Re: Eagles Easier Now?
David Drabkin (drabkid@ACQ.OSD.MIL)
Sat, 29 Jul 1995 08:08:46 -0500
What an interesting discussion! It is always interesting as we
reminisce about how things used to be. Objectivity is difficult to come
by when comparing one's own accomplishments to those of other folks.
However, I do think that today's Eagle requirements are worthy of
discussion. I recall that one of the outstanding things about Eagle
scouts, mentioned, and in some cases relied upon, by everyone was that
an Eagle Scout knew how to swim, knew basic lifesaving techniques, was
physically fit, understood the responsibilities of good citizenship and
knew how to get around in the woods. All of those things can not now be
generally said of Eagle scouts. We no longer require that a scout know
how to swim much less have mastered lifesaving techniques, nor do we
require expertise in outdoor activities.
I don't know whether this is a bad or good thing. Whether it makes us
inclusive or exclusive (the new political correctness). Although I
thought that achieving the rank of Eagle was by its very nature
exclusive and was intended to be exclusive, weeding out those who, for
whatever reason, could not or would not do what had to be done to
complete the trail. After all, Eagles soar, they do not flock (did
somebody famous say that?).
For what it is worth, I would recommend that we add back the requirement
to have both swimming, lifesaving and nature. If that means we have 15,
as opposed to 12, required merit badges so be it. To me making Eagle
means that you have accomplished something unique and that you have
taken new responsibilities to serve. If our world has changed, and we
need to change scouting to be more relevant (oh, the joy of being
relevant, a discussion for another time and place), then add
requirements, but don't throw away old requirements that set us apart
both in knowledge and skill.
By the by, for those who say that the outdoor program is only a means to
an end, I say that 75% of scouting has been and is "outing" and that any
scouting program that does not focus on "outing" cannot survive as a
scouting program. But what do I know, I am almost never "relevant" and
most certainly "incorrect."
I used to be a Bobwhite, I am an Eagle
But I'm really old and feeble now.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City