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NJCubScouter

New rule for Eagle palms

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As I start this thread, I feel the need to make clear what it is NOT about:

 

This thread is not about whether anyone thinks the new policy on Eagle Palms is a good idea or a bad idea; or how anyone would like to see the new policy modified; or whether it reduces the incentive for non-last-minute Eagles to remain active in the troop; or whether I or anyone else gives too much attention to advancement; or whether anyone puts too much of a focus on "bling" or whatever-else anyone chooses to call the various awards and recognitions that Scouts achieve.  There are other threads for those issues, including one from fairly recently in which the new policy was being debated and discussed.

 

What this thread is about is whether, under the new rules, one particular Scout gets one palm at his ECOH. I actually mentioned this Scout in the previous thread on this subject, but at the time I did not know how many merit badges he ended up with or whether his EBOR was was going to be before August 1 (in which case he would clearly not get the Palm) or after August 1 (in which case he might get the palm.)  So I didn't really want to raise the issue until I knew whether it mattered.

 

It matters.  Turns out that the Scout earned 26 merit badges, so he has exactly the five "extra" for a Bronze Palm.  His 18th birthday was around early-mid July, and as of that time (just in the nick of time) he had completed all Eagle requirements except for the EBOR, and he had earned the 26 merit badges.  On August 1, the new policy went into effect.  Later in August, he passed his EBOR. (This is a typical time frame in my district, for the EBOR to be 3-5 weeks after the requirements are completed, because the EBOR's are scheduled by the district and are held every 2 weeks.)

 

So in other words, as of his 18th birthday, he had enough merit badges for a palm, but the rules said he had to have three months of active service after his EBOR and before his 18th birthday, which obviously was impossible.  So under the rules on the day of his birthday, he was not entitled to the palm. However, as of the day of his EBOR, about a month after his birthday, the rules said he gets the palm.

 

So, being the Advancement Chair in my troop, I had this conversation with our CC. His initial reasoning was that since you can't "earn" anything after your 18th birthday, and the Scout had not "earned" the palm by his 18th birthday (because the old rule was still in effect), he doesn't get the palm. I took the position (without being 100% sure about it) that you actually CAN "earn" something after your 18th birthday, namely Eagle.  All other requirements must be complete before 18, but the EBOR is also a requirement, and it can be completed after the birthday.  Additionally, the Scout wasn't eligible for a palm (under either role) UNTIL he was Eagle - which occurred when he completed his EBOR, when the new rule was in effect. So you look at it from the date of his EBOR.  Had he earned five "extra" merit badges before his 18th birthday? Yes he had.  That's all he had to do under the rules in effect when he earned Eagle, so he gets the palm.

 

By the end of that conversation I had convinced both the CC and myself that I was correct, and the kid (technically not a kid anymore) gets the palm.  I just wanted to see if anyone in this forum can give me a good reason to change my mind.

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Posted (edited)

You interpreted it consistently with the published requirements. From http://www.scouting.org/filestore/boyscouts/pdf/Eagle_Palms_2017.pdf

"After successfully completing your Eagle Scout board of review on or after Aug. 1, 2017, and being validated as an Eagle Scout by the National Service Center, you will be entitled to receive an Eagle Palm for each additional five merit badges you have completed before your Eagle Scout board of review."

 

I might also give him the address at National (with envelope and stamp, maybe) for him to send his insta-palm if he feels that it is a slight to Eagles of yesteryear who have to forgo such bling if they procrastinated like he did. :ph34r:

Edited by NJCubScouter
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I might also give him the address at National (with envelope and stamp, maybe) for him to send his insta-palm if he feels that it is a slight to Eagles of yesteryear who have to forgo such bling if they procrastinated like he did. :ph34r:

 

Such as my son.

 

But like I said, that's not what this thread is about.

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You interpreted it consistently with the published requirements. From http://www.scouting.org/filestore/boyscouts/pdf/Eagle_Palms_2017.pdf

"After successfully completing your Eagle Scout board of review on or after Aug. 1, 2017, and being validated as an Eagle Scout by the National Service Center, you will be entitled to receive an Eagle Palm for each additional five merit badges you have completed before your Eagle Scout board of review."

