Funny how time fly’s when you’re having fun. This week has been an amazing week of Scouting and thus, I have not been on the computer much at all. The Outdoor channel is currently filming Scouts from my Troop on an amazing adventure for the series Scouting for Adventure.
Last night I sat down with the Key 3 of our District, we had a little meeting on the changes we were going to make in the coming year. The conversation turned to advancement. The subject “young Eagle Scouts”.
Now before I go any further, let me tell you what the Boy Scouts say on the subject.
YOU MAY NOT ADD TO NOR TAKE AWAY FROM ANY REQUIREMENT. PERIOD.
So having said that if a Scout completes all of the requirements and has everything signed off properly.. well then.. he’s an Eagle Scout.
Now some will argue.. and have, that a 13-year-old is too young to be an Eagle Scout. After all, we are looking for a young man who has DEMONSTRATED Leadership, a young man who has been an ACTIVE member of his Troop, a Scout that is KNOWLEDGEABLE in skills etc. These are all super valid points and I agree whole heartedly. Now, here is the rub. Has a 13-year-old done all of that.. I mean really done it all. Sure he may have served as a Patrol leader in a New Scout Patrol. Went to one summer camp and earned a bunch of merit badges, and can do the basics that got him to First class, but has he developed enough to truly test his leadership at the Troop level? Has he been that active?
I don’t know.
The other argument against is the maturity level of the young man. At 13 is he mature enough to understand his responsibility as an Eagle Scout?
I don’t know.
An argument for young Eagle Scouts is that they now can spend more time in the Troop as an Eagle Scout. Ok.. I buy that.
But I don’t know.
You see, boy develop at different rates and stages. They are all different. I know some 13 year olds that act 18 and some 18 year olds that act 12… so that is not a good measure. I know some young Scouts that develop the skills at a much faster rate than some of the older Scouts.. so that is not a good measure.
So here is the bottom line in my opinion. Becoming an Eagle Scout is not an excercise in passing through gates. Becoming and Eagle Scout is all about BECOMING the Eagle, developing leadership skills, demonstrating the skills of Scouting, and learning about the world around him. The way I see it is that the young man must participate in five Scoutmaster conferences before his conference for Eagle. IF the Scoutmaster and the Scout have not had these discussions during those conferences, IF the Scoutmaster has failed to mentor and coach the Scout along and develop him, IF the Scoutmaster has signed off the book and in good consciousness said that everything was alright.. then the Scout should be an Eagle Scout.
So having said that…. a 13-year-old Eagle Scout? I have not had one in my Troop.. and it’s not because any adult has thrown up a road block. If the book says to demonstrate.. the Scout demonstrates, if the book says to show, the Scout shows, if the book says to explain, the Scout explains. If he does not do it correctly.. it does not get signed off.
If the book says to serve in a leadership role for 6 months.. then the Scout is expected to actually serve in that role. And during the Scoutmaster conference explain what he did while in that leadership position.
You see the road to Eagle is not meant to be hard, but it is meant to allow the Scout to navigate the program and develop. You become an Eagle Scout over the course of the journey.
There are obstacles to over come and challenges to face, that is the way the program is set up. Can it be done by 13, I suppose. But at the end of the day, does the Scout get a patch out of it.. or a life experience?
I don’t have the answer here, the book does. I can only give you my take on the subject.
I am curious to know what you think. Drop us some feedback, leave a comment, or shoot an email!
Have a Great Scouting Day!
- Follow The Scoutmaster Minute on WordPress.com
Go To Wood Badge