On one hand it breaks my heart when a Scout creeps up to his 18th birthday and has not completed the requirements for Eagle Scout. It reminds me of my biggest regret in not finishing my Eagle and I can see the disappointment in their eyes that they to will not be counted as Eagle Scouts. I tell them that all is not lost, think of the life skills you learned, the friends made, and the experiences that you had. The time spent in Scouting is worth while, even if it does not include the Eagle award. I have repeated this again and again that the goal is not to make Eagles, it’s to make men that make ethical choices throughout their life times. Men of character. Now I know that’s not what the Scout wants to hear when he realizes that he is not going to finish the trail that he started, but that is the reality and after some thoughtful consideration a look in the mirror and a glance over his Scouting record and experience, the Scout will soon come to understand that he got his monies worth and more in Scouting.
On the other hand, I am often disappointed in the Scout that he did not take advantage of the advancement program and complete the requirements in a timely manner. This leads me to wanting to say “I told you so” to the Scout, even though I won’t. Encouraging, reminding, a nudge here and a tug there to get the Scout to do the work is about all we can do. I refuse to just give it to them and I won’t take them by the hand and lead them around like a Den Mother. They all know what needs to be done and by the time they are in that 16-year-old range, well, they know how to get it done and they certainly know when their birthday is, so I tend to not feel to bad for them. After all, we are teaching life skills right?
When time is up.. time is up and you have to accept the consequence for your action or lack there of. Do I want them all to be Eagle Scouts? Sure, is it something that they all can do? Sure. I am going to turn my troop into a Merit badge mill and Eagle factory to make sure that we have more Eagles than any other Troop. Nope. The Scouts all know when they turn 18 and they all own a Scout handbook that shows them step by step what needs to be done if they want to be an Eagle Scout. Beyond that, I will help, I will guide, I will bend over backwards to work with them. But I won’t do it for them or allow other to.
I see to much of this in Scouting and it simply takes away from the meaning of the Eagle award. It takes away from accomplishment and sense of pride that the Scout has when he knows that he worked hard to get what only 4% of the Scouts in America get.
I suppose I can go on and on about this.. but when time is up.. time is up.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
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