Scoutmaster Musings - What's an Eagle Factory?

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Scoutmaster Musings

What's an Eagle Factory?
Due to the comments contributed to my previous post, I'm curious what people mean when they say "Eagle Factory". So, what is it?

I could find just a couple troops that refer to themselves as eagle factories on the 'net, with the general meaning that they have a focus of 'directing' scouts to eagle rank.
I could find hundreds of instances of troops and scouts posting that they are not eagle factories or a product of one.
But, I could find very few descriptions of what an eagle factory is. I expect everyone has their own definition, very few of them positive.

I just figured our troop's percentage from data in Troopmaster and it looks like almost 40% of all scouts that joined from 2002-2005 will make it to Eagle. I imagine that just that number will cause some readers to say "eagle factory". But, it would be interesting to hear from you what characteristics an eagle factory troop has.

Here are a couple descriptions I could find:

What's your definition?

Scout On
Posted: 20:49 12-08-2009 467
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 Dec 08, 2009 - Walter Underwood
If a troop treats advancement as the primary method in Scouting (instead of one of eight equal methods) then it is an Eagle Factory or at least a Wannabe Eagle Factory. One easy check is to see who is teaching Scout skills. If it is all done by adults, that is a bad sign.
Aug 17, 2011 - Ryan
Eagle factories' sole purpose is to advance every scout to Eagle as soon as possible. This high-Eagle turnout rate makes the troop look attractive to parents who want their child to make Eagle.
These Eagle Factories have a bunch of cocky leaders who do everything with the boys only having to show up once in a while, and having Eagle handed to them on a silver platter.
Thus, the boys end up reaping next to none of the benefits traditional Eagle Scouts receive with the rank, just the nice resume.
The boys walk out of the troop with next to no leadership skills, few great memories, etc.
The scout leaders and fathers merely make every boy an Eagle by age 14 and manipulate the system, just to make the troop look good.
Eagle factories are horrible and cheating things.
However, there are great troops out there that do have high Eagle turnout rates, just because of high scouting spirit, great adult leaders, and a great program which keeps the scouts interest and advances the scout to Eagle on his own accord.
Sep 20, 2011 - anonymous parent
Eagle factories do not think they are Eagle factories. What they do by their actions is different than what they say verbally.

Eagle factories have very loose definitions of what "being an active Scout" means such as they say the Scout is active when they do not go to meetings, do not go camping and do not show up for other activities (community service projects or Courts of Honor etc.)

Some show favoritism or give breaks to certain Scouts such as if the Scout is active in sports and never comes to meetings due to the sports they pass them up but they (strangely) can be hard on the Scouts whose primary activity is Scouting and they ride them hard on the advancements. There is inconsistency in the rank advancements and the way the Scouts are treated with the common thing being that both types of kids will rank up.

Eagle factories do not heed by the rank requirement time requirements i.e. "be an active Scout for 6 months". They rank up anyway.

Eagle factories sign off on rank requirements when the work was not even done.

Eagle factories push Scouts to get the Eagle required merit badges. They may force parents in the Troop to become merit badge counselors and the program is "light" and not the true merit badge requirements, they are signed off on when they didn't do the real merit badge program.

Eagle factories do not require the leadership positions as rank requirements. Scouts who don't show up for meetings and do nothing, do not even come to elect new positions let alone run for them then they get their rank advancement anyway.

Eagle factories have Scouts who do not live by the Scout law so they never get elected for leadership positions if they even try - yet they are allowed to rank up anyway.
Nov 21, 2012 - Paul Napoli
People lose focus of the REASON why "Eagle" is so meaningful'. It's the personal initiative of a YOUTH to push himself to complete challenging tasks.

An "Eagle Factory" is one where the SCOUTMASTER has removed the need for a boy's personal initiative and substituted a prefabricated path of "advancement", basically spoon-feeding advancement disguised as an annual program/schedule.  If your annual schedule seems to be more "cookie cutter" than the random (and more exciting) schedule that would come from a properly functioning PLC, you may be in an Eagle Factory. Example - Every Jan. we work Badge X, in Feb. Badge Y, March is Badge Z...

A SM/Committee should ensure the Program offers OPPORTUNITIES, but the INITIATIVE to complete the work has got to reflect "self motivation" by the scout.  Otherwise, is he REALLY an "Eagle" or did he just FOLLOW?  

The MAGIC of Scouting's influence is found in the DETAILS of the Program. Eagle is MUCH more than simply doing 21 badges and a project.

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