Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
mrkstvns

What constitutes an "Eagle Factory"?

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

... that join the troop about 50% earn Eagle. 

Your metric isn't probably that bad as I think national's number is based on scouts joining as Lion and Tigers and all the losses that happen during Cub Scouts and before switching to the old scout programs.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in agreement with the comments that labels can be problematic.  If the program is strong, and truly youth-led, and it is the youth that are creating the means and opportunities for their fellow scouts to advance then there is no problem.  If they choose to have MB nights, and select the MBs to be offered and recruit the counselors needed, great.  If it is a situation like what @bsaggcmom suggests, where the adults are directing it, then it is not particularly a good thing.  If the youth are planning and selecting service opportunities for their fellow scouts to have the selection to participate/not participate, kudos to them.  At the moment it becomes a program where the adults force it on to the youth to participate, force them to get into merit badges, or even do the recruiting to get counselors and that becomes the collection of MBs scouts then chose from, it is now adult led and thus the rank advancement is being spurned on by the adults.  My sons former troop was very much like that.  I saw scouts achieving Eagle that did not complete MB requirements, and were given sign-off "because the scout told us he did them"- I was the counselor for several of those badges, seemed pretty simple to me that the scout should have been directed to come see me to discuss sign-off.  The responses from other adults were generally "he's 17 1/2, it's no big deal"- as though age and that the kid "hung in there" was all that mattered.  I did see scouts that busted their a$$ and got to Eagle at 14-16 too, but a lot of time there would be comments behind the scenes of "do you think he's really ready?", which only exasperates the notion outsiders have that they are focused too much on Eagle (and their version of what that is). 

There is often a fine line between being helpful to the scouts and doing too much for them that takes the work amount required from them from 100% to 25% in a only a few seconds.  At times, it can happen without realizing it.  We also have to be mindful to let failure become a reality- the suggestion can go to the PLC about it might be a nice idea to have Mb nights for badges X, Y and Z so that scouts can have a chance at getting some Eagle required ones knocked out- but, if the PLC drops the ball and doesn't recruit the counselors, stepping in and doing it for them isn't the right answer.   
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

Your metric isn't probably that bad as I think national's number is based on scouts joining as Lion and Tigers and all the losses that happen during Cub Scouts and before switching to the old scout programs.  

Actually, their 6% metric is based on at this point in time, +/- 850,000 Boy Scouts Scouts BSA registered for a specific year, 50,000 Eagles in that year, so roughly 6%.  Sort of a false measurement based on what they say and what they report.  Each year we do not get a new 850,000 Scouts, more like 200,000 +/-.  Many are registered for 3 - 5 years (some longer).  I would argue the number of Scouts who join the Scouts BSA program that get Eagle is closer to 25%.

The real measurement would be how many unique Scouts (yep, I know, they are all unique) and bounce that against Eagle Scouts, then you would have a true measurement of How Many Scouts Get Eagle

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an interesting discussion when experienced scouters of 30 years join forums to ask ideas for streamlining their girl program to get Eagle in 2 to 3 years (Eagle Mill?).

Strange times.

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say it's a [derogatory name] if advancement is the sole aim. When my troop had 70-ish scouts we'd have 6-8 get eagle a year. We also had two high adventure trips and summer camp every year because the scouts wanted to do all that. If anything, I added requirements (mainly, scouts would have to know all the skills they had ever been signed off on before any rank SMC). It was never a pass fail test. It was show me or let's learn it again. Another thing I noticed was that nearly all the scouts would get Life somewhere between 14 and 16 and then decide they had plenty of time. At which point they would go into what one scout called slacker phase. They'd still have fun camping. Then one day they'd wake up and say "AHHH, I'm running out of time!" I honestly tried to get them to set some reasonable goals but it was akin to squeezing water from a rock. Just about every scout that stuck around till they were 18 got eagle. That was completely self motivated on their part. The thought process was something like "I've spent all this time doing scouts, I should at least have eagle." I once tried to figure out our percentage of scouts that got eagle and of the scouts that joined about a third stuck around and got eagle.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Actually, their 6% metric is based on at this point in time, +/- 850,000 Boy Scouts Scouts BSA registered for a specific year, 50,000 Eagles in that year, so roughly 6%.  Sort of a false measurement based on what they say and what they report.  Each year we do not get a new 850,000 Scouts, more like 200,000 +/-.  Many are registered for 3 - 5 years (some longer).  I would argue the number of Scouts who join the Scouts BSA program that get Eagle is closer to 25%.

The real measurement would be how many unique Scouts (yep, I know, they are all unique) and bounce that against Eagle Scouts, then you would have a true measurement of How Many Scouts Get Eagle

Thank you.  I always think I know everything.  I'm corrected and appreciate the information.  It was once explained to me as a measurement of the whole scouting journey Tiger to Eagle.  How many join and how many finish.  

