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ProudParent

Young Eagles - Ok with you?

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Hello, all!

 

This is my first post on this forum - I am happy to have this resource.

 

I have been the Awards Chair for our troop for 4 years and before that was the same for many years on various cub scout packs. I have been around the scout arena for a long time, but this is a new one to me.

 

Our Scoutmaster wants to block a young Life Scout (13 years old) from beginning his Eagle project on the basis that the scout is "not mature enough". I have never heard of this before. Granted, the boy has a tendency to be silly (some of our scout leaders have likened him to a "young Jim Carrey") but I don't see how this should affect his scouting career.

 

I would very much like any or all opinions on this matter.

Thanx!!

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No the Scoutmaster can not hold back the boy. Now having said that committe and Scoutmaster can make sure the boy lives up to standard of an Eagle, and no I do not mean adding requirements, I mean do not give him any slack on the merit badges, leadership position, and project. He has plenty of time and should be able to come up with a great and grand project that he will be proud of for years to come and not one that will be gone come the next year(like cleaning up the church grounds). If the boy was motivated to work this hard for his ranks, he should have the ability to work just as hard if not harder on his Eagle. This is coming from a parent whose boy is also on the fast track to Eagle.

 

P.S. I hope he worked hard for the Eagle and it was not his parents idea.

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Requirements. He has to do the requirements. Only the requirements. If he does the requirements and passes them, you can't hold him back. The SM is making a personal judgement and that is adding to the requirements which is against BSA policy.

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I supsect you'll get answers across the board on this one!

 

On one hand, if a boy meets the requirements, he is entitled to the award. There are a few tenure restrictions on the route, but a 13 year old could have navigated those, so it isn't impossible for a 13 year old to be Eagle.

 

On the other hand, there are some reality issues involved here. I'll just present one with which I am very passionate:

 

One of the Eagle required MBs is Personal Management. One of the requirements for that MB is to develop a budget and track it for three months. Meeting the bare minimum of the requirement, a boy could plan his entire income being milk money, his entire expenditures being on milk, and he will have met the minimum requirement. But does this really teach the skill intended? Absolutely not!

 

So how do we balance the two? I'm not sure. I know I deal with it by telling anyone who approaches me to do this badge that I won't work on it with them unless they have significant enough income. I won't define what significant is, because I don't think it is fair to make a boy have a job to earn the badge. But he has to have enough income and outgo to be of real significance to him in his day to day life. If he doesn't have that when he wants to work on the badge, I speak with his parents about it. If I can convince them, and they can convince their son, all is well. If not, then I give them the name of other councelors.

 

When does a boy begin having "significant" income and outgo? Well, I'd say once a guy gets interested in stuff that cost money, like cars, girls, even video games, and encounter parents who won't just give them the money to partake, it's about the right time. When he wants to take Lucy out, and needs money for the movie, and mom and dad don't fork it over, it's time to learn about budgets.

 

There are other examples I feel are appropriate, not the least of which is the physical abilities required of Lifesaving, which I think are almost impossible for the average (not all) 13 year olds to demonstrate. I know that Emergency Preparedness is an alternate. But I use this as an example. some things are just not likely done satisfactorily just because of a boys age and / or size.

 

And lastly, I have another problem with this. Let's assume that the boy was exactly 11 when he joined, and he is exactly 13 now (humor me). In 104 weeks, he has completed 34 (approximately) rank requirements, and easily over 175 MB requirements (I am estimating: I didn't actually count them). Does any one here really know any Scout, particularly a 13 year old, who can learn, practice, and demonstrate an average of over two requirements per week? And if so, is it likely they were completed to the best of that Scout's ability?

 

In the long run, I don't think that a 13 year old could be stopped from getting Eagle, but I don't think I could participate in facilitating it.

 

Mark

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Thank you all for your replies, thus far. I have read things here that are like GOLD to me.

 

One thing you have to realize is this: the boy is 13, but he is not done with the other requirements for Eagle by any stretch of the imagination. It is just that he has found an appropriate project and would like to act on it. He still is working on his pos. of respons. and has 3 more merit badges, plus has to solicit his recommendations. He has a long way to go!

 

I assume that this fact would have changed the response I had from Mark, correct?

