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EagleForever

Questions about scouting

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I have been an Eagle Scout since 2015 and I am currently serving in the military. I just got involved as a cub/troop leader close to where I'm stationed and I just have a few questions about some things I don't exactly agree with about the things  the other leaders are doing. So I have been away from scouting for around 3 years so I imagine there have need some things that have changed since I was in. So at cub meeting they are teaching the cubs to memorize the scout oath and law and all things to do with scouts. Is that a new thing? Because I can tell the cubs are having quite a hard time with it. And at scout meeting the Weblos are told to attend, and they are telling both the Weblos and Scouts that they will have to work super hard if they want to make Eagle, and that it will take them all the way until they are 18 to get it. Making Eagle is definitely a difficult journey, and there were times I wanted to give up, but I made Eagle at the age of 15. Not once have I ever heard leaders tell scouts that they have to wait until they are 18. Does this sound wrong to anyone else or has scouts really changed this much since i was in?

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11 minutes ago, EagleForever said:

So I have been away from scouting for around 3 years so I imagine there have need some things that have changed since I was in. So at cub meeting they are teaching the cubs to memorize the scout oath and law and all things to dho with scouts. Is that a new thing? Because I can tell the cubs are having quite a hard time with it.

First of all, welcome to the forum!

Yes, that is a new thing.  I am not sure how long it has been in effect since my Cub-leader days are long past (I made Life in 1974 and my only son made Eagle in 2009 :) ), but it has been less than three years.  I am not surprised that the Cubs are having a difficult time with it, because it's ridiculous to expect them to be able to do it, particularly the younger ones.  But that is the Word from National.

16 minutes ago, EagleForever said:

And at scout meeting the Weblos are told to attend, and they are telling both the Weblos and Scouts that they will have to work super hard if they want to make Eagle, and that it will take them all the way until they are 18 to get it. Making Eagle is definitely a difficult journey, and there were times I wanted to give up, but I made Eagle at the age of 15. Not once have I ever heard leaders tell scouts that they have to wait until they are 18. Does this sound wrong to anyone else or has scouts really changed this much since i was in?

It sounds very wrong.  First of all, as you know, the deadline is the 18th birthday, so if they literally "wait until they are 18" they won't make it at all.  Even "waiting" until you are 17 is a good recipe for not making it at all, because nothing ever takes the amount of time you think it will.  Especially at that age, youth tend to procrastinate, although it looks like you did not, since you made it at 15.  My son made Life at 14, and if he had moved at a reasonable pace, he would have made Eagle before his 17th birthday.  He did not move at a reasonable pace.  He ended up making Eagle 2 days (and zero business days) before his 18th birthday, and even then he made it because several people went out of their way for him.  That is what happens when you "wait."  It's a very bad thing to tell the kids.

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38 minutes ago, EagleForever said:

So at cub meeting they are teaching the cubs to memorize the scout oath and law and all things to do with scouts. Is that a new thing? Because I can tell the cubs are having quite a hard time with it.

The Cub Promise was replaced, and Cubs began using the Scout Oath and Law on June 1, 1015, so just about 3.5 years ago.

I agree that it is tough for the younger Cubs to learn, but not really much more difficult than learning the Pledge, and they do that in school every day.  In addition to being an ASM, I am a Lion Den Leader, and my kindergarten age Lions are working on following along with me for the oath and law at every meeting.  I do expect it to take them most of the year to get it down, especially since Lions do not typically meet every week.  They do all know the pledge, and take turns leading the den in the pledge.  They do not know all 12 points of the law in order yet, but they can all tell me which one is the most important to them, and why.

I also agree that telling Scouts that it will take them all the way to 18 to be able to earn Eagle is wrong.  As @NJCubScouter already stated, if you wait too long, you run the risk of missing that all important 18th birthday deadline.  I remember my Eagle BOR in 1971.  Back then they were District BOR's, and there was another person waiting outside the room with me, both of us a little nervous about what the BOR would be like.  I remember it well, and thought at the time it was an amazing coincidence that we were both having our Eagle Board, were both named Mike, and would both be turning 18 on the same day, 26 days later.

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Welcome to the Forums, EF.  

Yes, lots of changes in the past few years.   Many are somewhat foreign to some "old timers", some "about time".    

The Scout Promise and Scout Law have been  the same since first promulgated.  If you look at the history, (google Is your friend), the changes in the Law definitions are instructive. The Law Titles are the same.  The Scout Promise (or oath) of the BS of A has not changed in the more than 100 years since it's creation, which has to mean something, I think, of it's universality.  

