priority than providing "high adventure" opportunities.

 

Third, leadership training. That can come in the form of NYLT or NAYLE, district-wide service projects, speaking engagements (my SM had me speaking at Elk's clubs and reading parts at 4th of July ceremonies), O/A, or venturing if you trust their advisors to throw down challenges to them.

 

Fourth, convince them that they should rack up Palms. Let them know how many they could earn if they worked steady from their Eagle BoR until age 18. The palm requirements include leadership development like what I listed above. (Funny who that method doesn't just disappear once a kid gets his bird.)  Again, a scout who stagnates either pre- or post- Eagle is shortchanging himself and his troop.

 

Finally, recognize the needs of "resume builders". It's not all bad. If they want to become the medical officer on the first colony on Mars, being 1 of 200,000 Eagles is not gonna cut it. Get him into EMT Certification, Search and Rescue, Junior ROTC, Civil Air Patrol ... whatever special programs or unique employment opportunities for high school youth your committee can connect him with.

 

Well, those are the strategies that I've thought of over the years. Like I said, I've seen them keep a boy engaged in Troop life about half the time. I'm not sure what else I could do (besides the usual getting meddlesome adults to back off) to up the percentage.

Edited by qwazse

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Posted (edited)

About 14,000 new Eagles in 1950 when total BSA membership was around 2.8million about same total membership as today. Fewer programs back in 1950, so I would suspect there were more Boy Scouts in 1950 than today. Last year, as I recall, there were over 55,000 new Eagles.

 

It is relatively easy to determine if any scout earned his requirements or his parents worked the system for him - just ask him.

Edited by RememberSchiff

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About 14,000 new Eagles in 1950 when total BSA membership was around 2.8million about same total membership as today. Fewer programs back in 1950, so I would suspect there were more Boy Scouts in 1950 than today. Last year, as I recall, there were over 55,000 new Eagles.

 

It is relatively easy to determine if any scout earned his requirements or his parents worked the system for him - just ask him.

 

2016's stats. 4th largest class.

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