Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Back Pack

New Eagle Palm Policy, August 2017

Recommended Posts

That may be true, but the boy that goes above and beyond gets no more recognition than the boy who needs a check mark on their college application.

 

And as a note to your comment, half the doctors out there graduated in the lower half of their class, too.  I have three children and their spouses that hold Dr. as their title.

 

I just think that a boy who puts in the extra effort should get some sort of recognition for it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Only with regard to one requirement, the merit badge requirement. There are other requirements for Eagle, in which the Scout could have done far more than the minimum.

 

Comments about "doing just enough" remind me of the old joke:

 

Q. What do you call someone who graduated last in his class in medical school?

 

A. "Doctor"

 

I agree. 

 

Searching my fading memory, I can't recall any discussion back in the day about palms, other than an occasional "did you know" trivia-style comment about their existence. 

 

Can't remember any opinion among Eagles about palms, pro or con.  

 

If I had to sum it up, it seems the Eagles that stuck with the program enjoyed not being on the advancement tread-mill, and were happy to focus on other matters, like camping, helping others progress, and getting ready for life after high school.

 

Today, it's my impression that many scouts earn Eagle at the last minute, and palms are the last thing they are worried about. 

Edited by desertrat77

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

pre-eagle palm makes no sense to me. the mbs are their own recognition. an award for an extra arbitrary number does not compute; just say Eagle and 5 extra mbs. A palm is an award beyond Eagle. Just as eagle is an award beyond life, and star. J7st like those earlier awards (now ranks) one could earn extra mbs for later awards, those weren't the only requirement for the next award (rank) and thus one could not receive them concurrently. one had to also complete the "as a star scout..." requirements. I fear we have slid even further down the slippery slope allowing rank requirements to become just a checklist and diminishing the other aspects more and more.

 

In the early ranks it has been a significant detriment to the program in many areas because allowing a scout to do requirements for any rank at any time, waters down the learning by decreasing the opportunities for growth in a progression of small steps with increasing difficulty and rigor.

 

/offmysoapbox

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I'm the only one that views palms NOT as ranks above Eagle.  Otherwise, an Eagle with two palms would be better than a scout with just an Eagle.  I've never viewed it as such and I don't like the palms as part of any rank advancement.  Eagle is the highest rank, not Eagle with palms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a different objection than any I've seen here. 

 

The insta-palm thing bothers me not at all. I think the non-eagle required merit badges are sufficiently weak and inconsistent that they should be entirely interest not reward driven. Having a young Eagle going to a monthly MBU to get 5 MBs in 3 month to meet the palm schedule sounds misguided. 

 

My objection is getting rid of the BOR requirement. I don't think you need a strict 3mo BOR for each palm but I think requiring a periodic BOR is still worthwhile. Why not require a BOR within the last 6 months for any palm. BORs are clearly stated to be needed periodically, not just for advancement. Without a requirement is that likely to happen.

 

BORs are useful to keep kids interested. I know a couple of Eagles through my homeschooling circles who earned all the merit badges. They were exemplary scouts.... camping, camping staff, OA, troop involvement, ROTC/service academies,etc, etc... but how common is that...Beyond/instead of palms I would want BORs to point kids towards more holistic meaningful awards such as Hornady Badge/Medal, National Outdoor Medal, Congressional Gold Award, Venturing awards, or outside activities, Eagle should be a gateway to doing bigger stuff within and without scouts and that should be the personal growth focus after Eagle.

 

With that in mind, I think Girl Scout Gold Award, Congressional Gold, Duke of Edinburgh, National Outdoor Medal, Venturing, Ranger,etc etc... should have adult square knots just like Eagle and Hornady, Kids asking what that is for should have the full scope of scouting and affiliated awards available for inspiration.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Acquiring meaningless palms isn't the problem, watered down MB's are.  Why in the world is Fingerprinting a MB?  Shouldn't there be a revamp of the MB program so that the MB's actually mean something.  It would bring value to the palms regardless of how they are awarded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not view palms as ranks above eagle. But then I also do not see eagle as a rank either. I see them as awards, like they used to be. The awards are recognition of a set of requirements achieved beyond the ranks. After first class, the awards signify more in depth knowledge, experience and service and differentiate from rank because the skill and knowledge base is determined mostly by the scouts chosen paths of interest in their merit badge selection. At least until all 21 of the mbs are from the required list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When my son earned his karate black belt, he had reached his goal, but he decided to stay in the program until he completed his first degree.  He wanted to demonstrate that he was in it for more than just that initial goal.  Most people, when you say black belt, don't really care or understand about what goes into degrees after that.