As to your experience since becoming an "adult" (welcome to the rank of "citizen") , yes, there have been some welcome adjustments.  Perhaps the elimination of the Cub Law of the Pack and Cub Promise in favor of the more mature Scout Law and Scout Oath (or Promise) is a problem.  Perhaps not. It is asking the Cub Scout to become more mature in their consideration of their activities.  Less story (Jungle Book?  Rudyard Kipling? ) and more real life?  Personally, I am not so sure the elimination of Kipling's stories as a basis for Cubs mythology (regardless of his perceived 19th century politics) is necessary or needed.  Every society has actively told their sons and daughters stories to help in the creation of Good Citizens.  Proverbs? Biblical stories? Aesop's Fables?  One is left wondering "what is Akela?  Why is BALOO the training title? "  Sic Gloria mundi....

You, sir,  I can tell are a future Scout Leader, whatever your status in local Pack or Troop society today.  At school, the kindergarteners are taught to memorize the alphabet, their numbers,  names and addresses, the Pledge of Allegiance , often the reason for the need for these things come after the poem recitation. .  Can you still sing the alphabet song?  It is often the same thing in Scouts.  Memorize the TLHFCKOChTBC and R and later we will discuss the WHY and the WHAT of those words.  

There is an old "Star Trek" episode that concerns long ago created words, memorized and deified but without remembering them correctly or the reasons for them.  That is what the Scouter has as his/her duty, to pass on , by demonstrated behavior to emulate and by overt instruction to understand, the Scout Promise and Scout Law.  That's where YOU come in.  Be the Scout you want your Scouts to be.  They will see and understand, more than you may realize.  More than you can explain or instruct.  Your behavior is ultimately more important than your words.  Trust me in this.   

See you on the trail.

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The Cub Scout Promise and the Law of the Pack were retired in 2015.  The idea, as I understand it, is to have one Scout Oath and one Scout Law for all of the BSA's programs.  Cub Scouts are not required to memorize them.  The standard for Cub Scouts is that they do their best.  The Bobcat rank requirements state [emphasis added]:

1. Learn and say the Scout Oath, with help if needed.
2. Learn and say the Scout Law, with help if needed.

One advantage to having Cub Scouts earn the Scout Oath and Law is that they don't have to learn something different later on when they join one of the older Scout programs.  This is especially helpful to Webelos Scouts who join for the first time in the 5th grade -- they don't have to learn one thing, then learn something different 6 months later.

I agree with the other posters that telling Scouts that it will take them all the way to 18 to be able to earn Eagle is wrong.  The average age for earning Eagle Scouts is 17 (plus some months), but Scouts can (and do) earn it at a younger age.  The time that it takes is up to the individual.

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I really love helping the kids because I want to see them make Eagle someday. But the other leaders are ruining my experience almost to the point that I don't want to be there anymore. I've probably been involved for about 2 months now so I'm still having to relearn things and how everything works, and I have missed a few meetings due to work, but the other leaders just expect me to know exactly where each boy is in their books and where to pick up from. If i missed the past meeting, how am i supposed to know what they have or haven't gone over yet? I've tried to explain this but they just look at me like I'm crazy. 

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19 minutes ago, Thunderbird said:

The average age for earning Eagle Scouts is 17 (plus some months), but Scouts can (and do) earn it at a younger age.

Right on both counts.  I am not sure what the average is in the troop I currently serve, but I would estimate that at least 60% of those who make Eagle in the troop finish the requirements within two months before their 18th birthday.  I am not even counting the board of review in that estimate.  Probably 30-40% have the EBOR after their 18th birthday.  Apparently the adult leaders in EagleForever's troop have somehow twisted that statistic into the idea that you are supposed to make Eagle right before you turn 18.  Obviously that is incorrect.  You are supposed to make it when you make it, as long as it is sometime before the 18th birthday, if you make it at all.

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8 minutes ago, EagleForever said:

but the other leaders just expect me to know exactly where each boy is in their books and where to pick up from.

What position(s) do you hold in the pack and troop?  It sounds like you are probably an Assistant Scoutmaster in the troop, in which case it is not your responsibility to know where any Scout is in his book.  In the pack, if you are the Den Leader or an Assistant Den Leader who has been specifically designated to keep track of the Cubs' advancement, maybe it is your responsibility.   If you are a committee member, not.  It is not clear from your post whether you are 21 yet, so I don't know what positions you are eligible to hold.

