How young is too young for a Scout to earn Eagle? Scouters' opinions vary.

Open for debate: Are boys who earn Eagle Scout at 13 or 14 too young?

What difference exists between a 13-year-old boy who earns the Eagle Scout award and one who gets there at 17½?

That was the subject of a fascinating discussion among your fellow Scouters on our Facebook page this week. Now, I’ll share some of the arguments I found most compelling.

But first, it’s worth noting that the vast majority of Scouts never make Eagle at all. Does that mean their time in Scouting didn’t have value? Of course not. Every minute spent in the program can enhance a boy’s development toward adulthood.

OK, it’s time for your fellow Scouters to weigh in. After reading their responses, share your thoughts by leaving a comment below this post.

Help from Mom and Dad?
“Yes, 13- and 14-year-olds [are] too young [and] don’t have the maturity or leadership. At that age it’s the parents getting it, not the youth.”
- Randy B.

Consider what’s next
“I don’t think ‘too young for Eagle’ is something that can be applied universally. Where I think the problem lies is what do you do at the unit level to keep them interested and involved with the program for the (hopefully) next three to four years.”
- Patrick C.

 Older, but not always more mature
“I’ve seen some very impressive 14-year-old Eagle Scouts and some less-than-impressive 17-year-old Eagle Scouts. It’s maturity, not age. Some boys have a natural skill in leadership and blossom much earlier than the other boys.”
- Michelle M.

Only yourself to blame
“Sorry, if you are questioning the validity of the project, Scouts vs. parents, brilliant or lame, then you as Scoutmaster, Eagle Mentor, Committee Chair, and District Advancement Chair, are not doing your job. You all sign off and approve the project. The Scout comes in and presents and ‘sells’ the project to you prior to approval. Once you approve it, you have no right to complain.”
 - Karl S. 

A journey, not a race
“In my opinion, an Eagle should not only complete the written requirements, but also internalize the purpose along the way. If one is concerned with meeting the requirements as quickly as possible they are not able to focus on ‘Why.’ Eagle becomes simply another award, as opposed to a recognition of personal growth.”
- Iain A.

Going by the book
“If the Scout demonstrates the skills necessary and completes the requirements then he is not too young. He has earned his achievement, and age has nothing to do with it.”
- Jason S.

“Paper Eagles”
“Yes, we call them ‘Paper Eagles’ because they do all the paperwork to get Eagle, but they are in Scouts such a short time, they don’t learn nearly as much.”
- Ryan C.

Speaking from experience
“I was a 13½-year-old Eagle. I resent the question. If the boy has completed the requirements, a bunch of adults, who likely didn’t do it themselves, should not be second-guessing the award.”
- Jeffrey L.

Don’t forget the Palms
“If Eagle were meant to be earned at the end of a boy’s Scouting career, why does the BSA offer Palms? Palms are there to encourage boys to remain in Scouting and to achieve something above and beyond Eagle, in effect living what they have learned.”
- Meredith F-W.

Lacking the basics
“There are no Eagles ready at 13 or even 14. There isn’t enough maturity and experience. We have boys that come back from NYLT [National Youth Leadership Training] each year livid about the kids from ‘Eagle mills’ that don’t have the basic skills to set up a tent or start a fire or cook a meal, let alone show any leadership.”
- Harry S.

A natural progression
“As a Scoutmaster and member of the Eagle Board of Review for our district, I would much rather see a younger boy earn his Eagle in a natural progression, rather than the 17.5-year-old who has been relatively inactive, then hears the clock ticking towards his 18th birthday, so he shows up and goes through enough motions to meet the requirements.”
- John C.

Case-by-case basis
“Some still seem ‘too young’ even at age 18. Others are ‘old enough’ at 14 and 15. In most cases it comes down to who reached Eagle, the Scouts or their parents/leaders. When it is the Scout who reaches Eagle, he is usually ready.”
- Patrick S.

223 thoughts on “Open for debate: Are boys who earn Eagle Scout at 13 or 14 too young?

  1. To the fellow who said “no” Eagles are ready at 13 or 14 because “some” don’t know how to start a fire, cook a meal, or pitch a tent, hasn’t met our youngest Eagle of 12, whose knowledge and skill far exceeds those required of him. Far from an “Eagle mill,” we have put this dedicated young man to the test and not once has he taken the easy way out. And he still has so much to look forward to, including earning his palms, Order of the Arrow, camp staff, Philmont, and other high-adventure opportunities. I submit, gentlemen, there is no such thing as “the journey.” There is only each boy’s journey.

  2. The fellow who said “no” Eagles are ready at 13 or 14 because “some” don’t know how to start a fire, cook a meal, or pitch a tent, hasn’t met our youngest Eagle of 12, whose knowledge and skill far exceeds those required of him. Far from an “Eagle mill,” we have put this dedicated young man to the test and not once has he taken the easy way out. And he still has so much to look forward to, including earning his palms, Order of the Arrow, camp staff, Philmont, and other high-adventure opportunities. I submit, gentlemen, there is no such thing as “the journey.” There is only each boy’s journey.

