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What was the average age of 2015 Eagle Scouts?

Eagle Scouts are getting older. In 1949, the average age of Eagle Scouts was 14.6 years. In 2015, that number was 17.34 years old.

There are two factors at play here.

For starters, young men are staying in Scouting longer, meaning they’re enjoying the program for a longer amount of time and not feeling the rush to earn Eagle until they see their 18th birthday on the horizon.

But also there are more pulls on their time — school, sports, church, friends, etc. — meaning more to do in the same amount of time.

That average Eagle Scout age has been pretty consistent in recent years:

2009 17.32
2010 17.24
2011 17.32
2012 17.23
2013 17.24
2014 17.31
2015 17.34

How does this compare to the age of Eagle Scouts in your troop?

For more Eagle Scout stats, click here.

67 Comments on What was the average age of 2015 Eagle Scouts?

  1. H. David Pendleton // February 25, 2016 at 7:09 am // Reply

    For those that complain that Eagle Scout is “easier” than the past, how come the age is now over 17 compared to under 15 in 1949? If it was easier, wouldn’t the age be getting lower and not remaining relatively stable during the past 7 years?

    • I was a scout and have been in as an adult now for 10 years. Eagle scouts on average are getting older because they enter scouting with NO scout skills. In the early days of scouting most boys learned the skills at home before ever becoming a scout. It’s a change in times. And yes the program is definitely easier today. I have witnessed merit badge counselors sign of on badges because a boy tried, Not because he could actually do it. In my day it was prove you could do it or fail. Today everyone who shows up is a winner.

    • Certainly not easier. The leadership requirements, badges, all compete with the slew of other commitments boys have (sports, band, academics, volunteerism). It would be a mistake to call any boy that takes the time and effort to complete this rank lazy or uncommitted.

    • Children are less self driven, less mature, less concepts of real life than children in the past. Too much is done for them and they have no concept of real life. I was listening to a 14 year old scout talking about salaries for a MB and he thought he could make 6 figures with 2 years training as a mechanic.

      • I’m 16 and just now working on my eagle scout rank, despite being Life Rank for over 3 years. I definitely am less self driven. Arguably, my schooling is more intensive so I chose to focus on that, I still had plenty of down time I could’ve been doing work towards my eagle project.

    • peter berube // August 29, 2016 at 10:34 am // Reply

      When I got my Eagle award I could have gotten it at 15 but I waited till my cousin that is also an eagle scout could give me my eagle charge. This is back in 1993 and I’m noticing it is easier for scouts to get their eagle today. Back then your project had to involve other scouts helping in your project and not you the eagle scout to be doing the work but organizing it and making sure everything is going smoothly. I just read about a project that is more about the scouts personal skills in the project but it did not unify the kids in the troop to help out and gain service time. It is a lot of work. My project included over 11 scouts and maybe 7-8 leaders. I hope when scouts look at what projects there are to do in their community its more than striping a parking lot and the eagle scout is not doing all the work. The project is more about leadership and when you involve kids in your troop it shows them what they have to look forward too. I came from the older ways of scouting and today it seems more of a cake walk with how things have changed. We didn’t have cell phones and cool computers, DOS was still being used in computers. and when it comes to how the palms are for being an Eagle Scout, every palm is 5 merit badges past what is required for eagle. Some people would get all they could I worked at a camp during the summers helping kids earn merit badges I got 2 palms before the end of my boy scout career.

  2. Here’s a thought (after reading the comments in the article from a few years ago). Could part of the later age be related to the popular idea in recent years that a boy can be “too young” to earn his Eagle? Could it be that, at least in some cases, scouts who are ready and enthusiastic are being held back because the adults around them feel they should be a little more “mature,” and by the time everything fits into the adults’ idea of what the timeline “should” be, the boy has lost his fire?

    • I think this is true at least in some cases. My son was thought to be moving through ranks too fast so his SM started adding extra conditions on ranks. This is despite sticking to the timeline the SM suggested when he joined. We left that troop. The one he is in now encourages Scouts to work at the pace the Scout is comfortable with. My son is a Life Scout at 14 and has now chosen to slow down a bit and give himself 2 years to complete Eagle.

      • My son did the same. At 14, he’s planning on NAYLE and a trip to Sea Base and just having some fun. While he’s managed to fundraise and pay for his camps so far, seems somewhere along the line, he got smart enough to figure that out that if he goes above and beyond, mom and dad will pitch in for the ‘extras’!

      • I have the same story! As a 16.5 y/o, my scoutmaster made me wait until just now to become eagle. I have had my project done for about a year now, and I had already been a patrol leader for six months, but he wanted a ‘better’ leadership position. Board of Review this Thursday! #thewaitisover

        • anovalogic // March 2, 2016 at 2:54 pm //

          Congratulations! You’ve earned your Eagle.
          As a Scoutmaster who earned his Eagle many years ago, I can only speculate that your SM did what he did to help you be a better Eagle. If it was punitive, then that is another story. That said, as an Eagle, one is expected to be able to lead at a higher, advanced level, and sometimes that requires more seasoning.

          ten or 20 years from now, you may look back on this extra time as being fundamental to your success…which I am sure will be extensive!