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4 hours ago, EagleForever said:

I have been an Eagle Scout since 2015 and I am currently serving in the military. I just got involved as a cub/troop leader close to where I'm stationed and I just have a few questions about some things I don't exactly agree with about the things  the other leaders are doing. So I have been away from scouting for around 3 years so I imagine there have need some things that have changed since I was in. So at cub meeting they are teaching the cubs to memorize the scout oath and law and all things to do with scouts. Is that a new thing? Because I can tell the cubs are having quite a hard time with it. And at scout meeting the Weblos are told to attend, and they are telling both the Weblos and Scouts that they will have to work super hard if they want to make Eagle, and that it will take them all the way until they are 18 to get it. Making Eagle is definitely a difficult journey, and there were times I wanted to give up, but I made Eagle at the age of 15. Not once have I ever heard leaders tell scouts that they have to wait until they are 18. Does this sound wrong to anyone else or has scouts really changed this much since i was in?

Well, the average age for Eagle is something like 17.4 years old.  Yes, the Scout Oath and Scout Law are now for all ages. 

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@EagleForever, welcome to the forums.

If it's any consolation, when I came back with Son #1 there were these kids in Exploring shirts calling themselves venturers!

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On ‎10‎/‎23‎/‎2018 at 1:31 PM, EagleForever said:

I really love helping the kids because I want to see them make Eagle someday. But the other leaders are ruining my experience almost to the point that I don't want to be there anymore. I've probably been involved for about 2 months now so I'm still having to relearn things and how everything works, and I have missed a few meetings due to work, but the other leaders just expect me to know exactly where each boy is in their books and where to pick up from. If i missed the past meeting, how am i supposed to know what they have or haven't gone over yet? I've tried to explain this but they just look at me like I'm crazy. 

Sir,

If I can offer advice.

Cubs is a circus... a wild ride with kids bursting with enthusiasm. If you cant make a den meeting one of the other parents can and should step up and handle things. When you get back they should be able to tell you what was completed or not. What level are you helping with ? I have done Lions which was a crazy adventure with some very excited kindergartners.

Boy Scouts needs to be Scout lead and as an Adult leader why are you tracking what requirements are completed and which ones are not? It would help the troop and the Scouts, if the parents have questions about advancement to ask the scouts in question. If that fails then they can ask the scoutmaster to pass the info on to the PLC.

 

and Welcome to the Forums.

 

Rob

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On 10/23/2018 at 11:54 AM, EagleForever said:

I have been away from scouting for around 3 years so I imagine there have need some things that have changed since I was in...

Go back more than 5 years and in most cases we'd be able to say that not much has changed. But today, yeah, things have changed a bit. 😉

On 10/23/2018 at 11:54 AM, EagleForever said:

So at cub meeting they are teaching the cubs to memorize the scout oath and law and all things to do with scouts. Is that a new thing? Because I can tell the cubs are having quite a hard time with it...

I think it's ridiculous to expect scouts to memorize the Oath now. At least at the younger ranks. Ideally scouts would be able to do it from memory, but good luck with that for Tigers, Wolves, etc. I have a Wolf Den of 10 scouts, 2 of which I know can do the Oath all the way through from memory. It's something we practice and work on, but it shouldn't be drilled into the kids. Besides, officially it's no longer required that they memorize it.

Bears and certainly Webelos I might expect to have it nailed down, but just consider the age/rank of the kids you're working with.

Easy solution if you have other leaders intent on memorization: Point it out in the book where it says "Learn and say the Scout Oath, with help if needed."

On 10/23/2018 at 3:31 PM, EagleForever said:

I've probably been involved for about 2 months now so I'm still having to relearn things and how everything works, and I have missed a few meetings due to work, but the other leaders just expect me to know exactly where each boy is in their books and where to pick up from. If i missed the past meeting, how am i supposed to know what they have or haven't gone over yet? I've tried to explain this but they just look at me like I'm crazy. 

Of the adult leaders in my Pack, two of us are Eagle Scouts, I'm one of them. I get the occasional joke about how something should be easy for me or I should already know how to do something because I'm an Eagle. And my response is always the same. Having gone through the program before and being an Eagle Scout gives you almost no advantage when you sign up as an adult volunteer. Basically it just means you know how to camp and probably already know the Oath and Law. That's it. Everything else is learning things new, especially at the Cub level and learning how to herd cubs.

Does your Pack use Scoutbook? I know not all units use it yet, but I've heard it's going to pretty much become mandatory, if it isn't already. Maybe you can encourage your Pack to get on board with using Scoutbook to track advancement so that it's easier for everyone to know where each Scout is in terms of completed requirements. My Pack uses it and it's great, if everyone keeps up with it. I can log in and see where any scout is at with advancement, if they were at the last meeting, how many times they've gone camping, etc. But it only works if most or all of the leaders commit to keeping records up to date.

 

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