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. I am the adancement person in my troop….there was none before me…the few adults in the troop that were registered for merit badges were all about the same…some of the boys had blue cards with partials 2 to 4 yrs old…..the only merit badges they got were at camp….(im 80. 4 yrs navy 20 yrs air force) any adult can sign up for any merit badge. I got the merit badge poster and scout were amazed…….there merit badges for pet care, dog care…..they were just not aware of the badfges they could earn….scholarship for school work….etc…etc.. scouts have come up and said..Mr….. I want to be and eagle can you help me. We are now actively working on merit badges an hour before troop meetings….one of our last eagles did his last requirement at 9pm, hours before his 18th birthday….although I can sign off merit badges for my grandson…I prefer not to…and have others sign him off….he will have all of his eagle requirement complated at 13 or 14…..another thing about merit badges….Ive seen some that are signed off at camp….wondering how the activity was accomplished….also there are merit badge pow wows…some adults say the pow wows are just merit badge mills…..all I know is they are BSA sanctioned….I see parents coming from MANY miles to bring their scouts to a pow wow…we had one from Rhode Island, Conn, New Jersey…..come to New Hampshire for a pow wow….their parents actively supported and encouraged their scouts….

    • The statement………..

      “Some of the boys had Blue Cards with partials 2 to 4 years old.”

      According to the Guide to Advancement or as is commonly referred to is GTA a Scout can work on a MB for as long as he needs with no exception that the MB be done within X number of years. Of course finishing the Badge within a year or so is beneficial to have better retention of information but then again, does it matter how long the MB took? For me, the answer is no it does not, to me the thing that is most important is that the Scout explore the basics of the field or subject area and to learn some of the basic skills. We are not trying to create mini subject-matter experts.

      “Ive seen some that are signed off at camp…………wondering how the activity was accomplished.”

      This particular concern is one that I have heard over and over again from both Leaders and Parents. What this normally comes down to is this…………..At Scout Camp the staff members that serve as MB Counselors are usually between 15 and 17 years old. Therefore the lack of quality instruction on the MB is primarily due to lack of training or expertise in that subject area. I realize many think that it is just a matter of finding more knowledgable people or more training but the two questions I have for people:

      A) Where are you going to find a subject matter expert that is willing to work for basically 6 days a week, 24 hours per day at less than about $250 hours per week?
      B) How do we train staff members in just a single week? Do we pay them for more weeks of training or do we demand that they attend multiple training sessions without compensation?

      “Some adults say that MB Pow-Wows are just MB-mills.”

      Merit Badge Pow-Wows or what I refer to as Merit Badge University (MBU) have in some areas just become a show-up, listen, and earn the MB MBU. The question though I ask is…………….”Do we blame the Youth Members?” I personally do not blame the youth for (but there are exceptions) the failure of an adult to properly present and complete the material. If this occurs in your District I advise you to contact the District Chairman or the Vice-Chairman of Advancement for your district. These are the volunteers that can implement change and change only occurs if someone speaks up. If the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction by the District Advancement Committee then contact your Council Advancement Committee.

      Please feel free to contact me at westybsa@gmail.com with any questions or concerns.

  2. nnnooo, I am a 13 year old eagle scout and there is NO problem with that. Do you know how hard it is just to make Eagle scout, let alone a young one, the people against young Eagles should be ashamed, you would have to be real mature to earn Eagle and exceptionally above average for making it at that age.

    • I am an eagle scout. I am now 16 yeas old. I received my eagle at 14. Do I think that is young, no. Going through the boy scout book, 14 is not too young, that is just he first chance you are able to get it. 13, I feel is way to young, unless you received 2-3 ranks at a time.

  3. My name is Vaed and I am a Star Scout. I will be receiving the eagle scout rank on 12/19/13, when I will be 14. I personally see no problem what so ever in achieving the rank this young. I have individually done the requirements for EVERY rank, position, merit badge, and awards, and have worked very hard on it. I have completed every merit badge I have earned fairly and have worked hard to do so. I currently have 19 merit badges, almost at 21, and am a Troop Guide. I did not attain this position by being ignorant of the information that is trying to be learned in being a boy scout. I also did not attain these accolades by having a forceful parent who fed my answers, kept me advancing through ranks (I have seen these with other scouts), and planned my own service projects. I have my own motivation in attaining these ranks and I do not need some adult who has not achieved this rank and know how difficult it is to tell me that I am too young to get this award.

    Although I agree with the fact that we shouldn’t make 13-14 year old kids just get the ranks without working hard for it, I know that there are many scouts, who strive to get this award and are 13-14 years old but are much more mature than other 16-17 year old scouts. The rank of Eagle is not my only goal, as I work on other awards too. For example, I have either completed or am almost done with the World Conservation Award, Nova Awards, William T. Hornaday Award, Youth Religious Award, National Outdoor Award, Jockey Hollow Trail Award, Fire Man’s Chit, Totin Chip, Paul Bunyan Woodsman Award, Recruiter Award, and Interpreter Strip (Hindi). I have spent at LEAST a 10-15 hours on each of them and am eager to do so. This shows my dedication to boy scouts and that I am Not a Paper Eagle.

    I am a part of the Boy Scouts of America because I want to learn, NOT because I can have something to put on my resume. And for the people who insist that eagle scout SHOULD NOT be given to young scouts because of the so called maturity are completely oblivious to what a scout is. If I am correct Boy Scouts is different from Cub Scouts, am I right? A scout attains ranks as he matures and there are plenty of scouts who are mature enough at 14. This is not like cub scouts where boys mostly rank up as they pass a grade. Eagle Scout is about PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENT, meaning that it awards the hard workers, and punishes the lazy. That is why only 95% of scouts become an Eagle Scout.

    I became a patrol leader within a year of being in my troop, when I was 12. This was because my Scoutmaster saw my potential and realized that I worked hard in this organization… NOT BECAUSE HE WAS FORCING ME UP TO EAGLE. If you have the audacity to think that I should not attain this rank of Eagle at 14 leave a comment.

    A boy scout is TRUSTWORTHY which means that he will complete the requirements as he goes through his road to eagle, which means that he would be eligible to become Eagle.

    Becoming Eagle means giving an accolade to the dedicated. So does that mean that we should punish the extremely dedicated? Think!

