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

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

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.


  1. As an Eagle Scout with a Silver Palm who earned the rank at the age of 14 and now as a Scoutmaster of Troop from Reynoldsburg, Ohio for the last 13 years, I can say it is truly an individualized award. Can a 13 or 14 year old young man earn this rank and uphold the values of scouting and what it means to be an Eagle Scout as well as a 17 year old. Absolutely. I’ve had 26 Eagle Scouts in my tenure as Scoutmaster. I can say without a doubt that the maturity and leadership from a young man varies greatly boy to boy. It just really depends on the person. I’ve had 17 year olds I felt less impressed by then the 14 year old. But have had the reverse be true as well. I think having a boy run interactive program is the key to keep their interest be it earning Eagle at 14 and staying in the troop, or staying active in the troop and earning it at 17. The Eagle Palm’s program is available for youth who have already earned eagle and wish to continue learning through the Merit Badge program, etc.

      • 12 would be very difficult, but no, not necessarily impossible. In order to make it work, though, the Scout would have had to join at the earliest possible moment (age 10 1/2, and done with 5th grade), and then work his way up through all of the ranks as quickly as he possibly could. That seems like a pretty rare situation.

      • Actually, one can possibly earn Eagle before one is 12 years old. If you join the troop at 10 1/2, earn tenderfoot in just over a month (PE requirements); then also sign off 2nd and 1st class quickly (weeks); spend 4 months as 1st Class, 6 months as Star, 6 months as Life : you could complete Eagle in just under 18 months. that’s just under 18 months from 10 1/2 years. You can be an Eagle at age 11 with today’s requirements. Have to be a very special Scout, but it’s possible.

        • That my friend is exactly what I would call an eagle mill. The very description of a Paper Eagle.

    • It’s not only about being too imature at a younger, but more importantly the lack of leadership at 13..14..15 year old Eagle Scout have. I have seen many Eagle Scouts obtain it at a young age and have not achieved any sort of major leadership position within their Troop . I.e – SPL, ASPL… Etc.

      • Isn’t having a position of leadership a requirement for Star Scout? If your kid hasn’t had one by his Eagle project, then that’s a troop problem regardless of age.

      • But that’s not what the requirements are. There is nothing in the REQUIREMENTS that says you need to be SPL or ASPL or even just a patrol leader to achieve Eagle. There is a very specific list of positions of responsibility that are required, and ASPL and SPL are only two of them.

        • well if you thinking doing the bare minimum is what being a good scout is about and if you think you can truly learn to be a leader by being an ASPL for 6 months and an SPL for 6 months than I guess you will get exactly what you wanted a meaningless notch on your belt.

    • I appreciate the comments by other Eagles who earned theirs while older and younger alike. Before I did my service project I helped a buddy with his, the year before. He rebuilt a 30-year-old vehicle the troop would use for service work as well as camping and other activities. During that time, I learned how to tear down a motor, clutch, rear end, brakes, exhaust, electrical and fuel system then rebuild them and then somehow put them back together again. I still remember when the darn thing fired back up after we put everything back together and later when we began to use it. My buddy was 13.5 when he got Eagle. I stayed in scouting another year or so then got out.

      Six weeks after turning 17, I dropped out of high school and joined the navy where I would go on to serve six years on active duty including four years on the USS Gato (SSN 615), a nuclear powered fast attack submarine complete with nuclear weapons. When my enlistment ended I was an E6 electrical nuclear operator eligible to become a chief if I re-enlisted. I declined and instead going to engineering school where I completed a BS in electrical engineering. After working as, a technician and then engineer in nuclear engineering and operations for a multi-state electrical utility in the Northeast, I went on to conduct reliability studies on the US electrical grid. Next, I resigned to launch a startup engineering firm (VESCO Engineering, Inc.) that did primarily, not electrical but, mechanical engineering. Who knew that rebuilding a beat up old truck would pay off someday? Later, I sold that firm in order to launch another startup (TubeMaster, Inc.) where I serve today leading a brain trust of engineers and technicians. This team has now invented all kinds of things, earning over a hundred of patents. Despite dropping out of high school I somehow get invited to speak and teach at domestic and international business schools.

      My father was an alcoholic who bankrupted our family of six kids. I was the oldest. Thanks to an amazing mom I stayed in scouts and had a great troop experience, the years I was in. My eagle project involved wiring and illuminating a work space that the troop shared with the church who hosted us. It cost virtually nothing. I used salvaged materials obtained from area structures slated for demolition, along with my siblings who I managed to recruit (an early lesson in leadership). What little I did need to buy, I paid for myself from my grass cutting work (remember when kids cut grass instead of adults in F250s?).

      I have no opinion if older is better or younger is better. Or if help from dad or no help from dad for that matter. While I had no support from my father at the same time I held a slight envy for those who did but, for an entirely different reason. What really mattered is that I had great support from the troop and its leaders. The only thing I do have a strong opinion about is that scouting made me better. Scouting was the rest of my family.

      I became an Eagle Scout at age 13.5.

      • I’m curious about one thing…how did you get into the Navy nuke program without a high school diploma? (I too was an EM1 nuke: on CVN-65).

  2. On the surface, I am opposed to Eagle being awarded at a young age. I will stick by that. However I agree with the commenter who stated “I’ve seen some very impressive 14-year-old Eagle Scouts and some less-than-impressive 17-year-old Eagle Scouts.” The variety of comments prove this more than anything I or another leader can say.
    As for completing requirements, etc., board of review and scoutmaster doing their job, they are not allowed to by many parents today. Case in point, a scout showed up at meetings in order to fulfill the requirements for the badge, and took six plus years to do it. His lack of consistency, unwillingness to demonstrate leadership skills within the troop or to be a part of the team, caught up with him in his scoutmaster’s conference. (He was a legacy scout from a previous scoutmaster). The parents were on the phone immediately calling the district, council, region and national demanding intervention in the case of this “evil scoutmaster.” The sad thing was, his dad was a volunteer with the troop also, and at least somewhat understood the aims of scouting. Mom did not..
    Perhaps the chartered orgs and unit committees should ensure that all of the training and requirements are taught AND reinforced, and when the youth can truly show that he has mastered the requirements and skills required, he can be awarded the Eagle. At whatever age he demonstrates those things.

  3. I think it depends. I find that boys who are mature and responsible for their age or are high achievers, do well as “young” Eagle scouts. However, I have personally witnessed parents who push their child to become Eagles at a young age and the boy is not ready at all. But, because all the right boxes are checked and the process let’s these boys through, they become Eagles. Then these boys end up “growing” into their Eagle rank.

    On the flip side, as noted by others, those boys who wait until the last minute and then expect all the adults and scouts in his troop to jump through hoops for them so they can get their Eagle before they age out is unacceptable to me. “Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.” We had a scout do this to our troop and he still missed the deadline before his birthday. Then, an extension was filed, accepted and another 6 months grace period given to this scout to finish. Did he finish? No. He missed his extension deadline. It was absolutely infuriating to those of us who jumped through hoops for him and he did not take responsibility for his actions, even at 18. He didn’t deserve to be an Eagle before his 18th birthday nor at the time his extension was missed.

    If I had my choice, I would rather have a younger Eagle scout than one who waited until it was nearly too late to complete his rank. As always, every case is unique and we must be sensitive to the reasons why. But in general, this is what I prefer as an adult leader.

  4. It depends on the scout. If at 13 or 14, he can do all of the work on his own–living the scout oath and law, contacting the merit badge counselors, planning and implementing the Eagle project, then it won’t matter how old they are. The parents are there for support and encouragement, as are the leaders. I’ve had 2 sons earn their Eagle award. One was 15, one was 14. The key is in the attitude of the parents and leaders as well–earning Eagle is not the end! There are also Eagle palms, leadership positions, the Varsity Team and Venturing Crew as well! Keep going strong! If the program is a strong, boy-led program, as it should be, age won’t be the issue. I have watched my sons soar even stronger after earning their Eagle award. They are strong leaders and examples to the other scouts and their younger brothers (who are following in their footsteps). My oldest son earned 5 more palms and was the assistant Scoutmaster before the age of 18. (He’s now in college on a full scholarship.) My younger son (almost 16 now) has already earned 5 palms–his goal is 12 palms. He’s also in Varsity scouting and plans to join a Venturing crew when he’s 16. He has also been elected into the Order of the Arrow. There is so much offered to our boys through scouting. But, no matter what award they earn or how full their sash is, the most important thing is that they live the Scout Oath and Law–they develop those characteristics to help them become the great men that they are intended to be! There are so many experiences through scouting that help them to become that if given the opportunity. By the way, I’m a single Mom–their father is not in their lives. So, it can be done! Scouting is filling a place in my sons lives and influencing them in a great, positive way. If they had leaders hung up on the issue of age, they wouldn’t be where they are today!

      • My 13 yo achieved his Eagle last night. He worked hard, sacrificed, is living by the principles and was fully ready. He is mature. He had INCREDIBLE leaders and mentors who fostered his individual gifts and talents while challenging him to step outside his comfort zone. The result of leadership and support is a self-confident, kind boy. His best friend will likely get his Eagle in a few years. They just have different goals and likes.

  5. Show me in the official BSA literature where there states an age when a scout can earn his Eagle award, and I will gladly follow it.

    Painting all scouts with the “too young” paintbrush does a disservice to the scout, the leadership and the unit. I understand that leaders are entitled to their opinions, but I think that they should tread lightly when it comes to implementing their own ideals and policies…

    Our troop will have 2-3 boys that will be Star Scouts by the end of the summer, all 12 years old…they may be Life Scouts by the time they are 13…so… I to make them wait up to 4 years for their next rank?

    One more thing in regards to that…before judging an age for a Eagle, ask one of the guys who were on the moon if they were forced to wait to be older so that they could advance. I don’t have the answers, but I bet that their answer would be “no, I didn’t have to wait”

    • 2 or 3 1st Class 12-year olds? No, you don’t make Scouts wait. But you do make sure they get the experience needed to lead a patrol or be an SPL. A Scout earns respect from others as he progresses through the ranks. While possible, it’s not THAT often a boy matures so quickly. I would imagine an astronaut goes through an incredible amount of training, testing, role-play, etc. before moving up the ladder, so your analogy is irrelevant here. Our Eagles are experienced Boy Scouts. And with that, a true leader emerges.

      • I would imagine that Scoutmaster Shawn’s reference to astronauts was in relation to the astronauts who were Eagle Scouts in their youth, not as a comment on making an astronaut wait.

      • As I recall, if a scout meets all the minimum time requirements for each position and rank, it takes 20 months to go from Scout to Eagle Scout.

  6. I have seen great 14 year old Eagles, and lousy “heart attack” Eagles.

    Been sitting on Eagle BORs since 1978, and I can honestly say that age should not be a determining factor — but I sure wish maturity was!

    I have seen young men with the proper maturity reach Eagle by 14 and then go on and earn Ranger & Silver Awards in Venturing, or even Quartermaster in Sea Scouts. Seen them serve for many years on camp staff, and even as Philmont Rangers.

    I would much rather see a mature younger Scout make Eagle, then have him experience even more that Scouting has to offer, instead of the Scout who has heard that he can use Eagle to get into College, and show up after being gone for 3 years.

    (And yes, I was 14 when I earned my Eagle in 1972, and I know I had great Scoutcraft skills because that was a requirement in those days!)

  7. Our troop guide for a newly crossed-over Webelos is a 13yo Eagle. He is simply amazing with wisdom beyond his years. Did his parents push him? Probably. But not much!

    An example that made my jaw drop was when our first patrol meeting was ending, he called the boys all back for a closing and sung Vespers.

    Without directly experiencing this Eagle, I would have said 13-14 is way too young. But preconcieved notions can lead many astray, and I’m glad I held my opinion. Each boy is unique; some are ready, others aren’t. I’m glad BSA policy doesn’t hold go-getters back. I don’t feel a blanket statement would be valid other than: case-by-case basis.

  8. I find the judging and the young Eagles to be in very poor taste. I have sat on Eagle boards and the majority of them have earned their award in the nick of time. They come back after a long absense from Scouting which is reflected in their paperwork showing that it has been years since they last held a leadership position or earned a merit badge. They come back because they realize that it looks good on college applications, job applications or will get them more pay if they join the military. Not one of them has told me they are here because it is an honor to be an Eagle Scout.