      • SM’s are absolutely not allowed to add extra conditions on rank requirements. If this is happening to your son go to the troop board. If that does not work, go to the council and district leadership. You do not need to leave the troop.

        • Thank you Kevin, you are 100% correct. Unfortunately this is still a prevalent problem. I’ve seen some good scouts walk away from scouting because adult leaders continually moved the finish line. It’s wrong and it needs to stop.

      • We had a scoutmaster who delighted in adding requirements for rank advancement. He literally told a young man that “If you didn’t earn your eagle in MY troop, you didn’t really earn it.” Needless to say that young leader found a different troop to join. And the scoutmaster found enrollment his own troops enrollment decline significantly during his remaining tenure.

    • Simple, scouts that would have dropped out or not earned Eagle are now staying involved an are earning Eagle. This corresponds to more boys earning Eagle. The interesting data to see would be age of Eagle by the different years. Do the same number of boys earn Eagle at age 14 over the many years or not. If it’s steady (or proportional to population) then it’s a story of involvement not ease or difficulty.

    • That’s an easy question: because there are so many other distractions from scouting these days. If scouts are earning Eagle later on average, it’s not because the program is harder; it’s because they have less time per day/month/year to devote to it.

      The upward trend in age is actually counter-intuitive to me, as I frequently grump about 13- and 14-year old Eagle scouts who I’m suspicious are actually capable of carrying the responsibility that Eagle implies. And there are a non-insignificant number of “Eagle factory” troops as well. But I suppose I can see that the average is going up for three reasons:

      1- other distractions force a division of time (as mentioned above)
      2- between the 13- and 14-year old Eagles and the 18-year old Eagles, there’s a significant gap
      3- given the trend (as in a 25-30 year trend) for HS graduates to go directly into college, trade school, or the military, there are likely a significant number of candidates who wait until the last possible moment to earn their Eagle. I know I’m one of those – I earned my eagle 3 weeks before my 18th birthday, and it required a special weekend trip home from college to do my BOR.

    • That is exactly what was happening in our troop. But now the tide is starting to turn a bit. Adults were (and still are) afraid that once a scout earns Eagle he will drop. But for the first time (or at least a very long time), Eagles are earning palms. We also started a Venturing Crew last year and it should help keep them engaged. Our former troop in another state pushed boys to get Eagle by 16 – before they got jobs, cars, and girls (“fumes”). I cannot tell you how disappointed I am at the scouts who do not start anything except m.b.’s until they are 17.5, then the committee feels “sorry” for them and approves their project since they are running out of time.

    • Agreed. My son was moving right along until his SM suggested he should stop attending merit badge weekends and slow his pace. I think he said this for purely selfish reasons. His own son is getting ready to turn 18, and he wants my son (and me) to still be around to help take over the troop leadership when he and his son leave next year. My son has been at Star since the SM said this and has gotten involved in OA more heavily than troop activities. I just hope he makes Eagle before those fumes kick in (perfume and gasoline/cars and girls).

    • Charles Binder // August 23, 2016 at 7:33 pm // Reply

      You hit the nail on the head. From what I Have seen as a leader and a merit badge counselor many adult leaders hold boys back to keep their unit number inflated and of course to keep them active with additional requirements that prevent advancement. Some scouts tell
      me that when they return with a signed blue card their leaders then go over all the reqs again to verify that they know the material. Others state once they are First Class they cannot advance more than 1 rank a year. Leaders that hold scouts hostage until 17 years old are doing zero to enhance the program. These stories seem to be the norm rather than the exception. Bad for Scouting as the scouts leave right after their Eagle ceremony and never return as they became disillusioned with the program. Not a good way to sustain the program.

  3. Can we see more of the age distribution?

  4. I became an Eagle in 1982 at the very end of my 17 years – literally barely making it with a month to spare. My road to Eagle (at least for my troop and my experience) was something that I had to do completely and 100% on my own including merit badges. If I wanted a merit badge I had to figure it out and go and ask adults who would be willing to be my counselor. This is in stark contrast with today and tons of adult leaders around and always willing to step up. This is also in addition to today’s council consistently sponsoring merit badge clinics throughout the year and monthly troop sponsored merit badges. It appears that not only our current troop but many other troops that I’ve witnessed regularly discuss the “road to Eagle” with the younger scouts. This sets up the expectations and opening doors for younger Scouts that was not around in the 70’s and 80’s from my view. Factually speaking, there are so many more opportunities for Boy Scouts to succeed in today’s scouting then 35+ years ago thus making it appear to be “easier.” I think the amount of work is the same or perhaps slightly more in some instances, such as the Eagle package is much more detailed than what I had to do. There’s also more outside influences pulling away kids from Scouting in today’s world than back in those decades I’m referring to.

    FYI: My dad became an Eagle in 1943, two brothers in the 70’s, two nephews in the 90’s, my oldest son in 2014 and my youngest son is an Eagle project away from completing his.