    Now that you have read this tell me who deserves to get this award:

    A scout who works hard daily, is active in his troop, follows the scout Oath and Law, is self motivated but is 14

    OR

    A scout who is not dedicated or is active in the troop, and has a parent do his work for him making him get a materialistic award and not a sentimental one, and is 17 and 11 months?

    Both will get an award but only the dedicated 14 year old scout deserved it.

    Now for the people who disagree with me:

    If we do put an age restriction and a 14 year old scout such as I can not get the award I will blatantly be discouraged by this act of pure scapegoating (discrimination). It will also make other eager yet young scouts deprived of their lack of recognition from their hard work and will make them less likely to achieve this award (contrary to the belief of the Boy Scouts of America’s belief). You can not generalize the capability of a 14 year old and claim that a 17 year old is automatically more mature or deserves the award more.

    In conclusion, do not restrict the Eagle Award to 14 year old because of their age. They deserve it. And all the people who haven’t earned the award I suggest should stay out of this conversation because you have no idea of the capability of a motivated 14 year old boy.

    Thank you for your appreciation!

      • I see a few grammatical mistakes but I do not think that judging someone based on their understanding of the english language alone is wrong. Have you actually ever met this young person?

        What gives you the right to judge someone before you get to know the person personally.

      • I know adults who can’t put together a logical thought independently as well. You don’t know how many of them can’t spell or even fill out the application correctly. As a COR I sign them all, when they are correctly filled out that is.

      • Sorry, your reply to that very well reasoned and well argued post was specious, sarcastic and completely out of line and you owe that young gentleman an apology.

      • Well said Vaed.. I am a mother of a boy who earned his Eagle rank at age 13… He was voted in as Senior patrol leader at age 12. He now has his PHD. Age has absolutely nothing to do with it. Dedication & hard work do. Take for an example School – Does a 13 year old child who is in AP classes and making High Honors, smarter than a Junior in High School Failing???? Yes they more than likely are.. So bottom line, Its maturity & Dedication – Not age. A parent can support, Give Rides, and encourage, But a parent cannot be an eagle scout, or force a son to become one – The Son Needs to do that. The only people who don’t believe that, are parents who have never had an Eagle Scout for a son, or seen the hard work & dedication that goes into it…. And in closing, I made lots of Grammar errors on purpose, I am 53 and own two business’s.. So don’t judge the boy you have never met..

    • How as a Star Scout can you know the exact date that you will receive your Eagle rank? Does your troop have a Court of Honor on that date when it will be celebrated? If you are not yet a Life scout have you started your Eagle project yet? Your achievements are admirable and I have not doubt you will reach your goal. I just don’t see how you can know, to the day, almost a year in advance when that will happen.

    • My son became an Eagle Scout almost 20 years ago at age 14. My husband and I rarely helped him with anything other than transportation. He was a dedicated Boy Scout who enjoyed the activities, not just earning merit badges and rank. He has always been exceptionally mature for his age and he deservedly earned Eagle at the tender age of 14, having been in numerous leadership roles within the troop. I saw first hand how well he worked with younger Scouts and was, myself, surprised at the level of his maturity. He continued with Scouting for several more years, entered college as a Sophomore, did his first year of Veterinary School simultaneously with his senior year in college, became board certified in Veterinary Pathology and earned his PhD shortly thereafter. At what point should we have told him he was “too young” to do all of these things? We were not the type of parents who pushed him to achieve. We only tried to facilitate his achieving what was important to him – mostly by staying out of his way! My own experience with teenage boys tells me that some of them are very mature in their early teens and some of them never grow up!

  4. Just a few comments:
    You are allowed to join boy scouts at age 10 with an Arrow of Light award. When can you start earning Merit Badges? That same day you joined! Age 10. How exciting it is for a young man to join scouting and be able to do this right away. A person’s greatest resource is the latest edition of the Boy Scout Handbook. It has all you need to know to obtain Eagle. The rules and requirements are all there approved by the BSA. Why do any of us think we can add to or take away from any requirements found there, unless there is are special circumstances and alternative requirements that are also in the Scout Handbook? You must not add to or take away from the requirements. This is the program folks! If we all read the latest Scout Handbook it would do miracles for us all as leaders and scouts This is exactly what I follow. It’s a lot easier. I point my parents directly to the Scout Handbook if they have any questions.

    Merit badges and rank advancements can be started at age 10 period. GO NEW SCOUTS, dive in, have fun, earn merit badges, go camping and hiking, enjoy learning about all the different careers, teach younger scouts all about scouting, provide service. and live by what you learn. The awards will come naturally.

    Above all Live the Scout Oath and Law and Motto and Slogan and Outdoor Code.
    Do your duty to God and your country, do your duty to others, and do your duty to yourself.
    The aim of scouting is the Scout Oath. You are allowed to start at age 10. Some will earn Eagle quickly, others will earn it slowly. I am proud of all my scouts, whatever their Rank. Every time we meet it is a chance to influence their lives.

    I try to be supportive of all my scouts. Every Scout Deserves a Trained Leader. If your Scout fulfills the requirements according to BSA rules, award it to him.Enjoy it, encourage him to keep going. The counselors are the ones responsible for deciding whether a person has passed the Merit Badge Requirements. A scout can do a lot more than we think they can. Get over the age thing folks. He can start at age 10 now. Age does not matter. Fulfilling the requirements honestly and correctly does matter, don’t cut your experience short by not doing it honestly.

    • Well stated. I have posted before on this thread line. If parents and Scouts don’t like the BSA policies of how quick someone can obtain Eagle by meeting the service hours, being active, carrynig out their leadership responsibilities, and merit badge requirements, then do something about it rather than try to knock down younger Eagle Scouts from their accomplishments. Sit down and type or hand write a letter to the National BSA asking for more stringent time requirements be implemented to obtain Eagle and state your arguments. My son has attended every Troop outing, fundraiser, Troop activity (missing just two Scout meetings) in two years. He will be Life Scout before he turns 13 in June and has aspirations to obtain his Eagle by the end of this year. He was elected into the Order of the Arrow by his peer Scouts at age 12 because he is an active Scout and leads by example. Many of the older Scouts come to a handful of Troop outings and activities and yes they probably will obtain Eagle by age 16 and 17 but they are not setting a leadership example and are not available to help the new Scouts acquire new skills. It is the 12-14 year old Scouts who are mostly helping out the 10 and 11 year old Scouts.

