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Hello everyone,


I haven't posted here in a long while but have an issue that has come up recently and I would appreciated any advice anyone can offer.


There is a 17-year-old Life Scout in the troop who will be leaving enxt week to go abroad for a year, during which time he will turn 18. He completed his Eagle project last summer, but has had some hangups with scout spirit and merit badges. For the former, he has been verbally abusive (and occasionally physically) to boys in the troop, and has often been caught lying about it and other things to troop adults. For the latter, he had to complete Personal Management, Personal Fitness, and Family Life.


However, he has failed to deal with these issues. His promises for change at his scoutmaster conference and to troop adults have gone unfulfilled, and he failed to complete the 90 day requirements for some of his merit badges; he started too late, but found counselors (in one case a parent) to sign off on them anyway.


However, the district advancement chairman, not knowing of these things and wanting to get another Eagle feather in his cap, has scheduled a board of review for this weekend anyway. Further, it will not have any representation by the troop, only district people who do not know the scout. (In my council, an Eagle BOR has 3 or 4 troop adults and 1 or 2 district people on it--I'm not sure how it's done elsewhere). This will allow the boy to effectively be rubberstamped without any questioning on his tasks for improvement, or about his honesty.


The one thing the troop still needs to do is have the scoutmaster sign the scout's Eagle application. My question is this: is it right to with-hold the scoutmaster signature and not allow this scout to get Eagle? Or is this an overreaction?

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Hi, nice to hear from you again. Are you the SM? If so, you seem already to have made the decision...or am I wrong?

But to answer your question directly, the SM must make his best decision and I doubt that any one of us in the forum is in a better position to judge this situation than he is.

Given only what you have related and if I was the SM, if I decided not to sign I would meet with the boy and his parents to explain why. If they subsequently provided compelling evidence that my judgment was wrong, I would then sign it. Not a pretty situation either way, good luck.


I'll be interested in reading other opinions.


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Pray for guidance.


Is the SM asking for support and assistance with this issue?


What a tough predicument to be in.


Please forgive me if I am wrong. I thought the Eagle board was to consist at least 3 and no more than 7 folks, 1 must be from the troop, 1 must represent the council. The remaining can be of the committees choosing, Scouts requests, SM's request, etc.


You stated that the troop was not to be represented at the board of review. That doesn't sound right. I am going to spend a few minutes researching this. Been a while since I was involved in an Eagle Board of Review, I could be wrong. Yep, hard for even me to believe, but, I could be wrong! Tee Hee!


Knotty Fox

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There's that old saying "a lack of planning on your part doesn't constitute an emergency on my part". This boy had time to straighten his act out, complete his Merit Badges and complete Eagle according to the rules. Based upon what I've read here, I see no reason to give him special treatment. I would not sign his Eagle app and would wish him the best on his trip.


Now, if he wanted to continue to work on his merit badges, and could document the work and communicate back to counselors, I'd consider letting him complete things while he's on the road. The paperwork could be completed prior to his 18th birthday, and he has six more months to get his BOR done.

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Keep in mind that the aims are character, citizenship, and fitness. Advancement is a method. It sounds like your troop gets this. When It is certainly wise to consult with ASM's as sounding boards, because as SM it is easier to sign and give a social promotion. Knowing that others (ASM's, etc.) are of like mind that a particular scout hasn't yet earned the rank is certainly helpful.


I would go with packsaddle's advice. If the district chooses to advance the scout without SM signature, they may have that right. But on a local level, it is certainly permissable for the SM to choose not to sign, based on his assessment of the scout and whether he fulfilled the requirements or not.

The SM has to interact with and teach leadership and responsibility to the rest of the scouts in the troop, and his/her job will become more difficult if they see the SM recommending advancement of a scout that has not taken opportunity of the chances provided to change behavior and attitude.


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How, pray tell, is the district going to handle the incomplete required merit badges? If they haven't been completed, there is no way the Scout can even qualify for his Eagle BOR.


I would complain to council & national on this one! Just because your DAC wants kudos doesn't give him/her the right to totally circumvent the entire process.


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Can your troop not request to have unit members present?


Who will be there to present the youth for his Board of Review? Could the lack of signature be addressed at that time?


Our council generally tries to have unit committee members sit on the Eagle BoR. However, we ALWAYS have someone there to "present" the candidate. At that time, they share pertinent information with the Eagle board. Once upon a time, we had an Eagle candidate who had a (serious) problem after his SM Conference & signature and before the Eagle BoR. A simple phone call to the District Advancement Chair explaining the situation held the entire process up. The DAC waited until the SM (that would be me) gave approval to go forward.

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evmori asks:


"How, pray tell, is the district going to handle the incomplete required merit badges? If they haven't been completed, there is no way the Scout can even qualify for his Eagle BOR."


But the original poster says:


"and he failed to complete the 90 day requirements for some of his merit badges; he started too late, but found counselors (in one case a parent) to sign off on them anyway"


So from the District's point of view, the merit badges have been completed; they've been signed by a counselor. However, it appears the sign-offs were done improperly. For one thing, the merit badge process involves the Scoutmaster directing the Scout to a counselor; the Scout doesn't find one who will sign him off. Furthermore, if the parent (or other counselors) who signed off the Scout's merit badges is not registered with the council as a merit badge counselor, that's another reason to question the validity of the merit badge.


To summarize, the sign-offs appear to have been done by a counselor not approved ahead of time by the Scoutmaster, and possibly the counselors in question are not registered with the council. IMHO, if the Scoutmaster feels the Scout has not properly completed the requirements for Eagle, but is just looking for solid "evidence" to support his position, this may be it.

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The scoutmaster can refuse to sign the Eagle app. The Committee Chair can also refuse. The Board of Review can still be held, but they would have to take into account the refusal of the troop to sign off on the application.


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I'm not understanding the Merit Badge thing.

In our Council the Council provides a computer print out of the Scouts Scouting history.

It shows all the dates of rank advancement and all the Merit Badges earned.

Only Merit Badge Counselors who are on the list that is approved by the District Advancement Committee are allowed to counsel Merit Badges.

Once the blue card is signed by the Counselor and the Scout Leader, it's a done deal. The Scout has met the requirements. (Please note I didn't say earned the Merit Badge.)

If the card has been signed by Joe Blow or anyone who has not been approved the requirements have not been met.

If earning Eagle is important to this Lad I would think due to the circumstances an extension would seem in order. If he then fails to meet the requirements he will join the 95% who didn't make it.


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