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ProudParent

Young Eagles - Ok with you?

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ProudParent,

 

Simple answer - no.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

 

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ProudParent in defense of everyone who took the time to respond to your post we did stick to the topic, bear in mind that you did not ask a specific question (take a look at your original post) The most you gave us to work with was

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".

 

The concensus of the group and the BSA is that the scoutmastrer has overstepped his authority in this matter. If the scout has satisfied the requirement then he earned the rank, and it is not the role of the Scoutmaster to hinder any advancement work by the scout, and that age does not determine maturity.

 

Bob White

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ProudParent,

 

Most of my stance would stay the same even if the discussion is limited to just the project. But in a way it becomes easier to make my arguement, in that the Scoutmaster does have to approve the project, which allows him to excersise judgement as to the worthiness of the project.

 

If it is a project that absolutely demonstrates leadership, and is an absolute service to the community, I think he is obligated to sign it (also, he should be reviewing for potential safety issues, I think). But this is where the SM's judgement comes into play. I don't think it is fair to say that a 13 year old should be held to the same standards as an 17 year old. But there has to be some minimum standard of acceptablility, and I think that level is higher than the overwhelming majority of 13 year olds can meet. For instance, how likely is it that a 13 year old has gained the abilty to lead adults, which often happens on Eagle projects? If he has adults working on the project, but cannot lead them, he is not fulfilling one of the basic parts of the purpose of the project.

 

And again, it is not because he is 13. It is because at 13, it is extremely unlikely he could have developed the skills necesary to complete the task legitimately.

 

I will say one thing, though. In the little bit of info you have provided, there is one part that would impress me that this guy might be one of the few that could handle it. And that would be his desire to take care of the requirements in the order in which the oppurtunities to do so present themselves, not waiting to do it at the end "like everyone else does". this assumes it is he who decided to develop and pursue doing a project, and not his parents or an adult leader (obviously, it wasn't the SM in this case). As Ed said, it is more customary that boys leave the project to the end. But it is not required. If your guy here has enough on the ball that he ignores what everyone else does and instead does what feels right for him, maybe I'd be inclined to look more favorably on the idea. Maybe he is that rare kid who could have gained all of these skills and put them to use on a project. But again, that would make him the significant exception.

 

Mark

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@Mark - thank you for your thoughts on this specific item.

 

@everyone who has posted - I do appreciate all of the posts, I just wanted to get to the specific point of my question - Can a Scoutmaster block a scout from advancing.

 

In this case, the Scoutmaster won't even TALK to the boy about the project. Therefore, he hasn't given the boy a chance to propose anything or discuss anything. He was simply Shut Down.

 

I worry that this will have an adverse effect on the scouts' attitude toward the Scoutmaster/troop/scouting in general. At the moment, he is very frustrated.

 

Another thing to consider is the following: the Scoutmaster has since made it known to me that it's not just about this particular boy. He told me that he knows that there are more young boys in our troop who are advancing rapidly who he wants to slow down. He says that he wants to make sure the boys are ready to bring maturity to the rank. He seems to have a desire to "protect" the rank of Eagle from their youth.

 

Is this right? It would seem so far that this attitude is deemed unreasonable by this group.

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I would say that's a fair conclusion. I don't think anyone believes it proper for your SM to not even consider the boy's project.

 

Since you are the advancement chair, what is the opinion of the troop committee chair? If the CC is of no assistance, perhaps it's time to contact your unit commissioner.

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Sorry for the mutiple posts. Something was gummed up with the network.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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Even I would say that the SM has no right to refuse to talk to the boy about this.

 

If the SM says no, the boy has every right to know why the answer was no. If it is a legitimate reason, the boy then has the chance to fix whatever is unsatisfactory. If the reason is bogus, then the boy, and possibly later his parents, would have something to base a protest (formal or informal) on.

 

Come on SM, even if you're right, you've got to at least communicate!

 

Mark

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Hi folks:

 

I'm posting because I did earn the rank of Eagle at the age of 13.

 

I don't mean that my parents did it for me, although I will admit that my father counseled Architecture merit badge (he's an architect) and my mother counseled me on gardening merit badge (she wanted me to do all the work for the summer.)

 

Other than that, I worked my little tushy off and would lay awake in bed at night dreaming of my next rank. When I came home from my second or third troop meeting, I announced to my parents that I could make Eagle at age 13. In those days, there were time requirements between each rank and I had done the math. My parents answered by telling me that I had to do 1/2 hour of Scouting every day to make it happen. They enforced it much like most parents enforced school homework. Every day I didn't have a troop meeting or a campout, I read a merit badge pamplet, worked on a merit badge requirement, or just read the Scout Handbook.

 

I really, really, really wanted to be an Eagle Scout.

 

Thank God my Scoutmaster didn't block my project due to my age. He did, however, make sure it was worthy of an Eagle Scout.

 

That was 24 years ago. It's gone now, but it lasted over 10 years. The project, I mean. The Eagle Scout rank still stands.

 

I stayed active with the troop and the OA lodge until I went off to college at the age of 18.

 

Were my skills and maturity at the age of 13 those of an Eagle Scout? I'll say yes, but only because they were tested in boards of review (in that council at that time) by the district advancement committee for ALL Scouts going for Star, Life, or Eagle. I'm not advocating that system, but it did eliminate troop bias or parent bias, etc.

 

Having said that, let's ask the question the other way -- were my leadership skills and maturity greater at age 18 than they were at 13? Of course. Just like they're greater at 37 than they were at 18.

 

Do I think Scouts should earn Eagle at age 13? Not unless they deserve it. Of course, Scouts should never earn Eagle unless they deserve it.