    My son earned his Eagle right before his 14th birthday and is still active in our Troop. Our Scoutmaster is teaching the boys that just because you earn your Eagle does not mean you are done. The other boys, older and younger, look up to my son. He is there to help the current leadership in any way. He feels it is an honor to be an Eagle.

    My younger son has progressed at a faster rate and will probably be able to earn his Eagle right after his 13th birthday. He may be small but he is a leader in our Troop. Out of 5 boys nominated for the OA he was the only one the boys voted to be called out. He has more leadership ability than our last two Senior Patrol Leaders.

    As the advancement chair for our Troop I am currently guiding along five Eagle projects. Only one of those boys is truly doing it because he wants to. The rest are left overs from the last Scoutmaster and are doing it because their parents want it. Those are the boys I think devalue the Eagle, not the youngs ones.

  9. As a scout who has made eagle at 14, I will say that 14 is not to young to earn eagle. I am not from a troop that is considered an “eagle mill” and I would not consider myself a “paper eagle”. I completed the requirements just like everyone else and I had the leadership and experience to do so. Earning eagle at 14 has enhanced my scouting career and allowed me the time before I was 18 to give back to my troop.

  10. In my experience as a Scoutmaster and an Explorer Advisor/Venturing Advisor and Sea Scout Ship Skipper over 30 years, I had the great privilege of working with many young men on their trail to Eagle. We did have some very young Eagles, and at the other end of the spectrum, many who earned it just before turning 18. None of the young Eagles were ever lacking in worthiness or readiness for the award. There are some young Scouts who become highly motivated to Earn Eagle at an early age and should be highly encouraged and not discouraged or impeded.

    It is an individual case-by-case situation and a stereotyped view of all 13 year olds being “too young or immature” simply does not apply if the adults involved are doing their jobs properly.

    I have known of some situations where adults deliberately try to postpone or “slow down” the advancement to Eagle for young Scouts in fear of “losing them” as Troop members, or otherwise judging that they are “not mature enough to be an Eagle Scout,” but the fact is that if this is done, the real outcome may be that they will become discouraged, lose interest and drop out, and consequently may never earn their Eagle at all.

    The greatest attrition of membership from Scout Troops occurs at age 14 when young men enter high school and are drawn to interests of teenagers such as sports, band, girls, and cars, so impeding progress toward earning Eagle at a young age would be a travesty.

    If Scoutmasters want to keep youth in the Scouting program after they earn Eagle, they need to make sure that the youth get into “Age Appropriate” Scouting programs such as Venturing, Sea Scouts and also LFL Exploring where they can earn new awards, learn about future careers, and most of all enjoy the programs and activities that they select and plan. Venturing/Sea Scouts is truly ” Scouting’s Next Step” and keeps young men and women in the program often until they turn 21, which is really what it is all about.

  11. I find it comedic that this discussion has been going on for decades. I remember when I was a young scout and hearing parents talk about it, now I hear the same arguments on both sides discussed today. It’s pretty clear that there is no clear age at which a scout is worthy of the Eagle rank. Each boy develops at their own pace and the best we can do is help them in the process. There are no requirements or techniques to judge a person’s character with 100% accuracy. You can find examples of every kind of Eagle scout you can imagine from Astronauts to prisons.

    One important thing that changed my perspective on the subject is when I realized that Eagle rank is NOT the crowning achievement of scouting. It’s a big piece and should be considered a giant milestone and achievement, but the crowning achievement is when a boy matures into a responsible man. That is the goal and what we need to be working towards.

    In an ideal world I would love to see the boys in our troop work 3 full years and earn their eagle by the age of 14, they could then take that confidence and habits into a Varsity Team where they can have greater flexibility to define their own requirements through the pin program, continue their work on merit badges if they would like and give service back to younger scouts, after a couple years of that they would be primed and ready for a solid Venture Crew experience where they take life to a higher level of exploration and learning and prepare for their post high school plans.

    When you realize that Eagle scout isn’t the end and is just a part of the transition it all of a sudden doesn’t become a huge question of, “did he deserve this?” and becomes more of a statement on what direction the boy is heading with his life.

  12. After working as a scout leader with several boys of varying ages who have earned their Eagle, I have to say that the 14-year-old who works consistently and enthusiastically is in many ways better prepared than the 17-year-old who tries the last-minute sprint and gets the last signatures on his paperwork at 11:55 PM the night before his 18th birthday (no, that’s not an exaggeration).

  13. Those on this list who look at the boy’s age and age alone are incorrect. There are many 18 year old’s that are not mature either. The Eagle rank is only part of the scouting journey. There are Palms to earn there is the Order of the Arrow to be elected to and participate in AND there is Venturing to experience. These should all be part and parcel to the Scouting experience. The road to Eagle should allow a boy to find his interests, then, if he chooses, go to a Venturing Crew or Sea Scout Ship that has some or all of the things he wishes to pursue. The BSA should no longer be just a trip from Cubs to Boy Scouts but a journey that allows him to experience everything that our organization has to offer.

  14. While it is true that each candidate is a unique blotter, generally, those over 16 show more maturity and focus. Yet, I have sat on the board of a couple of under 15 scouts, and they were exceptionally goal oriented and mature for their age; but they have been the exceptions for the younger boys coming through. On the other hand, those coming back at the last minute, prodded and nagged by parents, or simply because it will be a good thing to add to a college ap’, often are not high quality, compared to older ones who have stayed semi active, balancing school, sports, and other activities, while working towards completion.

    Personally, I feel we need to reinstate a few time frames in the lower ranks, and strengthen basic skills in some manner. We also need to really look at clarifying what is a minimum level of acceptance on a project, especially the total hours and the balance between prep and actual work with others. We are seeing more and more “cookie cutter” projects that really are simply identical to others, except they are in a different location. I had a mother recently ask me why her son’s project, which is very unique and will end up taking far more than the average hours, is not the level to which many projects attain. My only answer was that every boy has his own reasons, and they know within if they slid by, or did their best. Still, it can be discouraging for a scout to put in two or three hundred hours completing a project, then see another scout slide by with barely 50 hours, and basically a blueprinted plan that simply required restating things for a different school or park.

    Also, we need to work on not undermining the integrity of the Eagle. We occasionally have candidates that do not pass a board for very legitimate reasons, ones that “should” negate approval, period. But councils and National seem to be so afraid of legal things that they end up being approved, which reflects very poorly on the local level.

    Finally, we need to have National make local decisions less subjective on some of the Eagle application items. We are having a major issue with “letters” right now. Apparently, our local advancement committee has decided that we can no longer ask the scout to furnish letters from their references; that if we want letters, the review board must ask for them. This makes little sense, other than running scared from the occasional reference related problem, like not having a church reference or not sending them out in a timely manner, resulting in a delay in their board.

    Thank you for the space to comment on this.

    • While I applaud your desire to make the Eagle rank a worthy goal, I personally feel that BSA has very clearly defined exactly what is required to EARN the rank, and there is absolutely no need to add to these requirements out of some misguided sense of maintaining a non-existent standard.

      It should be no surprise that a 16 year old appears more mature in conversation and action than a 13 year old–that’s natural maturation. More importantly, the topic is moot as there is no “maturity” requirement for any BSA rank, to include Eagle. While we all may have our own ideas of the characteristics of the perfect Eagle Scout, they in fact remains our own ideas and not official requirements approved by BSA.

      Its very important to remember that the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project does not and should not have an “hours worked” requirement for a good reason–projects are specific to the individual and the goal; therefore the numbers of hours spent completing various projects can and do vary widely, as they should. Some Scouts will take on a massive, long-duration project because the work is important to them. Others will plan and complete a project that just meets the minimum requirements. That doesn’t make them any less of an Eagle, because they met the BSA-approved minimum requirements. Should a Scoutmaster that just meets the minimum requirements of the Scoutmaster’s Key not receive it because he or she didn’t go far beyond what BSA expects? Keep in mind, whether a medical student graduates first or last in her class, we still call her “Doctor”.

      I don’t believe that Councils or National are afraid of legal action when overturning a Board of Review rank refusal. More likely, they are enforcing their well-established and very clear prohibition against adding to requirements, which sadly seems all too common among otherwise well-meaning adults wanting to uphold their own subjective standards.

      As adults, our experiences influence our perceptions. I know that without a doubt my Eagle rank holds much different meaning to me now than it did when I earned it as a youth. Back then, I scrambled to earn my Eagle because I saw it as a goal I set and wanted to achieve. I also listened to my father when he told me about his regret for not completing the few requirements he had left for Eagle when he was a boy, and didn’t want to feel that when I grew up. I was one of those 17 year olds that suddenly realized that time was running out after spending my high school years doing other things that kept me away from full-time Scouting, such as being a 4 year varsity letter winner in two sports, captain of the same sports, president of my class for 3 years, and maintaining a GPA to allow me to graduate second in my class and earn an appointment to a service academy. I’m willing to be that many of those “absent” older Scouts today are also busy working to achieve in other aspects of their lives outside of Scouting, and am therefore very unwilling to speak badly of them simply because they haven’t prioritized Scouting over everything else. Everyone has different reasons for wanting to reach a goal; the motivation to achieve a goal shouldn’t matter to anyone else so long as the requirements are met along the way.

      At the end of the day, BSA rightly recognizes that each Scout takes something different from the program, and therefore has established baseline requirements that minimize subjective evaluation and are realistic for youth to attain (remember the SMART criteria for goal-setting). The Scout that some feel doesn’t “deserve” the Eagle rank for whatever reason may very well become a model citizen and Eagle Scout as he ages and learns some life lessons as an adult. None of us can accurately predict the future; passing subjective judgement on a young man today may be very short-sighted and selfish on our part.

      If he’s completed the requirements, he’s an Eagle.

      • “I don’t believe that Councils or National are afraid of legal action when overturning a Board of Review rank refusal. More likely, they are enforcing their well-established and very clear prohibition against adding to requirements, which sadly seems all too common among otherwise well-meaning adults wanting to uphold their own subjective standards.”

        Granted, most appeals are likely as you submit. But I have seen at least three overturned that were declined due to issues very specific to dishonesty and illegal activities that were not misdemeanors or harmless
        pranks common to immaturity. Yet, they somehow were allowed to be approved. When a candidate is caught blatantly forging signatures, lying, or harming others, he does not meet “the standard”, period. And just because the parent screams discrimination or unfair and threatens, it should not matter. What do these rare incidents say to those who made the “right” decision? What does it say to the parents of other scouts who witnessed the events, or were aware of them? What does it say to the community at large who may have been affected by them? As scouters, we still have a responsibility to hold our wards to the intention of the Oath and Law, that thing we call Scout Spirit. Of course, the individuals noted likely should never have reached the point of an Eagle board anyway; but they did because someone was too willing to not hold them to the standard, due to perhaps hurting their feelings.

        These same fears and loose standards are one of the reasons so many kids no longer do well in school and seem unable to recognize the difference between right and wrong, even when it should be obvious. Too much letting them slide because they are insecure, or not ready, or too sensitive.

        Yes, if the candidate meets the requirements, then he should pass. But we need to not simply ignore or allow a pass because we do not want to be mean, or hurt their feelings. We are doing them, as well as BSA, a disservice.

        As far as the project goes, I am well aware that it does not specify a specific number of hours. That is not what I am saying should be done, though perhaps it would help with understanding what is expected. I am saying that we are moving towards prepackaged projects; pick it out of the minimum level choices and run with it, using the basic patterns already developed by others, but made to fit my needs. Some candidates will always have above average projects, just as they are above average in most other aspects of their lives. Still, we may need to simply make the minimum level of the project more clear, as right now, it is pretty blurry.

        Just my own thoughts and opinions. But, it seems to me we, as a society, are expecting too little of our youth, not believing they are better than that. And we are seeing those lowered expectations met, then dropped again. Oddly, give a boy a real challenge, and they more than naught will rise to meet it, or much closer than we might think possible. Put the bar too low, and they walk over it, but learn nothing.

    • My son’s first troop had what I call the “cattle call garbage can and paintbrush projects” He had all the requirements done and needed a project had three projects sabotaged by the scoutmaster who wanted to control the day, time, type of project and didn’t like it because it wasn’t like the one he was planning for his son.

  15. It really is a matter of maturity, not age. Some people say that a Scout can’t appreciate Eagle at 13 or 14; but I earned mine at 18 (fell into the BOR loophole), and I didn’t really appreciate how “big” it is until I was in my mid-20s. Also, having earned Eagle at 18 meant that I didn’t get a chance to go for Palms or have time to try Venturing (because I went off to college). I never even got to wear the Eagle patch on my uniform, because I was already an adult, and I never had an Eagle COH. Furthermore, if a Scout can do in 3 years, what it takes a lot of Scouts 6 years to do, I say congratulations – unless it’s the parents doing the work instead of him, but that’s a whole separate argument.