  5. While it certainly IS possible, getting Eagle at 13 or 14 is way too early. You don’t experience much of what scouting really is during that time (you think you do, but trust me, you don’t), and getting Eagle is, to restate the cliche, more about the journey than the destination. Merit badges should have experiences behind them, not just paper. Ranks should be relished and have real requirements to earn, rather than just blindly signing off any kid who knows the scout oath and law. Ranks tenderfoot through first class are usually assisted by scout leaders, and life and eagle require leadership by the scout. When I first joined scouts, I resolved to be the youngest eagle ever (I really did), but now I see that if I had rushed through, I wouldn’t have gone on nearly as many camping trips, or made nearly as many friends in scouts as I did. I earned my eagle badge two months after I became 17, which also leaves me with enough time to get the bronze, gold, and silver palms. The existence of palms is not to provide higher ranks for 14 year old eagles; it is to provide (experienced) eagle scouts with a reward for staying involved in their troops, since there is a problem with eagle scouts quitting after earning the rank.
    Through my scouting career, I have seen 13 year old Vigils in the OA and 14 year olds with over 100 merit badges. When I was 13, I led a Coin Collecting merit badge class under the leadership of an adult. You need to have maturity, integrity, and most importantly, respect, to be a leader, which is what being an eagle scout is all about. I know for sure that there are no 12 or 13 year olds who have the respect in their troop needed for eagle scout. As some commenters before me have stated, you may think your son is the greatest guy in the world with every skill he needs to become an eagle scout, but when you really think about it, the skills of an eagle have to be developed over years of scouting, not months of requirement-filling.

    • “You don’t experience much of what Scouting really is during that time (you think you do, but trust me, you don’t)”

      I disagree with this and have seen evidence that contradicts what you are saying. However I do admit that some who earned their Eagle before age 14 were just what most call “Paper Eagles” meaning that while they completed the requirements they just don’t seem like they are “Eagle Quality” Scouts. I earned my Eagle when I was 15.5 years old but if not for my Scoutmaster I more than likely would have earned it at 14 years old. At 12 almost 13 years old I earned my Star Rank, I then earned my Life Rank when I was about 13.5 years old and finally completed Eagle at 15.5 years old.

      I started Scouting when I was 7 years old and have constantly been in Scouting to the present day which means that I have been in Scouting for almost 15 years and in fact will be at 15 years on April 12 of this year. I am 21 almost 22 years old and am considered by my council leadership as one of the foremost knowledge Scouter in the council. You may think I am bragging here but I’m not because I realize there is always something I can learn everyday in life and in Scouting.

      “It is to provide (experienced) Eagle Scouts with a reward for staying involved in their Troops, since there is a problem with Eagle Scouts quitting after earning the rank.”

      While you are right that Eagle Palms are to encourage Eagle Scouts to stay in Scouting after earning their rank, your statement “Reward for staying…….” shows a common misconception. Instead besides just staying in Scouting it is to continue to encourage other Scouts to earn the rank of “Eagle Scout” before time runs out. Going back to my personal story, since I earned Eagle at 15.5 years old I could have completed 6 Eagle Palms meaning that I would have 2 Bronze Palms, 2 Gold Palms, and 2 Silver Palms. However this did not happen as I was focused on other parts of Scouting besides advancement and during this time I learned so much about how to really use and demonstrate the 8 Methods of Scouting.

  6. There are just way to many here trying to put their twist on who or what an Eagle Scout should be. The oragnization at least up to recent news I won’t get into here is clearly eastablished with rules to follow and live by not to impair. If a rank has a time factor so be it. Then the boy has to wait but I know the boys who are running with scouting aren’t waiting doing nothing. He’ working on the next rank advancement or badges for palms.
    There is no magic age as each boy is an individual and just as with our experiences at work and our daily lives their are many types of people as their are many types of scouts. Some just move faster then others doing what need’s to be done while other just sit and ponder what to do.
    In many cases I find that it’s the older (I’m 50) or Eagle Scout SM/ASM’s who like to put more on the boys then required. Stating they need to endure more and more and more. I sit in committee meeting where my ears whats to cringe of what poeple have to say and put on our scouts. That this or that Eagle Scout Project isn’t hard enough even though it’s being done all across the country by other scouts. That we need to make projects more dificult or make boys sign a book to schedule a date for Boards of Reviews then not show up for them due to personal reasons and not call anyone to stand in holding back the boys advancement even further then it needs to.
    I’ll take a 13 or 14 yr old scout who knows how to work hard and get it done anytime over any 16 to 18 yr olds anytime.

    • I am a mother of a 14 year old who is still waiting for his Eagle Board of review. He started and completed his project when he was 13 but has not yet completed all the requirements leading up to his rank up. The problem is his Eagle mentor was forced to leave her position and was not replaced. He has gone through this on his own. Every time he has a question on procedure (whose signature, how or where to document things) he waits 7-20 days for the adult leader or administrator to return his call. Do I think he is too young? Absolutely not! I think we need to treat them with respect due anyone of any age taking on that much responsibility. Eagle projects involve lots of planning, paperwork and follow up phone calls. Some of these “young” men are more mature than the people leading them. My job now is to keep him from being discouraged and giving up. If I had a nickel for every time he was asked “Are you turning 18 soon? No, than Don’t worry you have lots of time.”
      Still waiting…….

  7. I had earned my Ealgle rank at the age of 13 and 3 months. I am very bright, young man, as I was then, during that time I was very mature and didn’t follow many of any of my peers choices. I chose to lead and guide and throught the years I earned Eagle at a young age. I believe if you are a valuable leader, and others can count on you to help them and inform them, you are a leader. It’s all about maturity, i’ve seen adults who act more childish then I was when I was 10. Just my opinion

  8. I am a 11 3/4 year old almost star and everyone is telling me to slow dowm in my troop 159 and wait untill everyone catches up to me (The average first class scout in our troop is 13-15).

    • Don’t let anyone tell you to slow down! Congrats to you for your awesome work towards completing Star.

      Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class should really only take about a year to finish. And in fact the BSA has put together a Trail to First Class in One Year Worksheet to promote this. Here’s a bit of trivia for you………..stats from the BSA say that a Scout that doesn’t earn First Class within a year of joining Scouts will likely drop-out of Scouting before he is 13 years old and even if he does stay in Scouting the narrow chance of earning Eagle is drastically reduced.

