Re: Response to:17 Eagles, one COH
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Fri, 7 Feb 1997 23:54:29 -0500
At 05:37 PM 2/7/97 -0600, Tim Shea wrote:
>True. However, the part you forgot here was "What does the Scout want?"
>Some would prefer to have a group COH, while others want an individual
>COH. Each Scout deserves, or rather has earned his choice, and his
>decision must be adhered to. I hope all 17 Scouts agreed to a joint COH.
>If one wanted an individual COH, then he must be given his own COH.
Time for a contrary voice in the wilderness. It is NOT the Eagle Scout's
COH. It is the TROOP'S COH to honor the Eagle Scout. This is no different
than the COH for tenderfoot or any other rank. The troop is presenting the
recognition to the Scout, and it is the troop that ultimately decides how
that recognition should be presented. I have no idea where this notion that
the troop SHOULD or MUST do whatever the Eagle wants comes from.
Now, should the troop ask the Eagle for ideas about what kind of COH he
would like? Probably. Should the COH be planned by the PLC? Maybe, or
probably. But MUST the troop accede to the Scout's wishes? Absolutely not.
Does the Nobel laureate get to tell the Nobel commission how the
presentation should be structured? Do the graduates decide how their
diplomas should be presented? I think not.
Somehow, the Eagle has developed this mystique all its own. We had this
discussion recently (or was it on rec.scouting.usa?) about whether we are
building too high a pedestal for the Eagles. In many ways, I believe we
are. Yes it is a great accomplishment. Yes only 1-4% (depends on whose
figures you use, when) of all Scouts reach it. But there is no quota on
Eagles. None of the individual requirements require Herculean effort. What
is necessary, mostly, is a dedication and commitment to see it through.
That does not mean that an Eagle Scout has developed a better value system
than his non-Eagle peers. I spend lots of time counseling Scouts that they
can make Eagle if they want to, that the MUST do it for themselves, and ONLY
for themselves, and that just because they don't make it doesn't mean that
their Scouting career has been any less successful, or that they have not
learned the "lessons of Scouting." It just means that they didn't make
Eagle, either because they didn't have the determination (preferably not) or
because they made a conscious decision not to try.
When we change all the rules for the Eagle COH, by saying that this ONE type
of COH is no longer a function of the troop, but rather a function of the
Eagle candidate, aren't we sending some wrong messages about where the Eagle
fits in with the rest of the advancement program?
That is why I am a firm believer, like Cliff Golden and some others on this
list, that the best time and place for an Eagle COH is as the culminating
presentation of a troop COH. Sure, you should separate it and make it clear
that it is something special, but it is important for ALL the Scouts, and
ALL their PARENTS, to be present so that they can learn, early on, what the
light at the end of the tunnel looks and feels like.
Okay, I'll get off the soapbox now and go to bed so I won't be tired at our
Dinner/COH/Eagle COH tomorrow night where we will be honoring our 198th and
199th Eagle in 87 years.
Bruce E. Cobern
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City