  16. Scouts earn the rank of Eagle when they have successfully completed the requirements. It’s really this simple.

  17. I am currently a 26 year old Scoutmaster for my troop in PA. During my years in scouting I have had seen 2 scouts earn Eagle at the age of 13. Both of those scouts are on my charter but never show up to the meetings or outings anymore. In my opinion, those scouts should be taking in active role in leading the other scouts. They got their Eagle and are out so they are no longer getting anything out of the program. Scouting has been my life since I joined as a cub scout. I was really into the advancements and focused on getting Eagle, which I received at the age of 17. Looking back I am grateful I took my time and enjoyed the entire journey. I lost a friend I grew up in scouts with, he was only 20 years old. Had I rushed to get Eagle, I would not have had time to enjoy the small things with him. Every year when new scouts come into my troop, I encourage them to advance, but I tell them that the most important part of scouting is to enjoy the journey. I participate in Eagle Scout Board of Reviews for my district and I will leave you with a question I ask in every Board of Review:

    When I look at the scouting program I can break it down into 4 separate parts:
    1. Awards and Advancement (Ranks and meritbadges)
    2. Outings
    3. Values (scout oath and law)
    4. Friendships
    To you, what is the most important part of scouting and why?

  18. Age is not an accurate measure of maturity. If a 13-year-old boy has truly met the requirements for Eagle (and has not been fast-tracked by parents and/or leaders) then he had demonstrated his maturity and deserves the award. But more importantly, we must always remember that the BSA’s mission is NOT to pin awards on boys. Its mission is to prepare young men to make moral and ethical choices throughout their lifetime by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. The advancement program is a means to this end, it is not an end in and of itself. It is entirely possible for a boy to learn and internalize these values without earning a single award. THAT is “true north” and where we must always keep our compasses pointed.

  19. If the boy has learned and accomplished all the requirements for Eagle and actually can continue to do the skills that he has learned then any age isn’t too young to receive Eagle. If the leaders do their part and make sure that the Scout has learned the requirements then the boy will show leadership and be willing to teach other Scouts the skills that he has learned. If the boy receives Eagle by 14 then it enables him to concentrate on the Varsity and Venture programs and progress in building his character through those activities and earning the awards in each of those areas of Scouting. It is up to the leaders a lot of the time to help the boy to continually progress after Eagle to help benefit the individual unit and other boys. That is where the boy will experience great growth and achievement through helping others. That is why we have Scouting today in the United States. A young man helped another man find his way in the fog of London. Let’s all do all that we can to help the Scouting movement progress and grow as it can. We are here as leaders to help boys to become men.

  20. I think maturity is the biggest concern for me, but a blanket statement is not appropriate. I will apply the same standards regardless of age, but I would definitely have greater scrutiny of the maturity of a 13/14 year old candidate. Keep in mind that the “Scout spirit” requirement is subject to great interpretation. Maturity plays a greater role for higher ranks

    However I think the core of the problem lies with BSA pushing for scouts to make First Class in a single year. I think this is just plain wrong. One year should be the exception not the expectation

  21. The only person to blame for these so called paper eagles or mom-and-pap eagles are the scoutmaster, troop committee chair, and the district advancement chairman, the youth is not to blame because you are the ones that approve and sign off the requirements. If the requirements are meet then the boy deserves the rank.

    Anyway besides that 95 percent of the boys that earn eagle when they are 13 or 14 years old continue their involvement in scouting or later in life come to realize the impact the scouting movement had on their lives. The remaining scouts yes may notvrealize the impact or significance of the Eagle rank but then again this usually can not be helped no matter how hard we try as leaders.

  22. This one is easy! The answer is no. There’s no age requirement for Eagle. Complete the requirements and you are an Eagle Scout.

    Some folks seem to think there are different degrees or levels of Eagle Scouts but there’s only one. The rest of it is opinion, speculation and chest-thumping.

    • Agreed, and as I mentioned earlier, neither is there a maturity requirement despite many references to a need for maturity in some others posts. Eagle Scouts come in all flavors; preconceived idealizations of what an Eagle Scout should be have no place at an Eagle Scoutmaster Conference or Board of Review.

  23. To complete the requirements for Eagle, someone with that drive, should not be discouraged. However, the leaders should monitor the scout as a member of the unit. Getting an “A” and not knowing the material does not benefit the scout.

    Back in 1911 (that’s, like, a hundred years ago, folks), the BSA established the requirements for all ranks from Tenderfoot through Eagle. Over the years, requirements for each of the six ranks have evolved, but one thing hasn’t changed: All requirements for all Boy Scout ranks are the same for all American Scouts, everywhere. Now if you take a good look at the timing aspect of the ranks, beginning with the 30 days of physical exercise for Tenderfoot through the ten troop or patrol activities (other than troop meetings) for Second-and-First Class, then the four months, six months, and six months of tenure for Star, Life, and Eagle, and allow for the fact that a boy coming through the Cub Scout program can be a Boy Scout by completing the Arrow of Light rank at about 10-1/2 years old, it’s a pretty basic arithmetic calculation to understand that the BSA figures that the Eagle rank can happen somewhere between age 13 or a little less and 17 years, 364 days, and anywhere in that range is just fine. And of course we all know that there’s a BSA policy that says we can’t add to or subtract from any requirement (we don know that, right?). So, by what stretch of presumptive hubris do we assign to ourselves the authority to add the further requirement to Eagle that, in our infinite wisdom, we will estimate the so-called maturity of the Scout? Isn’t it enough that he’s fulfilled all of the requirements for six ranks and no less than twenty-one merit badges? By what superior knowledge do we make this additional judgment about maturity, when we should know full well we have no right to do so? Pogo was right: We’ve met the Eagle Scout candidate’s worst enemy, and he is us.

  25. Personally, I’ve seen a multitude of boys that start out gung-ho in scouting and as they reach high school age and the influence of such a higher variety of activities start to interfere. Schedule conflicts along with the coming of age to do things with out constant parental authority start to ‘cloud’ their focus. I’m aware of this for my own son along with my fear for not having a strong troop since we’ve lost our last scout master with only one possible viable replacement and a troop of barely enough scouts to form one patrol, I am, as a parent feeling the need to hurry things up before it’s too late to get to eagle. Right now as my son is reaching the age of 13, he is still strong in his love for scouts, even though his circumstances are not the greatest, but every once in a while, I see a hint of a waiver in his interest. It’s a fine line and I see it. For us, it really has everything to do with the quality of the leadership, bottom line. And yes, if a boy has not really earned his ranks appropriately, then the scout should not be signed of.. bottom line. Every scout deserves a trained leader AND trained parents too.

  26. While I agree some may think a 13 or 14 year old may be mature enough to do an Eagle project and live the Scout Oath and Law to the fullest, I must question his true maturity. After all he is 13 or 14 years old. Religious writings are full of examples of young men doing remarkable things, but they didn’t become true leaders until much later in their lives because they weren’t fully mature.

    The idea that things are different now then they were 100 years ago has some validity, but people are no different. They just have more opportunities to learn different things. I don’t think we should mistake knowing how and understanding the principals with the maturity to truly lead. True leadership requires empathy for those you are leading. You can’t learn that from a book or a lecture, you must develop it through experience.

  27. Can a 13 year old lead a project as good as a 17 year old??? NO. Will a 13 year old need more adult guidance and help with project planning than a 17 year old??? YES

    A 17 year 364 day old youth cleaned up a cemetery for his project. If a 12 year 265 day old did the same project would we expect MORE from him?

    To limit age would be insane. Why not leave out people because of race or mental abilitites, too???

    Imagine this Eagle BOR— “You have completed all the requirements for Eagle…but you are black. Sorry…thanks for playing!!!”

    Get off your high horse, turn your epaulettes around, and start serving instead of discouraging these youth!!! Model the behavior YOU expect and get out to serve the youth

    I have worked with Packs, Troops, Teams, and Crews….and see the need for some serious role models— My current registered positions are : Cubmaster, Pack Trainer, ASM, Troop Committee, Varsity Committee, Crew Committee, Unit Commissioner, CUb Scout Round Table Commissioner, EDGE Staff, Wood Badge Staff, Day Camp Director, and Camporee Director.

    • WOW, bringing race into the discussion is totally off the mark. It sounds like the only high horse around is the one you are sitting on and it may even have a chip on its shoulder. Up until your post, I thought this was a mature, age old discussion that will probably never die. The great thing though is that we are FREE to discuss.

      • He was using it as an example. Read the post. You read race and black and instantly pulled the race card. Wow. Reading comprehension 101!

  28. I don’t think the argument is as much with the boy who earns his Eagle at age 13 or 14 but the way he earns it. There are too many troops and summer camps where merit badges are earned just by showing up for all the classes.

    When I was a Scout in the 70’s, we had district merit badge counselors, not troop counselors. I had to contact each merit badge counselor, set up an appointment, and work one-on-one (before 2-deep leadershp requirements) with that counselor to meet the requirements. Nobody brought the merit badges to me, like happens too often today – I had to go get them.

    The first merit badge counselor I went to sent me home because I did not wear my uniform – that was a very good lesson. I returned a week later, in uniform, and breezed through the requirements because I was very well prepared. There was no skating through requirements like happens too often today.

    Along with working on my merit badges and rank requirements, I was a leader in the troop and OA chapter chief.

    I earned my Eagle Badge, by my own hard work, at age 14. I then went on to earn my Bronze Palm, OA Brootherhood, and was nominated for (and received) the OA Vigil Honor.

    I stayed active and a youth leader in my troop until I went off to college. When my oldest son was in 1st grade, I joined Cub Scouts with him as a Tiger dad. The following year, I started a Cub Scout pack at a new school and remained Cubmaster until we moved 5 years later. As my boys progressed through Scouting, I was a Webelos den leader, Assistant Scoutmaster, Jamboree troop ASM, and am now a Venturing crew advisor, even though my sons have aged out, as well as an assistant district commissioner.

    I’m really not trying to toot my own horn but to make the point that a blanket statement should not be made that boys at age 14 are not qualified to be Eagle Scouts. In fact, since I earned my Eagle Badge so young, I was able to enjoy the rest of my Scouting experience without the pressure of working on rank advancement.

    I have been the Eagle advisor in my troop (that my sons have long since aged out of) for the past 5 years. I have yet to work with a boy who is younger than 17 and enjoying his Eagle work. Every one of them feels pressured by their parents and leaders to get to Eagle and they really don’t know why. One boy, who just had his Eagle ceremony this past weekend, wasn’t allowed to get his driver’s license until he completed all his Eagle requirements. He went for over a year without driving, until he finished the rank.

    I would be surprised to see many of these 17 year old Eagles joining Scouts with their sons or even encouraging them to join. Their last months were not pleasant.


    Randy Bernstein

  29. I was 4 months shy of my 15th birthday when I passed my Eagle Board. I hold six palms (at the time a palm required 5 additional badges and six months of service). Since then I have worked in a Scout camp for four summers, been ASM to my troop until my studies made it too difficult, been on two unit committees,a locacl council’s executive board, and received the District Award of Merit. I also serve as my Diocesan Chaplain for the Scouts (a poistion I’ve had for almost 15 years) as well as being the Advisor to the Training Committe of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting and a member of its Advisory Board.

    So if I was too young to really get anything out of the acheivement can someone please tell me why I am still trying to payback Scouting for all I’ve received from it?

    Some have used the derogatory term “paper Eagle” as a blanket term for all of us that obtained Eagle at a young age. I have been involved in Scouting for 25 years now as an adult. I have come across too many “paper Eagles” and the age of the person had nothing to do with it. The attitude that results in a “paper Eagle” is less related to a person’s age than it is to his work ethic.

    I’ve also met a number of men who identify themselves as “former Eagles.” It has been my experience that it is those who squeaked by and “got the rank” just before aging out that have this attitude. You can find good and bad examples of Eagles. Some of them achieved Eagle at a young age, others just squeaked by, and still others made it at 16 or 17. What determines whether an Eagle will be a good one or bad is less related to his age at the time but how well he appreciates what being an Eagle means.