      Before commenting please remember these are only statistics and do not always hold true but they are generally accepted by most well informed Scout Leaders.

    • Joe, do not “wait” for the others to “catch up” you go at your own pace! You earn your Eagle rank when you want to! You can help pull your fellow Scouts along but do not let them pull you back! Do NOT let some adult or Scoutmaster hold you back! If you are a determined and motivated young man, you go for it!! Based on what you have said, you could earn your Eagle rank before you are 13. Good luck to you young man! Keep up the good work! And . . . most importantly . . . have fun! Lord Badin Powell said, “Boy Scouting is a game . . . with a purpose.”

    • Congratulations! Your effort is to be commended, but be sure to enjoy the journey. My son EARNED his eagle at age 12 1/2 and was supported by the older scouts who thought it was really a great undertaking. He has now completed his 4th Hornaday Project and is our Troop Guide with the specific task of working with and mentoring our younger scouts from age 10-12. With over 75 merit badges and 8 palms he is the example of what is possible for the other scouts in our area. He is also working toward the National Outdoor Achievement Award and cycles regularly with the scouts he mentors. It I might be so bold as to make one request: Give back to the troop, act in leadership and NEVER let anyone stand in the way of your goals. Because of this example we have all 5 of our scouts ages 12-15 are Life scouts completing their Eagle. Rock on!

      • Matt your reply should be the only posting here as it answers any doubter that a Scout under the ages of 13/14 do not deserve to be Eagle….They most derservingly do!!
        The Scouts I know who have Eagled early before 14 I have found tend to stay with Scouting going for Palms etc and do not drop off an many say would happen..
        They are the go getters in life.. Sure some might even be alil imature (in some eyes) but we all grow up at different times….My wife says she’s still waitig for me to grow up… Hope I never do…
        The ones who are going on 18 are always playing catch up doing the minimum they need to do….
        Many try to put their own twist or stamp on what or who constitues and Eagle. I am a CC and hear the same nonsense things from some our our ASM’s..
        Each and every Scout has a different drive as with each adult man and women….Thank you…

  9. I earned Eagle Scout at fourteen. Never did anyone question the fact that, at my age, I was “too immature” to earn the rank. I put my heart and soul into earning Eagle, and it just so happens I did it in two years. I think it’s an irrelevant question to the “who should earn Eagle Scout” debate.

    I knew other Scouts in my old troop who zoomed through the ranks, but not for the same reasons as I did. They had their dad, who almost ALWAYS was a leader within the troop, help them with merit badges and rank advancement. More often than not, the dad did most or all of the work. I’m not saying that parental assistance is bad per se, but when it comes to the day after day of climbing the ropes, YOU should be the one pushing yourself forward and getting the work done.

    Those types of Scouts shouldn’t earn Eagle. I’m sorry, but they shouldn’t. The first part of your journey is important for you to develop yourself. Not your parents develop you, but you develop yourself. What I mean by that is this; when you are ready to do your Eagle Project, you should be able to put together the pieces and know what you need to do to get the job done. From Scout to Life, it is important to develop leadership so you can be self reliant and independent in doing important things. That’s not just a Boy Scout thing, that’s a life characteristic many don’t possess.

    To conclude, if a Scout has shown that they are ready for the rank and that they have done their best throughout their Scouting career, give them the rank. Don’t determine it off of age. Maturity and leadership is something even a fourteen year old can possess.

    • My husband is a leader in my son’s troop. He has actually been harder, not easier, on my son as he moved up through the ranks. He never once let him get off easy on merit badges or rank advancements. He didn’t help him to complete requirements let alone do them for him. He held our son to a higher standard than other scouts because he was his dad. There are parents who are leaders and merit badge counselors like you describe, but not all dads are like that. And our son is an Eagle Scout. He earned the rank at the end of his junior year of high school. He wouldn’t have been mature enough to complete it at a younger age. It was the right time for him. Others have mentioned how much tougher it can be when boys are in high school, let alone their junior/senior year. Our son was extremely busy with a sport, academics (4.4 GPA), and applying for an internship with a large aeronautics company but still found time to complete those last steps to becoming an Eagle. Every boy is different, matures at varying rates and has different family circumstances. As long as they do the work themselves, I applaud them on this amazing achievement.

  10. My son’s troop has a scout who should be an Eagle before he is 14. I think I have to tend to agree that Eagles who gradually earn this rank are more well-rounded scouts and are more knowledgable, mature and respectful of the honor than those who robotically blow through the requirements as written on paper. Just because you “meet all the requirements” doesn’t always mean you are qualified to receive the title of Eagle. It’s a whole lot more than just doing requirements simply for the sake of getting them done. The BSA should set more stringent requirements that don’t allow a scout to “earn” their Eagle rank so easily, including accountability for the ones who approve merit badges, rank advancement, etc.

    • I suggest that you copy and paste your reply to this post into a letter and send it to the National BSA. An Eagle in 2013 is not the same as an Eagle in 1910, 1950, or 1970. The Internet vs. the Dewy Decimal System makes acquiring and learning information so much faster. Merit Badge days did not really exist. Boy Scouting has changed and that’s reality. They had to change to stay relevant in to today’s society or they wold have even less members than the all ready declining numbers provide. A college degree use to get you a high paying job; now you get a huge debt and a sometimes no job. You can’t say that they are not learning the same amount of information in college 10 years ago then today. You can’t force non-existent rules on a Scout; it’s not fair. Scouts are required to demonstrate leadership and be active. Many troops set unique rules around both of these requirements in an effort to make their Scouts work a little harder for their Eagle. That is up to the individual Troop to set attendance requirements for outings and troop meetings to be considered active. Our Troop does not set written rules that the BSA does not provide guidelines on.
      I tell many in my own troop that if you don’t like the BSA’s rules write them a letter. They are not going to log in and read this post.

    • “Just because you “meet all the requirements” doesn’t always mean you are qualified to receive the title of Eagle.”
      That is the most irresponsible and ridiculous statement you can make as an adult. The BSA has their program. I’ve meet all too may people like you who want to put their own ideal twist on this program that has proven to work 100% of the time for scouts who follow the program. In life there are many types of people. Some excel, some don’t. Some eventually get there some never get there.
      I find scouts who eye eagle at a young age and make it will be those adults we want to run this country. Why would anyone want to delay their success?
      There are so many distractions when scouts get to 15 or 16 which it makes so much harder. At 17 or 18 even more with SAT’s and looking for colleges.
      If a scout earns eagle he deserves it no if and or buts period.

