scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Eagles That Never Learned to Fly
Tue Mar 14 2000 - 16:34:34 CST
Eagles That Never Learned to Fly
by Jerry Alexander
university chemistry professor once told me of a student who had
"dry labbed" his chemistry laboratory work. Dry labbing
is a form of cheating. The student looked up literature results for
the experiments and then, on paper, worked backward calculating without
ever spending time in the laboratory or touching a test tube.
professor concluded with, "... and that young man's goal was to
become a surgeon. How would you like to be operated on by someone
who had dry labbed his way through college...?
student had indeed provided the correct answer, but the person he had
cheated was himself. He had denied himself the experiences that
laboratory work is designed to provide. He had missed the logical
thinking, the methodical acquisition of data, the self-discipline, the
frustration and the satisfaction, that laboratory work provides.
similar "dry labbing" in the Eagle process. Some Units
and parents have shifted the emphasis from a learning process to
achievement of the end results, "JUST MAKE EAGLE." These
boys are missing the character developing experiences that the Scouting
results are that young men who have been certified by their units as
Eagle Scouts and yet have not developed basic Scouting skills,
leadership abilities, or the self-reliance which should be
dominant features in the character of an Eagle Scout.
It must be
remembered that a badge or award in Scouting is a recognition for what a
boy IS ABLE TO DO, not merely a reward for what he did.
Jakes, a ranger from Philmont Scout Ranch, was so concerned with the
inferior quality of some Eagle Scouts that he worked with at Philmont
that he felt compelled to write to Scouter magazine (March-April
1993, page 4).
article, "Why some Eagle Scouts flounder," he stated that
"As a Philmont ranger last summer I found I often had to teach basic
Scouting skills to boys who were Eagle Scouts. These Scouts should
have been natural group leaders, but far too often I saw them floundering
with the rest of the crew."
explains that Scouts of lower rank could "out-Scout" those
Eagles blindfolded because they had come from units that made sure that
requirements were met fully. He concluded with, "Maintaining
the quality and integrity of that rank (Eagle Scout) is as important as
the other issues facing the BSA today."
paraphrase the question posed by my chemistry professor... how would
you like to be on a 50 mile hike with an Eagle Scout who had
"dry-labbed" his way through orienteering and first aid merit