    • I agree age is not relevant. My son who turned 14 in May, has worked on his own towards his merit badges,has taken Great Ex, Great Med., been to every camp out & summer camp,jambo, merit badge college, is ASPL, a CIT at camp, and is now awaiting his Eagle Board of Review…he has had some disappointments along the way but,that is part of learning. If he had to rely on what he knows to survive, he’d do quite well.He has been camping since he was two . He just has the abitlity to retain all that information and use it or research it.So, all in all, I think age does not matter, the kid’s dedication and focus does.(BTW he also excels at academics and plays on the Football team)

  3. David…..
    Eagle at 12… that is quite an accomplishment and that must be an extrordinary young man. I hope to be reading about him in Boys Life in a few years when he complete every merit badge there is because he sure has a good start on them and plenty of time to do it too!
    “Impressive…. Most Impressive”

    Seth

  4. I just took over as the Scoutmaster for a Troop that I was the Assistant Scoutmaster for just one year. Prior to that I was involved with my son in Cub Scouts for 4 years as den leader and Cubmaster (3 years). I was never in Scouts myself. From what I have learned so far, earning merit badges appears to be more about letting the boys experience different career paths and learn some valuable skills along the way. Most councils have merit badge days set up twice a year where the boys can earn up to 3-4 merit badges in a day if they complete some of the pre-requisites ahead of time. They can also earn several merit badges at a week long camp. This does allows the boys to advance quicker than the old days when most activities were done within the troop at meetings, or on outings. We also try to encourage our boys to work with merit badge councelors outside of our own Troop to expose them to other adults and avoid parents just signing off on requirements. Is it wrong to earn so many merit badges so quickly? I know that some troops will not let their boys attend merit badge days. Merit badges can only be earned at camp or within the Troop or on your own. Our Troop allows our boys to attend merit badge days. Why? The reason is this is the way the BSA is set up today. I feel that in order to keep boys engaged in Scouts the BSA has had to change over the years. Boys live very active lives these days, many playing three sports. A Scout still is earning his Eagle, even if it is age 12, 13, or 14 at an early age by meeting ALL of the requirements (# of nights camping, demponstrating know tying, teaching another Scout first aid, being active in the Troopp, doing volunteer work). I don’t think it is fair to compare an Eagle today with an Eagle 10 or 20 years ago. Technology has made obtaining an Eagle easier. A boy can GOOGLE ideas for an Eagle project and see what other did and mirror those ideas or transform them into his own project to meet the needs of his community. A Scout can GOOGLE the differences in styles of backpacks and tents and still learn the same information; it’s just that it’s easier to find the information then having to call someone, visit a camping store, or look it up in a book in a library like it had to be done years ago. Parents who are involved with their sons in Scouting are going to advance to Eagle 1-3 years quicker than parents who are not involved. I see it every day when it comes to looking through completed requirements. If the BSA wants to slow the trail to Eagle down for some then it is within their power to make Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class have time requirements like Star, Life and Eagle. there is a huge push within Troops to get their boys to First Class within 1 year. We embrace this philosophy. Let the Scouts get exposed to a lot of different aspects of Scouting and then watch them grow. To me, earning an Eagle is a self-acheivement no matter what age it is earned at. I am not comfortable with trying to compare one Eagle Scout to another. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I personally have no problem with a young person earning their Eagle at 12, 13, or 14. They achevied something that is allowed under the BSA guidelines and did not break any rules getting there.

    • Jeff,
      Great response!!!

      The one phrase that stuck in my head from above is: “I know that some troops will not let their boys attend merit badge days.”
      In my humble opinion, these are the troops that are most at risk of failing. Why? Because they are obviously “Adult Led” and not “Boy Led” by using the Patrol Method.
      Lord Baden-Powell designed scouting to teach skills, chief among them Leadership. And boys WILL NOT learn leadership by following Adults. They must lead, make mistakes, learn from them, be mentored. They will not learn when they are led down the path by hand and told what to do when to do it.

      Lastly, I am like you. I was an ASM with my troop for less than a year when the SM walked in with a box of materials, put them down in front of me and congratulated me on being the new SM and left. That was not fun, but its been a wild ride ever since. Moving the Troop from an Adult led troop to a Boy Led troop had been an adventure, and a most rewarding one at that.

      Best Wishes!!
      Seth

  5. I don’t know about what troop you were with, but our boys do ALL the work and EARN everything. We give nothing away. When you have a great troop, the opportunities to stay on track are much greater. My son is on track to earn his Eagle in about 2 more years…. about 15 years old. He is self motivated and will be a good leader when he is ready for that opportunity. I’d prefer he gets it by 15 so he can focus on high school, etc. I’d think many get lost once they hit high school and then decide being a “scout” isn’t cool to their friends.

  6. Honestly, age matters… I spent 12 years in the BSA, and I still haven’t learned everything. How can one join the Boy Scouts at age 11 and do ALL the requirements by age 13 or 14? Parent pencil whipping seems to be a far larger problem these days with only the achievement of a rank or “elite status” in mind. Creation of “ineffective Eagles” is apparent.

    The younger generations want “instant gratification”… I wanted to learn. I have been on 65 campouts, 15 wilderness survival campouts, completed over 300 hours of community service, 57 hours of EMS training, 60+ hours of Disaster relief training, and 80+ hours of S&R training… all of these skills I am confident in when I need them… now how in the heck can a 13 year old kid remember this stuff, be patient through all of it and then get the symbol of a lifestyle that shows you know and respect all of what you have learned?