    • The BSA should set more stringent requirements that don’t allow a scout to “earn” their Eagle rank so easily..” There is no such thing as earning your Eagle rank easily whether you are 13 or 17. It is focus, determination, enthusiasm for scouting that gets you there. Getting the Eagle is a big part of scouting but not the end of the trail. What about mentoring younger scouts, earning palms, giving back to the troop through service rather than getting Eagle in your senior year at high school and taking off to college. If there are scouts who are willing to work hard and meet the requirements, go for it!

    • Thank you sooo much! This is exactly how I feel. I personally have watched one person become an eagle without doing anything but signing papers. It makes me mad because I personally told my parents not to do anything unless I asked. That is how it should be.

  11. My 12 year old twins have just earned their First Class rank. They joined Scouting as Bears and became Scouts at 10 1/2 by earning the Arrow of Light as Webelos. They love Scouting and all that goes with it, especially camping. They are also acolytes at our church and choir boys. They began reading to little ones at their old preschool as a ‘Reading’ merit badge requirement but have chosen to continue simply because they like giving back and being role models. One of their happiest experiences in or out of Scouting was earning ‘Wilderness Survival’…at age 10 1/2; alone, overnight in the woods with nothing but sleeping bags, a hotdog and another boy. (Had I known in advance I’d have been worried sick.)

    I searched this topic, ‘Young Eagle Scouts’, because of my concern that perhaps earning Eagle early would diminish their experience. I am relieved to see I am not the only person to have this concern. For various reasons, the boys have be in 3 different troops; some tougher than others, but it’s always a lot of work for them. I’m amazed at the detail and depth of inquiry required in completing a merit badge. I want them to dig deep, stretch themselves and learn from the merit badge experience. I see the value of maturing though the ranks and badges. The ‘Citizenship’ badges will be far more meaningful at 16-17 than at 12, however gaining that knowledge earlier will sharpen their insights as they age. I’ve heard the ‘horror’ stories of the ‘life for Lifer’ that missed earning Eaglebefore age 18 due to some fluke: family move, lost blue cards, sloppy paperwork and more commonly overwhelming high school pressures & schedule conflicts. I feel pressure to encourage them to advance rapidly a ‘now or never’ risk.

    I want to thank everyone that posted for presenting the pros and cons. I’ve decided to ‘pace’ their advancement and monitor my own involvement, to encourage but not coach. Even if they advance quickly, they won’t be ‘paper Eagles’; these are very smart, outgoing, city kids that love to camp the woods. Their advancement will be their own.

    • What you are doing with your boys is wonderful. I feel you are doing the right thing!.My son made Eagle at 15 and it was perfect timing. as now he is in High School and is very busy with JROTC etc. He still is in Scouting now very active in Venturing and the OA. He Enjoys all of it!

  12. If I may add a few thoughts here:

    Times have changed. A high school diploma doesn’t mean as much as it used to, nor even a bachelor’s degree for that matter. Maybe an Eagle still retains its cachet. Nevertheless, the reality for our young people is that they have got to step it up in high school. Math through trig, two years of science and two years of a foreign language is no longer really enough. Now they need to rack up at least four or five AP classes if they really want to have a good shot at getting in to anyplace better than Podunk State or Moo U. Getting into college is just the beginning of their challenges. Then there is the huge amount of debt they rack up, and the bleak job market facing them when they get out.

    The bottom line: Yes, earning the Eagle is a great achievement, and it does help the student in this challenging landscape; by all means as many scouts as possible should be encouraged to achieve this goal. However, we must keep in mind that they are going to have other important goals that they will need to be working on in high school as well: academics (including several AP classes), sports and other application-enhancing extra-curricular activities,and maybe holding down a part-time job to help earn money for college. I would also say that any boy that has what it takes to advance through the rank of Eagle is also a good candidate for one of the service academies or ROTC, followed by a stint in the armed forces, and this might be the very best way for such boys to avoid overburdening themselves or their families with the high cost of a college education (as Uncle Sam pays the way instead). We really need to be encouraging such young people to seriously consider participation in JROTC or the CAP Cadet or Sea Cadet programs in high school. Even if they do earn their Eagle, participation in one of these military auxiliary cadet programs will be excellent preparation for the service academy or ROTC, and for the uniformed services, and will be a good way for the boy to decide if this really is the path they want to follow. Boy Scouts, for all its strengths, really can’t do this last one for them. The combination of participation in one of these programs PLUS Eagle really is one of the few things that can give a highly motivated young man of good character a superior competitive advantage over many of his peers.

    What this all means is that once they get into high school, their time for scouting is going to be considerably constrained. Hopefully they can continue to be involved to some extent. Both the troop and the older scout will benefit by having them in leadership positions. However, because their time will be so constrained once they reach high school, it really should be a high priority for every scout to advance through the rank of Life and obtain all required merit badges for Eagle before they enter 9th grade. That will leave only their project, which could be completed either the summer before or after their freshman year. Completing at least seven or eight merit badges per year during middle school is challenging but not impossible. If the scout goes to summer scout camp for a week and is active in troop activities, it should be possible to knock off most of them, leaving just a few to work on at home on their own. Thus, it should be quite feasible for a scout to earn Eagle either before they begin or soon after they end their freshman year. This is not just realistic in terms of what they can do, it is also realistic in terms of what they need to do, given the other things that are going to be on their plate. For all practical purposes, then, we really need to think of BSA as being more of a middle school program, with JROTC or the cadet programs as being the high school programs; continuing BSA into high school is thus mostly about developing and utilizing leaders for the younger scouts. If the scouts haven’t completed the requirements for Eagle by the end of middle school (with the possible exception of their project), then the odds are that they probably never will. This, perhaps, is one reason why so few ever do achieve Eagle. We’re not doing them any favors by making them think it is something to work for and achieve in high school. That’s far too late, and it is no wonder that so many lose interest and drop out.

    • Stefan & Co.