 

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Sam Walton the founder of WalMart earned his eagle scout at 13 years old. At the time he was the youngest eagle scout in the nation. And just look at how badly he turned out. :)

 

I have yet to meet two 13 year olds who shared much in common other than their age. To judge their ability to fulfill the expectations of Eagle simply by looking at their age is unfair. You need to look in the individual character and accomplishments of each scout.

 

ProudParent, what your SM is suggesting is in violation of the BSA advancement policies.

 

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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is there any requirement that say he must have the badges & other requirements done before his project?

 

unless there are - i don't see any rreason to hold this young man back. Right now, as gung-ho as he sounds, he might have the time and resources to devote to an Eagle project - if he waits until 15 or 16 when girls, jobs and other demands interfere, he might have a harder time juggling those demands.

 

I would not skimp on ANY requirements, though. In the end, doing his project at this time might make him a better scout for the troop, too.

 

And Mark? I have seen a few boys who were focused enough to really work steadily on a goal and able to complete those kind of requirements at that pace. We have two or three in our troop that could do that, Easily! and have! Especially if the family is dedicated to scouting, and / or a homeschooling family that uses scouting as part of their schooling program.

 

It's not the profile of an ordinary 13 yr old, mind you, but it's not that uncommon, either!

 

LauraT

 

 

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Heck, if he is good enough to get the Life rank at 13, why wouldnt he be good enough to get Eagle at 13? Or at least work on his Eagle Leadership Project when he is 13. If he isnt mature enough,the project wont happen and then theres no problem.

 

Just because you son (?) doesnt fit the Ordinary profile of advancement, doesnt mean a thing. After all, as another forum member likes to say, the BSA is not supposed to be a "Cookie Cutter Organization". Advancement is at the Scouts pace. I mean if you think about it, lets say the scout joins on his 11th birthday. He becomes first class on his 12th birthday. He has 6 years until he is 18. Whats the magic formula to determine how long he should be at each rank? Wait, I know, until he earns the next one! He has to earn it, but if he does, its his.(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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Mark -- based on your criteria for Personal Finance, that is, being old enough to "take Lucy out and need money for a movie," my boys at 14, 15, or 16 won't pass either. :) I know that was just an off-the-cuff example, but how is your minimum budget not an added requirement?

 

As leaders, I think we need to meet boys where they are. Certainly I would expect a higher level of sophistication and refinement from a 17-year-old than a 12-year-old. But that's true whether the badge is Personal Finance or Basketry.

 

If national intends to set a minimum age for Eagle, they'll write it into the requirements. Until then....

(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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I have to admit to at times being a little upset, by the people who want to put their own view and interpretation of things.

My son was a 13 year old Life Scout. He is now a 15 year old Life Scout. I have no way of knowing what might have been, I do know, that he still enjoys being a Scout, is happy as the troop quartermaster, attends most of the trips and camp outs that the troop does.He is active in the Order of the Arrow, as the Brotherhood Chair.

He is also happy playing soccer, performing in the school plays. Playing volley ball, and spending a lot of time on the phone talking to girls. This is/ was his choice.

I think if he had not got so "Busy" with all the stuff he is doing maybe he might have been a 14 year old Eagle.

Not by his choice:His hair is the natural color, he doesn't have a bone through his nose or his ears pierced. That's our choice, as his parents. But if he did have green hair and multiple rings through his ear /ears, and a bone through his nose. As long as he had completed all the requirments. He would be an Eagle Scout.

I think that he still plans to become an Eagle, and I think that he knows that both his mother and I, will do everything to support him, in his effort. But he is the one that will become the Eagle. It will be his Eagle. The entire family will be very proud of him and for him.

I will not push him.

But if someone came up with some reason of their own making, to prevent this from happening. I would not be a happy camper. And would be sure to let them know, that they were out of line.

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I agree 100% that we cannot add to or take away from rank advancement requirements. That said, I think the "Show Scout Spirit" requirement is the one place a Scoutmaster could exert leverage in this area. For example, if someone were a class clown to the point it was disruptive, a Scoutmaster could have an out-of-cycle conference with the Scout, pointing out how his behavior was not indicative of "Obedient", or how he wasn't "...doing his best...to help other people at all times...". A stretch? Depends on the situation.

 

Maybe this is fodder for another thread, but when I'm sitting across from a Scout at a SM conference, we discuss the "Show Scout Spirit" requirement. And by the way, if I think a Scout, particularly a more senior one, is having problems with the "Show Scout Spirit" requirement, we'll be talking about it waaaaaay before his SM conference for advancement. We'll have a clear understanding on what the requirement means in plenty of time for him to demonstrate it...or not demonstrate it -- his choice.

