Policy - National
(no name) ((no email))
Tue, 10 Feb 1998 13:34:20 -0700
Ok people, it is soapbox time and I when I get up it is usually because I
am going to do something like defend Nationals position. I have not yet
been able to find a get a copy of Mike Waltons posts from the other week.
(I just got back on the list after being on no-mail for 1 to 2 years.)
But, I want you to know that it does not matter that I have or have not
seen the proposed changes. Jon Dixons post was on the right track, now I
want to fill in some of the holes.
People, please remember, Advancement is only ONE of EIGHT. One of Eight?
Yes, it is only one of the EIGHT METHODS Scouting uses to obtain its THREE
AIMS. If you are not familiar with these, shame on you. Time to get out
your Scoutmasters Handbook and do some reading!
But do not feel too bad if you are not familiar with these. As part of the
Merit Badge Counselor Training or Eagle Board Committee Training I do, I
always include a copy of Delivering the Promise. Delivering the Promise is
a brochure of the Aims and Methods used in Scouting, right out of the
Scoutmasters Handbook. I do this for a number of reasons. Here are the
Many people have never read this and are not familiar with it.
If they have read it, they have already forgotten, usually caught up in the
excitement of Scouting. People need to be reminded.
It helps me keep these Aims and Methods in the back of my mind when doing
Scouting, so maybe, just maybe, I will stay on track if I keep trying to
help others understand what Scouting is REALLY all about.
If I discuss these with people, the Aims and Methods stick a lot better
than if someone just reads it on their own.
It helps me explain that Eagle is not the end of all ends when it comes to
Scouting. In my Eagle Board Committee Training, I have stated that the
Eagle Scout Award has been a victim of its own success. Look at this
discussion for some evidence. All you have to do to get Scouters all
excited, is to bring up Eagle Scouts and ask an opinion, state a change in
requirements, etc. In these discussions, Eagle Scouts tend to be the
worse as in, "Why . . . I remember that I HAD TO, . . ." (Yes, I am an
Eagle Scout, you should see the teeth marks in my tongue.)
It helps me stress (in conjunction with the last reason) that Advancement
(i.e. Eagle Scout) is NOT THE AIM of Scouting. (It is an indication of
success, that the program is getting the Aims of Scouting to youth, but it
is not the AIM of Scouting to generate Eagles.) Scouting can and does
reach its Aims with many of the youth who do not reach Eagle and I am sure
we can all come up with the stories of the Eagles who would be example of
Scouts that we failed, as far as the Aims go.
It gives me an opportunity to remind everyone that there is more, much more
(as in seven more "official" methods) to Scouting than Advancement and
IF (let me stress again the word IF) National were able to change the
requirements so that ALL SCOUTS earned the Eagle Scout Award and in the
process this helped the program meet the AIMS of Scouting, I would say GO
FOR IT NATIONAL. The Eagle Scout Award is not about being part of a unique
group of people (it has evolved into that maybe, but that is not the
purpose), it is about being part of the Advancement method, one of eight
methods used by Scouting to obtain its AIMS in youth.
I have said this before (in various forms) and I will repeat it again. It
is not something new, I first realized this as a 14 or 15 year old working
on my advancement for Eagle. The actual requirements for Eagle are mostly
trivial, any average or even below average youth can do the requirements
with the proper training. What is hard about the Eagle Scout Award is
actually taking the effort to do and FINISH the requirements. I still
remember as a youth going through the BSA requirements book looking for
merit badges to work on. I would look at a badge and say, I can do that,
and that. I can get this badge. All I have to do IS ACTUALLY DO IT,
instead of just saying I can do it.
Note: The word trivial is used for emphasis. Items included in the
requirements are well thought out by the National Committee and I am sure
they consider very carefully how changes in requirements will help meet the
AIMS of Scouting before they change them. Easy would be a better word to
use, but some of the items are not really easy for some people. Mostly I
am trying to say that most any youth CAN MEET the requirements for Eagle if
they CHOSSE TO and have the training available to help them learn how to.
Please, when you get home, read for the first, second, or Nth time, the
Aims and Methods of the Boy Scouts of America. Then try to put yourself in
Nationals shoes. The requirements for all advancements (including Eagle)
have and should change over the years. The world is not the same as it was
when I was a Scout thirty years ago. In order for Scouting to keep focused
on the Aims of the program, the program has to change to stay up with or
ahead of the rest of the world.
The Eagle Scout Award has a LOT of different meanings and represents many
different ideals to many different people. If you look at the Aims, you
may see where some of these meanings and ideals originated from. If I
were, however, to combine all the descriptions of an Eagle Scout I have
heard in Eagle Scout Board of Reviews from the candidates themselves, I
would say there is a lot more expectation out there for this award than
what was designed into the requirements. The requirements, not the
expectations, however, are what the youth needs to meet. By the time he
completes the requirements, it is hoped that the Aims of Scouting will have
rubbed off on him and the expectations will not be that big of a deal.
Remember, the Eagle Scout Award, itself, is not what we are trying to
achieve in Scouting. Advancement, including the Eagle Scout Award, is part
of the methods we use to obtain the Aims of Scouting. The real payoff is
in the character of the youth as they develop into adults.
Chris Haggerty, Sierra Vista, Arizona ASK ME ABOUT PIMAREE 1998
Catalina Council Advancement Chairman
Committee Chairman, Pack 475
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City