      Thanks for the wonderful insights and advice! I think I failed to mention, my 12 year old twin ‘First Class’ scouts have earned 10 merit badges so far, (of which only 3 were earned at summer camp). I have not heard/read anyone discussing what an amazing family activity Scouting is. I find it to be a unique learning experience where my sons teach me things and/or we explore together. (Believe me, gutting a fish is not something I’d explore for myself.) There’s a lot of ‘bucket list’ topics, I’d probably never get to for myself or make time for to teach my kids: Astronomy, Basketry or Emergency Prepardedness. As you’ve detailed, our children’s lives are very challenging and occupied with schoolwork and college prep activities. I’ve always found Scouting to be great opportunity for dedicated family time.

  13. I just got eagle 3 hours ago and I’m 14. I did it not my parents, and almost every leader in my troop has personally told me I have proven that I deserve Eagle. My entire family thinks the same and so do all of my teachers. I may be young but I’ve been told that I am very mature for my age since I was seven, and even more so now. Stop judging by age, that doesn’t show my, or anyone else’s, maturity.

  14. I made Eagle in 1977 at age 14. My son, who before his 13th birthday had all the requirements completed for Eagle (and over 60 merit badges), was denied his Life Board of Review right after turning 13 for no valid reason. It was suggested that he slow down and enjoy the ride, not be in such a hurry. His scoutmaster felt that he should only earn merit badges at summer camp and wanted to disqualify anything he earned outside of camp. At camp he wasn’t even required to read the merit badge books. What a joke! This ruined any chance of his goal of being a Centennial Eagle. I was “blamed” for pushing him too hard. When in fact, I had no real involvement in his accomplishments other then to drive him to the merit badge counselors. Being in a troop who’s few Eagle Scouts got their rank weeks or days or even after aging out, they couldn’t cope with a “go getter”, as they called him.
    In research, the first Eagle Scout made Eagle after only 2 years in scouting and at that wasn’t even required to earn the ranks of Star and Life. But nowadays, to do the same is considered unnacceptable, when it is only that much more difficult to do so then back way back then. I think to even suggest that if the boy is at a younger age then he hasn’t earned anything and the real credit should go to the parent or scoutmaster is ludicrous. As if they personally did the merit badges, camping, cycling, hiking, etc. on behalf of that scout. We were even told by our district that unless a boy is ready to age out, the emphasis should be in holding the boy back. I find that mentality so wrong. Is anyone even aware that in the Advancement Guidelines there is a timetable in which ideally a boy should attain the rank of First Class within 1 year of joining scouts and then earn at least 1 rank a year after that. Which at the most, would put the boy at no older then 15 as an Eagle Scout if joining at age 11. Though ideally much younger. And also,at that, constant adult guidance should be applied to keep the boys on track to do so? NOT to discourage or prevent?
    One thing I have found for certain, the people who come up with all these self made rules and objections to whom and when a boy can be Eagle were never themselves Eagle Scouts. In my opinion, their opinions shouldn’t count!

    • if you find that your son’s troop is holding him back, perhaps you could find another one that is supportive? ‘Palm’ achievements are there for a reason. i found this move necessary and am very happy. Most of the adult leaders in their new troop achieved Eagle before the age of 16, most at 14. This is also a life lesson for your son; do not let small minds impede your dreams.

      • Thanks!
        We definitely moved on to another Troop which has been very supportive. Though it took time, he has his EBOR scheduled next month.
        I totally concur on the Palms. As it says in Scouting.org, “Eagle Scout is a beginning, not an end.” Unfortunately, too many people think that title or rank should only be bestowed at the end of a boy’s journey. But then, too many move on and you never see them again. They don’t hang around to become role models or give back. And to me that is what it should be all about.

  15. It’s never too soon or never too late. This being on the matter of achieving Eagle Scout. I do see some points being made about the maturity level of the younger boys. Well, I am an Eagle Scout. I am 15. I obtained this prestigious rank when I was 14. Was I mature? Heck yeah. Did I deserve this award? A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Curtious, Kind, Obidient, Cheerful, THRIFTY, CLEAN, and Reverant. Now, I capitalized Thrifty and Clean. A Scout is Thrifty. Thrifty being having profiency in time and money management. Time management is key in obtaining Eagle Scout. Being above adequate with time management gives you a timeline to obtain goals. The Personal Management Merit Badge helps with that. A Scout is Thrifty, I AM Thrifty. Next is Clean. Clean not even nesacarally in body, that being true though, but mainly Clean in spirit. Having the correct morals an keeping to them. A Scout is Morally Straight. If the Scout wasn’t mature enough, they wouldn’t be an Eagle Scout. I am only defending this because I am a young Eagle and another Scout in my troop just obtained the Rank earlier than I did.

  16. Our boy just turned 13 today and will have his Eagle project done within the next month. HE decided he wanted to remodel the bathroom at our church. HE has decided to pursue and do the work for all the levels of Scouts he has achieved. HE wanted to work and pursuehis Eagle and has done his own work and grew from it, not us. WE have done nothing but provide transportation and support. I resent anyone to imply that because he is young, dedicated, and ambitious that earning his Eagle means less somehow than someone older. He has been more a leader that the older boys in his Troop.

  17. It all depends on the maturity level and desire of the scout. There are many very mature 12,13 and 14 year olds. At the same time there are many immature 17-25 year olds. If an 11 or 12 year old wants to get his Eagle Scout, good for him. The thing to be aware of is too much parental involvement and I say that from personal experience. I was 13 years, 2 months when I received my Eagle Scout. I am very proud of this achievement. The one big problem I had was my father decided to get involved when I earned my Tenderfoot rank. He started attending meetings and started to push me for advancement. His pushing then tuned into forcing me to advance. When this happened, scouting was not enjoyable anymore. My Dad made scouting a living hell for me. A point I made abudently clear to him now that I am an adult with kids of my own. My advice to parents: don’t push your children so hard that you turn something they enjoy into something they hate.

  18. I’m a 16 year old Eagle Scout and the youngest in my troop. I see no problem with boys achieving the esteemed award at such ages but what I don’t like to see is a 13 or 14 year old being cocky. Saying that he will make Eagle before I did(I’m all for him making it, I’d rather him be more mature first, it’s not a race). If a scout is at the rank of Life by the age of 13 and he understands what it means to be an Eagle, more power to you. If he understands the ramifications of becoming an Eagle and realizing he will have a positive impact on society, go for it. Lastly, if this scout is seen as being an Eagle Scout I see no problem with him earning the rank. If he is mature enough and has the necessary work completed, he should go for it.