 

Well, that does kind of make it clearer. I guess I hadn't seen it written with the first part of that sentence.  I don't think that what was posted previously has those words.  I think it just said "Effective August 1" with no specific mention of the EBOR. But I could still see someone arguing that a change in the rules effective AFTER your 18th birthday doesn't apply to you.  I don't agree with that argument, but I can see someone making it.

 

I suppose I could ask council, but based on past experience I would probably get a different answer depending on who I ask.

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You interpreted it right.

 

I would also ask "What does it serve?"  

  • Learning opportunity ... I think there is a lesson here about how to treat other people.  If the rules are "grey", do you interpret the rules in favor of the person or in favor of protecting the perceived value of something.  It's a lesson about putting people ahead of rules when it can be interpreted either way.
  • Positive experience ... I would think it would tarnish the Eagle celebration slightly by trying to argue he has not earned the palm.  Congrats on Eagle, but oh you didn't earn the palm even though the next guy will get it based on the same criteria.

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I am still confused. Son #2 will eagle a 17 years 11 months with 36 merit badges. What is he entitled to under this new scheme? (he knows no one cares about the palms).

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I am still confused. Son #2 will eagle a 17 years 11 months with 36 merit badges. What is he entitled to under this new scheme? (he knows no one cares about the palms).

 

3 palms immediately after his EBOR

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Posted (edited)
  • Positive experience ... I would think it would tarnish the Eagle celebration slightly by trying to argue he has not earned the palm.  Congrats on Eagle, but oh you didn't earn the palm even though the next guy will get it based on the same criteria.

Well, but there's always going to be a "next guy" who is the first to get the palm(s) under the new rule, and the guy before that didn't get it, and the "last guy" may feel slighted. (Although our kids have the whole palm thing pretty much in perspective and nobody is going make a big thing out of it either way.) The only question is whether the "next guy" is this particular kid, or the one who turns 18 in the late spring and is probably going to make it with 5 minutes to spare. It looks like it's going to be the one who passed his BOR next month - meaning that the "last guy" is going to be the one who had his ECOH yesterday. But he was not in a "grey area" because he had his EBOR (after his 18th birthday) in May or June. I'm fairly sure he doesn't even know that there is a new rule.

Edited by NJCubScouter
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I am still confused. Son #2 will eagle a 17 years 11 months with 36 merit badges. What is he entitled to under this new scheme? (he knows no one cares about the palms).

Admiration. And what Fred said.

 

I think the rule was written for someone like your son ... the general assumption being that a scout like that was developing leadership all along, and that minor things like Eagle project minutiae got in the way of him cinching things up after MB #21.

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He gets the palm.  He earned the extra merit badges before his BOR for Eagle Scout.  Since his BOR was after August 1, and the rule is he gets credit for all merit badges before his BOR - he gets credit for the extra and gets the palm.

 

Age has nothing to do with it - he didn't schedule the BOR for after his birthday, the Council did.

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I think the rule was written for someone like your son ... the general assumption being that a scout like that was developing leadership all along, and that minor things like Eagle project minutiae got in the way of him cinching things up after MB #21.

 

I heard someone state that this new rule was written so that LDS Scouts could get all the Palms at one time and not have to stay registered longer to get them.

 

I hope that isn't true.

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I heard someone state that this new rule was written so that LDS Scouts could get all the Palms at one time and not have to stay registered longer to get them.

 

I hope that isn't true.

... sounds like your contact had a chip on their shoulder about Mormons.

My DAC was upbeat about the change. Seems he didn't think boys weren't getting recognized for being so excited about scouting that Eagle was an afterthought. High speed, low drag, was not likely a consideration.

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3 palms immediately after his EBOR

Thanks. He just finished his last requirement signatures, just turn in paperwork and wait for EBOR. Wants to finish up a partial or two just for kicks.

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... sounds like your contact had a chip on their shoulder about Mormons.

My DAC was upbeat about the change. Seems he didn't think boys weren't getting recognized for being so excited about scouting that Eagle was an afterthought. High speed, low drag, was not likely a consideration.

 

Don't know about his feeling towards Mormons, but he was ticked off about the policy changes. Made comments about coinincidence in timing of the policy change and the announcement of LDS doing away with Varsity and Venturing. I do know he had a few Eagles up against 18 have BORs in May and June, before the announcement occurred. Do not know if it was deliberate or not, but no district EBORS were requested for July or August.

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