 

Perhaps the problem is one of terminology. "Mature" isn't one of the points of the Scout Law. Trustworthy is...helpful is...and so on. It would probably result in a lot less drama all the way around if the SM in this case articulated what he meant by "immature" in terms of the Scout Oath and Law, which, after all, is what we measure when we determine Scout Spirit. The requirement is worded somewhat subjectively; maybe this is why.

 

Do I think 13 is too young for an Eagle Scout? Depends on the Scout! Some 13 year olds are plenty old enough. Some 17 year olds aren't old enough.

 

KS

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Gotta agree with all the other posts. If this Scout has completed all the requirements, the SM can't hold him back from starting his Eagle project.

 

Usually, the project is the last thing a Life Scout does on his trail to Eagle. It sounds like this Scout is going to do it 1st & then complete the rest of his requirements for Eagle.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I hate being the subject of posts that disagree with me, but I think this is important enough that I don't want to just aquiesce.

 

I would like to clarify my position.

 

I agree 100% that age is not a valid factor in any advancement. But from my small window on the Scouting world (about 90 boys over the last 7 years as advancement chair getting to 13 as a Scout), I have only seen one boy who I thought had what it would take to legitimately make it to Life Scout. He didn't, because he was more involved with other things (karate, football, wrestling, 4.0 GPA). But he was the only boy I've encountered that I think could have focused and channeled his energy and ability into legitimately earning Life. I have also seen a number of 13 and 14 year old Life Scouts, all from other Troops, except three transfers into our Troop. For the most part, it would not be fair for me to make the statement that these boys didn't deserve to be Life. But with the little evidence I had (Scout skills, leadership technique, dependability, etc.) I believe that almost none of them deserved the badge on their chest. It is not fair for me to make a blanket assumption based on my limited experience and say a 13 year old could never legitimately be a Life (or Eagle Scout), but I think my experience is quite enough to be suspicious of anyone who is.

 

To put it another way, it isn't being 13 that keeps most boys from deserving Eagle, it is most 13 year olds' ability to meet the requirements legitimately that does.

 

One story to make my point (and I'll be the first to say one story doesn't make it true for everyone):

 

We had a boy whose family moved in from out of state looking for a new Troop. He was directed to our Troop first by council office. The SM met with him and with his parents. He was 13 (almost 14, if I remember), and Life. When asked what leadership positions he held in his old Troop, he said something like "I don't remember the name - it's kinda like the one where you help the adults with the gear". He ended up with another Troop, but was in the same school as many of our Scouts. During an American History class, one of our guys made the comment that a lot of what they were learning would be useful in Cit. of Com and Nation MBs. He told them, in a bit of a NA,NA,NA voice, that he already had those badges, and didn't remember his mom using hardly any of the information he was hearing in class to write the notes he took to speak with hte MB councelor. THIS IS A TRUE STORY!

 

Again, just because one boy was like this, doens't make them all like this. I know that. But I use an example sometimes that might work here: If everyday you walked out of your house, and a green dog bit you, a different green dog every day, pretty soon you'd start being supsicious of green dogs. No matter how much you might have liked green dogs before, you'll start to be very careful around green dogs, at least until one of them proves he won't bit you.

 

It's the same here for me. I didn't start out thinking 13 year olds were generally too young for Eagle. Heck, I wanted my oldest son to be an Eagle as soon as possible, and still wish my current 13 year old could get there. But he isn't old enough right now to earn it legitimately, and neither have any but one boy in my 7 years experience. So when I see or hear about a 13 year old Eagle candidate, I am suspicious. I guess it might be just the water in my neck of the woods that makes our guys less qualified. but when ours get there, they've earned it. And not because we made them be older. they're older because we made them earn it.

 

Specifically in this case, I agree with Bob White and others. If the SM is saying the boy can't earn the rank because he is 13, he's wrong. If he is requiring a minimum level of leadership, or ability, or whatever, that he can't show BECAUSE he is 13, and he is being reasonable and even handed, I think he is right.

 

Mark

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Ok, everyone, I understand your position on a kid being a 13 year old Eagle, but that wasn't really my issue.

 

The child in question is only trying to work on his project and is being blocked. Is it right for the scoutmaster to block a Life Scout from working on his project???

 

PLEASE try to stay on this subject....

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