    In dire times of need, it will be the older Eagle Scouts, the more experienced scouts who learned, worked hard, and BECAME the Eagle Scout as opposed to the children who did the paperwork and merit badges just to get a cool title… Yes, teenagers ran our entire troop, and yes, the newer scouts had a hand from the parents at home until we sternly addressed it. We DID NOT promote scouts unless they could prove they had truly learned what we taught them. Some stuff from the books, some stuff from experience in the field. Seems like Eagle Scout has changed from something an individual becomes as a whole, into a metal badge that is worn saying some kid earned all of his merit badges and put together birdhouses for an Eagle Scout project.

    -An Eagle Scout from Texas

    (hours of training are not exaggerated. The Eagle Scouts who I trained with in the past and I still keep training and knowledge up to date. We will Always Be Prepared.)

    R.I.P. Shawn E. Bowman Jr. (9/11/01)

    • Seth, You have accomplished alot. You should be proud of yourself. What you are describing though are not the BSA requirements to become an Eagle. Once a boy completes the requirement and their project they have earned their award. There are no requirements to test them outside of the requirements in the BSA book. To test additional requirements goes against what the BSA stands for.

      • Seth-
        You’ve showed yourself worthy of the rank. I congratulate you in those doings. But what you said I take offense to.

        I myself am 14. Am I an Eagle? Yeah, I am. Sure I don’t have all those hours of work that you, but I deserve the covinant rank. Yeah, you may think not, but I earned Eagle.

        -Yours In Scouting
        Eagle Scout Michael Woodrow

        • I have given this some more thought after previously posting a few months ago. I was never involved in Scouts myself. I was a leader in Cub Scouts for 4 years; Cubmaster for 3 years. In Boy Scouts I was Assistant Scoutmaster for 1 year and now took over ad Scoutmaster. And I recently completed Wood Badge and my ticket. I have spoken to a lot of leaders in scouts along the way. Every troop is run differently from attendance requirements, to how boy leadership positions are elected and the length of term, to how much boy led to adult led a troop is, to how well the senior boy leaders are trained and how effective the patrol method is working. A troop can be young or old scouts or a mix of young and old. A troop can have experienced or inexperienced parents and leaders. The bottom line is each Scout’s journey will be unique and their own and I compare this to a college degree. Some troops are set up like Yale and Harvard; high standards and expectations and outings are costly like tuition. Other troops are like state colleges where the teachers might not be the best if the best but they like to teach and do a great job nonetheless like our scout leaders. The eagle is then like a diploma. The Scout gets out of their experience what they put into it. If the scout does C, B, or A level work getting to eagle they know how much effort the out into it and may have given it their best effort.Each scout is unique. But they still deserve to be recognized for meeting the requirements and should never ever be scrutinized. Scrutinize parents and leaders if they are not running a boy led troop or if the leaders gloss over requirements but don’t minimize a Scout’s accomplishment. My son is 12 and a Star Scout. He just earned his Climbing and Swimming on his own at summer camp with no help from Dad/Scoutmaster. He is braver than I was at age 12 and I attribute that to his scouting experiences. He has completed 13 merit badges and may or may not achieve Eagle at 13. But no matter what age he earns it at, if that is his goal, t will be very big accomplishment and a proud family moment.

  7. Can I turn the question on its head and ask if a boy is too old to get his Eagle at 16?
    I was just made Scout Master and even though I got my Eagle so many years ago I can’t even remember when it was, I feel like a complete novice. The reason I ask the question about 16 year olds is because it seems as if BSA is a program for younger kids and I think that is a good thing. I can see the 11 year olds soaking up everything we tell them, believing that we actually might know something and the 14 years waiting for the day where scouts will take a back seat to their activities. I love scouting and if kids are willing to go out hiking with me for the weekend and get off their computer consoles then they deserve what ever reward they can get.

    • In many other Scout associations the upper age for the Scouting program is 16 years old – take Scouts Ireland for example. When you turn 16, you age out of Scouts and into Venturing.

      As Bryan on Scouting has reported previously, in 1949 the average age of Eagle was 14.1 years old. Today it is 17.1 years old.

  8. here is another aspect of this to consider. As a parent of a brand new, newly Arrow of Lighted, 11 year old scout…. what suggestions do you have for parents. I REQUIRE my sons ( I have three in total, 1 BS and 2 Cub Scouts) to get his Eagle and I value the comments that have been made about him truly earning it. What suggestions do you have for parents to inspire the boys along the path, with out “pushing him to get it without getting the value out of it.”
    Kind Regards
    Heather

    • Heather, one of the greatest concepts that you could teach your boys, or any scouts, is the idea of patience. Even is something is readily attainable it is sometimes best to slow down yourself and take in the scenery to truly see what is going on around you. A 12 year Eagle may have been mature and may have worked hard to get there but he has not seen the trail as those older have. He rode his bike instead of taking a hike..