The number seems much more reasonable then.  I trust the number of Eagle is fairly steady (maybe growing), but the expectations are better defined and youth have many more resources.  Then add that the number of members has drastically dropped resulting in those that are in the program are probably from families that really value scouting.   And, thus want their kid to earn Eagle.  

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

This is an interesting discussion when experienced scouters of 30 years join forums to ask ideas for streamlining their girl program to get Eagle in 2 to 3 years (Eagle Mill?).

Strange times.

Barry

Careful...implied critiques of girls joining Scouts BSA may be frowned upon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Careful...implied critiques of girls joining Scouts BSA may be frowned upon

Yes, that one simple noun seems to be a distraction in discussions where it's identity has no relevance. 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

Actually, their 6% metric is based on at this point in time, +/- 850,000 Boy Scouts Scouts BSA registered for a specific year, 50,000 Eagles in that year, so roughly 6%.  Sort of a false measurement based on what they say and what they report.  Each year we do not get a new 850,000 Scouts, more like 200,000 +/-.  Many are registered for 3 - 5 years (some longer).  I would argue the number of Scouts who join the Scouts BSA program that get Eagle is closer to 25%.

The real measurement would be how many unique Scouts (yep, I know, they are all unique) and bounce that against Eagle Scouts, then you would have a true measurement of How Many Scouts Get Eagle

My reply (well, one of them) when this was discussed on Bryan's blog https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2016/02/24/eagle-scout-statistics-for-2015/:

Quote

Now for the statistics lesson (paraphrasing from last year's post): this number closely approximates the probability of any scout becoming Eagle in a given year as long as the numerator is small. But, as the percentage gets large, that probability gets underestimated because the denominator doesn't account for other factors like scouts who might only be registered for a year and venturers who have never earned 1st class.

The more useful stat that is less biased by "migration" of boys in and out of the candidate pool is the cumulative # of eagles over the rate of scouts ever registered. I calculated that statistic with centennial numbers: 3.9% of those who were ever registered as boy scouts obtained Eagle. This is what the general public perceives. They know lots of dads and grandads who were scouts. but not many who were Eagles. Up until the 90's, this number hewed closer to 2%. Then declining membership numbers and unrelenting increases in numbers of Eagle scouts began to add more to the numerator than to the denominator.

So, what's happened, IMHO is that BSA and NESA have not promoted being a first class scout. They have oversold the importance of making Eagle, and scouts who only had it in them to make first class never felt welcome. That's the real harm in high-speed low-drag advancement. It makes first class sound easy. It's not if you are afraid of the lake and that's where you want to swim your 100 yards, or you read "complete" an orienteering course as find 100% of Mr. Q's fiendish controls, or memorize all of the verses of the Star Spangled banner, or whatever it is you think you need to overcome. And if leaders sign off "good 'nuff" on too many requirements, the scout will feel patronized and move on to something outside of scouting that he thinks is truly "next level:"

This comment from Bryan's forums is very telling (https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/forums/topic/trail-first-class/#post-114117):

Quote

... When I was scout it took me almost two years to get to First Class, and I felt like I was a failure. Some of the things that might have complicated that is I was diagnosed with autism as an adult, and the troop was failing. (not enough outings I think.) ...

In no universe should any scout who makes it to 1st Class, even if it takes him 7 years, feel like a failure.

Edited by qwazse
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good post qwazse. I like how you found your numbers. I'm not sure of your reasoning for scouts not feeling welcome if they weren't Eagle motivated because 97% of our new scouts couldn't really care less about any rank. And, with today's adults, scouts actually have to go out of their way to resist working toward Eagle. 

I'm also not sure about your bold 1st Class opinion. Oh I agree and understand that scouts should be given the freedom to chose their own path, but I need confident campers. The First Class rank used to indentify a level of skills confidence required for surviving in the woods. Even if a scout is insistent they don't earn rank, I would still insist they prove themselves after a certain time frame. It's just a lot easier to look at a rank patch.  

I think that is where National went wrong, they have turned skills levels into indicators of stature, not skills confidence. Next to advancement, leadership is the most abused requirement because scouts today are expected to lead for the tenure requirement, not growth of skill. As a result, there are a lot of PLs running that couldn't lead their own shadow, much less a patrol. 

Barry

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All the math in this topic encouraged me to look back through our troop records.  We don't track any of this stuff, but since we've been good at keeping advancement records online the info was all there. Also - we're a farily large troop (about 75 active scouts) and have had a pretty stable program for many years.  This means lots of records to through :)

On average over the past 20 years we've averaged:

  • 20 new scouts per year
  • 12 1st class Scouts per year
  • 7 Eagle Scouts per year

Average troop size has been about what we are now - 75 scouts.  Every year about 15% of the scouts reach first class.  About 10% reach Eagle.  Over the entire period, 59% of the scouts reached 1st class and 28% reached Eagle. 