  5. The last three Eagles in my troop made it just before they turned 18. They get so involved in school/sports/band then all of sudden they realize they are going to be turning 18 does scouts come to the forefront. To me, if they do not earn their Eagle before they turn 16, then it will end up being a rush to finish it before 18.

  6. Walter Waholek // February 26, 2016 at 9:26 am // Reply

    The problem of the past in our Troop was the adult leadership consistently saying take your time, what is your hurry, you have until 18. The enthusiasm is out of the sail. Other distractions come into a boys life, and the priority changes. Then the importance comes into play when that first school counselor advises on how to fill out an application for school or work. Bingo! They need to play catch up as they age out. Over a four year period as a parental observer only one had the opportunity to lead as an Eagle and share his experiences with the younger Scouts. The rest did lame projects, made it by the skin of their teeth, and some failed. That has changed. The old leadership is gone and boys are encouraged to achieve. As COR I have six close to flying from the Eagles nest in 2016 ages 14 -16 and another 3 entering. Age’s 13 & 14. The goals set are mentoring the younger youth by the older and reaching out to achieve every possible award offered to expand the Scouting experience.

  7. When my son served as historian in his troop, his project was to contact our troops older eagles and ask about their projects so he could add them to our website. He learned that in the beginning, the Eagle rank was earned by merit badges and time served alone. The Eagle project was added sometime in the 60’s. At that time, a project could be as simple as organizing a trash cleanup on the roadway with no big write up. As I recall, it wasn’t until the late 70’s when the project became a main part of the Eagle rank and the write up became more extensive. When my older son earned his Eagle in 2004, there was little guidance available to help with the project planning and write up. This process has been streamlined thanks to Internet access, so my guess is that we will see the age start to fall again.

    • The need identification, planning, organizing and actual work, and write-up have added six months, I would guess, for the Eagle Project; compared to the earlier rank-MB-leadership requirements for an Eagle in 1950s. {Providing ‘volunteer free labor’ for other Eagle Projects in the Troop, is another topic.|

      Also, in a earlier age, the youth lived in smaller communities and/or had greater mobility to visit MB Counselor’s homes or businesses.
      Today, most younger Scouts are dependent on ‘Mom’s Taxi’ for transportation.

      For my story: I can recall walking on foot 4-1/2 miles to a Citizenship MB Counselor’s office and then back home, and riding my bicycle to several other MB Counselors’ homes in the summer (but not getting the Cycling MB). On some winter school nights, I did get parental automobile rides to a few MB Counselors’ homes, in exchange for extra household tasks.

      • Foster Eich III // August 20, 2016 at 4:23 pm // Reply

        Janet above is quite right. I earned the Eagle rank in 1954, and there was no service project requirement. That is a VERY demanding requirement! of course, it is also an excellent idea, but truthfully
        I’m glad it was not required in my day.

  8. We just did an Eagle BOR for a Scout last night who turned 18 back on January 30. Paperwork was in and approved before his birthday, so it’s all cool. I wonder how that is figured into the statistic though…?

    We seem to have more of this type of situation than not, at least in our troop. There seems to be a lot of concern about Scouts becoming Eagle at too young an age, and I’m wondering how we get them to get to Eagle at an earlier age! It would be nice to have an Eagle or two around to mentor and be an example for the younger boys. In the 10 years or so I have been involved in the troop, I can only think of two boys out of about 20 who got Eagle before they were on the brink of aging out.
    Food for thought…

    • Nahila Nakne // February 29, 2016 at 9:35 am // Reply

      Yep I wonder how that figures. I too was one of those who had the EBOR after turning 18. Everything else was done prior to turning 18. Only time the district rep could sit in on the EBOR was when I was 18y 1m 6d.

      Then there is the Eagle I know who had to petition for an EBOR. He couldn’t get it done before going to basic training, again district representative scheduling, and had to have the EBOR at 18y 3+ m.

    • My eldest and his best Scout friend both made Eagle the month before their 18th birthdays. Next eldest is ready to begin his Eagle work at just 16. My eldest and I talked about it, and we realized that part of the difference for our troop is more adults active in advancement and merit badge work. I took on the role of advancement coordinator 2 years ago, and have been recruiting parents to become merit badge counselors from within the troop. When eldest was moving along the ranks, there weren’t as many in-house opportunities, and it took longer to get merit badges. Youngest is ahead of both brothers, but I hope he, too, slows down once he is close, to relax and enjoy his scouting time. As eldest said at his board of review when asked what he would miss most “I’m really going to miss it all”….

      • SM-Water Dragons // August 2, 2016 at 6:57 pm // Reply

        I disagree. Your youngest doesn’t have to slow down. If anything he needs to get his eagle and then help the younger scouts how they too can be Eagle. He doesn’t have to quit scouting because he gets eagle, that’s when he needs to step up and do MORE fun stuff with the troop.