 

I kind of look at the (old method) eagle palms like that.  If I saw someone with Eagle palms, I knew that they didn't just get their Eagle and immediately leave.  They stuck around and presumably gave back to their unit.  With the new method, I wouldn't be sure - I guess I'll just have to talk to them. :)

 

In all seriousness, I do like that it rewards scouts who really did more than the minimum, and we've had that discussion on this forum before.  Even if they were a late bloomer and didn't get the Eagle until close to their 18th, they are recognized for the additional work they did.  What I don't like is that it reduces the motivation to stay in the unit and continue to contribute.

 

Either way, that's the policy, and that's what we'll do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the analogy of the karate system.  With palms, however, the credit comes AFTER the Eagle regardless of what he did BEFORE he attained rank.  A scout may have aged out at 18 with Eagle at the last minute, but what about the 2-3 years prior that he did stay in scouting and continued to work on progress throughout that time.  He gets no credit for that.  Yes, the after palms keeps boys going for more bling after Eagle at an earlier age, but those that use their whole scouting career to work with the troop and Eagle at the last minute receive no recognition.  I wish there were a way of indicating that and although the system can be abused by the early Eaglers, it does shows the extra work the boy put in prior to Eagle rank. 

 

It's kind of a shame to penalize the dedicated Eagles who put in the effort when abuse on the front end of pencil whipping S->FC is just as questionable.

Edited by Stosh
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to know what Palms were for, but this conversation has me wondering now. Doesn't the advancement awards prior to Eagle recognize a scouts hard work up to Eagle? And what exactly are we envisioning of a scout with Palms?

 

Kind of funny, my take on Palms is adults like them because they recognize additional leadership. Scouts like Palms because they recognize additional Merit Badges.

 

Some people just naturally enjoy working MBs, are they better Eagles? Or were those other Eagles just pencil whipped? What does that even mean? 

 

This is all too hard, why can't National just threaten going coed and leave the rest of the program well enough alone. :rolleyes:

 

Barry

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... 18 with Eagle at the last minute, but what about the 2-3 years prior that he did stay in scouting and continued to work on progress throughout that time.  He gets no credit for that.  ...

Since when did a sash chock full of little round patches, a stash of PoR patches (to one day hand down to nephews and great-nephews), cool event patches, religious awards, etc ... amount to "no credit"?

 

Maybe I am a stuck-in-the-mud sentimental old fool. Perhaps it's because I remember my Palm BoR to be one of the most enjoyable conversations with my committee. I could look dad and all of the professors and the mom of the best scout I've ever met (she passed away last week BTW) in the eye and just talk about college plans, the big 50-miler I was planning, what I'd do for my last week of summer camp, considering the ministry, etc .... I enjoyed the brief time I was on the committee of my son's troop doing the same with another couple of fine young men coming up for their next Palm.

 

I want boys to hustle up and make rank then knock off a few palms so that they could have what I had ... a chance to relax and really rub off on my guys without any paper-pushing ... maybe to look at some need and say "I know how to line that up" ... maybe to have some swagger around camp to hunt down guys from Jambo and say "didga get your bird."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since when did a sash chock full of little round patches, a stash of PoR patches (to one day hand down to nephews and great-nephews), cool event patches, religious awards, etc ... amount to "no credit"?

 

Maybe I am a stuck-in-the-mud sentimental old fool. Perhaps it's because I remember my Palm BoR to be one of the most enjoyable conversations with my committee. I could look dad and all of the professors and the mom of the best scout I've ever met (she passed away last week BTW) in the eye and just talk about college plans, the big 50-miler I was planning, what I'd do for my last week of summer camp, considering the ministry, etc .... I enjoyed the brief time I was on the committee of my son's troop doing the same with another couple of fine young men coming up for their next Palm.

 

I want boys to hustle up and make rank then knock off a few palms so that they could have what I had ... a chance to relax and really rub off on my guys without any paper-pushing ... maybe to look at some need and say "I know how to line that up" ... maybe to have some swagger around camp to hunt down guys from Jambo and say "didga get your bird."

 

I understand this, but there's more to palms than just racking up little round patches on a sash.  There's POR and time commitments that go along with it.  While the boy might have attained Life at age 15, all he really needs to do after his 6 month POR is sit on his butt and let the clock run.  Instead he could be working on "palms" with additional PORs and contributing to the troop BEFORE he gets his Eagle rather than getting the Eagle and then going after palms.  If, perchance, the boy does additional POR after the requisite 6 months and before Eagle, it counts for nothing.  Might as well just go after the MB's because other wise it won't count until after Eagle anyway.

