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There is a story that Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York City and one of the wealthy men in the world, may have been the youngest Eagle Scout on record. Your committee and scoutmaster have no right to withhold your boys rank. TAKE THIS TO YOUR SCOUT EXECUTIVE AND IF THAT DOESN'T WORK, TAKE IT TO YOUR EXECUTIVE BOARD.


And by the way, your son at 14.5 years old, is not so young. The national average for Eagale Scouts is 13.7 years old (maybe 13.3).(This message has been edited by fotoscout)

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Young Eagle Scouts...


Cookie monster your son sounds like a Scout in my troop. He crossed over after earning the Super Achiever award as a Webelos last february. This young man is a great Scout. He has acquired the nickname Doc because since he earned First Aid merit badge last April he has been their as soon as anyone gets hurt. He has all the merit badges for Star and I think 1 or to 2 for Life. With just one requirement left for First Class.


Are his parents pushing him. Nope. His older brother has been in our troop for 3 years and just made Star. Are the parents supportive of their sons, you betcha. If they want to work on Scouting Mom and Dad are right there to bring them places or help them figure out how to get to the next step. The younger Scout asks questions like "How do I go about doing the orienteering requirement for first class? Is there a course set up somewhere? Can my buddy and I go there this weekend?"


Will he be an Eagle at 13 or 14? I would say yes. Will he stay on with Scouting after that? Again I say yes. As long as a troop is very open that Eagle Scout is a step in the Scouting adventure then it is not looked on as a race with Eagle Scout at the end. It is looked on a challenge to meet along with others like being SPL or a member of the OA or earning all the merit badges. Eagle Scout is well defined challenge along with many others.


Another Scout in our troop is moving at a fast pace as well, come to think of it he is a Super Achiever recipient as well, he will be 13 two days after he has his BOR for Life. His goal has always been to be Eagle by age 15. One of his goals is to earn all 15 the Eagle required merit badges to use in his 21 for Eagle. Another challange set up by the Scout himself.


My opinion is never discourage a Scout. Sometimes redirection is necessary at times but if they are focused on scouting all the better. Fuel the fire and keep him going.


I don't know what advice to give you about changing the culture in your troop. Sorry. I think it is a shame that your son could miss out on earning some or all of his palms because of this misplaced set of ideals.



Eagle Scout 1980

WB C-32-05 : a good old Bear

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The national average for Eagale Scouts is 13.7 years old (maybe 13.3).

I suspect that is skewed by LDS units. I'd be interested in the average of just traditional troops.

Looking back over the troop's Eagles from the last 9 years.


1 was 134 were 147 were 157 were 1629 were 17 (23 at or near their birthday)

Of the ones I know (I joined the troop 4.5 years ago)  the ones who earned their Eagles when they were 15 tended to be the best with solid leadership and character. There are exceptions in the older group and some of the younger Eagles have grow in this area. But overall I'd have to consider 15 the sweet spot. Younger scouts tend to think they are owed leadership positions and that they don't have to listen to leaders. Those that don't earn it by early 16 typically are marginally active until their parents start putting the pressure on about 17.5 and then they are around just enough to get Merit Badges signed off and recruit workers for their project.

So, cookiemonster, I think your son is just about right. Although, there is a difference between having a position and being a leader. There is no way for us to know, but experience tells me that those with many merit badges have not been taking the time to develop skills in working with peers, and could have been working on merit badges to avoid this.

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I've appreciated the support and comments from everyone. I soul searched for a couple of days to determine whether I was an overbearing parent as someone had suggested. I even asked my son and he said no, you're just involved. I think his maturity and growth have come from having an involved family and I do intend to keep it that way. Involvement however does not mean I do his work for him or even direct it. As parents and siblings we are there for support and have many other kids who consider our family to be a substitute when theirs doesn't show up for something.

As far as merit badges being a way to avoid others, on the contrary. He's met all kinds of different people and has explored career options, hobbies, and sports. This is no way interferes with his troop or his leadership role within it since merit badge work takes place on his own time. I could think of a lot worse ways to spend his free time. It amazes me that someone would think an endeavor so educational was overkill or an escape since it clearly neither.