        I got my eagle at 17 because I didn’t start until high school. Even after that, I still planned an overnight canoe trip, acted as scoutmaster so we could keep the troop going, and later while in college, joined a local troop to stay active. I’m now a scoutmaster and am having a blast. “Slow Down???” NO Way.

  9. And then there’s the case of Hugh White, who got his Eagle BoR at the age of 65:

  10. I think there are a couple of other factors that conspire to make Eagle harder for a boy to earn before his 16th birthday, but the big one “range of mobility.”

    We are a post-modern nomadic society. Most of us rely on cars to get anywhere, we’ve shaped our society on that assumption. Well if you don’t drive and your parents are working, how are you going to go after school to visit a merit badge counselor who is 5 miles away? How close is your nearest hardware store/hobby shop/greenhouse/library? How are you getting your crew to a work site for a service project?

    Map out the counselors in you neighborhood. How many different badges can be earned from someone within an mile of your house? Your boy’s school?

    We joke about about getting Eagle before the ‘fumes’ (perfume and octane) set in. But most scouts that I know really start earning their merit badges when they can drive and have a car (their families or their girlfriend’s) to get them and their buddies to where the work needs to be done.

  11. My oldest son crossed into his Troop April of 2014. He went to summer camp and completed the Pathways program at camp. He attained 1st class by Thanksgiving. Star by his second summer camp. He currently is a Life Scout. He and three other Scouts from the same Webelos Den worked and progressed together. They are 3 Eagle required badges and a project each away from Eagle. He intends on having his Eagle requirements completed by his 14th birthday. As do the other three. I have met many Scouts that are “mature” enough by 13 and some that are not “mature” enough by 18. It’s more of a mental ability questions then an age question in my opinion.

  12. I think it’s absolutely easier making Eagle now verses in the 1970’s. There are so many merit badge clinics that are offered, rank advancement opportunities and troops corporately doing merit badges all the time compared to earlier times. Today’s troops also make more options available such as Eagle Coordinator positions that routinely counsel a young man in helping him on this path.

    I also see Scouts in our troop making Eagle at 13 but they have no idea which way is up so it’s beneficial in my view to hold them back until they mature. Those Scouts who are “pushed” by their parents is an injustice to their own kids. Ok, show me a single Scout who makes Eagle at 13 who absolutely did it on his own without significant parental help verses an older Scout who typically does most of it on his own, Our troop has several boys who “earned” Eagle by their parent’s efforts at 13. I strongly feel that they almost cheated their way which is why I think those Scouts were propelled their by their fathers who regretted not having done Scouts themselves or are making up for some other inadequacy.

    • My patrol leader when I first joined my troop in 1978 had already earned his Eagle at age 13. He was hard working, and more than happy for an excuse to walk to the local college or town where most of the counselors were.

      He was a spitfire, but as far meeting requirements went, no chinks in the armor there.

      And, in our district in the 70’s, we had merit badge Pow-wows. The price was cheap — all volunteer. In fact, dollar-for-dollar, there were more MB opportunities available for me than for my boys this decade.

      It is just foolhardy to look at the age of attainment and think “bought-and-paid for.”

    • My son did his Eagle project on his own. I guided him and gave him direction when asked, but he made the decisions, talked to the principle at the school, talked to the property chair at church for tables on his own, among other things. I have seen older scouts who had a lot more invovelment/input with adults than my son did. In fact he went and talked to his principle within two weeks of telling me what he wanted to do, without me even knowing that he had. And he had a principle who was not sold on the project until the day of when he saw the results. My son “EARNED” his Eagle rank, without a lot of support because of his age and he made the choice of when his Eagle Board would be held (before or after his birthday) and I can definetly say that he did not have paternal support as his father is not a fan of scouting. We do a disservice to our younger scouts when we tell them that they do not deserve their rank because of the age they attained it. I would much rather see an eager 13 year old than a 17 year old who is rushing things because he procrastinated.

    • My Eagle Scoutmaster Conference was held 1 day before my 14th birthday. I did the work. I was the one that was motivated. My parents offered their support in so far as I asked for it. My goal since my first day as a Cub Scout was to earn the Eagle rank. I was driven of my own accord. I know many scouts who also drive toward that goal on their own and many who do not.
      I was told after the fact that my Scoutmaster tried to hold me back. My Committee Chair, COR and my parents had to convince my Scoutmaster to allow me to proceed at my pace. I remained active in the troop continuing to attend Summer Camp, participating in the OA and went on to complete an additional 19 merit badges before my 18th birthday.
      As a currently serving Scoutmaster of nearly a decade, I will do nothing to “hold back” a scout from advancing. If the Scout wants to set, work towards and reach that lofty goal, I will do everything within my power to get him the resources I know he needs and the ones he thinks he needs to reach that goal.
      As adult leaders, we cannot modify the rank requirements, including the time based ones. Our job, with respect to advancement is to play gatekeeper to ensure that the scout has learned the intended skill and/or lesson. I have on many occasions told a scout to go back and practice, think or review the skill again. If he doesnt have anything to show for the time spent in the leadership position (because leadership was not demonstrated) he is sent back until he can demonstrate those skills. Being told “No. I dont believe you have learned the lesson.” is often a great motivator to the scout who truly has his eyes set on reaching a goal.

