Re: Young Eagles
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Tue, 10 Sep 1996 02:14:41 -0400
This is certainly not a new discussion here on Scouts-L and is a topic
that evokes a lot of feelings about how old/mature/etc. a Scout should be
before becoming an Eagle Scout.
Before plunging into this, please consider:
1. BSA requirements for Eagle cannot be added to or altered by a local
Council, District, or Unit.
2. The requirements do not include any test for "maturity" or an "age"
requirement. Tenure for leadership is a requirement.
3. Boys grow at different speeds and some may seem not to grow at all :-)
4. The Eagle Rank is part of the advancement method of Scouting - a carrot
to entice youth to participate fully in a program that offers wonderful,
varied, and great growth opportunities.
5. Boys will follow the carrot at different speeds and with different
levels of enthusiasm. Some will pursue it through age 18, others will
quit at 14, and some will snag it a age 12/13.
6. Along the way they will be developing character, learning how to be
a better citizen, and becoming physical, mentally, and morally fit.
7. At whatever age, or at whatever speed, they will grow in the process
of completing the requirements, each according to his abilities,
interest, talents, etc.
8. When this growth happens the goals of Scouting have been met.
9. The badge is for the youth member to recognize that he has met the
requirements (that led to growth) and not for living up to my personal
opinion or your opinion of what a Scout should be before becoming an
10. The Eagle Rank does not represent perfection, though often idealized.
11. The Eagle Rank does mean that the recipient had the drive, discipline,
and will to take on a series of progressively more challenging and
complex requirements (including the merit badges) and succeed in
completing each in turn, that the Scout learned leadership skills,
and that Scout is better prepared to succeed in the rest of his life.
There is no right or wrong age at which a Scout should become an Eagle.
When we say there is such an age we are creating unnecessary barriers and
requirements. Our chief purpose should not be to be worried so much
about the age or maturity of the Scout, rather it should be whether the
Scout by climbing the trail to Eagle is growing through the opportunities
and challenges he meets. Along with this it should be our goal to make
sure to be there to coach, encourage, and lend a hand when there is a
Likewise our focus should not be limited to Eagles alone, but all Scouts
as each progresses from rank to rank. And when a Scout becomes an Eagle
by virtue of completing all of the requirements and passing his board of
review, there is much cause for celebration.
And hopefully the new Eagle will continue to grow and soar whether
immediately, in the next few years with the Troop, or later in life.
Well enough from this Eagle, Class of 1967.
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
Dep.Dist.Commissioner-Training, G.W.Dist., NCAC, BSA (Virginia)
U. S. Scouting Service Project FTP Site Administrator (PC Area)
ftp1 or ftp2.scouter.com/usscouts E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City