 

By the way, I am a firm believer in separating MB palm awards from rank advancement.  The 21 MB's for Eagle should count for advancement, but beyond 21, they should be counted as awards, not rank.  I think the 21 MB's for Eagle should be the only ones credited towards advancement, no electives unless they are for palm awards.

Edited by Stosh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since when did a sash chock full of little round patches, a stash of PoR patches (to one day hand down to nephews and great-nephews), cool event patches, religious awards, etc ... amount to "no credit"?

 

Maybe I am a stuck-in-the-mud sentimental old fool. Perhaps it's because I remember my Palm BoR to be one of the most enjoyable conversations with my committee. I could look dad and all of the professors and the mom of the best scout I've ever met (she passed away last week BTW) in the eye and just talk about college plans, the big 50-miler I was planning, what I'd do for my last week of summer camp, considering the ministry, etc .... I enjoyed the brief time I was on the committee of my son's troop doing the same with another couple of fine young men coming up for their next Palm.

 

I want boys to hustle up and make rank then knock off a few palms so that they could have what I had ... a chance to relax and really rub off on my guys without any paper-pushing ... maybe to look at some need and say "I know how to line that up" ... maybe to have some swagger around camp to hunt down guys from Jambo and say "didga get your bird."

Thanks for bringing a smile to another old fool. It's a nice break from the cynicism.

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never encountered anyone who has asked a group of young men whom among them was an Eagle Scout and then follow-up by asking about Palms. 

 

I don't know anyone who was not involved in Scouts who knows there is something called an Eagle Palm.

 

I have rarely met an Eagle Scout who talked about how many Palms they earned after getting their Eagle Scout award.  Those that do, tend to have more than three and what they're really bragging about is the number of merit badges they earned.

 

Eagle Palms are a bit of a throwback to the old Star, Life and Eagle ranks - for those unfamiliar with the history, Star, Life and Eagle were not originally ranks like Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class.  First Class was the highest rank you could get.  Star, Life and Eagle were awards for getting Merit Badges.  The Life badge came first and was awarded to First Class Scouts who earned First Aid, Athletics, Lifesaving, Personal Health and Public Health merit badges.  Star was next just for earning another 5 merit badges.  Eagle Scout was awarded when 21 merit badges were earned (and now you know why Eagle Scouts have to earn 21 merit badges).

 

When Star, Life and Eagle Scout were made ranks, Palms were developed as the new merit badge awards.

 

I'm really not all that opposed to any of these changes.  Lets remember what the Merit Badge program is really for.  Other than the 13 required for Eagle badges, this part of the program is really designed for Scouts to explore vocations and avocations that they might carry over in to adulthood, or the learn more about subjects that they might be interested in.  While earning them all might sound impressive, I question whether the Scouts that earned them all really learned anything from them.  The idea behind palms was to encourage Scouts to keep earning Merit Badges which continues to contribute to a Scouts personal growth.   If a Scout has earned 20 merit badges beyond what they need at Eagle, what motivation do they have to earn more if they can just hang out exhibiting leadership in 3 months increments and earn 4 palms in a year. 

 

I'd be much more impressed if instead of banking on merit badges they already earned, they earned the merit badges for palms while they were Eagle Scouts.  To that end, how about creating a second set of "palms" - maybe an Oak Leaf - to differentiate additional merit badges earned before Eagle Scout and those earned After.  If you earned 15 additional merit badges before Eagle Scout, you get a Bronze, a Gold and a Silver Oak Leaf (or maple, or elm, or cottonwood) award and those earned after Eagle Scout earn Palms?

 

I agree with eliminating the BOR - for most units, it's hard enough to schedule a BOR for regular ranks, let alone Palms.  Lets remember the main purpose of a BOR - it's not to test Scouts, its to see how the Scout is doing, what they like about the Troop, what they like about the Program.  While all that can be learned in a good Scoutmaster Conference, the BOR is the committees opportunity to hear it first hand.  By the time a Scout is an Eagle Scout, the committee is already going to have a pretty good idea of what a particular Scout enjoys and doesn't enjoy, and how a particular Scout thinks.  Is there really any more value to hearing from them every three months thereafter?  A Scoutmaster Conference should be more than sufficient for Palms.

 

Frankly, I'd have no problems just eliminating the time in service requirements altogether. Unless you're dealing with a super-scout, I suspect most Scouts will take about 3 months to earn 5 more merit badges anyway.

 

I recognize that change is something that is never accepted readily but after the initial "they've done it again" eye-rolls and complaints, I suspect that things will settle in and in a couple of years, most of us will have forgotten how it was once done until a parent or a new leader comes on to the board and asks why some Scoutmaster or Advancement Chair is insisting on using the old rules for Palms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×