There are very few things that get the hair on the back of my neck standing on end. In fact when it comes to Scouting I can count them on 1 hand.
I will list them another time, but the number one hair raising phrase that I hear often in Scouting is the term “EAGLE OUT”.
There has been discussions lately about this in other blogs and discussion groups and among some of my other friends in Scouting, which has prompted this post.
First, what does it mean?
Well, generally I suppose it means that once a Scouts becomes an Eagle Scout he is done. He goes away, he leaves his Troop. He is an Eagle… now he’s out.
This is where I have a problem. I believe that an Eagle Scout should have all the skills of Scouting mastered. I think that he should be an example of everything that is great about Scouting.
A man of Character that has worked hard to achieve the rank and position he holds. He has, over the course of years developed and grown into an Eagle. Unlike the other ranks in Scouting he did not check the block demonstrating Skills, he has been an example of those skills and assisted in teaching them. He lives the Scout Oath and Law and demonstrated Scout Spirit.
So why Eagle Out.. the Eagle Scout has too much to offer.
Which brings up the next question. And that is how young? We had this discussion last night at our Troop meeting.
I am a firm believer that there is a “Too young” age. Scouts have till their 18th birthday, realistically though, you can count on girl friends, High School sports, and other distractions to get in the way (I know it did for me) of finishing the requirements to become an Eagle Scout, but what about the young man that zips through the requirements and “Earns” the rank.
I won’t hold the boy back, but I will ensure that he grows to be an Eagle.
I think 13 is too young. 15 to 16 seems to be a good age. They are maturing and have mastered skills. They are not as shy and more likely willing to lead and teach. Now I am painting with pretty broad strokes, but by and large I think I am right.
Your average 13 year old is still finding out who is is and where he fits in. He is not the kind of kid that jumps up and takes charge. He will if prompted, but decision making is not his cup of tea (yet). When he is late 14 and going to 15 he is well on his way to growing up and accepting more responsibilty. Initiative is something he is getting used to and skills come easier and easier to pick up.
At 14-16 the Scout still has years left of making an impact on the Troop. They are getting into the dating scene, almost ready to get a driving permit and with any luck are still hanging out with the “Right” crowd. This young man should be an asset to your Troop. The Eagle Scout recieves a Charge or Challenge at his Court of honor, read more here about the Charge
So if you let him Eagle out… you loose a good Scout and an great example for your Troop.
The object is not to make Eagles… it is to develop young men. Character, Citizenship, and Physical fitness. That Eagle Scout needs to help your Troop, he has become an Eagle, he has earned the rank, title, and now needs to live it daily.
I just finished reading Legacy of Honor by Alvin Townley
. What a great Book, I highly recommend it. The book focuses on the Legacy Eagle Scouts have left on America. What an amazing story. It is a prime example of why we do not boys to “Eagle Out”.
Here are a few more articles on this topic, worth sharing… You can’t earn the rank of Eagle. The Eagle Scoutmaster Conference.