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skeptic

Earning Eagle; another review by an old guy

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I just received a comic book from the forties called Patches .  In it is a four-page description of how to earn Eagle, done is a comic book format.  I was a bit confused by the shown requirements and went back and reviewed them for that period.  Sure enough, Swimming was not on the list, but Lifesaving was; and since you needed Swimming as a prerequisite it too was actually on the list, just not shown.  Further review reminded me of my own requirements in 1959 and realized, in rereading the previous and later requirements, that our short period actually had the broadest required list of badges when you take into account the ones from specific "groups".  While we did not have to do a project, we had a far more challenging merit badge list, and of course, we still had to be First Class, which still required the gamut of pioneering skills, and also we needed to signal.  Have wondered if the project had also been there if I might have not finished, though I like to think I still would have.  It is interesting to review the little elements that got overlooked when writing the requirements, and how many of the changes probably resulted from realization of contradictions of sorts in many of them, like the early "no Life or Star, and thus no specific merit badges, for Eagle, only just 21.  The discussions of how the effort is being marginalized really does not carry water when you realize it is not the same things you compare.  In some aspects, even without the project, it may be more difficult today due to the type of society in which we now live.  In the end, it is still an honor and a pretty good measurement of initiative and citizenship.

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I remember the hardest requirement from that time had to be to learn the Morse Code.  I think it took me months to memorize it.  Of course have never used it since!

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It was not the memorization for me, it was the efficiency sending and especially receiving.  We did it with flashlights in a dim room, or outside at night.  Still remember bits and pieces, though surely could not send much more than SOS.  

 

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Even with cellphones and emergency beacons, IMHO being able to recognize and send a SOS is still needed today.

Back in  the day, I dreaded the face-to-face or phone interviews with whoever a merit badge might require. Firemanship and Public Health were exceptions; both  were very interesting merit badges. I spent a couple months researching town and county records for a history of my town as required by Citizenship in the Community merit badge.  Information which is easily found on the internet now.

Leadership was a demonstrated ability within the unit and not a 6 month POR residency.

My $0.02

 

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