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Cburkhardt

Good Ideas for Girls Earning Eagle in 2-3 Years

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Some things to keep in mind:

Cyber Chip (rank requirement for Scout and Star):  Requires Scouts to write and sign a personalized contact with a parent / guardian and also to have a discussion with parents.

Fitness requirements:
Tenderfoot - practice & track for 30+ days
Second Class - at least 30 minutes per day for 5 days a week for 4 weeks [must be done after completing TF #6c.]
First Class - at least 30 minutes per day for 5 days a week for 4 weeks [must be done after completing SC #7a.]

Merit badges to watch out for:
Family Life - Track chores for 90 days.
Personal Fitness - Outline a fitness program and track fitness for 12 weeks.
Personal Management - Track income, expenses, and savings for 13 consecutive weeks.
Camping - 20 nights of camping with specific requirements (cabin camping doesn't count).  6 nights at summer camp can count if the Scout sleeps under the sky or in a tent.
Cooking - Not really difficult, but has some specific requirements that Scouts need to be aware of and follow.
 

As far as leadership positions of responsibility go, there are around 15 PORs that count for purposes of the Eagle Scout rank, and some of them can be held by more than one Scout at the same time (Instructor, Den Chief, ASPL, one Patrol Leader per patrol, etc.).  So, the SPL can make troop-level appointments (in consultation with the Scoutmaster) and make sure that Scouts who need PORs for a particular rank get one.  Something else that can help with PORs is to have 6 month terms of office instead of 12 months.

 

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@Cburkhardt, I think any other scout's particular written plan could send your scouts down a very wrong path -- especially if it winds up clashing with their interests. These older teens can review the requirements and plan for themselves. The venturer, especially should by now be skilled at back-dating from a target date to schedule a series of steps towards completion of an adventure. Most camp staff have similar opportunities, plus they should know how blue cards work. Scout C is a wild card. You almost certainly need to listen carefully to her interests and have her start on an MB of interest to her with a counselor you trust. Then when she comes back with her first blue card, you will have data to let her know if she needs to pick up the pace to stay on track.

For mature scouts, I always suggest that they be working on an elective and required MB every month. Most scouts this age would do well with personal management, personal fitness, and family life.

Weekend campouts are a must if they want to earn Camping MB in 18 months.

Really, they only need to attend one summer camp so they can rack up 6 camping nights. Everything else they need for advancement they should do on weekends or evenings with their troop, patrol, or their friends.

Your next few SMCs will tell a whole lot more about where to direct them than any timetable that someone claims worked for their scouts.

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Thunderbird:  Thanks for the specific “catches” on merit badges and rank requirements that have time requirements that need advance attention.  This is the kind of thing we need these youth to be aware of.

Qwaze:  The multiple weeks of summer camp is good for merit badge completion — especially for the previously “unscouted” girl.  Our 7 weekend campouts will give them plenty of chance to compile the 20 nights.  Great overall thoughts.

keep the ideas flowing folks.  When we have covered it enough I will compile a one-page summary and post it broadly.

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Really? A sixteen year old can earn two or three MBs a month, meet the caring adults in her community at her convenience, use some of those learning experiences to enhance the life of her patrol and troop, be in control of her own destiny, have all the badges she needs plus a few for insta-palms by year's end ... and you think "extra summer camps" is a good idea?

That's not being prepared. What if she can't go to more than one BSA camp? What if she goes, and hates it because all she has is MB classes that she doesn't care about. What if she goes and likes only one MB because that camp is ansolute best at teaching it and only wants to take that one again and again and again. What if she goes, and your venturer tells her about a really awesome two-week super activity that a crew she knows is doing next year? 

And, this is really important: your new adults have more to offer through their jobs and hobbies than they realize. If you endorse some stranger's MB program over their ability to provide unique opportunities for your troop, you are giving a vote of no-confidence to the people who will be keeping your program afloat for years to come.

This is not a hypothetical. I've made lots of plans with older teens ... all of them were extremely diverse ... none of them involved extra weeks as participants at summer camp. They didn't all end aging out with Eagle rank, but they all achieved the aims of scouting.

If after week 1, this scout really likes summer camp, let her know about additional weeks she may attend. But, don't link that with advancement.

