Re: Eagle before 13?
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Mon, 26 Sep 1994 20:27:46 CST
This is my opinion on how we get Eagles at a older age and to insist
that those Eagles that earn this badge at 12 or 13 are "quality
* The requirements are completed AS LISTED IN THE BOOK. We don't
give credit for anything done outside of Scouting unless he can PROVE
that what he did outside of Scouting has a bearing on what he does IN
Scouting. For instance, he can use the fact that he played football,
basketball and tennis for the Sports Merit Badge and for the Athletics
Merit Badge. But he can't use that time away from the Troop as
"active in Troop and Patrol" time unless he *was physically active in
his Troop and Patrol*.
You can say what you will about how hard a football player or a soccer
player or a performer in the school play works. However, he is doing
that as part of *another team*, and his achievements are found in that
*other team*. What sets Eagles apart from their peers are their
ability to serve as leaders in one area and as followers in another
and be able to apply Scouting's principles in BOTH. This does NOT
call for a "either-or" situation AT ALL...what it does call for is
something we are looking from from Eagles: the ability to plan and
organize their personal life around the things they WANT to do.
* There are no "gimmes" in Scouting. You earn the badge or you
don't. You meet the requirements or you don't. The Scout needs to
complete a term of leadership in your Troop. That does NOT mean that
he meets the time on paper. I believe the requirement states that he
serves ACTIVELY as a Troop, Team or Post/Ship officer for a period of
time. During that period of time, you as the Scoutmaster has to
evaluate his performance in that role. There are many Scoutmasters
out there that "give the kid the badge...come on, he'll be a Eagle in
four months". MAKE THEM EARN EVERY STEP OF THE WAY. Don't make it
easy for them when they are Second and First Class...if you do, they
will EXPECT you to make it easy for them when they are Star and Life!
* The Eagle Advancement process (and the way your Council handles
it) is explained FULLY AND CLEARLY to Momma and Pappa TWICE. Once,
when he becomes a First Class Scout. Again when he starts work on his
Eagle Scout project. BOTH SHOULD BE IN PERSON. You owe it to the
parents of the Scout to explain fully and completely what happens, how
the application and project is completed, and what happens afterwards.
This also keeps you from having to explain it to a disappointed kid or
his parents after the failed Board of Review.
* Momma and Pappa stays OUT of the advancement picture. I don't
care if they have contributed 7 million to the Council's endownment
campaign. I don't care if they serve as chartered partners to the
Troop. As Scoutmaster, I don't allow parents of the Scout to "sign
off" anything. Nothing. If the Scout couldn't find a counselor other
than Mom or Dad, I found it my personal obligation to HELP find one for
him. When it comes time for the Eagle project, while Mom and Dad can
*suggest* projects to the kid, and of course they can go out and
assist their kid in finding appropriate projects, it is THE KID that
has to explain to me ONCE and FOR ALL what it is he wants to do, how
he came up with it, and Mom and Dad's involvement. If the kid tells
me that "they aren't involved" and later on, I find that they are, I
get really mad and go and talk with Mom and Dad. If they persist, I
tell them that I will refuse to sign the Eagle Application and if they
continue, I DON'T SIGN. PERIOD.
See Scoutmasters, when you place your name on that application, you
are approving this kid to be EAGLE MATERIAL. If you have *any
reservation*, you need to refuse to sign or state on that line
"SCOUTMASTER DOES NOT APPROVE" and let it go at that. But then, you'd
better "be prepared" to defend WHY you did NOT sign it.
* LET THE KID FAIL AT THE EAGLE PROJECT if you know that it don't
stand a chance in completion. I know, we should be emphaizing the
positive angle of thing when we are dealing with kids. Nonsense! We
should be letting them FIND OUT FOR THEMSELVES what works and what
doesn't. If we do their work for them at 12 or 15, what happens when
we expect them to lead Philmont contingents or serve as Senior Patrol
Leaders for Jamboree troops? What happens when they go to high school
and are confronted with the leadership of a school project? Do we "do
it for them" then, too? Many times, Scouts will know if a project
needs to be "re-worked" or "scrapped" long before we will tell them.
Let them explore the fact that you need permits to do construction
work; that you need to get permission from the City or the County or
even the State before you start doing some things. Let them find out
that its one thing to lead your OWN Troop members, a captive audience;
but yet another thing all together to lead those that have NO
connection to Scouting (and could care less that your'e doing this
"for a badge"). The parent in all of us wants each and every kid to
have this overwhelming huge successful project and that's NOT the way
things happen in reality. Let this "reality check" serve as a way to
get them to THINK about what this "earning Eagle" deal is really all
* finally, DON'T MAKE EAGLE THE "FINISH LINE". Once a kid makes
Eagle, that don't mean the end of his Scouting! As I mentioned
before, we Scoutmasters have this fixation on making EVERY KID a Eagle
Scout. It's NOT going to happen, then, now or in the future.
When I was growing up, there was an UNWRITTEN, UNDOCUMENTED but
PEER-PRESSURED rule that stated that "only (explitive deleted) leave
Scouts with the Eagle. REAL EAGLES leave with at least ONE Palm" and
the more Palms you earned, the more *prestige* you had amoung your
peered Eagle Scouts, adult AND youth. Those that left Scouting soon
after earning the badge were not thought very highly by those in the
program or in the community; even today, go and apply anywhere
downtown Fort Knox, or in Radcliff and the question given to you goes
like "you met the standard; what have you done to EXCEED the
standard?" The Eagle Scout Badge is the standard, if you really want
to place that standard that high (to me, the mere attainment of the
First Class Badge is the standard; the Eagle is slightly exceeding the
standard and the attainment of the Silver Palm to the Eagle is greatly
exceeding the standard). Tell them that you expect high standards
from them and you'll get it.
As I've stated here before, there are plenty of things to work toward
AFTER the kid earns Eagle at 13 or 14 or 16. But those things aren't
going to keep him in Scouting...a GOOD PROGRAM will.
Someone asked me if I knew of the "youngest Eagle Scout". The BSA
don't keep those kinds of stats. They really don't care how young the
kid is, only that he completed all Eagle requirements before age 18.
However, newspaper accounts say that in 1990, a 12.3 year-old named
Scott Hiland, from the Detriot area, is the "youngest Eagle Scout".
It makes sense, as the requirements clearly give a 10.6 year old boy
18 months to earn Eagle.
I don't know if Scott is a "good Eagle" or one of those Eagle Scouts
we point to at camps and say "he's an Eagle?" What we need to do as
Scoutmasters and those supporting Scoutmasters is to stop trying to
create as many Eagle Scouts as we can and instead concentrate on
making as many Scouts that have enjoyed the program and what we offer.
Quality instead of quantity. Program instead of promise. This is
what I've been saying in speeches, during training events, and here on
this list and other forums.
If a Scout is enjoying what we offer and contibutes to its success,
then he'll be an Eagle Scout whether or not we "present the badge to
him". And to *me*, THAT's what important.
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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