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swilliams

Looking for Input on Managing Time for Badges/Requirements

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My oldest son just crossed over to Boy Scouts and, as of now, is planning on achieving his Eagle.  He's also in honors band, swims and plays football.  He may end up choosing on his own to forego one or two things, but for now he wants to continue music and sports in addition to scouting.  I'm not too concerned about it for the immediate future, as he's just starting middle school in the fall, but I see where time may become an issue. 

 

I'd love some input as to what he can focus on now, so that if he decides to stay on the same path he doesn't become overwhelmed with a year or two to go.  I know nothing about the Eagle requirements right now, but will be getting our handbook and having our first Boy Scout meeting on Tuesday.  I thought it might be helpful, in the meantime, to get input from those of you who may be (or have been) in a similar situation.  Apologies ahead of time if there's already a good thread on this.  I'm not the best with the search function!

He's got at least 6 years.  He has to do it, not you. He has to plan it, not you.  First, just support him in having fun camping. If he doesn't have fun camping, getting his Eagle will be like pulling teeth.

 

My oldest son got his Eagle and he was in orchestra and played football.  My main advice is for you to let him have fun, and support him, not nag him or do it for him.

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I always get concerned when a boy joins Scouts just to get his Eagle.

 

I think I have only seen one Scout in our troop who was strongly focused on Eagle from the moment he joined, and in fact while he was still a Cub Scout.  I remember him saying he wanted to make Eagle before his 14th birthday.  Nobody told him he couldn't, or shouldn't, but in fact he did not make Eagle before his 14th birthday, I think he made it around his 16th birthday.  But in my opinion he was the "best" Scout our troop has had in the almost 15 years I have been involved, measured both by "accomplishments" and Scout Spirit, particularly service to the troop and others.  I won't give all of his statistics, but he is the kid I was referring to a few weeks ago in an advancement discussion, that his Eagle project was really 2.5 to 3 Eagle projects and he knew he could do a lot less, but it was for his church's camp for disadvantaged children and he wanted to do "the whole thing."  He has also continued to give back to the troop, is now in his mid-20s and is registered as an ASM although we rarely see him since he lives a few states away, but he did organize and run a camping trip for the troop about a year ago.  He's a great kid.  This of course does not mean that a Scout whose primary focus is on Eagle at the time of crossover will necessarily turn out to be an exemplary Scout, but in this case he did.

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As others have said your son has plenty of time. Let's do a little number crunching to put things in perspective. Based on your son being 11 years old now he has about 7 years to complete his Eagle journey. He needs (currently) 21 merit badges, that's only 3 a year for the minimum. There are 7 ranks from start to end: Scout; Tenderfoot; Second Class; First Class; Star; Life; Eagle. Again that'd be 1 rank a year. But he can work on items in Scout, TF, SC, and FC all at the same time, so very possible to get more than 1 rank a year some years, it just happens. Some of the required badges have time requirements, usually 90 days of doing something. That's a 3 month commitment to working out daily, tracking your income/expenses or doing chores around the house. If he continues as an athlete then his fitness tracking is a breeze. Household chores probably are too. That leaves financial tracking not too hard either.

 

Camping merit badge requires 20 nights of tent camping. If he fulfills his FC rank requirement of 5 campouts, he'll more than likely already have 10 nights, 5 two night trips. Add in the 6 nights allowable from 1 summer camp, boom at 16. He'd only NEED to camp 2 more weekends to have enough nights. Exceptionally doable in 1-2 years, in some troops if the dates work out it can be done in 1 year.

 

Cooking merit badge has a few requirements that can pose a problem or 2 if not active outdoors or the troop doesn't camp a lot. But nothing that can't be overcome. Only other time requirements have been mentioned already, time in position. About 17 months, but they don't have to fall consecutively, 1 month for TF, 4 for Star, 6 each for Life and Eagle.

 

So when you look a Eagle by the numbers achieving it is extremely possible. In fact, I can't understand why every scout doesn't achieve it other than a desire not to. And I really don't understand the 17 year old, 11 month and 23 day old Life scout that still needs 4 Eagle required badges and project taking a week off of school to finish it all in his last week. We have one in our troop doing that right now.

 

Just tell your son that slow and steady wins the race. Work a little extra in an off season or school break time, don't stress in the middle of a season. Use his time wisely, read a merit badge book instead of playing video games or watching TV for 30 minutes a week and badges can be had in a short period of time. The journey is his to pick. GOOD LUCK!!

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... If he continues as an athlete then his fitness tracking is a breeze. ...

You would think.  :mad:  If only I could get back my wasted breath from every scouter athlete who I told to get a blue card and earn Personal Fitness in the preseason ... I'd have enough breeze to power a Sea Scout ship! :laugh:

 

...

So when you look a Eagle by the numbers achieving it is extremely possible. In fact, I can't understand why every scout doesn't achieve it other than a desire not to. ..

A belief that he can, and a belief that he should start now.

...

This is ten percent luck

Twenty percent skill

Fifteen percent concentrated power of will

Five percent pleasure

Fifty percent pain ...

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