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As everyone can see there are many different and valid ways to do this, and many believe strongly in their views. This  is great because it confirms the importance of our chosen volunteer work. One circumstance I will note is that leaders of all-girl troops are particularly tasked to simultaneously start up a unit and provide concentrated attention to these older girls.  I think utilizing the advantages of top-notch summer camp staff and programs Can be a smart way for new girl troops to go.  But I recognize these other approaches as very good.

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I had a scout wake up when he turned 16 and decided he wanted to get eagle. We talked. I explained to him all the tight time lines. Then I let him be. He worked his butt off. Alas, he didn;t pay attention to one of those time lines and he missed it by about a month. Had I the time and was a bit more organized I would have reminded him but I was quite busy as well. I felt bad. I know he felt bad. But he was also quite honorable about it. I was impressed. I told him if he ever needed a letter of recommendation I'd write him a glowing one. He took me up on that. I think he's in med school or something. Bright. Talented. A bit disorganized. But he'll make the world a better place. He was also one of the best SPL's we've ever had.

Bottom line, give them some encouragement but let them be. They need to figure this out. They need to want it. They need to make it happen. But they don't need to get it.

@Cburkhardt, I've seen plenty of people that try to solve every little problem for the scouts. Half my time spent at eagle projects was always grabbing parents aside and telling them the scouts need to find the problems and solve them because that's where the learning occurs. It's the learning that we're after. The rank is just a carrot for the scouts.

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Attending multiple summer camp weeks can also be expensive.  Summer camps in my area run around $300-$450 per week.  A motivated and focused Scout can earn 6+ merit badges in one week of summer camp, which could take care of a few of the Eagle-required merit badges, plus many of the electives.

The quality of instruction at summer camp can also be hit or miss.  If there are merit badges that a Scout is interested in that can't easily be done elsewhere (Climbing, Kayaking, etc.) then summer camp is the place that I would recommend doing them.  I wouldn't recommend doing a merit badge like Cooking or Camping at summer camp, where most of it can't be done in a group setting anyway.

We have some local pools that have merit badge counselors for Swimming and Lifesaving.  Earning Swimming prior to summer camp would be good preparation for the swim test at camp and would free up a class slot for something else that the Scout might want to do.

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4 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

As everyone can see there are many different and valid ways to do this, and many believe strongly in their views. This  is great because it confirms the importance of our chosen volunteer work. One circumstance I will note is that leaders of all-girl troops are particularly tasked to simultaneously start up a unit and provide concentrated attention to these older girls.  I think utilizing the advantages of top-notch summer camp staff and programs Can be a smart way for new girl troops to go.  But I recognize these other approaches as very good.

This is no different from many boy troops that have started over the past.  All this information is in the rank advancement portion of the scout manual.  I work with boys and girls in troops and tell them the same thing.  "Read your manual"  It really has everything they need for the ranks up to 1st class.  You seem very focused on getting the girls to Eagle rank, that is no different from just about every new scout parent I have worked with in the past.  Advancement is only one of the methods of scouting.  Nobody here is telling you that the girls shouldn't get Eagle or have a plan.  What everyone is saying is that your position is no different from what people have gone through in the past.  There has been great advice given here that it seems that you have dismissed. 

My advice:

I recommend you start attending your district round tables and networking with other leaders in your district. 

Do some activities with another troop or crew or ship to help  get through the initial obstacles.

Go camping every month not just seven.  

Read the BSA leader guides especially volume #1

Talk to your unit commissioner on a regular basis.

 

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

Go camping every month not just seven. 

 

I definitely agree with this advice.  Aim for 10+ campouts per year.  Maybe 2 per month during the summer when Scouts don't have to deal with homework, conflicting extracurricular events (sports, band, clubs, etc.).

Edited by Thunderbird
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It's already been said, but I would just emphasize that those 90-day tracking merit badges take a while and should be planned for. Also leave some time for false starts if a Scout gets off track with the tracking and needs to regroup. 

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On 4/21/2019 at 11:09 AM, Cburkhardt said:

... One circumstance I will note is that leaders of all-girl troops are particularly tasked to simultaneously start up a unit and provide concentrated attention to these older girls. ...