 

 

I'm getting off my tree-stump now.

 

Here's the rest of my story (these things were only possible because of the efforts of volunteers like you)

 

I attended Eureka College on a full-tuition scholarship named for President Reagan because of Scouting.

I became a professional Scouter in 1989 because I wanted to pay Scouting (meaning people like you) back for what it had given me.

I met my wife (a Girl Scout Gold Award earner) at summer camp and we've been married for 11 years.

All things good in my life have been touched by BSA volunteers.

 

Thank you!

 

DS

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Allow me to post a few rambling thoughts.

 

Can the SM block the boy's pursuit of Eagle? Yes (It appears that he has.) May be block the boy's pursuit of Eagle? No. It violates BSA policy. Same goes for merit badges by the way. (Shades of the smoking thread?).

 

It scares me when someone implies that he would expect more out of a 17 yr. old shooting for Eagle than a 13 yr. old doing the same.

 

Maturity is not a requirement for ANY Boy Scout rank.

 

From personal experience, my son earned his Life rank at 12 years and four months. Our troop is very young and he was able to hold position of PL (six months), ASPL (six months) and den chief (1 yr.) {Note: The DC position overlapped his PL and ASPL positions.} I did not council on any MBs or approve any of his requirements. He is self motivated for Scouts (I wish I could say the same thing for school). Unfortunately, he suffers from the opinion of some that because his father is SM (me) he had an easy road to Life. In reality, I did not become SM until after he earned his Life rank. In reality, the requirements for Life are not that hard. He has had ample exposure to service projects, has attended almost every outing, served in leadership positions, etc.

 

Now, do I expect him to make Eagle any time soon? No. From the way I see it, the Eagle requirements are light years ahead of the Life requirements. Being elected Patrol Leader and the associated responsibilities for that position is an order of magnitude easier than creating, developing and managing an Eagle project. He plans to coninue earning MBs and enjoying his activities in Scouts. Besides, he has to wait for Dad to ramp up the SM learning curve having never approved or worked with the boys on an Eagle Scout project.

 

 

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Let me first issue a disclaimer. I don't know the Scout, the SM, or the Troop involved in ProudParent's thread, so I don't know what anyone's motives are here. That said, I'd like to take a stab at ProudParent's follow-on question: "Can a SM block a Scout from advancing?" I think the answer to that is an emphatic "yes".

 

When we're talking about meeting requirements, let's not focus exclusively on counting merit badges, how many "Ts" are next to his name in the Troop Record Book, or an admin check on a project workbook. Not to be preachy here, but the mission of BSA is not to produce Eagle Scouts, but to produce adults of high character. In my mind, that makes the Scout Spirit requirement very important, and if a Scout just doesn't cut it in the character department, that's where an SM has to do his job, no matter how unpleasant. And, that's not to say that a Scout who may not be showing Scout Spirit today, couldn't pass the requirement later, with some behavior modification. The alternative is a situation in which a Scout meets all other requirements regarding attendance, POR, MBs, but has behavioral or character issues...and there's no "circuit breaker" to prevent advancement. Is there any other reason why the Scout Spirit requirement is there?

 

I know this discussion went from a specific to a general one, and I want to make sure nobody thinks I'm taking sides in ProudParent's case. My point is that not only can a SM block advancement, there are cases in which he should.

 

KS

 

 

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The two most misunderstood concepts that I have seen when discussing Scouts is maturity and discipline.

 

Nothing in the Scout Oath (Promise) and Law mention maturity. To "show Scout spirit" is to live the oath and law in your everyday life. Therefore, there is nothing about maturity in the "shows Scout spirit" requirement. That said (or should I say typed?), some immature behavior, such as being disruptive, discourteous, etc. if NOT Scout like and does not show Scout spirit. Immaturity and "shows Scout spirit" are not mutually exclusive behaviors.

 

Some boys are silly (my second son) some are very somber (first son). Are scatological references indicative of immature behavior? In some eyes, yes. In others, not necessarily so. Jim Carrey seems to make quite a nice living with it.

 

At the end of the skill session the other night while some of the boys had a few minutes before the SPL assembled them for closing (SM minute, messages, retiring of the colors, etc.) my second son told the boys a joke. If you are an American when you are not in the bathroom and not an American when you are in the bathroom, what are you when you are in the bathroom? Answer: European! Some of the adults who overheard this viewed it as immature behavior. While immature, I thought it was about par for a ten year old. Was it disruptive, not really. Did it violate the Scout Oath or Law, no. Humor can have a great bonding effect and it could be argued that he was showing Scout spirit (that may be a stretch but do you see where I am going?). You can not equivocate (is that a word) the two.

 

Look at the original post. Can a SM block a boy from beginning his Eagle project because he feels he is not mature enough (i.e. silly)? The answer is a cut and dried NO!

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Thank you dsteele. I enjoyed your story, for the most part younger Eagle Scouts have stayed with the program and have gone on to even more acheivments. Each scout should be able to work at his own speed for all requirements and receive the rank when earned. I try not to confront scoutmasters with the rules, but advancement should be the same no matter where or who is in the troop (except disibalities). Not to say that leadership and spirt should be credited to a scout who just shows up to meetings and will not do anything extra.If a scout is ready to fly he needs a little nudge out of the nest.

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KS,

I agree with you on most points. I do feel this SM is a little out of line not letting this Scout start his Eagle project. I commend the boy for wanting to get started!

 

What this SM can do is ensure this Scout understands wnat his role in his Eagle project is. He can also ensure the Scout is the one doing the project, not his parents.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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