    • Just know what the requirements are for each rank advancement and encourage him to work on some of it when he has nothing going on. Ask him if he wants to go on a walk and identify 10 animals or plans and then encourage him to report back to an older Scout to get them signed off on. Encourage him to go on lots of outings to practice what he is learning. But give him space to grow on his own too. I try not to hover around my own kid on outings, I have to make an effort to let him go run with the other boys.

  9. My son can start a fire, pitch a tent and cook a meal. Not only does he cook on campouts but he cooks at home. He has taken many cooking classes and I would guess that he can cook better than quite a few nay sayers that are on this blog. He just turned thirteen and is planning on getting his eagle by the end of the year. When he crossed over he had already gotten his scouting book and talked to the scoutmaster about starting his first merit badge that night. First one was the pet merit badge. Since then he has gone to as many camps as he could. This last summer he spent two weeks at camp and did the mile swim both weeks, even though he had stitches in his leg. He has leadership skills and also empathy. When he gets his eagle in December I know that he will have earned it and more importantly he will know that he earned it.

  10. Parents in our troop seem to be at odds with this same question. “At what age?” Some say boys should only advance 1 rank a year, others say First Class in 1 year. As I read these comments, I realize that most of us aren’t letting the boys make their own decisions, are we? The BSA has requirements, and if you follow these successfully, you become an Eagle Scout. For any of us to decide what age they should be, is wrong. Yes, unfortunately most boys with active parents rank up faster, that’s usually true in school and sports too. I have seen ASM’s signing off on requirements that are never preformed by some boys who are “behind”, yet those same people complain when a ambitious younger scout ranks up quickly by completing (successfully) all requirements. Some boys have desire and goals, let them soar. Unless the BSA changes the rules and add an age limit, don’t get in their way. 95% of Boy Scouts never make it to Eagle and you want to discourage those who are enthusiastic because of their age? What about the 17 1/2 year olds that have to be hand held, begged and pushed to make it before their 18th birthday? Who deserves it more?

    • There is a word for adults that sign off on requirements that they know were not completed – they are called “liars” and they should be called out in front of the SM and committee and told to leave.

  11. 14 is a great age. I earned mine at 16 years old but had every requirement done at 13 1/2. The only thing left was my project. Once you are 16 you get to drive and often instead of working on merit badges do harder things like hiking. Older kids are also great romodels. I’m 17 now and did a road to eagle presentation. I also plan on a kayak trip with the troop. Outside of scouts I recently went camping with my friends and I was pulling a dirtbike trailer so we can ride. Earning my eagle was only the begging to things to learn. As long as the kids parents don’t do the work it can teach lots of responsiblity and help you in the future

  12. My 17 1/2 year old son had his project done, badges earned, worked two summers at camp, was O/A vigil, and did NOT want to become an Eagle scout. He saw too many boys “get it and quit” and many adult “leaders” who were Eagle scouts that only bragged about being an Eagle scout, but did nothing to enhance his troop. He saw many 17 year olds who had quit scouting for 2 or 3 years, and then come back at the last minute to pull it all together and become an Eagle. He also saw many adults in our troop who are “Life for life” who encouraged, mentored, and taught with enthusiasm. It was these ranks he would much rather join. What is the experience you have had?

  13. Scouting has been a part of my life since age 8. I started as a Cub and vivedly remember earning my Bobcat pin. Most every activity made a real impression on me and I could hardly wait for the next meeting. Moving up into the Scout troop was the same way. An adventure was around every corner and the scouting trail meant something. Camping, backpacking, canoe trips, summer camp… you name it, we went! I achieved my Eagle at 16 and filled out with a few palms. Fast forward to today and you’ll find our six sons are all Eagle scouts. Their lives, careers and military service have been guided by their experiences as Eagles. I didn’t have to push them… I just helped point the way. Saying that a Scout is “too young” to earn his Eagle award at age 12 is just not fair to the Scout. If he is participating to his fullest, learning and taking to heart the lessons that the program has to offer, then sharing that knowledge through youth leadership, why should anyone feel justified in saying “No, you can’t earn that… you’re too young.” ? Other side of the coin are the Scouts who wait until “the last minute” to finish badges, projects and paperwork. They’re not “too old” to achieve the goal. We should celebrate that they completed the tasks. Should Moms & Dads “spoon feed” their sons until the requirements are met? Certainly not. Each Scout should advance on his own merits. Should MB skill centers be avoided like the plague? Certainly not. All the available learning opportunities, including http://www.meritbadge.org should be used if possible. If you feel that you or your troop committee can do as well or better, then by all means go for it. Get your Woodbadge training, attend roundtables and help your Troop Youth Leadership conduct advancement sessions.

  14. I missed this thread. I need to catch up. I am wondering how people justify adding requirements, adding points to the Scout Law, sandbagging their really motivated Scouts, and in general, pushing off their own personal agenda on a Scout who thought he understood the Eagle requirements simply by reading his Handbook but gets ambushed at a conference or review on a made up requirement he never saw coming. Look at the joining requirements which is now age 10 with an Arrow of Light. Add 16 months for Star, Life and Eagle written requirements to the month required for the physical fitness and you have a 1 year/5 month minimum. Is it concievable that they squeeze in 20 nights of camping, 10 troop activities along with 21 merit badges ad nauseum in there as well? Sure. It’s concieveable but not likely. But, the way the requirements are written, a Scout could potentially earn Eagle prior to his 12 birthday. Any Scouter that would stand in the way of that based on some dubious notion about maturity or patience is simply not fit to wear the uniform. Full stop. Think the requirements are too lenient? If so, then what is an acceptable percentage of Eagle Scouts? 1% ? .1 %? Take it up with National Advancement, though. Don’t sandbag your Scouts.

