Re: scouting's goal
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Mon, 7 Nov 1994 19:41:12 CST
gregor herrmann <Gregor.Herrmann@UIBK.AC.AT> writes:
>a friend of mine (an austrian scout currently studying in
>gainesville fla.) has sent me a BSA boy scout handbook (10th edition
>1990). i found one sentence that caught my curiosity:
>"your boy scout handbook [...] will point you toward the most
>important scouting goal of all - the eagle scout rank." (ben h.
>glove, chief scout executive; page vii)
(Ben H. Love's preface to the opening of the Scout Handbook)
>IMO scouting has a slightly different goal than earning ranks (BTW:
>i tought it is called "advancement system" and not "rank system" any
>more?). so i wanted to ask esp. the scouts from BSA in this group:
>* is this really the Scouting aim as BSA sees it?
No. The aims that Scouting in the USA seeks are not tangible ones.
The attainment of the Eagle Scout Badge makes the intangible goals
(that of character, personal fitness and citizenship) more reachable
and more realistic for the 11 or 12 year old new Scout.
>* was this a mistake by the chief scout executive?
Definately not. The attainment of the Eagle Scout Badge...a coveted
award in ANY walk of American life...is something that each and every
kid that joins Scouting in America SHOULD reach for, despite the low
numbers that actually make it. It's a TOUGH award, no matter how much
some adults try to water it down for their Scouts (by birth or by unit
affialition) for them to reach it. It's a DEMANDING award, because of
the sheer fact that you will have to prove yourself to your community,
to your faith and to yourself while working toward it. It's also a
EQUALITY-MINDED award, because a Black teenager living in the Bronx,
an Hispanic living in North Dakota, and a white kid living within the
American Consulant in Bogota, Columbia can all earn the award meeting
the SAME requirements, the SAME demands and the SAME amount of
service...while at the same time, this award is INDIVIDUALIZED in the
way each of them (and others) choose to earn it. While there are
eleven required merit badges which must be earned, there are others
that is totally up to each Eagle to choose, work on and earn.
(was someone looking for some Eagle Court of Honor words? *hehehe*)
>* how is this possible - whatever it was?
How was what possible? The emphasis on earning an award? Gregor,
I've tried to explain this before to you, but it bears repeating here
in the open forum. Unlike other nation's Scouting programs, the BSA's
Scouting programs have a high degree of personal achievement and this
personal achievement serves as the prime motivator for both youth and
adult in the program. We Americans are a competing lot, and that
competition, which spurred from our earliest days as a nation,
spills over for better or worse in many areas of our daily lives. We
are NOT content, as Scouts are in many European countries, with just
being "a Scout". There are THOUSANDS of Scouts in the United States.
What SINGLES them out from the rest of the Scouts....again for the
good it does as well as the bad...is that DRIVE to become the "best".
The "highest". The "coveted". That competitive drive serves as one
of the determinators whether a kid goes to college or even finishes
high school here.
In other nation's Scouting programs, the exception is the Scout that
achieves more than what I'll call the "proficent" level of their
program. In the United States, Canada, and in Great Britain, this
level is the STANDARD. Since this standard could be met by the
majority of the Scouts in their nations, they developed a stairstep of
awards which takes those Scouts higher than being merely proficent.
Scouts in all three nations grow tired of just camping without a
purpose, to doing things without a goal or a reason other than "that's
what Scouts do". They want to acheive a level higher than their
In the USA, it is called "Star Scout", "Life Scout", "Eagle Scout" and
"Eagle Scout with _______Palm(s)".
Each step upward takes a Scout beyond merely camping and "palling"
around with his (or her) peers. It takes them to another level of
service, another level of leadership and most importantly another
level (we hope) of self-discovery and self-disclosure, as he or she
finds out that there are some things that they CANNOT do.
Other things, they can do EXTREMELY WELL. This serves as part of that
competitiveness that drives them onward through high school, through
college and we hope through a successful and fulfilling life.
>gregor *slightly shocked*
Don't be shocked. Again, as many tried to explain here, the BSA is
indeed a rare and exotic animal indeed. Our programs are not just
designed to take kids into the woods camping and hiking and all of
that.....it is designed to prepare them for their places in today's
competitive and increasing changing American society. While I can
debate either side...the good that this causes as well as the wrong it
does create in some quarters, the *bottom line benefit* is that
earning a tangible award (Eagle or First Class or even Tenderfoot)
takes much more than going camping and coming to meetings.
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, BlackEagle Services ___)_
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