Re: can of worms
Jason A. Cruse (jcruse@NEMONET.COM)
Sun, 23 Nov 1997 08:03:01 -0600
While Eagle is the highest rank in scouting, it is NOT the end all be all
of scouting. Sometimes, for some boys, it is a step on what they would
like to accomplish.
I was a 13 year-old Eagle. I sat in my district board of review and asked
one of the board members why I was being given another requirement to
fulfill when National had already certified that I had accomplished
everything at the right time. No awards too early, time periods kept
without problems. This statement from a 13 year-old he took as "cheeky"
(from our British friends), and became adamant, as I understood it later,
in not passing me on my board. Another board member, during the closed
session, stated something I will always remember (one of the members of the
board shared these things with me several years later): Do we think that
National is so out-of-touch and blind that they don't know that boys are
getting their Eagle at age 13? This has been an issue for quite some time.
If it was such a problem, don't you think they would have said something
when my application was returned?"
I pose the same question here: National had, when they revised the
"up-to-First Class" requirements several years ago, the opportunity to make
earning your Eagle at age 13 more difficult or impossible. They could have
added different time requirements, they could have simply stated "You
cannot receive your Eagle before your 14th birthday" or something like
that. In fact, they have made it a little *easier*, depending on a
specific troop's view of the 10 activity rule. I know of troops that camp
monthly and have patrols in that same troop that also camp monthly, in
addition to the troop campout. With that as a possibility, a boy could be
First Class in *5 Months*!
If I had not earned my Eagle at age 13, my scouting career as a boy would
have been completely different. I would not have been a patrol leader at
the world jamboree in 1983. The troop SM *told me* that I was going to be
a PL because I was already an Eagle (and, as I said yesterday in another
post, old enough to go to the jambo by one day). If I hadn't been a PL
there, I wouldn't have been an ASPL at an LDS jamboree/encampment a couple
of months later. If that hadn't happened, I wouldn't have been SPL for the
Being a 13 year-old Eagle allowed me to focus on OA activities and
emphasize other things in my life. By the time I was in high school, I
didn't have a conflict over getting my Eagle vs. driving, girls, or school
stuff. And I guarantee, if I hadn't been an Eagle that young, I wouldn't
have been lodge chief and then a sectional officer before I was 17. I
wouldn't have been selected by my brothers for the Vigil Honor at age 15.
I'm not really that special in these things. I think there could be more
boys who could do these things, if we would let them, encourage them. Not
every boy could do it. But I, as a scoutmaster now, would much rather have
to battle with what to do about a young Eagle than my battles right now
with two boys who probably, in my opinion, won't get their Eagles because
they are 16 & 17 and distracted.
But my bottom line goes back to the top of this long missive: if it was
such a problem, National would have done something about it. Somebody
posted the breakdown of age percentages of Eagles a couple of months ago.
I think 13, 14, and 16 were the highest age totals. I don't see a problem.
I don't recall seeing a requirement that states "be mature enough to
handle being an Eagle" or anything else. We, those who are Eagles, are
trying to "uphold the value of the rank" or something like that. If we
don't have confidence in the next generation to earn their rank and carry
it well, once they've completed all the requirements that are given to
them, what are we saying? We're saying, "Yes, you did everything, but I
just don't believe in you." As if *that's* the message that B-P wanted
leaders to send to boys.
"There are no points for second place."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City