  15. Why are we even debating this?
    I am an Eagle who earned the rank at age 13, though I turned 14 by the time it was actually physically “awarded”. I currently serve as ASM for my son’s troop and plan to continue long after he moves on to other things.

    I worked very hard for Eagle. Sometimes thought about giving up, but I looked up to and respoected the other, older Eagles in my troop and wanted to be “part of the same club”. I stayed active in the troop until I turned 18 at which time I served for several years as an ASM until leaving the state for Graduate School. The value and importance of the rank has grown on me over the years. This is something I feel happens to all Eagles, regardless of what physical age they were at the time they earned the rank.

    I have heard this argument for years, and even took some abuse from others regarding my age at acheiving the rank. The argument should not be about age but only wehter or not the requirements have been met.

    Each boy is an individual and each boy will find his own path in his own time. Some will earn the badge at 13, many will earn it around age 15-17 while some will squeak in just before their 18th birthday. Still, the majority will not reach Eagle.

    Please, please ,please stop arguing about what the appropriate age should be; or about how “things were different/better in my day”. Focus on serving the boys and helping each boy to realize his full potential – whetehr it leads to Eagle or not – in his own time frame

  16. I am a 14 year old Eagle Scout myself. I deserved it. All of us out there deserved it. No controversy, we earned it, just werent as lazy as all of the 17 year olds. We jumped the gun. I am living proof that I deserve it, and I am only 14.

  17. Im With Michael Woodrow on this. I am 14 And recieved my eagle, and am the current SPL of my troop. Age doesn’t matter. If the kid is mature enough then he deserves it

  18. I have been involved in scouting since I was a boy and have been around scouting as an adult for over 25 years. I have seen 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and even too frequently 18 year old Eagle Scouts. Personally I earned my Eagle at 13 years old just shy of my 14th birthday. I still remember riding my bike 17 miles to ask for donations for wood and materials. I remember going to the city council to get permission to do the project at the park. No leaders or adults went with me. The only involvement of adults in my project was a mother who drove her truck to get the wood and other equipment and helped with transporting picnic tables and benches we built. I have 2 sons. One became an Eagle just prior to turning 13 and the older one just became an Eagle at 15. The younger one has been the driving force behind his older brother. Both boys have been backpacking since they were very young. The 13 year old completed the mile swim last year when 12, 5 minutes ahead of the closests adult and even further ahead of the closests older scouts. I have reviewed Eagle projects for our district for over 2 years. The younger scouts consistently perform the hardest projects. On review, I have found the majority of younger Eagles are more motivated and worthy of Eagle than older boys, the majority of the time. To me age does not matter. If a boy completes the requirements on his own he should be made an Eagle scout. Earning the Eagle is simply the beginning. Being an Eagle is a road of learning and developng, just like when a doctor gets his MD degree. It is only just the beginning.

  19. Hello, my name is Nico. I am 14 years old and I am working on my eagle project. I am also in the order of the arrow as a chapter Cheif, and a brotherhood member. I feel that just because I’m 14 doesn’t mean I know how to lead, I think that because I’m 14 and going for my eagle just means that I should be even more highly regarded then someone that 17 1/2 and rushing to complete there project before they turn 18. This shows thinking ahead on my part, which allows me to get my eagle at 14, and enjoy the rest of my scouting career not worrying about getting ranks. I can focus on getting my eagle palms, or teaching other youmg scouts how to become great leaders, or being SPL for my troop. I don’t see why just because I’m 14 you should be prejudice against me saying I’m not mature enough, or that I’m a “paper eagle” or anything else.

  20. My son will turn12 and will be moving to Life Scout at the end of the year. He has completed most of his required merit badges. There is already talk in our troop that he is too young. He has shown maturity, attending every PLC meeting, has been troop historian keeping records since before 1st class (troop didn’t have records before he came on board), has come up with great suggestions to help scouts at the PLC meetings, mentors younger scouts, and cheerfully volunteers for any and everything in scouting. He is driven, excited, motivated. I see no reason why he should not make Eagle by 13. We just had a 17 year old scout just barely make it to Eagle. I have never seen this boy at meetings, never seen him mentor scouts or help the younger boys or show any leadership. In his case, the dad did most of the work! My son has worked on his own for his rank and merit badges. Most of his merit bages were earned one-on-one with different counselors whom he contacted himself. If that does not show maturity and leadership, I don’t know what does. I totally agree with Nico above. Scouting does not stop when you get an Eagle. You are a role model and will continue to be one henceforth.

    • I recently had a conversation with a 13 newly Eagle Scout.And the one thing that I said was “what is good about you being a young Eagle Scout is now you will stay in the Troop and give back and mentor others”. he agreed.My son made Eagle at age 15 he was life at 13. His project was a large one so it took a bit more work, But he finished and is now ready for High school and is still in the Troop to help other’s. I don’t see this in the 17+ Eagle scouts. They age out and that is it! Good for your son keep going !!!!

