Ed Thompson (thompson@VAX2.WINONA.MSUS.EDU)
Fri, 4 Sep 1998 11:07:27 -0600
I have to agree with Calvin Gray's post of yesterday about the haste with
which new Boy Scout rank and merit badge requirements are being implemented.
Older boys attempting to finish Eagle requirements (or even Life and Star
requirements) under the old rules will be particularly hard hit and will
feel "forced out" of scouting if they can not meet the new requirements by
We need to remember that these boys are far more likely than average to be
involved with activities besides scouting (after all, don't we all work hard
to train our scouts to get involved with community activities, student
groups, sports, etc. as well as excell in their school work?). Having to
earn one or two additional merit badges may not seem like much in the long
run (for a younger scout) but will be a killer for boys in their last year
of scouting, boys with busy scedules, or boys who must work (and many must,
particularly if they hope to attend college). In particular, it will make
it virtually impossible for a 16- or 17-year old scout who does not swim
(and I have known a number of excellent Eagle Scouts who do not) to finish
up since both of the alternatives, hiking and cycling, require a very heavy
committment of time. In many states (including mine, Minnesota), earning
the hiking merit badge will be extremely difficult and earning the cycling
merit badge will be nearly impossible during the winter without putting the
boy at serious risk. A boy who has a late winter or early spring 18th
birthday will be locked out.
So, I guess my question is this: Is there any way we as Scouters can get the
powers-that-be to give a longer grace period to older boys who are working
on finishing one of the upper ranks before they must leave scouting? A year
would certainly seem reasonable.
Sadly, there is also a major communication problem here, at least in my
area. I only became aware of the new requirements by joining this Scout
list. To my knowledge (and I regularly attend roundtables, read the council
newsletter, etc.) no one from our district or council has brought up the
subject. A number of other Scouters I mentioned this to were totally
unaware that changes were going into effect. Have any of the rest of you
had similar experiences? I suspect that a large number of both boys and
adults are in for a major shock as April 1 approaches.
Ed W. Thompson Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Director of Cytotechnology
Winona State University
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City