A Sad Night - maybe
Ian Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Sat, 17 Dec 1994 09:29:01 GMT
>>From many of the responses posted in this group and by private e-mail, I
>have been given a much deserved attitude adjustment. While it is a shame
>that he did not get Eagle, that in and of itself should not be the goal o
>Scouting. More important than having a medal to hang on a uniform, is tha
>he stayed in Scouting, learned much, and served his fellow youth in the
At its best the Eagle Scout award exemplifies the highest achievement of an
excellent program ; it demonstrates an ability to persevere with a wide
range of activities , to set and achieve goals , to plan , lead and
implement a project and to demonstrate a capacity to serve others through
leadership. It is a lauadable achievement and one of which a Scout can feel
But I do not think that you are really saying what your initial post may
seem at first reading to imply, that the Eagle medal represents some sort of
absolute standard by which to judge success or failure of the program ,
either for the troop or for the individual. Rather it is a distinction -
the equivalent of, say , gaining a First in your degree finals rather a
2(1). [ Do US Universities have the same degreee classifications, I
I can understand your disappointment, but I wonder how much is for the Scout
and how much is your own perception ? We all as Leaders invest a lot of
time and effort in "our " Scouts, and have a natural desire to see them
succeed. That is a very proper ambition, but sometimes we are disappointed
when a young man (or young woman) who appears to have potential does not
follow the path we have planned for them.
But as you say, your Scout has stuck it out, developed leadership and
citzenship and all those other values we are trying to teach. Here in UK the
Aim of Scouting is given as
" to promote the development of young people in achieving their full
physical, intellectual, social and spiritual potentials, as individuals,
as responsible citizens, and as members of their local, national and
international communities "
which I think is as good a definition as any of what we are trying to
achieve, whatever national program we may be involved with. Unlike the
advancement system , with an age cut-off at eighteen , this defintion is one
of personal growth that extends beyond the confines of the youth program.
Maybe your Scout will later have some feeling of regret about not completing
his Eagle Scout award, but he has made his choice, and presumably has his
reasons. I think we all make decisions as a young person, some of which we
later wonder about , if not actually regret. But sometimes those decisions
turn out to feel right.
My personal story is that I gained the Chief Scout's Award at sixteen, but
did not stay with the Venture Scout Unit to complete my Queen's Scout Award.
At that time the age limits in UK were Scouts aged 11-16 and Venture Scouts
aged 16 -20.
The CSA is the highest award in the UK program for Scouts up to sixteen. The
Venture Scout Award and Queen's Scout Award are Venture Scout awards. There
is some discussion as to how these equate with Eagle Scout, as each award
represents the "highest" standard at a given level of maturity. The average
age for CSA is about 15.6 , for Queen's Scout 18. The average age for an
Eagle Scout is what - about fifteen ?
Instead I found myself running a Cub Scout pack in all but name as Assistant
/ acting CSL a few days after my eighteenth birthday. It happened this way :
I started as a Cub Scout Instructor at age sixteen - this is not the same as
a Den Chief in BSA - it is more like an adult appointment, i.e. I was
regarded as being, in effect, the " second adult " on many activities. I
found the role as a Leader far more rewarding than hanging around with the
Venture Scouts. I have never been a physical person , and just did not fancy
the expedition and other stuff I needed to do for my Queen's. I <did> enjoy
working with the Pack, and in 46th Greenwich found an excellent CSL who gave
me a great deal of responsibility. I was to find this experience a great
help very soon.
On my 18th birthday I was old enough to take out a Leader warrant. Whilst I
was happy with the 46th. they were well off for adults, so I offered my
services wherever in the District I was most needed. I was asked by the
Assistant District Commissioner to join the 57th Greenwich pack to help a
very nice CSL who was, sadly , in the final stages of cancer. I learnt a
lot from her. She had started the Pack and had devoted many years to making
it a success, and I hope that at the end she felt that her work was being
carried on. I was in effect running the Pack from the start because the
other adult, although in his 50s was only partly trained , and was limited
by a heart condition. His boys had long left the group , and he was just
holding on to support Norah and to get me started.
I learned a lot, much of it by trial and error I must admit, by the time I
completed my Wood Badge in 1976 at age 22.
Yes, I do sometimes regret not completing my Queen's Scout award, but I
still think on balance my decision was the correct one. It's funny how
things sometimes turn out for the best, and I have found in my life that
often the " failures " and " missed opportunities " turn out to be instead
doors to unexpected and unimagined experiences. I hope it will prove so for
your Scout also.
With very best wishes to you and yours for Christmas and the New Year,
Ian N Ford
AGSL 25th Greenwich SG
ASM Troop 401 BSA , London UK
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City