scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: Re: New Eagle
Jim McMaster (mcmaster@SWENG.STORTEK.COM
Fri Mar 24 2000 - 10:05:46 CST
In message <003001bf9521$d92e1ac0$24aafdd1@satellite>, Tom Kennedy said:
> Is it that I don't understand the program or are there groups that are
> turning Eagles out pretty young.
As the Scoutmaster of the young Eagle in question, I take offense to the
statement our troop is "turning out" Eagles. He is the second Eagle for our
young troop in four years, although we have three Life Scouts (aged 14-16)
who are getting close.
We did not "turn out" this Eagle...he did this on his own. Scouts is his
main activity, outside his 4.0 average in school. He attends almost every
activity and spends his spare time working on merit badges instead of playing
video games. Were we supposed to discourage this? Just because some adults
want to add requirements to the Eagle rank does not mean I am going to keep a
young man from something he has earned.
> A thirteen year old Eagle, 25 months in
> Boy Scouts. Looking at the requirement book, there is a minimum time of 17
The minimum time is sixteen months after earning First Class, which he did in
nine months. We have an active troop, with more than one activity per month.
In the meantime, the Scout passed EVERY SINGLE REQUIREMENT for each rank.
> I must wonder to my self, what kind of leadership does a 13 year
> old have?
If you read the whole post, you would have seen he was elected and reelected
Patrol Leader by his peers, doing an outstanding job each time. He also
served as Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, appointed by the much older SPL.
That SPL was out of the country for almost a month, and the Scout filled in
as SPL. He also served as SPL during summer camp, while the SPL did a
high-adventure trek. In both cases, he did the job well, drawing praise from
troop members and outside observers.
> What has this young man learned? Has he learned that hard work
> is worth while or did someone help him through?
This young man has learned he can set a goal and meet it through hard work.
Is that not EXACTLY what we want him to learn? At his initial Scoutmaster
Conference, he expressed two goals: earning Eagle and earning all the merit
badges. Once he got his First Class rank with just over sixteen months to go
before his 13th birthday, he set the goal of earning Eagle before that date.
If BSA wanted him to be over 13, they could easily add that requirement to
the book. They have not, and neither you nor I have the power to do so.
Hard work? How about 42 merit badges? Blue cards issued for five more? I
counseled him on three or four, and I can attest he did every requirement for
every one of them...I saw the work and questioned him on his knowledge of the
material. I cannot vouch for his other dozen or so counselors from inside
and outside the troop, but I have signed blue cards saying they were
As for the mysterious "someone" who "helped him through", I guess that would
be me as his Scoutmaster. I resent the implication I did any such thing. I
am an Eagle myself, and I know what the rank means. I did not let the Scout
skate by on anything, nor did anyone else. I respect the BSA program and its
goals. If you or anyone else cam point to any requirement in the book this
Scout has not passed, then I will agree with you. I cannot find any such
thing, nor did his BORs, including the District Advancement Chair who sat on
his Eagle Board.
> Please understand, I have nothing against this young man, but feel his
> leaders did not do him any favors by allowing this to happen.
Now you really have made my blood boil. Exactly how was I supposed to not
"let this happen?" This is a young man who has repeatedly come to me asking
to have things signed off, showing me his work. Was I supposed to say no?
Turn him down for a blue card for a merit badge I know he is qualified to
tackle? Discourage him from liking Boy Scouts so much? Lobby his patrol not
to elect him to an office?
Just because some (pardon me) old fogeys have a problem with the way BSA has
written the requirements for Eagle, I am not going to stop a bright,
enthusiastic young man from reaching his goals. You have a vision of this
Scout because he turns 13 next week. In this case, your stereotyping is not
If you want an age requirement for Eagle, get National to put one in. If you
cannot be obedient, then you should leave the program to those of us who can.
In the meantime, let the occasional exceptional young man like this one earn
what he richly deserves.
This is a Scout any of us should be proud to have as a son. No one should
disparage his accomplishment because of his or her prejudices. In a brief
answer to the question in your first sentence, yes, Mr. Kennedy, you do not
understand the program.
Scoutmaster, Troop 70; Longs Peak Council, BSA; Boulder, CO, USA
I used to be a Buffalo...
Troop Home Page: http://bcn.boulder.co.us/community/scouts/troop70