    As has already been said here it is rare for a Scout to obtain Eagle. Not every Scout has what it takes, nor do all of those who do stay in Scouting long enough to obtain Eagle. So when a young man is recognized as an Eagle he has demonstrated that he stands apart from the average. Perhaps those who become Eagles at a younger age are not just that rare Scout who makes it to Eagle but are also that rare younger teen who has the maturity to appreciate his accomplishment.

  30. I know one young man who chose not to complete his Eagle paperwork because in his unit, earning Eagle did not mean much regardless the age. Boys who did not exemplify Scout Spirit, boys who did not know their basic Scout skills, boys whose parents did the work. He believed those boys (and the unit leaders) to be hypocrites and he chose not to be ranked amount them. Sadly, he had too narrow a view.

    But that is the failure of adult leader, not boys. Anyone who wrings their hands about boys earning the Eagle too young should reexamine the boys at any age who obtain Eagle (not necessarily earn it) from the same unit. You will quickly see it us not the age of the boy, but the failure of the adults (including Council review teams) to make sure the program is run well.

  31. I am an Eagle Scout (1985) and a Scoutmaster. First, I think we should reinstate the time reqirements for all ranks. Second, the leaders must not advance a Scout to the next rank simply because all of the requirements have been completed with a checkmark. Part of the Scoutmaster Conference is to verify everything has been completed, but to also assess to see if the boy is ready for progression. Has anyone ever seen a boy not pass the BOR to the next rank? The only time is when it was found that a requirement was missing, but even that is rare. Too many merit badges may be earned in simply a few hours. It is often worse at Camps and Merit Badge Univeristy events. As Eagle Scouts, we must protect the honor and not allow a Scout to be named an Eagle when he is not ready, does not show the maturity, or does not display the spirit of the Scout Oath. In general, 13/14 year old boys are too young, but not all. Rushing a Scout through to get all of the checkmarks is a disservice to the program, the Scout, and cheapens the Eagle honor.

    • Since BSA has clearly stated that neither Scoutmaster conferences nor Boards of Review should be retests of completed requirements, has deliberately removed tenure requirements for lower ranks and has reviewed and approved the requirements for merit badges, perhaps the better solution would be to establish another youth organization that employs stricter, more demanding requirements and evaluations so that the “honor” of the top rank in this new organization isn’t “cheapened”.

    • I do not think there is a requirement for Eagle that states a Scout must be “mature”. A Scout is ready for Eagle when he has completed the requirements, including a demonstration of Scout Spirit. I do not think Scout Spirit and maturity are the same thing. If fact, I’d be hard pressed to define maturity in a general sense that covers everyone. Perhaps that’s why it’s not a requirement?

      • The problem does exist where we have merit badges being earned in very short periods of time… merit badge universities, camp, etc. Perhaps that is a totally different discussion than 13/14 year old Eagles. I am not sure what you mean by ‘what you are describing is not Scouting’. The Scout Oath is not something you can put a checkmark against and say, “Completed Task”. It is totally subjective. However, all of the requirements for the Eagle Scout (SPL-check, Community Service Hours-check, merit badge requirement-check) are objective… ie, blocks to be checked. Once all of the objective blocks are checked, the Scout is an Eagle Scout. I see the foundation for an Eagle Scout is living the Scout Oath. In your opinion, if a Scout has met all of the checkmarks, does he automatically advance? If so, is there anything that would cause him not to advance? If he commits a crime should he advance even if he has completed all of the checkmarks? If the Scoutmaster simply feels that the Scout is not ready for one reason or another, should the Scout be advanced anyway because he has the checkmarks? Where is it the Scout is measured against the principles of the Scout Oath and once measured and not fair well, does the Scout advance anyway because ‘he has met the requirements (checkmarks)’ ?

        • So What?

          Who cares that they are earned at MBC’s or Summer Camp. Why should it matter? Is your unit one of those that believes that every Scout needs to be proficient with every badge? You have an ASM that guards the MB’s because if you are – then you are violating the very fabric of Scouting.

          We are not here to ensure proficiency. That is what idiots and tin gods believe need to happen. Much like you don’t put a 13 year old in a NFL game – you don’t make the Merit Badge program a farce by making it a psudo Doctorate Program.

          That is NOT what the Merit Badge Program is there for. If you think for one second that a Scout who can program “Hello World” in Visual Basic can turn around and program a suite of Enterprise Level applications – your head is in the sky – and you are NOT helping the kids by exposing them to the Merits of the program.

  32. I had a particuliar view on this issue but after reading some of the comments I have altered my feeling regarding a young Eagle. I think one issue that hasn’t been addressed is council’s devaluing of the Eagle award. Scouting College, is a merit badge mill. They throw out required badges like they mean nothing. You can not earn Emergency Prep in two meetings. Everytime I turn around the Eagle numbers rise, 3% to 4% to 5%. Are we turning out better Eagles, no, just more because we are making it too easy. Scouting has alot of issues. It tries to be a money making machine. Scout uniforms are over $100 for a new scout. Look at the price of the awards. I spend over $1000 a year just on badges. I’ve not been happy with the program since I have rejoined and try to run my troop using the best of today while keep the best of yesterday alive.

    • Rob,
      I feel your pain. I too am upset with the merit badge mills and the rising cost of uniforms and badges.
      In my troop we run a few BIG fundraisers and annual individual ones (Popcorn, Mothers Day Flowers & Vegtables, Cheese (2 or 3x’s a year) in order to help the boys pay their own way. The average cost for a boy in our troop is about $700 a year for summer camp, outings, uniforms etc. We try to fundraise as best we can.
      I am not a HUGE fan of popcorn because it is expensive and not that great in quality, but we do it because district and counsel harrass you if you don’t.

      I model my leadership after my old Scoutmaster, Joe Roma, from Troop 333 in Monmouth Counsel and an old-time Scoutmaster I met my first year in scouts. I sat with this man at a Scoutmaster Fire for HOURS and just listened to his stories and techniques.

      Basically, we just all do what we can to make the BEST Scouting Experience for the boys we are charged with.

      Yours in Scouting….

  33. I was a 14 year-old Eagle Scout. However, I attempted (and did not pass) a board of review at age 13. I believe it depends on the individual and thank my board of not passing me when I was not ready. It was a great learning experience then and continues to be 30 years later.

    • If I may ask, why did you not pass the BOR? Many believe that if you met all of the requirements, you should not be denied. I am not in that camp, but know MANY who are.

      • So long as you understand that should the Scout or his parents appeal your subjective denial, you’ll very likely be (rightly) overturned and will garner a whole lot of new attention on just how you’re delivering the Scouting program, then you should do what you feel is right.

  34. I concur with many of the comments listed above. It comes down to maturity of the scout not their age. My oldest completed his Eagle at 13.5 He is now 16 and has been SPL twice, two terms as President of the Crew, just starting his second term as OA Chapter Chief and a JASM, Jr Climbing Instructor, and now has four palms. He was ready to complete his project at 13 and did it all on his own. Once Eagle was behind him so many other opportunities opened up to him and he was not worried about having to earn his Eagle. He became a mentor to others and helped them get on track. For him, he wanted to earn his Eagle before he went off in other directions.

    My second son earned Life at 12 and is waiting until he is mature enough to run his project. He is now 13 and his thought process are maturing.

    My third son is 11 and Star. He will earn Life within a week of his 12th birthday.

    All three of my sons are very different people and each will be sufficiently mature at different points in their lives. There is no “right” age.

    I abhor Scout Masters that try to add requirements that BSA has not implements. At round table I have heard some of these people talk about how they hold the boys back by failing the SMC and telling them they are not ready when really they were saying you are not old enough. I am sorry to be the one to tell you this but, that is not your call.

    • James,

      The funny thing about those SMs “failing” a Scout during a Scoutmaster conference is that the requirement isn’t to “pass” (there is no failing or passing) a SMC; the Scout merely has to “participate in” or “take part in” a SMC, according to the requirements. Thus, once the SM meets with the Scout to hold a SMC, the Scout has participated or taken part, and therefore has completed the requirement. If the SM refuses to sign off on the requirement, he is violating BSA policy and the Scout and parents should meet with the District Advancement Committee to discuss how the SM is deliberately ignoring BSA advancement requirements.

      • If the Scout is simply not ready but all of the ‘blocks have been checked’ is there anything to keep him from advancing until he is ready? If he commits a crime or is in detention at school all day for bad behavior, but has ‘checked the blocks’ should he still be promoted?

      • In some areas, your district advancement committee is one guy, who is more concerned about being buddy buddy then the actual rules. If you trying taking to council, they don’t want to get involved.

    • Just my humble opinion:
      My oldest is a Life Scout. I was an assistant scoutmaster when we joined and I am now the Scoutmaster. I DO NOT SIGN OFF on ANY of his requirements. I leave that to the assistants. This way their is NEVER a question as to him earning it or me giving it away.

      Just my two cents.

      • We can hold a Scout back. It is not against policy. It is under the law of “Scout Spirit”. A scout does not fulfil this req. until we know he is ready. It isn’t just about be a happy kid but rather a changed man. With every SMC, the boy must show growth. Not only on paper but in mind and more importantly, heart.

  35. The year was 1973 and I was a 15 year old Eagle Scout. I hold this award to be my highest award I could ever get. It will depend on the scout and the troop. The one thing I don’t like to see is to just have merit badge training and give them away. We as parents MUST let these kids be kids. But hope that they learn things that will get them through life. I think back at some of the times that was very hard for me and yes I had people that would help me along the trail.. And I thank them for that. Lets just hope that SCOUTING stays SCOUTING and kids still want to be Eagle Scouts.
    Thank you BOY SCOUTS…

    Eagle with a silver Palm

  36. My son earned his Eagle scout at age 14. He was mature beyond his years when he earned the rank and had already served as SPL twice because we had no one else at the time. He went on to earn 81 merit badges and four Silver Palms before he aged out. He immediately signed on as an Asst. Scoutmaster. His scouting journey has truly been an amazing adventure. He attended NOAC, served as an officer in his Lodge, was selected SPL of his Jambo troop. One of our young scouts told me he wanted to grow up to be just like my son! I think he is a true inspiration to all those scouts who will follow behind him. Age really is just a number, which in no way reflects the maturity and commitment of the scout. I have seen many scouts procrastinate until they are 18, having spent very little time supporting the troop in their final years because they had met the majority of the Eagle criteria when they were young and just “Held ” on to the end.

  37. Last year there was a letter in the editorial pages of our local paper about the Scouts in Troop 229 and their behavior at a Memorial Day Service. That letter and those responses were published nationally by the BSA and by Google News. The Senior Patrol Leader at the time was a 12 year old Scout who responded with a letter that appeared the next week, along with 3 other letters from adults. His was the best response by far and he is one of the best Senior Patrol Leaders Troop 229 has had in its 5 year history. As a Scoutmaster, would I recommend him for progression to Eagle if he fulfilled all the requirements? Certainly. But, he IS an exceptional young man.

    • There was a similar article in our newspaper regarding a 12 year old éarning’ Eagle scout. Reading and learning the requirements, specifically age/grade (at least 10 years old or have completed the fifth grade) to enter Boy Scouts and the time needed to earn rank e.g., 4 months active for Star; 6 months active for Life, etc., I do not see how a young man could possibly earn Eagle earlier then 13 years of age. The young men earning Eagle scout should never be criticized… if in doubt look to the leaders. Troop leadership is responsible for approving and ensuring the requirements are followed and met.

      The most troublesome is the helicopter parent who will not allow their scout to go on a troop camp out unless the dad goes… and does every thing for the scout! I don’t think it is right but you know what…. I see my son growing into a mature and responsible young man and scout by learning and doing for himself rather then having everything done for him. Parents who show their child they trust them to learn and grow up responsibly are giving them a priceless gift – maturity! Let them go… you’ll be surprised at what the scout can do when given the opportunity!

  38. I took over a troop just over four years ago. There was the Scoutmaster I relieved that stayed until her son received his Eagle, and then both were gone. He was pushing 18.
    As I built a “Boy Led Troop”, I have seen the difference in maturity between boys of all ages. I have seen 17 year olds who were less mature then 14 year olds.

    One boy in my troop earned his Eagle with distinction at just under 15 years of age. He went on to earn 9 Eagle Palms with over 50 merit badges. He was a Senior Patrol Leader before his Eagle, and remained as a Jr Assistant Scoutmaster after he reached Eagle.

