Scouts-L Mail Archive for June of 1999: Re: Needed-Voices of Experience
Re: Needed-Voices of Experience
Calvin H. Gray
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 08:36:31 -0500
Like Jon Dixon, my advice is not to try and slow a "fast mover" down.
Over the years, one of the principle reasons I've seen given as to why a
Scout should not be an Eagle at an early age is the tendency for "Early
Eagles" to drop out of Scouting after attaining Eagle.
Well, show me a troop where this consistently takes place and I'll show
you a troop with a lousy troop program that doesn't offer activities
which encourage young Eagle Scouts to remain.
The average age for the 81 Eagles in our troop's 13-year history is less
than 15 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, and will
be running for SPL next Monday at age 16.
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 typically earn over 20 palms each year. We also encourage them
to work on the Congressional Award through their Scouting experiences,
and a boy can't even begin on this until he is at least 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 high school band and 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 other troop
leaders did anything to discourage this young man from making Eagle at a
This personal experience is the chief reason why I disagree so
strongly with Scouters (and there are many out there) who feel a boy
should not be an Eagle Scout until he is older.
Calvin H. Gray
Scoutmaster, Troop 405
I used to be an Owl (WM-62-2-98 @ Philmont)