  13. Peter Johnson // February 26, 2016 at 3:07 pm // Reply

    I think the rise in number of Eagles since the late 1970’s has a lot to do with the parents finding out that having the Eagle Rank is very good on a college application. It also looks real good on a post college job application. One young engineer at my company (Fortune 50 Aerospace)told me that his interview was about 10 minutes on his college work and internships and 30 on Scouts and his Eagle project. Project management and self-starting is very important in any STEM type job.

  14. Nahila Nakne // February 29, 2016 at 9:49 am // Reply

    I wonder if the 13-15 year old Eagles stay in Scouting and if they are pressured by parents.

    I know of an Eagle who got it at 13 because dad, an Eagle and Explorer Silver recipient, pushed and pushed and pushed him. Once he got Eagle, he quit Scouts. Didn’t get back involved until his son was a Tiger, 30 years later.

    Then there was his cousin. Very enthusiastic about Scouting, and uncle pushed him too. Was Life at 13y, 11 months, finished his project at 14y 6 months, and just needed a few more MBs. All set to get Eagle at 14.

    But something happened. Cousin got involved in the Order of the Arrow, becoming Brotherhood. Cousin also was selected to attend Brownsea 22, which would be today’s NYLT. Cousin then attended a national jamboree, and did a HA trek in Canada. He was having FUN. While “perfumes and car fumes” did hit, he stuck with Scouting and gave back to his troop. At 17 years, 6 months, SM gave him a swift kick in the butt by reminding him he had 6 months to do 2 MBs, and have his SMC and EBOR. I got the last MB finished 5 days before turning 18, and had my SMC the night before turning 18. Due to the district representative’s schedule, the EBOR was held when I was 18y 1m, 6 days old.

    So who do you think had more fun in Scouting; my cousin the 13 year old Eagle, or me the 18y 1m, 6d Eagle?

  15. My son got his Eagle in September 2015. He was one of 5 from his troop to earn Eagle in 2015. He was just over 13 1/2 when he got the rank of Eagle. He made a goal as a Tiger Cub to earn Eagle by about 14. We discussed regularly the other areas (music, school, work, yes even girls) that would compete for his time as he got older. He is currently his troop’s SPL. The older boys say he has been one of the best leaders for the troop. He recognizes that given his age he must reach out to the older boys and ask for help and guidance. He worked hard and has no intention of leaving the troop. He set his sites on Eagle Palms and fulfilling his Eagle Charge! I am a proud momma of an Eagle Scout!

  16. In a rural area and with a small group it’s not as easy. Where do you find counselors? My 16yo is kind of stalled out because the opportunities to earn Eagle-required badges are hard to find.

    • Julinda: Stalled in a rural area for lack of MB counselors?
      Unless you are talking about _very_exotic_ merit badges (i.e., Oceanography or Scuba Diving in Kansas….), you should be thinking about signing up more MB counselors.
      The white edged ‘required’ MBs are basically Scoutcraft that should be secondhand to any SM or ASM, and the Citizenship MBs are quickly within hand for any knowledgeable registered voter. Family Life and Sustainability MBs, what parent is not qualified to be the MB Counselor?
      Going back to youth hobbies, avocations and adult hobbies, adult volunteer experience, military training, school courses, travel, past job exposures, and current work experience — almost any adult knows more than the average teenager about a range of topics to serve as a good MB Counselor for a dozen (or two …) MBs. Gardening MB is a good example, even if not involved is a formal garden club or taking entries to the county fair. Home Repair MB, Painting MB, Pet Care MB, Safety MB. Who is not able to qualify for Collecting MB Counselor? Reading MB. For Aviation MB you do not have to be an FAA licensed pilot, for Space MB an astronaut, Atomic Energy MB a backyard reactor, … — if you can change a tire and know what a ‘spark plug’ is and need for periodic ‘oil change’, you are most of the way to being an Automobile Repair MB Counselor.

      For you rural (suburban, city, or inner city) area, grow your crop of Merit Badge Counselors. The boys need your help and you can be of service to the Troop(s), with your knowledge, experience, and a little reading of the MB booklet.

  17. As a proud Mom and active troop committee person, I think it depends on the type of community that you belong to. We found that sports was such a big pull for so many of the boys that we encouraged working on badges earlier than other troops seemed to. We really encouraged parents to pick 1-2 badges they were willing to be a counselor for. All 3 of my boys earned their Eagle at age 15 and stayed til 18 yrs old. One did a venture crew til he was 21. All made life long friends even though they have moved from the area.

  18. My son is part of that 2015 Eagle Class. 16.75 years of age when he got it. Since earning Life at 14 he has been to Jambo, done NYLT, been a OA chapter chief for two terms, been SPL, served on Summer camp staff and went on two high adventures with the troop. Could he have finished earlier, sure. But his route to Eagle fit him and he sure had a lot of fun getting there. ( And I had a good time walking a couple paces behind him.)