    Another boy joined our troop just shy of his 16th birthday and worked his tail off, handing in his paperwork just days prior to his 18th birthday. He knew he was up against the wall when he joined (he was recruited by the priot scout I spoke of) but he was determined to get his eagle. He did everything he was required and more, and was an excellent leader for the boys.

    I can see a boy or two in my troop now, that if they apply themselves to the dream, can attain their Eagle rank by their 14th birthday. I am not saying they will, but they have the tools and maturity to do it.
    There are other boys I see that no matter how much I push or prod, I do not see Eagle in their future, but that does not stop me from trying to inspire them.

    Boys with special needs are another ball of wax all together. I have an autistic boy in my troop who will be an Eagle. He is brilliant and tries very hard to overcome the difficulties in his way. There is another who uses it as a crutch, and is allowed to do so by his parents.

    As a Scoutmaster, we can only do what we can do. We get ourselves trained, try to get to PowderHorn, WoodBadge and other training. We take weekends and weeks off for trips and summer camp, sometimes without pay. But the time we invest always comes back to us in one way or another. I know one of my Eagles has asked me to stay as Scoutmaster until he returns to the area after college so he can be an Assistant under me and take over when I am ready to step down.

    Of the 6 Eagles I have had the pleasure of leading through the program (for at least the last half of their hourney) I have been honored with one Eagle Mentor Pin and it is the proudest piece on my uniform.

    So, to say if a boy is too young, you cannot say that with any sense of truthfulness unless you have worked with the boy and seen his maturity and how he accomplishes his goals.

    The last thing I will say is that there is an old saying about scouts an old time scoutmaster passed on to me: “Boys don’t ruin Scouting, Adults do”. I have seen this happen MANY times, and its always parents who do not understand the guidelines and principles of scouting. Try to educate them. If you did the right thing, District, Region and National will always stick by you.

    Yours in Scouting,
    Seth Hazen

  39. I think the Eagle Scout requirements are currently age appropriate. I’ve seen some 13-year-olds show initiative, leadership and mastery of scout skills to warrant the completion of Eagle Scout requirements. It can be done.

    Advancement is only 1 of the 8 methods of scouting. Unfortunately for many scouts, parents, and adult leaders, advancement eclipses the other 7. They feel that Scouting exists so a young man can get his Eagle. Don’t misunderstand, achieving Eagle scout is a worthwhile goal, but it not the only thing a scout gets from scouting.

    Here are some strategies I employ to help scouts and parents to view advancement appropriately. When a scouts asks, “Do I have to wear my uniform?” I answer, “Only if you want to be and Eagle.” When a scouts says, “I’m not going on this campout because I don’t need any more camping nights for my merit badge, I respond, “Eagle scouts show leadership and your patrol needs you. You want to be an Eagle don’t you?” Questions like these can be created for each of the methods of scouting.

    When a parent calls to set up a Scoutmaster conference or Board of Review, I kindly answer, “I make appointments with scouts, not parents. Please have your son call me for an appointment.”

    After 7 years experience as Scoutmaster, my mantra has become, “I’m here to help your son become an Eagle; not just get his Eagle.”

  40. I think we’ve beaten his horse to death. I would like to stop getting emails on this particular subject. I hope by this comment and not checking either check box this time that they will end.

  41. Every child is different. Each one has a different level of maturity and development and younger ones may be capable of carrying out the leadership and work involved with Eagle. As most commenters have, I’ve seen mature 14-year-olds as well as 17-year-olds who can barely tie their tent flaps and needed lots of parental prodding.

    The thing for us as adults in the program is to remember to apply the requirements as written, and apply them consistently, regardless of the age of the candidate. How many would give a “free pass” on an easy project to a 13-year-old just because we don’t think he’s capable of more? How many of our troops don’t examine the project proposal carefully at the committee level? For many years, the boys in our troop were told to go knock on a committee member’s door and ask for a signature. Now, we require an actual presentation to troop committee members before the committee chair gives approval, and we make it clear that we won’t jump through hoops because the scout didn’t plan ahead in a timely manner. We do not put up obstacles, but we must ensure that the aims of the program are met, and that the methods are used consistently.

  42. An Eagle is one who has shown growth as a person and one who can mentor those after him in their quest. I have met a few amazing young men who deserve the rank, however, I have met many more who brush it off as another award. It is truly an individual debate. The issue here is not in the scout. As much as I hate to say it, this is a leadership issue. I have held a boy back for years because he was simply not ready and it showed when he quit for another troop and was awarded Eagle within a month. We can not sign off to simply sign off. The way I see it is if you were teaching a CPR and First Aid class would you pass a student who could not properly perform the task? If he had, and the student was faced with a situation where those skills were needed and he did nothing or worse, made the situation more costly, that’s on us. As leaders, mentors, and teachers it is up to all of us to make sure we have given the boy everything we can to perpare him for the rank of Eagle. It is not an award. It is not a medal. It is a lifestyle and it should be honored.

  43. OK, i have read a lot of the comments, and it makes me crazy that we put an age on being a Eagle Scout or in any case an age on any of the ranks. If the young man has worked hard and is active in their unit and has the drive and the vision to be an Eagle Scout who are we to stop that Vision. I have met parents that think some boys are moving to fast for their age. We are not here to judge. I love the Scouting program and I have seen the changes from boys to Men and it is awesome. You want to be an Eagle Scout go get it ,it is in yours to reach.
    from a mother, advancement coordinator and Assistant Scout Master of a 14 year old life scout working on his Eagle project..

  44. If a scout has earned his Eagle he has earned his Eagle. Remember, some of these 13 and 14 year old boys have been going through the scouting program since they were in first grade. They have been camping and learning scout skills at a very early start sometimes. Some even at an earlier age if they have an older brother and have earned there ranks in the program two times- once in doing with his brother unofficially and once on his own. They have camped and done service projects and clean ups. Both my sons have earned all Webelos pins. The younger one has made first class in a year. He knows his knots and how to set a tent better than some older boys in the troop. His question is always what is next? He may even pass his brother in his quest for Eagle. That is up to him to earn. That’s right Earn. If he does, then it should be his.

  45. Recently there has been a 14 year old boy who has gotten eagle in my troop that I feel shouldn’t have received the award. For his “leadership” he was assistant senior patrol leader but all he did was sit back and mess around the whole meeting letting me, the senior patrol leader, do everything. Now that he has gotten the award, he hasn’t shown up to one meeting since then.

    • Alex,
      This is a travesty and a bad mark against the Eagle Award and your adult leaders. I would suggest that if your troop is not BOY LED, that you get it boy led as soon as possible. Lookup TroopWISE on the internet for the manual on how to make your troop Boy Led.
      Call your Assistant Senior Patrol Leaders, Patrol Leaders, Scribe, Troop Guide, Instructor and Jr. Assistant Scoutmaster (if you have one) for a meeting to form your Patrol Leaders Counsel. This is the group of young men you will work with to run the troop.
      Review the TroopWISE manual with them. Go over the troop meeting plan forms. Go online to find meeting plans pre-made by Boys Life (used to come in their Scouting Magazine).
      Meet with your adult leaders and ask for a “Peer Review” process between the PLC (Patrol Leaders Counsel) and the adult leadership to discuss the prospective Eagle Scout so you can offer your opinions PRIOR to a Scoutmaster Review of the boy.

      Nothing you can do now about the boy, he got what he wanted and is gone. I have seen my fair share of them. As leaders we do the best we can, but a Boy Led Troop means that the troop direction is in the BOYS hands.

      Theres a saying in Scouting that rings TRUE every single time: “Boys don’t ruin scouting, Adults Do”. That means through poor supervision, mentoring and planning Adults can mess the program up for the boys. A Boy Led Troop, the way Lord Baden Powell designed the program, is the only way to truelly teach leadership through trial and error. The adults are there to back you up and offer advise and assistance (and final level of discipline when needed).

      Lastly, if your troop does not have a Policy and Procedure manual adopted by your adult committee, I would consider drafting one. This is the final piece that locks it all in together. I would be happy to email you a copy of ours (which is still a work in progress).

      Don’t give up…. Life is a series of challenges. Its about how you face them. I am proud of you for speaking up and sharing your thoughts. A sign of a good leader.

      Yours in Scouting,
      Scoutmaster Hazen

  46. We are just back from two weeks of camping at S-F. My son went with his old troop one week and with his new troop the next. He swam the mile swim both weeks even though he had stitches in his leg. He took four merit badges both weeks. As we were leaving the camp the last week he picked up a brochure for being a staffer. He was distressed to learn that you had to be 15 to be on the staff. He is only twelve and is already a star. He told me that he already knew he would be life in November. He wants to get his eagle by 13. He also wants to earn all his palms. At his first week of camp he was tapped for OA, during the second week he talked to his fellow scouts about what it took to get tapped. The boys also asked me about requirements for OA. He is leading by example and I am NOT doing the work for him. He is five eagle required short and has enough non-required badges to make eagle. He WANTS to do this and has already started contemplating what he wants to do for his eagle project.

  47. Many of the responses focus on the maturity level of the scout, but none have pointed out that age may have little correlation to the time that the youth has actually been a scout.
    Take two boys from the same Webelo den who cross over at the same time. One youth has been red-shirted because of a summer birthday and is old for his grade and is just getting ready to turn 12 when he crosses over into scouts. His buddy was very sharp and skipped second or third grade and turns 10 just before he crosses over. Both of them are on track and make reasonable progress, but don’t fly through the program as fast as they can and take about three and a half years to finish their Eagle projects and be ready for their Eagle board of review. One is 15 and the other 13, but both have spent the same time as scouts. Both have been to the same summer camps, same outings and leadership trainings. Maybe the fifteen year old is a bit louder, but maybe not. As far as their scouting life they are exactly the same age.

    Not many things can make a 14 year old decide to drop out for awhile more than seeing roadblocks thrown at them because of their youth while 17.75 year olds are lead by the hand.

    • Mr. Hughes, with an attitude like this I would not want my son in your troop. As a Chartered Organization Representative I would be questioning your qualifications as a Scoutmaster. As a UC I would suggest that you be retrained or get trained if you haven’t already been trained.

    • Hughes…..
      Your lack of respect for others is disturbing to say the least. Now, lets put everything aside and just deal with the MATH first.
      A boy joins at 10 years old and the only TIMED requirements for ranks are 4 months from 1st Class to Star, 6 months from Star to Life and 6 months from Life to Eagle. That is a total of 16 months or a year and 4 months.
      Lets say that the boy is a cheater, he will have his Eagle by the time he is 11 years and 4 months old.
      Lets say he is HIGHLY motivated with an ACTIVE BOY LED TROOP that averages one outing every 45 days (month and a half) AND goes to Summer Camp. Your looking at another year to reach all of the requirements for outings and such. So now the boy is 12 and a half years old.
      Perhaps another 6 months for some merit badges to be completed….. it is QUITE POSSIBLE that an extremely intelligent, very motivated, quite capable young man who is part of a very active troop with dedicated parents and leaders COULD INDEED reach Eagle by 13 or 14 years old.
      Your generalization proves to me my theory that “Boys don’t ruin scouting, adults do”.

      Now, is this the norm??? Absolutley not. But I have a boy led troop that is very active. We have four meetings a month: 1 Troop Meeting, 1 Merit Badge Meeting (2 merit badges, boys choose one), 1 Fun meeting and an outing weekend. I have had boys Eagle during their last few months before their 18th birthday, others that have hit it at 16 or 17 and two or three that are working on the possibility of them reaching it by their 14th birthdays.

      It has to do with motivation and mentoring by good leaders and involved parents.

      Your attitude is what drives boys away from the program. I would hope you would think regarding your blanket statement.

      Yours In Scouting,
      Scoutmaster Hazen
      Troop 1
      Athens, PA

  48. How dare you accuse people of cheating. My son will be getting his life in November. He has been an active scout since the first grade. He does community service above what is needed for ranks. He takes on positions of responsibility, including having just run for spl. He didn’t get it but is going to be the scribe. He needs five more eagle required merit badges for his eagle. He has more than enough non eagle required. He has already started to think about his eagle project. He has been tapped for OA and has undergone his ordeal. He wants to get his eagle at 13 and is working hard to accomplish this. On top of this he is an A student taking gifted classes and is involved in various activities. It is his choice to get his eagle at 13 and he is working hard to accomplish that goal. For you to say he is cheating is horrible.

