Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Re: Young Eagles
Re: Young Eagles
Sun, 1 Aug 1999 14:13:32 -0500
I couldn't agree more. I got my Eagle Scout at a young age, and saw no
reason why I shouldn't have gotten it. There was a SM from another troop
opposed to it, simply because of my age (he didn't know me at all), but had
no impact on the ultimate decision.
There are two Scouts in my troop who recently earned their Eagle who didn't
deserve it, in my opinion. As a youth in the troop, I couldn't do much,
but I did send a letter to the troop committee chairman. The scouts didn't
pass their Boards of Review the first time, but were given (yes, given) the
award the second. My argument was that they did not follow the last
requirement, Follow the Scout Oath and Law. I think that is where the
maturity issue comes in. I was more mature at 12 than they currently are
My question: How would you go about holding a scout back from his Eagle
based solely upon the "follow the Scout Oath & Law" part of the
requirements? Would you give parameters for improvement, or simply say "It
isn't good enough"?
Yours in Scouting,
Please reply directly to email@example.com
At 10:14 PM 6/29/99 -0400, Michael Bowman wrote:
>At the young age of 14 (in 1967) I was presented with the rank of Eagle
>Scout. I went through some tough elective merit badges including the then
>brand new Atomic Energy Merit Badge. I cooked full meals, camped in storms,
>and learned canoeing and rowing in a fast moving creek. I was an ASPL at
>summer camp. At the same time I earned my God and Country Award and was
>invited to deliver a sermon in my church at the age of 13, which for that
>Methodist church was a rare and a not oft repeated invitation. At 14 while
>still a Life Scout I was asked by the Rector of an Episcopal Church at a
>celebration organized by the Scouts to honor fallen law enforcement officers
>and firefighters. Another minister asked me to begin private studies to
>prepare for going to a theological seminary. And at this early age I held a
>job as a paperboy and had to deliver the papers in whatever weather and on
>time because we didn't have money and I had to start saving for college.
>But from what I read, the chances are that I wasn't mature enough to have
>earned the rank and most likely should have been slowed down to become more
>mature. Fortunately, folks back then didn't think that way. They were
>tickled to see a kid really trying and were there to encourage, support and
>help. Back then nobody sent out solicitations for letters of
>congratulations either. Nonetheless, I got letters from community leaders
>I'd met through Scouting who thought it great to see a kid doing so much.
>Did I drop out of the Troop. Yep. Sure did. Went into Exploring and later
>became Lodge Chief in O-A, served on Camp Staff 9 years. How many years of
>service back to BSA? Since Eagle I've given back over 25 years of service.
>None of those 25 years would likely have happened, if somebody had dropped a
>sea anchor behind me to slow me down.
>The point of this is not to glorify what I did, but rather to show that you
>can't judge a Scout by age, by some "maturity/age" litmus test, or the like.
>You have to judge a Scout by his own merits. If he has completed the
>requirements, keep the faith with him and encourage him to continue to grow
>and provide opportunities. Sure, some may drop out and some may not live up
>to your personal expectations, but that isn't the test. The test is whether
>the young man has completed the requirements - no more and no less.
>Scouting isn't an end of itself. It is a tool. We shouldn't expect or
>demand a Scout who has made the rank of Eagle to have an obligation of
>another year of service or some arbitrary commitment. Step way back and ask
>It comes back to the three aims and an wonderful organized way of
>encouraging a lot of values and growth using great methods that on the whole
>produce excellent results. So we use Scouting as a tool to help kids grow
>into more productive citizens with good character and good personal fitness.
>And if they leave to pursue other growth activities, whether it be an
>organized sport, drama, band, debating society, or whatever, that's not bad
>either. These are also tools that can help growth. If we see this from a
>distance and don't get advancement out of proportion to the rest, it becomes
>less important how old a Scout is to become Eagle.
>And why not encourage early high achievement? Why not start a young man
>toward achieving his very best in life and encourage him to climb even
>higher? Sometimes recognition of achievement feeds even more achievement.
>Mike Bowman, Vice President
>U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.
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