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In our troop, our last 6 Eagles (over the past 3 years) have every one, had their BOR after their 18th birthday. We have another who will likely have is SMC this week, but he is just 3 weeks from his birthday; another (who is the SMs son) is at the exact same place, but his 18th is in February.


These boys are not pushed within the troop (and mostly not too hard by parents, from what can be seen), but neither, in the past 3 years, have we had a scout age out who did not finish as an Eagle. I am disappointed to have so many boys wait until the last minute, but I am proud that they all have followed through with it.


I have heard some leaders privately state the they are concerned about 13 year old Eagles (considering that we haven't had one within 5 years of that in recent memory, I don't get why the have their knickers in a wad about it). Nonetheless, never have I seen action which in any way held up or slowed down a scout's advancement.

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Yah, I think it's always best for us to be a bit circumspect about our expectations for Eagle, eh? When we say a lad of age 13.3 or 14-15 "should be there" I think we should be mindful that we're sayin' "in my troop's program".


Buffalo Skipper points out there's a lot of variation out there in troop styles, eh? From LDS units where boys quit Boy Scouting for Varsity Scouting at age 14 (and so push Eagle for 13-year-olds), to units like Buffalo's where Eagle is somethin' that an active, young adult scout gets around to as the "capstone" of his 7-year "career" in Boy Scouting.


Each helps build character in boys. Each has a point. Each way of lookin' at things has upsides and downsides, and it's right to say that two Eagle Scouts from different programs are not equivalent (any more than two diplomas or two varsity letters are equivalent from different schools).


I'm personally partial to da notion of Eagle as a capstone award for a young adult, representin' the skills and maturity of a capable and talented high school senior. I respect the other view of Eagle as a middle school award (well, mostly ;)). Lots of different ways of usin' Scouting to achieve our aims for kids, eh?




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Am I the only one who thinks that eagle palms should be anything to strive for? Are they so rare that people tend to ignore their existence? The opportunity exists to earn 20 eagle palms over a period of five years which means the scout must achieve the rank of eagle when he is 12. It appears to me that BSA national is encouraging this if that is the way the program is designed.

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In my own experience I have had very few 13 year old scouts ready for Eagle, and what is the real motivation for pushing the boys too fast. On the parents side I feel it is because many are afraid that by 14 the boy will grow bored with scouting and drop out of scouting. Then the question becomes who really is the boy earning Eagle for himself or mom and dad?


I have seen the rise in numbers of troops that are little more than Eagle mills and I have to ask myself what have we adults done to the spirit and purposes of scouting? We have moved so far away from our roots that I feel that National really has lost focus on what scouting should be not only in words but in the experiences every boy should have while in scouts. In another thread a scouter mentioned that WoodBadge has become nothing more than an organizational management class and after attending both the former and current versions I would have to agree to a large extent. Now the same could be said for the boys program, and I have to agree with those like Kudu who are not too impressed with Mazzuca's plan for the future of the BSA, but only time will be able to answer that question.

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Ok.. guess I'll throw in my nickel (inflation has really pushed that $0.02 up).


I am an Eagle.. and I earned it at 13 years, 7 months old. And I do mean EARNED it.


Do I think I missed a lot of the ride or didn't appreciate it? No way. I worked hard to get there.. and I was the first Eagle in my troop in over 7 years. I immediately took my newly earned rank and used it to mentor four additional scouts up thru the ranks to Eagle.


I performed as Patrol Leader several times afterwards and was Senior Patrol Leader for 2 years. I focused on the Youth Religious awards and brought other scouts with me on that trail.


Traveled to Philmont (back when getting to any of the High Adventure camps were the extreme exception rather than the rule).


I believe that there are driven boys in every troop. I see them in my Cub Scouts I lead now. I think we should feed them and encourage them and let them soar at whatever speed they want to move at. The journey to Eagle is important.. but I view the journey after Eagle as the more important. These are the times that define character.. when you need to step to the front and lead in all ways... set good examples and give others a direction.