  49. i agree with Alex. I have always said that the boys should not be judged by their age but by how they achieve their goals. My son was life at 13 and has been working toward Eagle with him now at the age of 14 almost 15 he should be in front of the board by this November. And the only reason it took this llong was because of the project itself and the hoops to jump having to work with the City for permitting. He is active in OA, and has gone to NYLT, and has worked at Boy Scout summer camp as a CIT.

  50. This debate is not going in the right direction. The focus needs to be redirected. I feel that this discussion CANNOT be generalized for EVERY boy. However, the topic of “Is 13 too soon” is fair. Alex, your son takes it upon himself to strive for a high level of achievement and i hope he stays in Scouting to help other boys along. I have been on both sides of the fence and know that not all boys hold on to the values and morals taught in Scoutings foundations when the uniform comes off. I have know a few 13 year olds who, upon leaving the meeting, go and cuss up a storm and be really mean. I put those boys in the category of Scholarships dogs. These boys, or parents, pursue high amounts of awards and badges for the “look” on paper. It’s sad but awards like Eagle Scout of the Year has gone to horrible young men before. I know Vigil members of the OA who drink underage in large amounts and are bullies. This type of debate in on an individual basis only. Personally, I was 17 when I achieved Eagle. I could have gotten the award at 15 but make a decision to wait. I had more to do. I had more to learn. It was the best decision I made. I can tell you things that I have done in detail because I took my time and wasn’t after the badge so much as I was the skill and knowledge. I tell my scouts that “a scout is patient” is the 13 point to the law. We want to help prepare these boys for a life of achievement and meaning so we cannot let them done just for the label. My final word is about the word “cheating” I don’t like this word. Where I am from we call this “Pencil Whipping”, and it means the leaders are signing off the boy so they advance quickly. These leaders are normally either the boys parent or a Scoutmaster who wants the “Best Troop” award. In most cases you can determine which boy is pencil whipped at the Eagle board of review by asking him questions about specific merit badges. However, to turn a boy down on this basis alone is not allowed…thus we have a large number of “Young” Eagles skewing the data. The “2%” of yesterday is not “5%”. but I like to think that only “2%” still truly earned it.

    • This has to be looked at from the broader view, at the big picture, kids are more advanced now, and experience things sooner than we did as kids decades ago. I have the opposite view, they should strive to get their Eagle badge no later than age 16. Reason- once they start driving, and start dating girls, they will quickly lose interest in camping with the boys, and earning paper and cloth badges ! Once a kid gets to 9th grade, the odds are great he’ll be ribbed about his membership in scouts, in most peer groups. The best scenario would be, have your Eagle badge by the beginning of 9th grade in high school- because high school is a whole new set of challenges. Having to juggle an Eagle Scout project, and school/sports/social life, can overwhelm a high school kid. I’d shoot for summer after 8th grade project completion, an no later than your 16th birthday for the Eagle badge. Why ? I’ve seen a lot of prospective Eagle candidates, give up and quit, when they were so close to getting the badge requirements. We had 4 Eagle prospects quit in our troop, at the Life scout level, because they got along in the high school grades 10-11 and it just seemed like little kid stuff to them, at that level. They also need to cut the paperwork involved, and focus on the Eagle project and application. If the badges are there, and the project done, the kid should get the badge- period. None of this multiple paperwork. They have now the Eagle project workbook, Eagle badge application, checklist, road from Life to Eagle, and also all the Eagle requirements 1-6 to get signed off in handbook, all for ONE badge ! They keep changing the requirements and paperwork almost yearly. This makes scouts just give up. It takes a parent just to dig through all that paperwork, and an above average parent at that. Not even an 18 year old would do it easily, nor a 35 year old. What does that say ?

  51. I think age matters! You honestly can not say that a 13 or 14 year old has the knowledge to pull off a project by themselves. Really how can a child at that age really lead. Come on we all think our child is capable but its not always really true. My son is 13 and has all his merit badges for all his ranks and palms. He is a life scout right now and his troop is pushing him to do his project but he keeps saying he’s not ready. SO BE IT let him decide. I did not help my 17 year old do his project and it took him 5 months just to plan and set it up. He is proud of his Eagle badge and can honestly say he did it himself.

    • I admire the wisdom of your 13 year old, however, age is a number that defines the time we’ve spent on earth, not our abilities, wisdom, maturity or skill. My son EARNED Eagle at 12. In doing so, not only did he meticulously pass off each and every requirement, he had to do so while combating all the adults who said he couldn’t…or wouldn’t do it himself. Thankfully he had a principal who, when confronted with the question of what can I do to help my school, gave a thoughtful young man the time and attention to present needs that could be filled – never expecting all to be done. At my son’s court of honor, the principal had a teacher represent him and read a statement about how he tried to dissuade my son from taking on the entire project, thinking only a portion of the over 700 linear feet of retaining wall planting beds would be difficult. He further stated that after speaking with my son, seeing his plans, and watching the progression, he had complete faith in his abilities to perform the work.

      I have watched my son labor at learning the skills and developing his abilities as he matures throughout the scouting program. He puts in many more hours than required in all he does…and demands excellence from himself. He has had to overcome the stigma of “being too young”, and, has in every case that someone was willing to sit down and talk with him, overcome their preconceived notion that 12 is too young, or that he didn’t do it himself.

      Please be mindful that stereotyping is a dangerous thing to do; I’m sure you meant no harm, but the attitude you presented is one that has detracted from the awesome feat of becoming and Eagle, regardless of what age you do it at, and made it a battlefield which does inflict wounds and pain.

      If we require our scouts to do the requirements, then the only time age comes into question is if they are old enough to be a scout…and haven’t aged out yet.

      Proud Mom of Self-Earned Eagle Scout

      • Listen, I could be wrong and a little off base but, in my opinion, this is whats wrong with Scouting today. Council and troop leaders should not have allowed this to happen. In my scouting experience 20 years ago, this would not be allowed. Merit badges demanded a great deal of study, practice, and preparation. Scout Leaders were very strict when it came to rank advancement and the Board’s of Reviews were harsh.

        Perhaps your son didn’t have any other activities going on and 21 merit badges in 2 years was possible. I’ll assume the logistics of that is possible. But how many of the badges did he earn with zero input from you? I mean other than buying necessary materials the he asked for (without prompting from you)? How many Merit badge counselors did he personally look up, call, and set appointments with all by himself with no prompting? Again, I can be wrong but I remember what it took to get some of the badges and the type of parental involvement required for a 12 year old to safely, legally, and competently complete the requirements wouldn’t be allowed.

        Hardly any parental involvement was allowed with the Eagle Project as well. For the eagle projects I remember helping with, it would be logistically impossible for a 12 year old to accomplish. Not that some might have wanted to though. Researching the engineering requirements, code requirements, soliciting donations, accounting of money, researching materials, purchase of materials, delivery of materials, communication with council board, communication with scouts, research of vendors, communication with vendors, etc etc. You are telling me that your 12 year old did all of this with little to no input or help from you?

        I accept that I might be wrong with all of the above but one thing he can’t do at that age though, is be a scout, a student, or a leader as a teenager. Unless he has emotionally AND physically matured at a scientifically unhealthy level, a 12 year old cannot face the tests, challenges, and temptations that a 15 or 16 year old does. Being a scout at those age levels is as different as night and day. It is a lot harder to be a dedicated scout and follows the scout laws when you are in High School.

        The board reviews I had to pass required me to prove and show examples of my scout spirit and how I followed the Boy Scout Law under difficult situations. Situations that a 12 year old is extremely unlikely to ever face. Sure, plenty of 12 year olds face hard times and have to act more mature than others their age. But none of them had to do it when they were a 15 year old in the midst of puberty, with a drivers permit, with 8 page essay’s due, all the while navigating the social structure and influences of high school. The standard was such that those types of example must have been present.

        Some may say that the standards I describe are too harsh, and I respect their opinion. Please just realize that if your standards are low then achievement means much less. There are plenty of pre-teen boys out there that accomplish a great deal in other fields where all components of the scout law are required and we don’t award them as greatly.

        • I’m sorry that all your scouting experience has left you without the distinction of knowing an exceptional young man. I realize that without having experience with a person with the skills, talents, intelligence, and wisdom that far surpasses their years, you would have no way of knowing what I am talking about. It is sad that people lump sum all boys together, based upon the average, or, what they have experienced, without realizing there are exceptions to their rules. My son has had to live with your type of bias since he was extremely young; it is very hard on a kid to always be questioned.
          My son did call each and every merit badge counselor, my son did solicit all donations from companies, and my son had to basically argue with his scout master to get him to stop telling him to “scale down” his project as he felt it was too large a project for ANY scout. Yes, I did help him…he needed someone to drive him to the various companies and the correct permitting agencies as he wasn’t old enough to drive. I did offer to make some cookies for the day of the project, although he had already taken care of getting donations from local grocery stores and pizza restaurants to cover donuts, water, fruit for snacks, and pizza for lunch. He even knew, on his own, exactly what to do the morning of the second day of his project when he smelled natural gas…and took action to call not only the gas company, but also the school district maintenance department (on a weekend, no less).
          Clearly you have your mind made up and are not available for insight. I would invite you to talk with any counselor he used or the principal of his middle school where he did his project; obviously you aren’t going to take my word for it but maybe you’ll take theirs. He has gone on to serve as Varsity Team Captain for the past year and earned the Denali Award. There are plenty who want to pull down those who have risen to the top, in an attempt to make themselves feel better…you aren’t the first. I hope, however, that by sharing this with you and others, someday, it will be the last. He has worked hard…on his own (his father left when he was one and died when he was 5, so perhaps you’ll start to understand he has had to grow up fast…he also started his first business when he was 8 years old, and has invested his money in mutual funds for years…he has a second business now and has been able to earn his own money for both National and World Jamboree, as well as every science camp since 4th grade and every scout camp he has attended)…and deserves the recognition just as much, if not more, than any 17 year old scout. I would suggest that he would give any aging Eagle a run for their money. My guess is you couldn’t come up with even one boy who could match what my son has done, as watered down as you may feel it has been.
          Please be mindful that words can and do hurt many times much more than any physical pain. Your comments shout volumes as to who you are, however, they also are hurtful as well as inaccurate. I would think with all your experience you would know that building boys up is much more effective in creating character and increasing potential than tearing them down with negativity and rash generalizations. I hope this will be used as a teaching moment for you…or at least a reason for you to stop and think before being so judgmental.

        • I think it depends on the area of each scout. Someone mentioned you have to be 15 or 16 to be under pressure. In the area my scout troop is in, many of my scouts are approached to join gangs or use drugs by 11. Futhermore, many of them are the father to younger brothers or sisters at an earlier age because their fathers left, in jail or deported and their mother has to work two jobs. This means they cook, clean, take care of a household. I know many 16 and 17 year olds who could not handle that pressure. I would not want to discourage a scout from obtaining Eagle because they are not old enough. My scouts, no matter what age they are, have to call their own counselors to earn their way. While I do believe 12 may be to young, I would not turn down a 13 year old from being Eagle because of there age…. The legal drinking age is 21 and some 21 year olds are mature enough for that … age shouldn’t be a factor, character should

        • I have met many younger scouts who have more wisdom than there older counterparts. What makes 17 the magic number? My son is only 13 and has already earned a high school credit by taking Algebra I in 7th grade. I stink at math and couldn’t help him. He is in the gifted program. He had to pass certain requirements to be in that program. Requirements with which I could not help. He is a now a life scout and is planning on getting his eagle in the next year. He will also be getting four more high school credits while in 8th grade. He knows what he wants to do with his life and also for his eagle project. Do I drive him places? Yes. He makes the appointments, he does the work. As for wisdom, this is what Websters has to say.
          the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.
          scholarly knowledge or learning: the wisdom of the schools.
          wise sayings or teachings; precepts.
          a wise act or saying.

          Nowhere does it say you have to be a certain age to be wise. It is not how many years you live but what you do with those years. I would say that he has experienced much in his thirteen years. Your comments make light of what he has accomplished, and of who he is. You also are doing a disservice to those younger boys who do meet the requirements and do have the wisdom. As for watering down this accomplishment that is a load of garbage. I have very high expectations for my child and for others. This can be seen in my dealings with my son, my students, and with the scouts with which I deal.