      • Gschaper, you have expressed my opion exactly. When I went to Newport News, Virginia and the Jamestown settlement, I met a 13 year old Eagle, Troop 333 to be exact. He astonished me, my brother is one of the Eagles who will barely make the cut… But I, a 14 year old Eagle Scout, find it was better to make it early. You were right again, they just age out. The people in my Troop, thats all they do, they age right out. I’m the youngest Eagle in my Troop in years. And only my fellow Eagle Scout, Eric, is the only other active Eagle Scout. And he is now 16. And I agree with somebody above, is it really that making it after you get into high school to late? When you’re in high school, your schedule gets very hectic. Whether it’s rehersals, studying, or sport practices, there’s alot to do every night. Let alone Merit Badges and an Eagle Project. I’m heading into High School in the fall, but I am very ready, not worrying about not having enough Merit Badges. I am ready to earn some Palms!

        Yours In Scouting,
        Eagle Scout, Michael Woodrow

        Yours In Scotuing,

  21. I am an older Eagle Scout. I completed every thing up to life scout in about two years, went to several summer camps, all fall and winter camps. I also attended Buckskin, and Fox Fire. Sports, school, driving, and hormones got me almost never make Eagle. As a Board Certified Profeshonal at highest level in my crear path a decorated officer. I am proudest most about being an Eagle Scout. Because of that i have never quit and leared to do many things on my own. The honor as also allowed me do things or get my foot in door before another. During that time I have met several other Eagles. I am impresed with them. So back to the point of young men becoing Eagles too soon. They will become Muture Eagles, Men, and take their place of honor in time. Allow them to be young, and enjoy the fruits of their effort.

  22. I think an Eagle Scout should not only finish the required badges and reviews, but have the experience to make sense of what he has learned. That, my friends, only comes with age. Sure, there are always exceptions to the rule, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that its the norm. Although I am sure they exists, I never met an eagle scout under the age of 17 that, in my opinion, deserved it. Some had the maturity and, of course, all had done what was required of them, but none had the wisdom.

    Think about this for a second, we are talking about a very important and prestigious accomplishment here. And kids are “earning” it before they can even drive a car! Think about the many arguments over maturity, experience, and wisdom that have taken place in regards to the driving age. Something that is NOT considered a highly prestigious award. And scouts are getting their eagle 2-3 years before THAT!

    If you don’t take wisdom, maturity, and experience into the equation then all the Eagle rank becomes is a badge with a checklist of requirements. If you are okay with that, then so be it. The troop I was in was run in a way where the Scout needed to complete the task with little to no help from the parents. The scout was the one who needed to call the merit badge counselors and set up appointments with them. There was a limit to how many merit badges one could earn at Summer Camps, the entire Eagle Scout Project had to be put together by the scout with MINIMAL input from the parents. The Scout leaders would help guide us and make suggestions, but that was it. There was no conceivable way a 13 year old could do it this way even if everything else was accomplished. Simple logistics would make it impossible.

    Again, if you are okay with watering down the value of the accomplishment so that it falls underneath my standards, then so be it. Just don’t pretend that and Eagle rank under the lesser standards means the same thing.

    • I value everyone’s opinion related to this topic and have posted before. However, I do disagree with those whose opinions I find suggest all Scouts are not ready until they are older, or don’t “deserve it” until they are older, or can’t internalize the true meaning of Scouting until they are older. If a person firmly believes that Scouts needs to be older than I say stop complaining and posting about it and instead do something about it. Make your opinions known to your local and National BSA leaders and advocate for change. Advocate that the BSA, through their summer camps, stop promoting that new Scouts try and make First Class Rank within 12 months by discontinuing classes like Eagle Quest where Scouts work on numerous Tenderfoot, First and Second class rank advancements all in one weeks time. Advocate that BSA Districts stop offering merit badge weekends. Advocate that the BSA make tenderfoot, second and first class ranks have mandatory advancement time restrictions like the other higher ranks. Advocate that the existing 4 -6 month Star, Life, and Eagle rank leadership positions being lengthened to 6 months and 12 months. Advocate that the BSA be more stringent on Eagle project requirements and the paperwork that needs to be completed. Advocate for test outs of ranks. If you take time to look at the reason why a Scout is even able to obtain Eagle at 13 or 14, it is the BSA that allows for it through the system they have established over years. It is not the parents/leaders, for the most part, who are making it easier for their boys to achieve their Eagle at 13 or 14. With everything being is online and you can access information within 10 seconds. If a Scout wants to know how to treat a broken ankle I can read, or view a youtube video, from the Internet or from their phone in seconds vs. the old days of spending an hour at the library looking something up in the Dewey decimal system. I am both a dad and a Scoutmaster and I was never in Scouts, I clearly see how the BSA system works today and yes it is not perfect, but it does afford the boys the opportunities to learn skills like first aid, cooking, gets them in the outdoors instead of playing video games or looking at Facebook for hours, or texting for hours, it gives them the opportunity to explore many career choices through merit badges they work on. My son is 12 and on his way to Eagle by the time he reaches 13 1/2. And at whatever age he earns it at, or chooses not to earn it, I will still say to him “Did you have fun. Did you learn anything? Great job!”