  19. There are, unfortunately, leaders that will and do impose their own additional advancement requirements, many of which are the result of testosterone poisoning.

    I believe the strong push to reach First Class in the first year exhausted/overwhelmed many Scouts and led many to shy away from asvancement for a while after reaching that plateau. I am happy to see that push to First Class being pulled back in the 2016 requirements.

    I see many cases of 14, 15, 16 year olds allowed to drift with little encouragement because of “what can you do” attitude, leaders self-fulfilling the idea that other opportunities will distract these Scouts from engagement in Scouting. Then the Scout turns 17 and leaders put out a manic effort to “get his Eagle”. I believe this has become a major reason why the percentage of Eagle Scout attainment has risen, adults focused on pulling 17 year olds through the requirements rather than supporting and encouraging younger Scouts that really want to work through advancement requirements. My nephew’s project turned into an 18 month ordeal because at 15 his complete project proposal was not a priority because ” he has time”, and some 17 year olds that had been rarely seen for several years were using up all of the oxygen in the troop. At nephew’s ECOH, at age 17, two leaders made the mistake of commenting about Scouts waiting until they are 17, and received an earful about the example they were setting for last minute efforts.

    • No Scout should be held back.
      FIRST CLASS IN A YEAR continues to be a very good idea [for 95% of Scouts, who attend meetings and make some reasonable effort].

      A good WeBeLoS should get their new Scout rank advancement (and badge presented) within minutes of crossing the bridge from Cub Scouting, a Troop overnight camping experience as a Scout,
      and be awarded their Tenderfoot rank 30 days after the crossover.
      Then Summer Camp.
      Second Class.
      First Class.
      With months to go in their first year as a Boy Scout, plus several Merit Badges.

      A good start.

  20. Regarding leaders that hold back Eagle Scout advancement until they are old enough to handle it – leaders that believe this are not following the spirit of the Advancement method. It is a sequential program, each level building a base for the next level. Advancement is a method of Scouting, evaluate your leadership and guidance to ask yourself if you are viewing it as an aim rather than a method.

  21. We had a boy in our Troop that turned in his Eagle paperwork with one hour and thirteen minutes to spare–he showed up at 3:47pm on Friday, the office closed at 5pm, and he turned 18 on Saturday. We could’ve killed him. 😉

  22. I got my BOR 2 months before aging out. that was 1996. I’m not in scouting presently, but before leaving our troop to explore other growth opportunities with our son, I was seeing a lot of younger boys being close to Eagle.

    I don’t think there is a wrong answer here. It took me what 3 years? to get to Second Class? Because My body was weird and swimming was hard because I couldn’t put on any weight, and had trouble floating. By First Class, I was then able to do swimming requirements for canoeing.

    Every boy grows differently.

  23. Mark Roush // August 2, 2016 at 6:32 pm // Reply

    I think we have to remember why scouting was created in the first place. I know the history but do you? Look it up. Not all scout will earn the rank of Eagle but all will learn many things that will carry them through life. I made Eagle 48 years ago and I am still learning and teaching. The age which you make Eagle is not important. It is the learning that is important.

  24. Lenny Jennings // August 2, 2016 at 8:57 pm // Reply

    To many distractions today. In 1949 TV was just getting off the ground, there was bowling, wrestling, and really not that many programs to watch. Kids were outside most of the time, playing. We played baseball all day, and made sure we were home before the street lights came on. Scouting was a blessing, an adventure, compared to the same old, same old. We all joined a pack or a troop. We were living the dream!!!

  25. As a parent of an Eagle at 15, we encouraged his Eagle by 16. Because jobs, tougher academic courses and girls come into play. He has continued with the Order of the Arrow, done NYLT and is encouraging his younger Life Scout brother, who is 12 to achieve Eagle in the next 18 months. Summer camp and Winter camp can really help boys achieve those tougher Merrit badges.

  26. In 1966 I received my Eagle at 17 11months, One son was 17 the other 14.

  27. Mike Benedetto // August 2, 2016 at 10:14 pm // Reply

    My son just earned his Eagle rank at 15. We have boys of all ages making Eagle. Some do it right before 18, others do it at 15, and others are everywhere in between. Each of them has their own journey.

    Let’s stop worrying about when they make it and provide them a program that makes them want to make it there

  28. i earned my Eagle in December 1973 at age 17…my SM wanted a good leader in the troop..the troop elected me SPL twice!! The requirements for Eagle were still under the OLD REQUIREMENTS dating back to the early 1960’s…extremely tough.. and NATIONAL was changing the age limit from 21 to 18. Because of that, my troop produced 4 Eagles by the end of 1973. The question remains..should a Scout be held back for Eagle because of young age..not if he is proven to be an effective leader. I DO question the decisions of SMs who have 13-year old do you factor in the time-in- office?? Seems impossible…not the ability to get to the rank, but the leadership time. Makes no sense to me. I may be “old school”, but I still believe along with earning the requirements for Eagle, mature leadership skill should have a strong factor ion the road to Eagle.