I missed this earlier. I had to deal with this misconception when I started being a crew advisor. These older girls -- especially A and B from your post -- aren't entitled to anything from you but a welcoming, oddly care-free, environment. There is no transaction to be made regarding advancement tips or tricks. When I realized this with my venturing crew, I began to see real personal growth from, and honest-to-goodness friendships with, my venturing females. Turned out it was the same thing that older boys were looking for. As far as advancement:

  • The only thing you owe these young women is potentially 7 scoutmaster conferences, and your committee owes them 6 boards of review. I suspect your real challenge will be keeping your committee agile enough to have these promptly once requirements for a rank are met.
  • They owe you all to live up to the oath and law, be first class scouts (concept, not patch). If they are all that, I bet you and your committee will have four chances by end of summer to review plans and suggest alterations.
  • At those boards of reviews, it will be really important to ask what MBs the scout is interested in. That's where your CC will find out he/she needs to recruit other adults who could qualify to be counselors. That's the other thing you owe them. The contact info for caring adults.

I agree about the comments about camping frequency, but I suspect Miss A and Miss B have sufficient connections to BSA camping opportunities outside their troop. Miss C would really benefit from a patrol that takes initiative and schedules a couple of overnights. A and B could help, but the YP regs might get in the way of their doing so.

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Older girl advancement is proving to be a lot like ..... older boy advancement.  Not a surprise because the younger girl advancement in our Troop has already evidenced the identical tendencies.  At the 10 week mark we already have our first Eagle-type go-getter with 3 merit badges, almost tenderfoot, etc.  And, we already have a few laggards with drastically less to show.  

My conclusion from all of the (mostly) wise comments is that I should focus our assistance on understanding and complying with our advancement  process on Scout C.  Some of you are, in my view, just a bit harsh on her circumstance.  Our advancement system is complex as it should be.  

Scouts A and B are from families that know our system.  Family C needs some help or they would just not be able to penetrate the system sufficiently.  It would be substantively unfair to see their daughter fail because of a “gotcha” omission or mistake.  So, we will share the specifics and “heads-up” ideas skillfully detailed in this posting and recommend the other 2000 Scoutmasters of these troops do so as well.  Apparently most of you must be reading this because our viewership on this posting is pretty healthy.

I think there are some additional hints out there that yet need to be shared with the wider world.  So readers, continue to share your thoughts and strategies.

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I'm not suprised to see that older girl advancement is like older boy advancement.  Honestly, having a son and daughter about the same age that's what I'd have expected.

I know there's a lot of sage advice on this forum that a lot of Scout development comes from being proactive and willing to learn and traverse the advancement process in the BSA.  In our troop, we've always taken the approach of making sure that advancement is available to all those who show the willingess to pursue it.  I think this is a very good thing.  As a Scout, I was less comfortable tracking down adults to earn merit badges.  So, while I was a steller Scout until I hit Star, I imploded after that.  I did not care for having to find adults to advise me on merit badges.  I became frustrated and to an extent withdrew as a Scout.  I never advanced again.  Was it better for me to simply stop advancing, become frustrated with Scouting, and quit, or would Scouting have served me better if some troop adults had made it easier for me to grow accustomed to asking adults for help with merit badges.  In hindsight, I think I would have grown as lot more with the latter. It's a great sadness in my life that there wasn't someone who held me to overcome my insecurity and reach Eagle.

So, I tend to applaud your approach to making sure it's within reach for Scouts to have a path to Eagle if they are interested.  Thank you for thinking it through on these new Scouts behalf.

 

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On 4/20/2019 at 9:30 PM, Thunderbird said:

Merit badges to watch out for:
Family Life - Track chores for 90 days.
Personal Fitness - Outline a fitness program and track fitness for 12 weeks.
Personal Management - Track income, expenses, and savings for 13 consecutive weeks.
Camping - 20 nights of camping with specific requirements (cabin camping doesn't count).  6 nights at summer camp can count if the Scout sleeps under the sky or in a tent.
Cooking - Not really difficult, but has some specific requirements that Scouts need to be aware of and follow.
 

To that list, I'd add Sustainability (for those scouts who choose it over Environmental Science).  Sustainability MB requirement 2 is very involved and requires tracking water consumption, energy use, food waste, and "stuff/consumer junk" --- the logs span up to 4 weeks.

 

 

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Thanks, Mark.  I will prepare a 1-page summary of the 2-year advancement "heads-up" suggestions provided by everyone and post it in about a week.

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