Re: Eagle Scout Candidates who wait . . .
(no name) ((no email))
Thu, 26 Sep 1991 09:21:00 EDT
I have a strong opinion on this topic, and I know that there will be many
others that disagree strongly on what I will say here....
Without reprinting the Eagle application, I believe that one of the
requirements is that "the Scout must be ACTIVE in TROOP activities for at
least 6 months since becoming a Life Scout...." and that somewhere else
on the application, he has to explain what he has done activily with the
Troop since becoming Life. He also has to have a SCOUTMASTER'S Conference
(Personal Growth Agreement conference, in my day and time) before going
before the board. He also has to serve in a Troop LEADERSHIP position for
at least 6 months while a Life Scout. I uppercased them because I feel
that those are the keys to your answers...
Those applications should have never got to your committee. They are NOT
"Eagle Scout" material, and extreme caution should be given each one of
those that come your committee's way.
ACTIVE....that means participation as much as the Scout can participate. IT DOES
NOT MEAN EVERY SINGLE EVENT...even I cannot attend everything on our Council's
calendar, because some events are held the same weekend as many others. The
key events in a life of a Troop are (in this order): Summer Camp, a fall
roundup or recruitment drive, a fall encampment (either Troop or District
/Council), a social event, at least two Courts of Honor, a spring encampment
(again either Troop or District/Council) and a "planning conference" of some
kind. Everything else is adding to this list...and makes the Scout MORE active
than his peers.
TROOP....not OA, not District...the Troop is the cornerstone of the Boy Scoution
experience...and that is where the Scout should be centering his efforts while
"waiting out his time". Has he tried to attend Troop meetings? Yeah, having
a real active social life in high school is important, as well as participation
in other activities OUTSIDE of Scouting/Exploring is highly important...but
come on..a Troop meeting is ONCE A WEEK....and generally, most Scoutmasters
that understand the high-school aged youth, understand that he may have to
leave at 8:30pm or get there after the opening at 7pm. OA activities are
important too, but the Order exists to provide opportunities for service to
Troop operation and Troop programs.
SCOUTMASTER....where WERE these Scoutmasters?? After at least a year, his
Scoutmaster/Coach/Advisor should have "kicked him in the pants" and spurred
him on to completing the application process. I hate to say it, but leaving
it COMPLETELY on the Scout to do it says little about the concern of the
Scoutmaster...or the Troop's Committee, for that matter. Scoutmasters should
be looking out for these Scouts and insuring that what they are doing outside
of the Troop is why they cannot attend the Troop meetings. For example, one
of my friends and fellow Eagles was a tight end for our high school football
team and shortstop for the baseball team and on the school's JROTC color guard.
Our Scoutmaster went to the home games...even made one a Troop activity...and
helped cheered him on....he went to the baseball games and gave us progress
reports on how Rene' was doing ("he was alful...the coach took him out in
the first quarter...", "he hit a homer against West Hardin on Tuesday"...)
At the same time, he can meet off-line with the Scout and remind him that
he still has a home in the Troop (hey look, we are going out to Covered
Bridge next weekend for our own campout. I know you have a game on Friday..
how about coming out Saturday afternoon and spend the night??)
Even in these days where we have to be careful about what we do, our number
one concern is the development of youth....and part of that development calls
for TALKING and PRESSING the youth to "do their best".
LEADERSHIP...What kind of Eagle Scout is one that don't even give leadership
to his unit?? Yeah, yeah...he did it three years ago as a instructor. Well,
like one of my Post members keep reminding me when I bring up what the Post
did in the past, "that's back then in them dark ages...we are talking right
now, here". So, what has he done to convince you as a Scoutmaster and you
as member of a Board of Review to sign that page?? Has he lead a Troop event?
Has he served in a Troop leadership position (and not just on paper??) Has he
taken Scoutmaster Basic (in most Councils, Junior Assistant Scoutmasters can
take Scoutmaster Basic...)?? Has he had a chance to work with younger Scouts??
Part of what we look for in Eagle Scouts is the ability to lead. We try to
evaluate that when he does the service project. We also try to evaluate that
when he serves as a Troop leader. Note that unlike the Star and Life
requirements, there are only a handful of TROOP LEADERSHIP POSITIONS that can
be used here....and that "catch-all", the "Scoutmaster-assigned leadership
project" don't cut it here...So if he has not been there to help up the younger
boys, well, he COULD continue to serve in the Troop, but he's NOT someone that
two years from now, I would point to and say "That's one of our Eagles".
To answer your bottom-lined question, Chris: does someone like this live
up to my expectations as a Eagle candidate? The answer is a "NO WAY!"
I would recommend to Scouts in this prediciment:
1) If you are NOT 18 yet, to get ACTIVE with your TROOP and work out
something with your SCOUTMASTER to catch you up to where you should be.
2) If you are 18, I would STRONGLY recommend you find an Explorer Post and
become active in it and strive for the Exploring Achievement Award, since
Eagle Scout is beyond your reach now (the Scouting advancement program
stops at 18; the Exploring Acheivement Award stops at 21)
3) your appeal to the Council had better been strong, with evidence that you
could NOT make the Troop meetings or activities in the two, three or four
years since you "not remained active"..
4) that Troops drop such youth after two years of "inactivity" because their
chances (okay...above the board chances, not "I'll do this for your Troop/
Council, if you send this on forward...) of becoming Eagle is pretty slim.
I know that this will spur others on to disagree with me. I expect it, and
welcome it. After all, this is all what I feel and not policy.
And yes, I am feeling a LOT better, thank you all for your thoughts and
Mike Walton (Eagle w/silver & gold Palms)
Faculty Advisor, Bluegrass Scouting Alliance Club/EKU
Council Exploring Commissioner/Service Team Chair
Bluegrass Council BSA
("that guy that writes books to reply to a simple question!")
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City