  29. My son is 12 and already has 5 eagle scout required merit badges. He has been in a little over a year. To the person that said that they have to try and they get the badges. There are disabilities that some Scouts can’t do which in turn they have to accommodate the Scout. Which is what happens with my son on some badges. My son has a slew of medical issues and he is on track to be eagle by 15.

  30. One significant difference between 1949 and now was that the Eagle service project was added in 1965. I earned Eagle in 1952 just before age 16, no project was required. The project is a significant challenge for young men today. Both my sons took four years from Life to Eagle, completing at 17.99 and 17.88 years. I just helped a young man complete at 17.98 years. My personal opinion is that we do not expect enough of our children today. I worked from the age of 12 on, today we would be appalled if a boy (or girl) were up at 5AM delivering local newspapers or in some other job.

  31. IMO there is a wide variance in the skill and experience level of one Eagle Scout to another…they are not created with a dependably mastered set of outdoorsmanship, or leadership skills ; even within the same unit.
    I have witnessed, over the years, too many Life scouts and Eagles who were “passed along” … painfully evidenced by their inability to organize/ lead activities, compete in skill challenges ( like shelter building, knot tying, fire making, orienteering – map and compass ) or even properly wear the uniform.
    Helicopter parents, apathetic merit badge counselors, and lenient Boards of Review are doing young men a huge disservice by not holding / challenging them to be prepared and competent for their awards and rank. Too many Scoutmasters are clearly more concerned with scout retention, roster size and parent appeasement than the integrity/ quality of their advanced rank programs.
    No argument that scouts with special needs are unique.
    But BSA should not accommodate procrastination, unpreparedness,
    or incompetence.

  32. David m Seaman // August 20, 2016 at 1:53 pm // Reply

    I am honestly shocked by some of the comments. There are too many excuses of why it is taking a boy longer. 5 miles to merit badge councilor? Get on your bike and ride. Scouting is either something you want to do or it is just a time filler. Make it a priority and make it happen. The whole purpose of becoming an eagle, is leadership training and giving back to the troop. Kinda hard to give back if you bail after you get it. Kinda hard to give back if you don’t have scouting as a priority and wait till you are 18.

    I was Life at 13, got my Eagle at 15 in 1995, wrestled, Marching Band, active in church youth, Academic debate, and was a coach for the girl’s soccer team. I missed camp outs only when I had a marching competition on Saturday mornings. Came to them late at night after the football games. If you want it, you make it happen. I was a scoutmaster for 10 years, and can say it is not a matter of more things competing for their time. It is lack of priorities and what they see as important. Getting Eagle only becomes important when it can’t be reached anymore and people are harping that they need for their college resume’ or for jobs.

    I know eagles scouts who can not tie basic knots. If you learned it you should still know it. There is far too much going on in the way of checking boxes. Scouting is structured to be integrated as part of your life and enhances it, not something that takes you out of it.

  33. Never mind easier or harder. Things change.

    My personal opinion on that would be harder now on specific requirements but offsetting that: easier because many troops & councils now get on a “merit badge train”… just go along with the group. Merit badges used to be done in mostly three ways: At long term camp, maybe just a few as part of troop programs, and most were by individual initiative & effort with a local counselor. Other Scouting activities filled most group-assembly time. The percentage of Scouts earning Eagle through the years also seem to tell us something.

    I’d like to see research on more recent Eagle Rank Scouts at age 17 vs. those of earlier decades at younger age. There used to be a lot to be said about being an active Eagle for a few years remaining to age 18 and in-fact that rank while still a Scout also opened a lot of opportunity in & out of Scouting. I fear many a ge 17 Eagles are done & soon gone.

    An interesting measure (if even possible) would the ongoing activity level of Eagles during adulthood vs. age of attaining the Eagle rank, and even non-Eagles First Class. vs higher.

  34. I have a slightly different perspective on one of the possible roots I would like to share. I got my eagle in 07 at 17; however, that was after rejoining scouts in 04. When I rejoined I had a troop with lots of active adults, clear cut guidance on the path to eagle, and, being a teenager entering high school, I had additional knowledge and personal drive than when I initially joined in 99. The first troop I joined gave almost 0 guidance to the new scouts on how to earn eagle. They expected us to go on a lot of random trips, learn how to use whisper lite stoves, tie knots, etc. All great things to learn but they were never tied into a clear cut chain of advancement nor were they applied to the actual rank requirements in the back of the hand book. As a result, 11 year old me spent several hours a week working in a troop tree lot with 0 payoff in advancing, in spite of being led to believe it would somehow contibute to “community service hours” for some distant rank. No money ever went to my mytical scout account either but that is another story. Within a year I quit since no one seemed willing to explain the program to me and all my patrol leaders seemed interested in was hazing me and my year group. I suspect that there may be lots of unhelpful organzations like this out there without an adequate troop guide program, which may be killing initial entry scout membership and causing others who stay to founder until their later teens. I would be interested in other thoughts on this.

