Cynthia D King (cdk7552@JUNO.COM)
Tue, 17 Dec 1996 18:58:53 EST
I'm glad that you said that you needed the older Scouts for
My son's experiences were different--the troop really didn't know what to
do with an Eagle after they made Eagle. Some of the Scoutmasters (he had
four different ones) utilized his talents and willingness. Some didn't
even bother to call him.
Toby made Eagle at 13--with 36 merit badges. Granted, he started
young--he bridged to the troop with his den in April of his 5th grade
year & turned 11 the following July. When he became 18, he had completed
76 merit badges ( and 11 palms). He avoided merit badge days--called them
a merit badge mill. He had 365 nights of camping by his 18th birthday,
turning 18 on the Tooth of Time at Philmont. His camping included six
weeks at Philmont (spread over five years).
After Eagle, he served as SPL (twice), attended the Junior Leader
Training Conference, NJLIC and served on staff for both JLTC and NJLIC.
He also served on day camp staff for five summers, in three different
districts. He served on the aquatics staff at summer camp in '95. He went
ot National Jamboree in '93 and will serve as an SA in '97.
While he actively participated in the Venture Crew (including service as
the Chief), his greatest love was within the troop: working with younger
Scouts, encouraging & leading them.
His greatest challenge as an Eagle was to convince adults that he truly
wanted to be involved in the troop program. Yes, he grew tremendously
from the time of his Eagle until he turned 18. I would expect every boy
to mature during high school--whether they make Eagle at 13 or 17.
At an Eagle board for another young man, the young man was asked who the
greatest influence on his Scouting had been. He answered, "Toby." Having
an older Eagle around seems to have some advantages.
Our only push to Toby was to work on at least one Eagle required badge at
each summer and winter camp. We felt that this would keep some focus on
the Eagle, as well as spread these merit badges out a bit.
As for early advancement, I believe to hold a boy back, because you don't
believe in young Eagles is just as wrong as to rush a boy to Eagle too
early. I believe that the premise in Scouting is to meet a boy where he
is and encourage him to go just as far as he can. He should meet each
requirement--for his own honor.
Changes will continue to occur in the advancement program. Some are
positive changes. Some do not turn out that way. Boys are different
creatures today than in our generation. Hopefully, the Scouting program
can continue to meet the needs of each new generation.
National encourages boys to make First Class within a year--because
studies have shown that boys who develop their basic camping skills
(First Class stuff) within a year will stay in the program. We can't
build Eagles if they are not in the program.
Somewhere I read that the average age of an Eagle is 16, nationally. In
Toby's council, the average age is 14. The old axiom of perfume and
gasoline begins to kick in during high school.
It is a great challenge to adults to work with boys from 11 through 17.
Some days they are really mature and some days Barney is too much for
them. Valuing each boy for his worth (and not his rank) is an
Barry, you're right that each boy should have a rounded Scouting
experience. (I hope that this does not include his waistline.)
Advancement is only one of the methods that Scouting should use to
achieve its aims. When we favor one method over the others, we lose the
balance of the program.
Good Scouting !
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City