    • excuse me. I earned by eagle at 15 and a half. I have been continuously registered in Scouting from age 7 to now which would mean that I have now been involved in Scouting for almost 15 years. I sit on MULTIPLE Council Committees, serve on a District Committee, am a Assistant District Commissioner, a Unit Commissioner and am a mentor to new District Executives. In fact the Assistant Scout Executive in my Council PERSONALLY ASKED ME to assist a DE in learning how to do recharter.

      I think that qualifies me as someone who actually earned and understood what earning Eagle means. If that is not enough I would be happy to email you my full Scouting Resume.

  23. Sorry here is what Websters has to say.
    a : accumulated philosophic or scientific learning : knowledge
    b : ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight
    c : good sense : judgment
    d : generally accepted belief
    2
    : a wise attitude, belief, or course of action
    3
    : the teachings of the ancient wise men

  24. With respect, you cannot and should not stereotype the abilities and maturity of a Scout based primarily on their chronological age, as I noted in my original response when this discussion first started. No Scout fits into an age-oriented “one size fits all” category, and what one 12 or 13 year-old is capable of when compared to a 15 or 17 year-old just cannot be generalized. Some 17 year-old Scouts that I have worked with are not as capable as some very mature and competent 13 year-olds, so it is never appropriate or fair to make generalized assumptions based primarily on age, but rather to consider the unique qualities of the individual Scout on a case-by-case basis.

    I have known of some leaders who actually have told young Scouts who were actively pursuing their Eagle Scout award to “…slow down and wait until they get older to earn their Eagle…” in the mistaken belief that “the Scout will appreciate the award more when they are older and will stay in the Troop longer.” Nothing could be more wrong or unfair to the Scout and offering such advice is wholly inappropriate on the part of a leader. I have seen this approach actually discourage enthusiastic young Scouts who either lost interest and/or dropped out of Scouting completely when they entered high school; and thus never earned their Eagle when they could and would have done so, had the leader not made such an inappropriate, unfortunate and misguided decision.

    Our Troop and associated Venturing Crew/Sea Scout Ship has experienced more than 130 Eagle Scouts in it’s more than 60 year tenure, and none of them earned the award without considerable demonstration and application of the skills, maturity, ingenuity, integrity, and quality expected of an Eagle Scout. If a Scout earns the Eagle award at an early age, it is a tribute to their dedication and perseverance which should be encouraged and rewarded by offering them other challenges beyond Eagle, such as joining a Venturing Crew and/or Sea Scout Ship and earning the challenging awards of Bronze, Gold, Silver, Ranger, Trust, Quest, and the Sea Scout Awards of Apprentice, Ordinary, Able, and Quartermaster which are age- appropriate for teens as a part of the “Scouting’s Next Step” young adult programs of Venturing and Sea Scouts.

    Because teens are less likely to want to activelys and primarily pursue awards, [especially if they have already earned their Eagle], Venturing and Sea Scouts offer a “stealth advancement” approach of encouraging participation in activities that the youth select and lead, and then adult advisors keep track of their fulfillment of commensurate award requirements during those activities which qualifies them for the awards. Teens become pleasantly surprised to learn that they have coincidentally already qualified for most of the requirements of the various awards. This has been shown to work very well and many young adults become enthusiastic about the awards programs because they are tertiary to their challenging high adventure activities programs which are their primary focus and appeal in a crew or ship.

    Since most Boy Scouts typically drop out of troops when they enter high school, Venturing and Sea Scouts offer a proven way to keep the teens in Scouting during their high school years up through age 20 and offer the added advantage of having young women in their programs as well. For those interested in careers, LFL Exploring can offer hands-on career orientation programs in such fields as law enforcement, fire/rescue/EMS, health careers, aviation, science, law, business, and much more, again keeping the youth in the Scouting family through high school.

    LFL Career interest surveys are now available on line through PC., smartphone/I-Pads that can be quickly completed just about anywhere, and at any time, with very rapid data compilation and results turnaround. When offered through schools, surveys can provide information about the youth for both career interests and for avocational interests such as outdoor high adventure. The youth can then be invited and directed to Venturing, Sea Scout and Exploring programs that meet their interests and needs. Similarly, the schools who receive these results can direct youth into appropriate academic and vocational tracks appropriate to their career choice interests and needs. In a time when Scouting is losing membership, this approach offers a way to keep Scouts in the program and to recruit new teen members that have never been in Scouting at all. In a time when education and career path choices are faltering when compared with other nations, Scouting and the schools in partnership can make a difference in
    the future success of youth in making good career choices and finding life long interests and avocations as productive citizens, effective parents, and outstanding leaders.