  35. Mayor Dan A Hayes // August 20, 2016 at 4:13 pm // Reply

    I tell you my experience and my opinion for what its worth. In am A Eagle class of 1974.
    I can tell you in my time we were pushed to finish. We could not play sports in school.
    You could not afford to do both. The high school coaches in the day told everybody they either played sports or go home. Most of the boys quiet scouts after they reached first class.
    It washed out the lazy boys. Many did not want to the star rank because it required merit badges. Then the ones who had the will to go on would make the life rank. If the BSA would do a survey on the past 50 years. They would find the majority of life scouts who quit because of high school coaches threatening boys not to be able play because of thief so called dedication to sports over any and all other activities made boys quit right at the life rank. So only a few would stay in and finish the Eagle Rank. So there is the trust of why not many boys ever made the rank. Now that was then. I have no idea what the world is now.
    Dan A Hayes
    Tallulah Falls

  36. I’m approaching the end of my second year as Scoutmaster. I got my Eagle in ’86, 2 months before my 18th birthday, so maybe I’m biased.

    I encourage my younger Scouts that are fast-tracking to Eagle before 14 to slow down and enjoy the ride a little bit. I don’t add requirements, I don’t tell them they can’t advance to the next rank, but I do tell them about what I’ve seen and personally experienced.

    There is a tendency for boys that Eagle early to drop from Scouts. In fact, there is a persistent story going around that mothers encourage their sons in our area to get Eagle before they get into high school so they can be done with it and not have to worry about going to Scouts while in High School.

    I tell my Scouts that if I had Eagled at 14 and left Scouts, I would have missed out on numerous backpacking and camping trips and leadership opportunities that only came available after I became 14, and in once case, 16. At 16, I was able to serve on staff at one of the best Summer Camps on the West Coast. I consider that summer to be one of the two most formative experiences of my life (the other being basic training). Being told you’re in charge of 50+ Scouts and adults on a two mile canoe trip over open ocean, including beach landings and launches in the surf, as a teenager will certainly put some hair on your chest. That job led to a field sports director position in my twenties, and a winter caretaker’s job at the same camp a couple of years after that, and a handful of friends that I value more than anyone else in my life.

    Would I have had those same life experiences if I had ‘finished’ Scouts at 14? Probably not.

    The gentle nudging isn’t because ‘they haven’t paid their dues’ or ‘they aren’t ready for it’ (though this might be the case in some instances), but instead to try and keep these boys around long enough so that Scouts is there for them when a) they will need it the most (high school) and b) they will be able to reap the most real benefits from the program.

    My $.02.

  37. I’m one of the youngest Eagle Scouts ever at 13. Then I earned bronze palm and was out before I entered high school. I was trained at Schiff as well. I obtained the actual palm in my 50’s because of a local vendetta with the adult staff in central Maine troop 470. I did the work but paid a price for it among the underachievers and their involved “dads.”

  38. Charles Borner // August 20, 2016 at 8:15 pm // Reply

    I rather like that. Even with the removal of the “time-in-rank” around 25 years ago (Wow, has it been that long? Now I feel old!), and the fact that someone especially motivated can “power through” to Eagle at an accelerated pace.

    This statistic means that those who join are staying longer, feeling that they’re getting something positive out of continued participation in Scouting. Be it further development (personally, through merit badge acquisition or advancement in their local scouting organization), social (hanging out with friends who are also in Scouts, meeting a broader range of people, etc), or for some other reason.

    That’s heartening. As it shows that Scouting still has LOTS to offer young men, even in these faster-paced times, when lots of people see Scouting as “outdated”.

  39. RetiredCommitteeParent // August 21, 2016 at 10:21 am // Reply

    As the parent of an Eagle Scout and new college freshman, I do have one extra — if slightly off-topic — item to consider: We discovered last fall that many college applications require a tally of volunteer hours during high school ONLY. Scouts who complete their Eagle projects in middle school can’t count those hours. Happily, my son started his (very!!) large project in high school. I’m convinced those many additional volunteer hours helped him get scholarships. Of course, a Scout should earn Eagle when he’s ready, but this was something we hadn’t considered beforehand, and it happened to work out well for our Scout.

  40. I got my Eagle scout rank 2007. I was 18 but I took my time because I liked doing what I was training for life in the wild. I liked helping younger scouts grow and learn through the program. My SM gave me a lot of responsibilities to help the younger scouts as as well as my self. I grew up a mature man and prouder Eagle scout bearer. I know I was 18 when I received the award. Sleeping in tents negative degree weather why younger scouts slept in a heater cabin, made me feel strong. The same scouts woke up with me and were not ready for the cold to go do the Klondike events got cold and tired ready to give up, I was there pushing them to move on our troop was small but we were smart and tough. If you didn’t earn the award you didn’t receive it. All I am saying my SM didn’t add steps to my eagle I took that long if that is happening you need to talk to someone get that fixed. At age 16 I feel as though you are not ready to receive the award you are not mature enough. I was in troop 44 out of Louisville Ohio. My name is John Coss Proud Eagle scout bearer.

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