It's often the goal of a scout (and/or his parents) that he "get his Eagle". That's the way I most often hear it phrased - "getting" his Eagle. Earning, achieving, and completing aren't used much - it's "getting". When it comes up in conversation, I usually offer my view of advancement as, "a method we use to help scouts reach goals, but not a goal itself." I think that fits with the BSA program pretty well. I don't push scouts very much on advancement, but the troop has a program that provides opportunity to advance quickly.
Advancement is the most visible way we have in scouting to measure a scout's progress. It provides tangible recognition for achieving standard requirements. It allows peers to compare themselves. It requires effort and results. But, since advancement is a method and not a goal (or Aim), it really does not amount to success. A scout can be a model of a fit citizen of high character and never advance past First Class. It's important to keep that in mind when encouraging scouts to advance in rank.
But, since "getting" Eagle is on the minds of many people, I made a simple chart for a scout (and his parents) to see how he is progressing through ranks toward that goal of his. The 'Optimal Path' gets a scout to Eagle in time for him to give back to the troop with no pressure of advancing for a couple years. The 'Slow Progress' area means he's going to need to step it up to make it. I think 'Eagle Out of Reach' probably needs no explanation. A scout can check on progress at a glance and alter his plan as he feels is needed. Click the image to see a larger view.
The majority of scouts in our troop experience advancement fairly close to the orange line with a couple bumping against the green line. Motivated boys could join a troop at the end of their 9th grade year and earn Eagle rank. If they start after their 16th birthday, there's not much chance of progressing through all the ranks in time.
I think it would be a fun experience to have a 15 year old boy join the troop and earnestly go for his Eagle. Have you ever had that happen? Did he make it?
Posted: 17:03 02-01-2011 562
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