  25. Pingback: 10 ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Eagle Scouts « Bryan on Scouting

  26. I am the proud mother of an Eagle Scout who recently completed this accomplishment at the age of 17. For my son, scouting was his passion. He attended Scout Camp every year and participated in all but maybe 2 of the weekend adventures over his 7 years, which amounted to 70+ trips and included many Venture Patrols. Now, at 18, my son is an independent traveler who, I know, is always fully prepared.
    I also am the Personal Management Badge Counselor for our Troop and for the local District, which means I not only counsel boys one-on-one (always 2 deep!!) but also run a class each year for our Merit Badge College. This allows me to see many boys of all ages and from all areas, not unlike many of you who have posted your opinions. While there are many exceptions for individual scouts, I have to say that I agree mostly with the comments made by Mr. Brain Callahan. Many boys can work through the requirements in a timely fashion and be ready to achieve the rank of Eagle at age 14, but I do believe that Personal Management is a badge that takes a level of maturity that most boys do not have at that age. It requires an understanding of concepts that elude many adults. When I teach the class at the Merit Badge College, for example, the requirement for designing a project is usually led by the boys who have already done their Eagle Projects. They take the lead. The younger boys learn from this experience, which is the way it should be. I also find that when it comes to discussing potential careers, the boys of 12 – 14 haven’t really thought about it yet and, if they have, they do not know how to research options, including the cost of college, etc. I have recently made the suggestion that boys who enroll in this class are 14 years old or a freshman in high school because they have begun to understand the meaning of money. Of course, there are exceptions, but I find those to be rare. Maybe others do not hold the requirements of any one badge to its letter but I do. I want the Scout to really understand what they are learning so that when they leave Scouts, whether as an Eagle or not, they are better prepared for what they will encounter.
    Linda Reich
    RI

  27. So, a Jr. High school kid shouldn’t be allowed to advance to High School learning level because of the age?……. we need to stop holding back our kids….mine may not be ready, while another is….let him advance to his ability! If a kid can truly advance on his own then so be it….the kids who have parents that seek “just” the Eagle status will no doubt hurt the kids future ….the kid will learn to take short cuts! this is setting him up for failure. If a parent chooses that path then its avoidable at any age! the ones who really earn this will become something great….its in the heart.

  28. I think the arguement is ridiculous. I have an 11 year old who started karate at 7 and practises each morning, has always got straight As and the teachers complain the advanced placement classes aren’t challenging him. He started playing french horn last year and has been asked to play taps on trumpet for flag retirements. In scouts, he is in a very active troop with 3 to 4 outings a month with atleast one camp out. Starting as a Tiger He crossed over in february with every webelo pin and the arrow of light. Now October he is a first class. He attends every merit badge day practises knots and first aid all the time and has 12 merit badges. He doesn’t deserve to make Eagle at 13? If he waits 3 years he will get bored and walk away. Is that fair?

  29. A lot of these comments metion that once the requirements are complete and the project is done, he has earned the rank. True, but most rfer to merit badges, service and the project. One aspect that is not mentioned much is the position of responsibility. This is a very important requirement. The guidance says that the scout must perform the duties of this position effectively. If not, the requirement is not met. Unfortunately this is subjective and this is where there is friction in interpretation. However, this is a requirement for Star, Life, and Eagle so any deficiencies in leadership should have been addressed earlier. This is also one requirement that is way too often just signed off.

  30. I have one Eagle son in college and one Star in HS. So I’ve ben around a while Maturity isn’t a rank or merrit badge. It comes from with in. Each and every one of us is different. Some do only scouting to the point where a boy would get every badge yet his father never thru him a base ball. Some boys are what I called more balanced with sports. So each of is different. But one thing that is not different is if a boys does a requirement he needs to be awarded. Plain and simply. Read the Hnadbook. Scouting is no suppose to be a place of disappointment’s.
    I see so many leaders with so many badges sewn to thier shirts who simply have no clue about what scouting is all about, where with their child it is plain to see lacking their love and affection. Their too busy out scouting for others not taking care of thier own family first. Like so many parents on drugs they are always the last to know or see and are mostly in denial.
    I’ve seen SM do very selffish things for themselves and seen a number of scouts suffer because of it. He thought one was into sports too much even though he fulfilled all BSA requirements, he made rules demanding X amount of camping trips not part of BSA. So where a scout in another area or state would have eagle, these two boys were denied and one after fighting hard got it reversed just walk away as not to be associated with us (by the way this boy was in the county band and top of HS Class). The third boy being denied his project to be approved was enough and so when SM wouldn’t approved his project which was fully approved bythe local council he was finally removed. This SM received SM of the year award because he put together a rule book above BSA rules. Boys suffered. I see and hear it all the time. I would sit in meting where members would say we need to make the projects harder. Harder? Harder then what? Those in other areas doing the same project would be OK but not us? We have almost 70 boys in our troop and some say are afraid we might be looked at like a mill. Well maybe because we have great support and 3x’s to 4x’s the amount of the SM saying so. So of course if he puts out 2 or 3 a year with only 15 to 20 boys were gonna put out 6 or 8. 2 x 2 will always be 4.
    Many of you need to understand that Boy Scouts is “ONLY” and nothing more then one of many journeys our young boys will take. I’ve read so much above that it sounds without scouting there is nothing else too the point it is a “Sacred” thing instead of a personal learing thing. Each boy like each girl and adult strive for different things at different times in different ways in thier lives. These Scouts will go in many directions at different speeds to become young men. Is 13 young yah maybe, but so are those who started Facebook and Windows. Never doubt the abilities of those you know nothing of.

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