    • I have a 12 year old in my troop, when he was 11 he organized a student council, a talent show, and assisted organizing a carnival at his school; he forced teacher and the principal to help, he also yesterday organized a clean up of firework debris at his apartment complex … none of this was for Eagle, but it showed leadership abilities that an Eagle would have

    • I EARNED my Eagle at age 14. Did my dad help? Yes he did, but he only helped me with some computer programs to put my thoughts onto paper (Powerpoint/excel). I earned the merit badges, and I thought of the design. The only help I got was him teaching me how to use a program effectively and efficiently. For those of you who say that 14 year old’s can not learn the skills; I had learned how to set up a tent by the time I was an Eagle. The age does not matter, it is the scout himself, we are all different and therefore you cannot fairly generalize anything. That all being said, I do believe there are some scouts who at ages 13/14 can do the requirements but not be ready, but there are also 16/17 year old scouts who aren’t either.

    • Age is NO SUBSTITUTE for experience. A thirteen year old child with the same life experiences as a fifty year old man is more than capable of leading and becoming an Eagle Scout. The true question is what does that child do afterwards? Being an Eagle is not about awards, that is where people become mistaken. A true Eagle does simply because it is inherent in him to be the example for the change he wishes to see in the world, not for reward. Anyone who would tout about how many awards and merits he has IS NOT a true Eagle. Case in point: a thirteen year old boy from North Carolina was honored as an Eagle Scout in 1989. That boy, by that age, had already saved many people’s lives and earned all the merits required to be an Eagle Scout. However, the rest of the boys in his troop were perplexed when he was given the honor because he didn’t have any badges on his uniform. That boy grew up to be a hero and continued to save lives and earned such high esteams as the Silver Star Medal for Bravery and was even knighted by the King of Saudi Arabia, but still wears not a single award. To those around him he is simply another face in the crowd that people see doing good deeds without seeking reward, and no, I’m not talking about the President. That is what it means to be an Eagle. If the youth of today were more concerned about doing the right thing, because it is the right thing to do, than earning merits, then you would not be facing many of the problems you face today. Once you realize this then you will become that change you wish to see.

    • You are not required to or be expected to possess any knowledge to start a project. You are expected to lead the project. A younger scout can read, research, ask questions and assemble experts to do the work. Our son at age 13 wanted his construction oriented project to benefit a nature conservancy. They told him that he would have to prove to them that he could pull it off before they would trust him with thousands of dollars of materials. For a year he worked on other similar projects, took courses and studied with a master trail builder. He then raised the money to pay for the materials. He assembled a team. If he wanted he could have showed up to the project in a white Tuxedo and leave without a speck of dust on him.

  52. With all due respect, not all 13-14 year olds are the same and cannot be stereotyped as such. I personally had some 13 and 14 year old Eagles in my troop who were very organized and capable of conducting a complex Eagle Scout project which they did with great effectiveness and a minimum of guidance and counseling. They were also our “super Scouts” and went on to be leaders and then moved into Venturing and Sea Scouts with similar high achievements. One graduated 7th in his class from the Naval Academy and is now a Marine pilot with a double degree in aeronautical engineering and space sciences.

    Conversely, I had some 17 year olds who had to be given substantial guidance to get through the same experience, so it is simply not fair or realistic to apply blanket generalizations about individuals of any specific age group. Each youth is different and you must make allowances for those capabilities and differences on a case by case basis.

  53. how can 13 or 14 year olds get their Eagle when they can’t join untill 11 and most of the postitions requires at least 6 months and the merit badges that are required if done by the scout requires time and effort to do. I believe they are giving Eagle scout to boys that does not earn Eagle scout. How many 13 and 14 year olds graduates High school.

    • My son crossed over at the age of 11. He got his scouting book before he crossed over. The night of crossover he talked to the scout master about getting his first merit badge started, and started the month requirement for the physical training. So one month later he had his physical requirement done, and earned a merit badge. He has had positions of responsibility since joining scouts. He has been the troop librarian, assistant patrol leader, and is now the troop historian. When we moved he started with another troop, but is still involved with his first troop. Last summer he did a week at bsa camp, and a week long troop trek with his original troop. This summer he did two weeks of camping, one with his old troop, and one with his current troop. He is now waiting for three days to pass so that he meets his time requirement for life. He has done his ordeal for OA, and volunteers at any events that are available. As of today he has four eagle required badges to finish and he has already started thinking about his project. On top of all this he has straight A’s and is in gifted classes. He will be finishing seventh grade with two high school credits. One in math and one in French. He works hard, and for people like you to say that he is given his Eagle demeans his hard work. He is proud to be a member of scouting, and we are proud of him.

      • I read all of this and it sounds awesome!!! Yes, you should be proud of him! But, no where do you say anything about your son having fun. This is what is missing from the majority of these posts!! FUN-should be first and foremost in a scouting career!!!!! As parents and some leaders seem to forget!!!
        I am a Scoutmaster from a Large Troop- I would never allow a 12 yr old to obtain his Eagle rank!
        This in itself is detrimental to the Scout, the Troop and the community!
        There is way more to be learned/earned in Scouts than merit badges and ranks.

        • “I would never allow a 12 yr old to obtain his Eagle rank!”

          I’m sorry, but you need to become trained or removed IMMEDIATELY. This is NOT your decision! We teach boys “the rules.” They each receive a copy of “the book” when they join Scouting. You believe that you know better and produce a better product by following your rules, but this isn’t called the Tim Houk Scouts, it is still the Boy Scouts.

          What you are teaching them is that even if they work hard and do everything they are told to them, there is absolutely ZERO possibility of success because you have a rule that the Boy Scouts do not – you must be 13, or 15 or whatever you decide to make up arbitrarily that the BSA does not have.

          Quite frankly I am flabberghasted by the number of adults who read that you can “not add to or subtract” from any requirements, yet continue to make statements like this. Very few 12 year olds may be ready for this – but some most certainly will be. You need to encourage and BUILD those younger Scouts.

          Leadership is about LISTENING and helping those you lead get to where THEY want to go – not about you telling them what you want, believe or *think* should happen! This is what is detrimental to Scouting, the Troop and the Community.

          I’ve been through Scoutmaster training 3 times. Also Cubbing, Venturing & District training, and held positions throughout Scouting including as Committee Chair, Trainer, Unit Leader and more. I *earned* my beads. I am on our council training staff. I have both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Education from PK-Adult. I have many years of experience working with Adults and Youth both in Scouting, and in other programs. Yet, I am willing to bet even if you read this, you still will insist that you know better.

          Every Scout deserves a Trained Leader. For the past few years the BSA has been pushing 100% trained leadership for recharter specifically to try to save the kids who are unfortunate enough to end up in these situations. As Bryan on Scouting reported a few months back, the average age of an Eagle in 1949 was 14.1 years old. Today it is 17.1.

          No Eagle should ever be “given.” But to deny a young man who has worked hard and put in the effort based on age is simply wrong. And you don’t have to take my word for it – the BSA is quite clear on this because it is NOT and has NEVER BEEN in any Scout Handbook EVER.

        • First! You take that line completely out of context and make it mean spirited, which it was not intended to be. It is a discussion point! You also disregarded and didn’t address the main reason for Scouts which is FUN!!!!!!!!!
          By the way- I am a trained LDR with 25 yrs of experience working with the 10 to 18 yr old age group.I also have medical,wilderness,and group building training and experience-that the beads don’t account for.
          In regard to any 12yr old possible Eagles! I have seen and heard of a few. This is commendable by those few!!!!!!
          But I have as yet seen one actually worthy. That doesn’t mean that they don’t exist!
          I hear from Scouts from our Troop and others that these young Eagles don’t know their stuff, i.e. knotts,lashings,fire building skills. This frustrates the Scouts themselves!!!!!
          It is our job as Scoutmasters to protect the Scouts from themselves and others by holding to an attainable expectation. We are here to assure that a Scout is proficient in his knowledge at every Rank before he is awarded the achievement.
          A Scoutmaster has the right to refuse a signature if he deems a Scout unworthy of a Rank! But, a Scoutmaster must let the Scout know where he is deficient so that he may work on those deficiencies.

    • The age requirement isn’t 11… It’s 11, unless they have earned the Arrow of Light and are at least 10. My son crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts when he was 10. He became a Life Scout 2 months after his 12 birthday, and could conceivably make Eagle Scout shortly after his 13th birthday.

      He is the only boy scout in his troop that has attended every camping event without a parent, so I know that all the skills he is learning on his camping trips are done without the influence of his parents.

    • The rule is age 10 1/2 if they earn the Arrow of Light and complete the fifth grade. My son, who has always been accelerated in school, earned his Arrow of Light at 10, was able to become a boy scout at 10 1/2 and has now just earned his Eagle at age 12. He is also a Freshman in high school, has earned his Varsity letter in baseball, and is now on the wrestling team. Not all boys mature at the same rate. Some are exceptional, some not so much. My 5 year old son, however very bright, has a completely different personality, interests, and motivation than my older son. I don’t expect him to necessarily accomplish the same goals in the same timeline as his brother.

  54. See my previous comments above.

    The advancement guidelines permit such advancement legitimately at younger ages provided the requirements are met, without “…giving Eagle Scout to boys that does not earn Eagle Scout…”

    Graduating from high school at age 13 or 14, in fact does happen, although rare. One of our Eagle Scouts [who earned Eagle at age 13] had an IQ that was “off the charts”, graduated from high school at age 13 with a 4.0 grade average and honors, entered the University and graduated Summa Cum Laude at age 17 with two degrees and is now completing his doctorate at age 20 with a very promising career in science and mathematics. Morever, he is an accomplished musician, composer, and concert pianist among many other outstanding attributes.

    No one gave him anything, he earned every thing he ever attempted with flying colors.

    “One size does not fit all….”


  55. I just completed my project, and my paperwork is in, I’m just waiting for my Board of Review. I’m 17 btw. I have also volunteered at a summer camp for the last three years and taught kids usually from 11-14 Reptile merit badge. In those three years I’ve seen only one 13 year old that’s mature enough IMO to get his eagle at age 13. He actually was on pace to get it at 13 but decided since he wanted to go into the military it would look better if he got it at 16-17 so he waited.

    This is my problem with 13 year old’s, 90% of them are too immature, and usually are pushed by there parents so much to get it that scouts becomes less fun for them. Kids need to enjoy scouts, and they should want to get eagle on their own. I’ve been SPL a number of times and we had a kid recently that was so immature and was hated by most kids in the troop because he was annoying. He joined the troop at 10.5 because of the new rules, and he was too immature for boy scouts and should had still been in cub scouts. His dad pushed him to do it, and got it into his mind that he needed to get it done so he could have time to do other things in high school. So if he does get his eagle he would just leave scouts. So he wouldn’t get the experience of years in scouting. Many kids do this, I know a lot of them.

    Now I waited until I was ready, until I said to myself I wanted it, and I thought I could do it. There was no way I was ready at 13,14, 15. 16-17 should be the range to EARN it. Simply put it, 13-14 year olds might get it, but most don’t EARN it.

  56. Parents should be very proud of their children for their academic successes. However, they should not be confused with leadership ability, which is at the core of earning the Eagle Rank.
    Most 13 and 14 year old children simply do not have enough life experience or maturity to be effective leaders. There are of course exceptions. This should be evaluated case by case. I agree that earning Scoutings highest award too soon does run a risk of diminishing its significance to that Scout.

    • And 16-17 years old have that?

      Let’s consider 2 Eagle Candidates. #1 has been to 8 weeks of summer camp, 3 Winter Camps, NYLT, and EDGE training. He has volunteered to staff numerous Day Camps and Cub SCout event in the district. He has earned 60+ merit badges, eat/sleeps/breathes Scouting, is active in OA and serves on ceremony teams. His father is an Eagle Scout and has been teaching him Scout skills since birth. For his project, he needed some guidance and help from parents.

      #2 Has attended 3 weeks of summer camp. Not much other camping experience or Scouting involvement. 21 merit badges. His mother did 40-50% of the groundwork for his project.

      Which one would you rather have as an Eagle??? Which one deserves and has worked for it?

      I would say Candidate #1.

      Here’s the tricky part, #1 just turned 13…. #2 is almost 18. Both are in my troop. #1 passed his Eagle Board last week with flying colors and astounded the Board members. #2 is still a candidate and hasn’t completed his paperwork.

  57. I agree with the “case by case” argument. When I was in the fourth grade, I learned that Steven Spielberg earned his Eagle at a young age. I thought that was amazing so I set a goal to do just that. It was that drive that led me to get my Eagle at the age of 13 (almost 14). I went on to earn five palms and stayed involved through high school. It is that same drive that allowed me to earn two bachelors degrees in four years (mechanical engineering and mathematics) when it takes a good portion of my colleagues five years to earn one. I was also the vice president of the only all Eagle Scout fraternity, Epsilon Tau Pi (

    On the other hand, my parents had to literally bribe my younger brother to earn his Eagle before he turned 18. He got it and it does mean something to him.