I would not have changed a thing about getting Eagle early. I grew so much more than I could have realized afterwards.

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When a boy is excited about scouts, is excited about advancing, attends most of the campouts & meetings, has scout spirit and can demonstrate skills I don't see a reason to hold them back. When a kid is a self starter I pat them on the back and encourage them to set goals and work hard for what they want.


If I had a scout that wanted to earn all of his merit badges I'd be working at helping to track down good counselors, not holding him back.


FWIW our troop has never had a 13 year old eagle. We have the 15-16 group that has been to summer camp 4 times and consistently show up and are active. Some but not all of these remain active in the troop after they eagle. The other subset are almost 18 years olds that are active for a few years and then go dark until they are 17 or so.


JMHO(This message has been edited by knot head)(This message has been edited by knot head)

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I was a 14 year old Eagle, and yes, I earned it myself, too.


What really makes me mad was that someone didnt pull me aside and tell me to enjoy the ride. I was too focused on the goal. And when I reached the goal, I faded quickly from Scouting. I missed going on into doing more with OA, JLT, working on Camp Staff, Philmont etc I popped in here and there with my troop to strut around as a past Eagle, but didnt take in the whole experience. I missed out on a lot of growth and reinforcement that wouldve very much helped me later in my teen years when I badly needed Scoutings positive influences in my life. Maybe the issue wasnt that I had my Eagle early, but that others around me didnt encourage me enough to take advantage of those opportunities. Or maybe they did and I just wasnt interested in listening. But I do know that once I had my Eagle there was nothing to keep me coming back and being active in the Troop. Thats when I started to lose interest in Scouting.


I dont believe in 13 year old Eagles either.




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This seems to be a polarizing topic with not many folks in the undecided category. I'm thinking that maybe the one's who can't imagine having the drive to accomplish anything at age 13, probably never did themselves. No one needs to push kids to achieve, it can come from within. My son has recently joined NJROTC at his school and is advancing and achieving but not because Mom and Dad are behind him giving him the boot. We don't know the first thing about it. He is having a great time, totally self-motivated, and doing it without parental input - proof to me that we are not the driving force behind his eagle aspirations. I am hoping however, that we had something to do with him growing and maturing and making his own decisions. And thanks bkale for the support - it sounds like you were a great scout at a young age also.


Okay, one more thing. I don't believe that the requirements to become an eagle mean that you "can't stop and smell the roses" or it's so demanding to the detriment of all fun. You can work for it and STILL have fun!

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Yah, cookiemonster, I think yeh joined in the "polarizing" there, eh? ;)


I think it's important to recognize when this topic comes up that nobody is talkin' about what a kid is or isn't capable of, eh?


We're talkin' about how a program should be structured.


Naturally, each of us, especially those of us who are volunteerin' at the unit level, have a bit of a bias in favor of the way our unit does things. :)


I've seen many wonderful ways for a program to be structured. And da thing is, those young, bright, high-achieving lads, they behave differently in different programs. It's not that one program affords 'em opportunities and another denies them or holds 'em back. It's that the programs offer such lads different opportunities to challenge themselves and achieve.


Some programs emphasize advancement, and place a psychological premium on rapid advancement and lots of badges, eh? In those units, high achieving kids do that. Dat's a program choice more than it's a kid choice.


Some programs emphasize outdoors and depth of knowledge for advancement. In those units, a high achieving boy might take three years to make First Class, but he can run circles around most 13-year-old Eagles when it comes to skills. That, too, is a program choice.


Some programs emphasize maturity of judgment and leadership. In those units, a high achieving boy might not advance very fast at all, but he'll take enormous pride in how the boys in his patrol are doing and how he's helped 'em grow and get better at things.


Just depends how a program wants to approach things. Of all da units I've seen, the ones that do the best with bright, high achieving lads IMO are the ones that require depth of knowledge and skills rather than rapid advancement. That type of lad seems most at home and seems to grow the most facing that type of deeper challenge. But those units can sometimes be too much for "part time" scouts or lads who aren't as bright or motivated.




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