  19. The only problem I have see with young Eagle Scouts is that many of them do little projects that truly do not represent the standards that they should be held to, but this is as much the fault of the people in charge as it is the Scouts. Building 2 or 3 benches or bird houses in the park is not an Eagle Scout project its a good deed.

    • Eagle projects have to have multiple approvals – beneficiary, Scoutmaster, Unit Chairman, and someone at the Council level. According to the official Advancement Guide put out by National, something as simple as a blood drive can qualify as an Eagle project. I’ve seen boys doing projects even after they age out (by extension) doing something as simple as painting the side of a storage building for a school. So I don’t believe age and project size/integrity is really a factor, nor should a grand, expensive project be deemed superior or more worthy then those benches, irregardless of the Scout’s age…..

  20. I think it is a pity that people even think they can bring this up. I am a 13 year old eagle and i think the only kind of people who would bring up a conversation like this are just jealous that they had to rush to eagle before 18. this is one sad and discusting conversation.

  21. Scouting is the individual journey of a young man. I mentored one such young man with medical issues who had a medical extension and he stated himself at his Board of Review that he was not mature enough at 18 to comprehend the meaning of being an Eagle. With the proper medical extension he attained the rank at 20. I have scouts on the other hand who with parental SUPPORT they complete their trail to Eagle at 12 1/2. The younger of these boys learned how to excel and advance as a Wolf, Bear and Webelos Scout and his Eagle Project was his second large leadership project. He is now 14 and is shooting for the stars. Eagle has been his launch point to opportunities and not his end destination. When he presented his original concept for his Eagle project he was told that no one would donate enough materials for a 24ft bridge. His rank, perseverance and experience enabled him to prove them wrong. SEE his Silver Hornaday project as follows:

    http://www.monroemonitor.com/2013/08/06/monroe-eagle-scouts-project-qualifies-him-for-highest-environmental-award-in-nation/ As with any group of individuals

    Not all boys are suited for attaining Eagle early, it is a privilege for those who choose to take the high road and do the work. I believe the concern to all these conversations is that all too often it is Mommy or Daddy doing the project. Point well made!

  22. Pingback: Tuesday Talkback: What are your thoughts on 12-year-old Eagle Scouts? « Bryan on Scouting

  23. Honestly, it depends. My troop doesn’t have very much OA activity, so all the scouts I’ve known that got their eagle around 14-15 became inactive. What is the problem here? In some cases, scouts are pressured by their parents to do the requirements without truly enjoying the experience, which is important.

    As scouters it is our goal to serve youth of ages 11-17, so to have young eagles leave the program at 15 is undesirable. Of course some scouts join at an older age, but once in the program, I think boys should stay active as long as possible, in order to really be part of a team. I have no problem with young eagles as long as they stay active, and help guide the younger scouts.

    Each troop/crew is different, and so is each scout. The important thing is that they are guided towards their goal, and then left to earn it (with advice). A scout needs a role model to get there, whether it be a scoutmaster, parent or friend, they need someone to look to, but they also need to think for themselves. For this reason, some kids aren’t mature enough to get eagle at 12/13.

    Other kids are, but I don’t understand it. The act of counting dates and requirements to get the award as young as possible makes scouting seem like a trivial game or a standardized test. I hate that. The eagle scout rank should be the culmination of a boys experience in a troop. Of course there are other avenues for older scouts, like the OA or venturing, so I can’t really say it bad to get a headstart. I just like the idea of youth finding their way on their own.

    There is no way to immediately see whether a boy has truly done all the requirements, or whether his scouting years have truly built character. However his peers will know, and right know eagle scouts have a very good reputation. As many have said, “it’s what you will do that counts.”

  24. 13 year old eagle scouts. I believe it is possible, but HIGHLY unlikely. I got my eagle at 14 and I thought I was moving fast, but I also got it about 10 days before my 15th birthday. I also ask, Do you think that 13 year olds know what the Eagle scout is, and what it really is about? Also, it is important to keep scouts active also. Are scouts active if they get their eagles at 13? OA can be a big part of this, but if you get your eagle a 15, you are more likely to stay than to leave because there is an attachment to the troop. Without those 2 extra years being there, the scouts don’t really care. Thoughts?

  25. my son is 13 and has earned his eagle scout I resent the idea anyone questions this he has worked very hard to achieve this goal he does know more then most 17 years he can cook clean and lead better then most young men I know I agree it has to do with how mature they are and if he has good leaders he has good leaders and he earned everything he has gotten including the cycling badge that is one of the hardest to achieve

  26. Honestly, never really thought about it till reading this. However, there is far too many activities that have an age limitation on them of 14 years old… so, in order to be able to participate in those learning, I’d say they should be 14 1/2 or 15 before they get eagle.

    • It all depends on the simple question of if this is the beginning or the end of their journey. Are they getting it because Mom wants it or is this a way of life. And I agree to a point, there are lots of things to do that require a scout to be of a certain age however the activities our older scouts do require them to have the basic knowledge a young man obtains on his way to Eagle. For example if the scouts want to attend SeaBase they should really have swimming, first aid, emergency prep, camping, cooking and at least Citizenship in the world. There are 6 of the required merit badges, toss in a project and they now have proven leadership. And our scouts don’t just “get” their Eagle they earn it.

      We regularly challenge the scouts to implement what they have learned from their merit badges into real world scouting activities. We also use our Eagles extensively for working with boys from age 7-8 through Eagle. We recently had a young scout who was passing off his swimming requirements for second class. He had two 14 year old 4+ palm Eagles swimming by his side. He could have passed on the first try, but they worked with him on his stroke and technique and had a great experience. When asked about the experience he knew that his scouting brothers had him covered if something should happen.

      Something else to consider are palms. By the time a young man attains Eagle he has been through a handful of basic interviews, but what about the other interviews. We use business professionals and experienced scouters to help our multi-palm Eagles further hone their skills. These interviews further help young men network, plan and set goals. We continue helping direct our scouts to have a good time while learning new things.

      As of last night one of our young Eagles completed his Silver Hornaday write-up (100 pages). Earning his Eagle at 12 1/2 gave him the confidence to go after the next big project. His final project was building and install a 58 foot 8,000lb bridge over a seasonal stream that feeds the local salmon spawning grounds. over 1100 hours and 300+ people. Now he continues to work on merit badges and learn while participating in extra curricular activities.

