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What to do with that Eaglet?

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Earned Eagle at 14.5 yrs of age.   Stayed with scouting till I turned 18 and moved away.

 

I stuck around because my scoutmasters treated me like an adult, and expected adult-level accomplishments (as SPL and then JASM).   I was expected to attend and encouraged to contribute in each district roundtable, adult scouter training, monthly troop committee meetings, etc.

 

Though active at school and church, I made scouting my priority.   I still benefit from those scouters' tutelage.   It wasn't all sunshine, either.   When I made mistakes, they let me know.   But they also coached me on how to do things right the next time.

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@@desertrat77 It's great that you had such a good Scouting experience! And I am sure there are plenty of others with experiences similar to yours; I know I got mine at barely 14, and here I am today as involved as anybody.

 

So, looking at the math, it figures that of 55,000 new Eagles, if the median age is 17.32, that means more than half those 55,000 Scouts are over 17, and even if you divide up the rest of them evenly between the other ages (14, 15, 16, <17.32), that leaves only about 6,000 - 7,000 of them around the age of 14. Even as early as 1930, there were more Eagles in total than that! The number of 14 year-olds earning their Eagle is pretty small it seems. All the more reason for them to have my respect!

Edited by The Latin Scot
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My thoughts.

 

#1 I've seen adults game the process. Worse case was the "Eagle" whose mom, dad, and grandpa so gamed the system that he got it on appeal from national. Him winning the appeal caused the entire district advancement committee to resign in protest.

 

#2 Those parents pushing Eagle tend to not view anything else in Scouting as important. I had an 1:30+ long phone conversation with one mom about getting her son registered for the OA Ordeal that was coming up. After overcoming every single objection she had about the OA, she finally says,  "He can't be distracted with anything else. He needs to earn his Eagle."

 

On a personal note, I had a conversation with my aunt about my cousin who earned Eagle at 13 and quit, and her grandson. My cousin was pushed and pushed to get Eagle by my uncle and aunt. She was amazed at all the things they were doing, i.e. Philmont, Jamboree, and joining the OA. She point blank told me she wish the OA was around when my cousin was in Scouts. When I told her that OA  was around since 1948 locally, she told me I was mistaken. When I told her the lodge's history, she said "it wasn't a big deal like it is today."

 

We may be getting a few of these parents in the next few weeks. :(

 

#3 if you have an active program, the Eagles will stay, even if the parents are no longer interested in Scouting. They may have challenges, i.e. school, extracuriculars, girls, jobs, etc, but they will contribute to the troop.

 

#4 Sea Scouts, OA, and Venturing are great opportunities to continue folks involvement in Scouting. As an 18 YO Eagle, I looked first to Sea Scouts, then to the OA for challenges I was no longer getting from the troop. Yes I remained with the troop, and I worked my butt off. BUT I got new challenges from these two organizations, and have seen many young Eagles do the same.

 

#5

 

Earned Eagle at 14.5 yrs of age.   Stayed with scouting till I turned 18 and moved away.

 

I stuck around because my scoutmasters treated me like an adult, and expected adult-level accomplishments (as SPL and then JASM).   I was expected to attend and encouraged to contribute in each district roundtable, adult scouter training, monthly troop committee meetings, etc.

 

My issue with young Eagles is the same I have with ANY Eagle: they cannot model the knowledge, skills, abilities and expectations that are expected from an Eagle.  We are not perfect, not by a long shot. But Eagles have a heavy burden exemplifying Scouting's ideals.

 

EDITED: Put the quote in because it shows if you give them high expectations, they will live up to them and be active.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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My issue with young Eagles is the same I have with ANY Eagle: they cannot model the knowledge, skills, abilities and expectations that are expected from an Eagle.  We are not perfect, not by a long shot. But Eagles have a heavy burden exemplifying Scouting's ideals.

 

Well said.  Just about every Eagle has to "grow into" the rank a bit.

 

Looking back, there were a few scouters that did not hold me in high regard, and they weren't always subtle about it.

 

That's okay.  I privately adopted a rather non-scout-like motto:  I'll show the SOBs.   And for the most part, I did.  :)

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A quick post script to "why I stuck around:"

 

Two more factors.

 

1.  Summer camp staff.  Three years at a primitive but outstanding camp in Alaska.  Even if I typed another 87 paragraphs, I doubt I could adequately describe how wonderful those summers were.

 

2.  Order of the Arrow:  mid/late '70s, when it was truly the Dirty Jobs crew.  Couldn't get enough of it. 

Edited by desertrat77

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And yet I have seen some spectacular 13 - 14 year old First Class Scouts that do a better of of reflecting the principles of Scouting than do those at the Eagle rank.  I often wonder if it is really the rank that makes the Scout.

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A valid point. Being a Scout is about character and commitment, integrity and loyalty. Those have no age limits in either direction.

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And yet I have seen some spectacular 13 - 14 year old First Class Scouts that do a better of of reflecting the principles of Scouting than do those at the Eagle rank.  I often wonder if it is really the rank that makes the Scout.

Nope it doesn't. Eagle doesn't guarantee anything. It's the person not the rank.

 

We used to have a saying in the military, "Salute the rank not the man".

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Way back when, I joined as soon as I was eligible, 3rd grade. Did it all, Wolf, Bear, Webelos and AOL. Then we moved.

Since I thought it was so cool I could wear AOL on my Scout uniform, I HAD to join a troop. So I joined a troop in the new town and went crazy with it, OA Ordeal, etc and finished Eagle while 14, ECOH just after my 15th birthday. Then we moved. As in the next week.

I could have left Scouting behind, I had all the excuses I would have needed. But I had been having so much fun, doing so much, and learning a lot. Plus, to be honest, it didn't hurt having the cachet of Eagle to get some attention in a new town. So I joined the Explorer Post at our church, was a JASM for the troop, found a new mentor who was fantastic, went to Philmont solo, and did camp staff for three summers in a different council. I worked my last summer on staff and was in college a few weeks later. 

 

The "second" half of my Scouting career was different, but no less fun than the first half. 

 

Now that I'm in my "third" half of Scouting and on the opposite side of the fence, I look back and realize that those responsible for keeping up an engaging program helped me experience a great number of things that without, I might very well have lost interest after moving that second time. And staying in provided even more than what I had experienced before. While I do remember loving it before Eagle, it was the times after that I remember with the most affection and were the most memorable and impactful. Maybe it was age/maturity. Maybe it was the opportunities open to older/experienced Scouts. Maybe it was the lack of pressure or not worrying about obtaining a POR, MB's, advancement and the rest. Whatever it was, it was just FUN. Not that it wasn't before, it just felt different.

 

Would it have been as fun without earning Eagle? I don't know that some of those opportunities would have even been available without it. It's possible that it could have been just as great. But it's also possible that I would not have been afforded as much as I was with it.

 

What's my point? Getting Eagle at a "young" age can allow boys more time to give back and participate in a completely different way and attitude than before while still having fun themselves. But that is also dependent on adults allowing them to do just that. A condescending attitude towards younger Eagles doesn't create that type of atmosphere.

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Our youngest Eagle in recent memory was 15.  He is the troop guide for the new scout patrol.  He likes the title and the new crossovers (and their parents) LOVE that red, white and blue necker!

 

I have spent  time just this past week talking to parents who's Cub Scout "will make Eagle, come hell or high water" and a parent who's son wont make it who is complaining about "all this time, wasted".  They don't get that the program is about so much more than just a patch on a shirt.  So sad, really.

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