We're definitly not an Eagle mill troop.  What I see is that the troop adults are trying to foster success in as many of the eight methods as possible.  It's not a concious plan, it just happens.  The troop adults encourage youth leadership & the patrol method, provide lots of support for an active outdoor program, have plenty of high adventure trips, encourage quality adults to volunteer, do their part to have advancement opportunities for Scouts who show interest.

But again, we don't have an organized program to push rank advancement.  We provde opportunities - especially in the first year.  But, we never teach merit badges at meetings.  Advancement campouts are limited to that first year as Scouts are learning skills - they're really skills campouts.  We do have an Eagle Co-ordinator who mildly nudges older Scouts.  But, the nudging is more of a "hey Tom, have you thought about a project yet?  No?  Well, you might want to start thinkign about that - you'll be 17 soon."

But what happens is that because we have a pretty well rounded program run by the Scouts, we tend to see Scouts stay engaged longer.  I saw that about half of our attrition each year is from Scouts who simply aged out.  Here's another interesting set of statistics I calculated from the records.

Average time to achieve rank:

  • Scout - 3 months  
  • Tenderfoot - 6 months 
  • Second Class - 12 months
  • First Class - 16 months
  • Star - 2.5 years
  • Life - 3.2 years
  • Eagle - 5.5 years

So, because Scouts stay active - rank advancement just tends to happen.  5.5 years is not quick for anyone to achieve Eagle.  Our average Eagle Scout is 16.8 years old.  If we didn't have retention and active older Scouts, there's no way we'd have seen 28% of our scouts reach Eagle.

My conclusion from all this?  Focus on having a great, well rounded program that keeps Scouts engaged throughout the years.  The rest happens naturally.

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, qwazse said:

In no universe should any scout who makes it to 1st Class, even if it takes him 7 years, feel like a failure.

Agreed.  ... IMHO, the scout should find pride in their journey, not just a rank.    ... In my mind, I'd even argue "rank" is not a great measure of skill of a scout. I think other measures are much more telling.  Number of nights in a tent.  Number of nights in a tent below zero F.  Number of miles on a river.  Number of miles hiked.  Number of high adventures. 

 

18 hours ago, qwazse said:

So, what's happened, IMHO is that BSA and NESA have not promoted being a first class scout.  ....

I disagree.  Even fifty years ago, Eagle scout was prestigious and magazine cover art was around earning Eagle.  

IMHO, the higher percent of Eagles is because the bottom has fallen out.  Fifty year years ago, youth asking to be in scouts because it was a great way to spend their time.  To be with their friends.  To camp.  To do fun things.  Now, scouts don't like the idea of an outhouse or "roughing it".  Their idea of roughing it is sleeping in a friends basement.  So the current pool of scouts has a much higher number of scouts chasing rank or being pushed by their parents.  

I don't think this is a BSA promotion thing.   It's market dynamics.  If you are in scouts, you expect a reasonable path to earning Eagle.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/9/2019 at 1:04 PM, Eagledad said:

This is an interesting discussion when experienced scouters of 30 years join forums to ask ideas for streamlining their girl program to get Eagle in 2 to 3 years (Eagle Mill?).

Strange times.

Perhaps....but perhaps not so strange.

If we embrace the idea of "Servant leadership", then that experienced scouter is doing exactly what he should be doing --- enabling scouts to achieve their goals.  

While we might not normally encourage a youth to zip through the scouting program in a mere 2 years, I think we can understand why a girl who has been locked out of the program until now will want the chance to achieve the same goals as boys. If she has the ambition and motivation to do it for herself, then I will be happy to help her just as I'd be happy to help any boy who has a goal that might not mesh with everyone else's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

Perhaps....but perhaps not so strange.

If we embrace the idea of "Servant leadership", then that experienced scouter is doing exactly what he should be doing --- enabling scouts to achieve their goals.  

While we might not normally encourage a youth to zip through the scouting program in a mere 2 years, I think we can understand why a girl who has been locked out of the program until now will want the chance to achieve the same goals as boys. If she has the ambition and motivation to do it for herself, then I will be happy to help her just as I'd be happy to help any boy who has a goal that might not mesh with everyone else's.

Maybe, but ambition should be guided into scout actions, not shoehorned by adult actions. Even your own words suggest the question is directly intended for the girls. Is that modeling "Servant Leadership"? 

It could be me, but after so many years of observing human nature, I'm cautious of the motivation to adorn the unit for adult vanity. I said in another thread that we should consider giving all the girls an Eagle now so the program can move on.

Barry

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  

×