      The great thing about scouting is that young men have an opportunity to excel and learn at their own speed and as long as THEY earn it and they live the scout law, oath, slogan and motto they will benefit from their journey. All they need is direction and a chance.

  27. I feel the need to add my two cents considering I am in a slightly unique situation. I’m a minority in this thread as I am 17 years old awaiting a letter from Nationals telling me if I am an Eagle Scout or not yet. There are a lot of different variables in my story so I’ll try and keep this concise.

    I started Scouts as a Webelo earning my arrow of light. I then went straight into Boy Scouts for the last seven years into a small troop of around 30 people. We didn’t have a lot of the frills or polishes of larger troops, but what was really emphasized were the values and experiences that Scouting is all about. There were no 13 or 14 year-old Eagle Scouts in our troop. But out of all the Scouts who kept going until they aged out, almost all of them got their Eagle. And I can tell you with complete confidence that all of those young men earned that rank in every definition of the word.

    It would be stupid of me to say that all younger Eagles do not deserve that rank. If someone can attain Eagle young, the more power to them. But it upsets me when I see a 13-year-old with that patch on their uniform and they don’t understand the significance or importance of it. So much of your Scouting experience is lost when you just fill out the paperwork as fast as possible and plateau afterwards. The whole point of getting the Eagle rank is the process, not the end result. The requirements are what they are because they are supposed to help you grow along the way; the Eagle rank is just the culmination of those experiences and lessons into a tangible award.

    I have spent countless nights in a tent and under the stars. I have canoed almost 100 miles in the Canadian wilderness away from civilization. I have been in the presence of the retiring of flags accompanied by 21-gun salutes enough to know the importance and respect it demands. These are some of the best experiences I have had in my life thus far, and I never would have had them if I rushed through and got my Eagle at 14.

    I personally think that it takes time for the process to sink in and for Scouts to fully understand and apply them. If Scouts can understand those lessons and apply them to themselves at a young age, then they are just as deserving as anyone else. However, most young Eagles I have come across don’t. Most of the time they come out of troops that pump out Eagles like a factory and don’t respect the process. They want something to put on their resume or the recognition it brings. Again not all of them are like this, but there is a large portion of them that are.

    The bottom line comes down to whether or not you earned it. And that is something that only your Scoutmaster, Committee Chair, District Representative, District Board and the National Board can decide. Of course there is a little bit of bias at each level and it is different wherever you live, but if they all deem you worthy, then you are. The real question is if you think you have earned it. There is always a little bit of doubt, but if you take a good long look at yourself from your beginning in Scouts to the end of your Eagle and know you Scouting has made you a better person, you will know that you have earned it.

    I apologize for ranting but I feel this needs to be said. As I already said it doesn’t matter what others think of how you attained Eagle. It only matters what you think. And if you take that long look and don’t think you deserved it, that is something you need to fix for your own sake. This of course is just the two cents of someone who has gone through the process and hoping to join the family of Eagles soon. Thank you for taking the time to read this if you have.

    • “I never would have had them if I rushed through and got my Eagle at 14″

      Why not?

      Would you have quit? If so, why would you quit?

      See my other comment on a boy’s scouting career.

  28. Others have echoed this sentiment but let me share my thoughts.

    Boy Scouts lasts until you are eighteen (or twenty one in a Crew), not until you get your Eagle Scout. You get your Eagle Scout when you meet the requirements at whatever age that is, then you continue on and you keep learning and getting better at scouting and leading. Advancement is just one part of Boy Scouts so the Eagle rank should *not* be viewed as the culmination of a Scouting career but something accomplished along the way. Is a young Eagle Scout as “good” as an older Eagle Scout? Probably not but that has nothing to do with being an Eagle Scout, it has to do with his experience which is less, due to his age. As a young Eagle ages and experiences more, he will grow and mature and become a better Boy Scout. So when we see an Eagle rank patch on a boy, we can make certain assumptions about him but that doesn’t mean he is a great leader yet although he might be. It doesn’t mean he is an expert in all skills. Nor does it mean he follows all twelve points of the Scout Law 24/7. What it does mean is that he has met the requirements for Eagle Scout and we can hope that he will become a great leader if he isn’t already; that his Scouting skills will grow, and that he will continue to strive to live by the Scout oath and law.

    There is a boy in our council who recently got his Eagle at age eleven and I would put him up against any Eagle Scout of any age. While many of you will automatically dismiss him upon reading this, you would be wrong in my opinion. He has a natural ability to lead, is intelligent, articulate, witty, and just fun to be around. Is he a perfect scout? No. Does he have room to improve? Yes. He has six more years of being a Boy Scout and I’m sure great things will come from him. The age he got his Eagle rank is inconsequential. i asked him if he was going to run for SPL and he said, “No, there are more qualified people. I’ll wait a while.” Was he too young to get his Eagle rank? Every boy is different and I have to say, no he was not too young but he is an exception.

    So I think the attitude of thinking an Eagle Scout is the end-all be-all to a scouting career is wrong. It’s just something that happens along the way.

  29. I am not in the scouting world but the son of a.good friend is. She was all over Facebook bragging on her child’s hard work and accomplishments and how difficult it was for him to earn his ES and how committed he was to earn his high honor before he was 14. I don’t think anyone even knew the kid was in scouts. I didn’t know until they began their big project. And – after reading up on what it is supposed to mean to achieve this high honor, I think they have mAde a mockery of the award. They did an easy project that was really already being done by the city. And it was a very public setting. And the kid was hardly ever there. I mean he was out of town most of the project. And the project wasn’t maintained.. All the greenery is dead. Looks pitiful. But the biggest disappointment was that the parents did 85% of the project. Now their son is receiving accolades and certificates and a ceremony and will be lined out for scholarships – while boys who really put in the time and effort may never have the means or support to get to this level. My grandfather and my cousins were Eagle Scouts. It was a top tier- only the strong survive honor. It makes me sick this family was awarded this honor for literally doing this kids work and he is being hailed a prodigy. I have to pretend to be excited for them – but most people are talking behind the scenes of what a joke this is. I don’t fault the family for trying to give the kid a hand up. Instead I fault the group who allowed this to be awarded. You are devaluing the honor for scouts who TRULY EARN IT.

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