Re: Early Eagles
Calvin H. Gray (405geezer@IGG-TX.NET)
Mon, 24 Nov 1997 13:53:24 -0600
Over the years, one of the principle reasons I've seen given as to why a
Scout shouln't earn Eagle at an early age is the tendency for "Early
Eagles" to drop out of Scouting after attaining Eagle.
The average age for Eagles in our troop is less than 15 1/2 which I
understand is somewhat younger than the national average. We've never
had a serious problem with young Eagles dropping out, and we've had
three 12-year old Eagles. Two of these stayed in Scouting until they
were 18 and the other one is still active.
Sure some of the boys haven't stayed as long as I hoped but we've taken
steps to keep them active by having an excellent high adventure
program. As a result, most of them stay active for several years after
earning Eagle. We also encourage them to earn Eagle Palms, and our
Eagles will earn over 20 palms during 1997. We also encourage them to
earn the Congressional Award through their Scouting experiences and they
can't even begin on this until they are 13 1/2.
During the SM conference for Eagle candidates, I ask the younger
boys to informally commit to staying active with our troop for at least
a year after attaining Eagle.
I only remember one that didn't live up to his committment. He was 13
1/2 when he passed his BOR and he departed Scouting eight months later.
He wanted to play football, take part in the band and take part in other
activities that didn't allow time for Scouting. He told me he just
*HAD* to do other things.
Less than a year later, he came down with leukemia. He fought for 16
months but he lost his battle and died at age 16 1/2. I'll be forever
thankful that this young man was in a troop that allowed him to become
an Eagle when he wanted to and encourged him to advance at his own pace.
I'm also thankful that neither I nor our troop did anything to
discourage this young man from making Eagle at such a young age.
This personal experience is one of the main reasons why I disagree so
strongly with Scouters (and there are many out there) who feel a boy
shouln't be an Eagle Scout until he is older.
Calvin H. Gray
Scoutmaster, Troop 405
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City