    I believe that no matter what age scouts earns their Eagle, it means something to each and every of them.

  58. Most troops push the boys to complete the first class requirements in one year. In that same mindset they can complete the requirements up to Life in the next year. Then Eagle in the six months to a year. 13 years old.

    In my opinion, Scouting is about the experience it is not sitting in a lecture.

    I am fine with kids getting the requirements, merit badges and basics out of the way. The question I have is if they are having fun in the program.

    Now comes the Eagle Project. There is no requirement on its size so long as planning, development, and leadership are shown.

    A person who runs a marathon in 4 1/2 took the same planning and development as the person who ran in just over 2 hours. Of course they were not leading a team and that is where the argument is being made about what age can one be a leader?

    To be President of the United States you have to be 35 so under that case nobody would ever be old enough to do an Eagle Project. Now if we look at Student Councils and Student Board Representatives they are selected by their peers and in generally do not have an age limit. This is the same for leadership roles WITHIN the Troop such as SPL and PL.

    BSA says that you an option to serve in one of many roles of leadership prior to your Eagle (hopefully more then the same role – assumed although not specially mentioned so cannot be required – nothing added or removed) for at least a 10 months and actively for the 6 months after obtaining Life Rank.

    So the actual questions should be not about age BUT if 12 hours of helping on service projects, using the EDGE method in teaching certain skills and 16 months serving in a leadership role prepares you to lead an Eagle Project? If not, what length of time should be required?

    • If as an author you are indeed 13 years old, and since a Scout is Trustworthy I will accept that you are, you have come to this wisdom and insight of:

      “…the actual question should be not about age BUT if 12 hours of helping on service projects, using the EDGE method in teaching certain skills and 16 months serving in a leadership role prepares you to lead an Eagle Project? If not, what length of time should be required?”

      Then I have GREAT faith that something we are doing is indeed the right thing. The fact that two people have already given you thumbs down leads me to believe that we have a long way to go in helping the Boy Scouts recover from the corruption of untrained and bad leadership that has been our hallmark these past few years.

      Earning Eagle is but one checkpoint along the way. There is much to Scouting beyond Eagle – especially putting those Leadership skills to practice in your Troop and helping lend a hand to young Scouts climbing behind you to join you.

      I salute you Alan! Congratulations, and thanks for making us who try to follow the program and live by the Oath & Law proud. Keep up the great work!

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

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

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

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


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

    • Jeff,
      Great response!!!

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

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

      Best Wishes!!

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

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

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

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

    -An Eagle Scout from Texas

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

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

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

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

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

        -Yours In Scouting
        Eagle Scout Michael Woodrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  69. 14 is a great age. I earned mine at 16 years old but had every requirement done at 13 1/2. The only thing left was my project. Once you are 16 you get to drive and often instead of working on merit badges do harder things like hiking. Older kids are also great romodels. I’m 17 now and did a road to eagle presentation. I also plan on a kayak trip with the troop. Outside of scouts I recently went camping with my friends and I was pulling a dirtbike trailer so we can ride. Earning my eagle was only the begging to things to learn. As long as the kids parents don’t do the work it can teach lots of responsiblity and help you in the future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Yours In Scouting,
        Eagle Scout, Michael Woodrow

        Yours In Scotuing,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  88. 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 with any questions or concerns.

  89. 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.

  90. 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


    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!

  91. 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.

  92. 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.

  93. 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…….

  94. 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

  95. 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…

  96. 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.

  97. 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.

  98. 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!

  99. 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.

  100. 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.

  101. 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, “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.

  102. 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.

  103. 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.

  104. 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.

  105. 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.

  106. 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…..

  107. 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.

  108. 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: 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!

  109. 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.”

  110. 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?

  111. 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

  112. 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.

  113. 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.

  114. 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.

  115. 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.

  116. I would like to state that I know a kid that earned his eagle at 13. I live in Alaska, and for any boy who plans to spend time in the backcountry, the skills are essential. Today, he is 15 and is out in the wild quite a bit and I think he was worthy of that eagle award. I plan to earn my eagle this year at 13, and I do fully think I have finished the requirements fully.

    • It is a worthy goal, but not a race. Enjoy the journey. Do it because you are challenging yourself and improving your skills. If that for you is age 13 years of age congratulations. Many of the skills taught in scouting are those activities needed to survive in the wild as well as on high adventure. Make sure you help the next scout and also as you are being observant of how you can use your skills to improve the world around you. The scout we had that earned Eagle at 12.5 continues to be active in supporting younger scouts, has 75+ merit badges, 8 palms and is just preparing to earn his Silver Hornaday award. Opportunities in scouting have become limitless.

  117. Hello I am a life scout at the age of thirteen and i am working on my eagle scout project and I am a very mature person and i am a great leader and i have a position to show for it (assistant senior patrol leader) i feel that if you say that a 13 year old person is not old enough or mature enough you should meet them first. Thank you and I am in Troop 406 of LaPlace Louisiana our facebook page is Stjohn boy scouts.

    • As an Eagle Mentor/Coach I help the Life scout understand the process of doing the Eagle Project. For so many scouts earning the rank of Eagle is made out to be so daunting and half the parents are running scared. Compared to a construction project the Mentor could be considered the superintendent who is overseeing the overall project. All I do is ask questions and coach them sequence their projects. Sometimes I provide advice on where to find suitable projects. I especially encourage scouts to do something they have never done before. One of the scouts had worked with wood and plastic previously so he chose to build a portable amphitheater of steel so he had to show real leadership not just do everything himself.

  118. As a parent of a 13 year old that has 36 merit badges completed NYLT for scouts and NYLT training for OA , is the Oa rep for his troop and the OA rep for his council and has had his eagle review board and waiting for the Eagle Board he is ready!! He Has Never missed a meeting or a Campout since becoming a scout . HE has been to to Summer camp every year and attended an OA Camporee as a cub Scout and two as A Scout plus three summer camps We have eagle scouts that are 16 teen and 17 teen that basically due nothing

    • So great to hear about motivated scouts. Congratulations, a son doesn’t get there by himself. It takes supportive parenting! I am ever more convinced that young men will progress based on their desire and support.

      I love to see scouts proving the cynics wrong! We had a 9 panel board participate as a 9 palm eagle defended his Silver Hornaday project. He spoke for 30 minutes without an “and” or an “um” and was so thorough that the entire panel had 5 questions. He is 14.5 years old with 75+ merit badges, who has provided leadership for over 2,000 hours of community service -1,000 of which are his own. He has completed 6 major scouting projects since he was a Webelos Scout and it was HE who chose to go down the road not anyone else.

      Two years ago he came back from camp having nearly drowned and asked for help. A scout from a troop 30 minutes away offered to help and they swam together 60 hours under the direction of a swim coach. Two week ago these two competed against each other on opposing swim teams. When one of our incoming scouts does their swim test both of these Eagles swim at their sides the entire time. This is the part of scouting that we as leaders cannot replace and only be thankful we have the privilege of watching.

      • Question : I thought you could only get three palms and that was it you said he was getting his 9th or did i misunderstand you

        • The scout earns the bronze, the gold then the silver, then he retains the silver and earns the bronze, the gold and then a second silver and so on. This scout is wearing 3 silvers = 9 palms.

          I have asked the facilitator to connect us via email, if you send the same request then maybe he will enable the connection.

        • A palm is earned for every five merit badges beyond those required for Eagle. A bronze palm equals five merit badges, a gold palm is ten merit badges, and a silver palm equals fifteen merit badges. You wear the palms in a configuration that equals the number of merit badges you’ve earned. For example, if you had thirty extra merit badges you would wear a bronze, gold, and silver.

        • Actually Summit Scouter, you are correct that a bronze represents 5, gold represents 10, and silver represents 15, but I believe that
          if a Scout had earned an additional 30 merit badges he would wear 2 silver only. There is no configuration where a Scout wears a bronze, a gold, and a silver. He can have any number of silver at the same time but can only have one bronze or one gold in combination with the silver.
          There is also a 3 month time requirement for each palm.
          At the current number of merit badges, which I believe is 134, there are 22 palms possible. If a Scout earned all of the merit badges and met the time requirement he would have 7 silver and one bronze palms, which is the most that can be worn at one time. The time requirement to earn all of the palms would be 5 years and 6 months if my calculations are correct.
          Of course, if a Scout has earned some merit badges that have been discontinued,and/or additional merit badges are added, he could actually earn more than 22 palms if he had the time.

        • Thanks Kimble. I ASSumed you could wear them in any mathematical combination that reached the correct total. Does the Insignia Guide address this?

        • Your welcome Summit Scouter. No worries with ASSuming, we all do it and none of us are experts on everything! 🙂 I think it is covered in the Insignia Guide.
          Personally, I really don’t care what combination a Scout wears his Palms, I am just glad when the Scout is motivated enough to earn them!!

  119. The requirements to become an Eagle are there for a reason and if accomplished should be awarded to that individual regardless of their age.Maybe the bar should be raised but honestly if one is 13 and acquiring the rank of Eagle or 17 the success in doing so should be seen as an honor to Scouting. We had seven scouts to become Eagles at one time with ages ranging from 13 to 16. The youngest were as aggressive in leadership positions in the troop and followed the examples of the older scouts. Young scouts look to the more mature scouts. When they took the lead we stuck with them regardless of the age difference. That is why after three years in the scouts achieving the requirements to become an Eagle Scout along with going to the summer and winter camps along with 50 mile hikes,going to Philmont,going to the National Jamboree and becoming a member of OA all at the age of 13 I made the decision to leave scouting. I accomplished my goal to become an Eagle Scout and feel it was a mature decision

  120. George, sorry to hear you left Scouting. For the record, age has little to do with when a Scout should achieve the rank of Eagle. Completing the requirements, and being mature enough to give back to your Troop and community are just as important, or even more important than checking off items in a book. Think of the older Scouts that helped you along the way, and then think of the young Scouts in your Troop that do not have you there to guide them on that trail. I hope you return to Scouting soon.

  121. The opinion of it is too young is definitely the stupidest thing i have ever heard, i am a 14 year old eagle scout, and I definitely know that the only reason boys get their eagle when their 17 as opposed to 14 is because they simply get busy, and that they just don’t try that fast. For me it was easy, and my parents definitely did not help me.
    It is simply how fast they want to put in the work.

  122. I achieved Eagle Scout before age 14. As did my 3 younger brothers. We all continued on in Scouting and Exploring until we were 18. After earning Eagle Scout, rather than focusing our time on earning awards, we spent our time leading, teaching, and mentoring other Scouts. I served 3 years on Camp Staff as well as leadership roles in the Order of the Arrow Chapter and Lodge. Post Eagle Scout Scouting should be about giving back. I don’t think that principle is taught well and some lose interest in Scouting after they have been trained to serve.

    My father only achieved the rank of Star. He says he did not have a good Scouting experience as a boy. With four sons he decided to make sure the infrastructure was in place for his sons to have a good experience. He didn’t drive us to achieve the rank of Eagle before age 14. But he did help us plan farther than we could see at the time. He did volunteer at the troop, district, and council level to make sure a strong program with trained adult leaders existed. His 4 sons have all served in unit leader roles for years. My father and 3 of us have been to Wood Badge.

    My own son is a Life Scout and is on track to achieve Eagle Scout before he is 14. I am convinced that, if the Scouting program is run properly, most young men mature through the progression in Scouting ranks faster than they otherwise would. Of course, they will continue to grow as they serve others and lead, whether in official positions, or because others look up to them.

  123. I frankly couldn’t care less about when a scout earns Eagle, but when THE DATE of that accomplishment becomes involved, that’s when I have a problem. The rank of Eagle takes a lot of work and it shouldn’t matter how old you are when you achieve it.

    Boasting about your Eagle rank in general is wrong to begin with, and you may not deserve it then. But when a 13-year-old Eagle goes to his 18-year-old counterpart and claims that he was better off, it’s not acceptable for so many reasons. Age is not a factor in the legislature, in the military. Scouting’s rank system exists so that age doesn’t have to come up. Arrowmen are arrowmen, SPLs are SPLs, Eagles are Eagles. Let it be.

  124. There is no age requirement to become an Eagle. So there should be no debate. Yet it persists. And I find it baffling…

    Some thoughts:

    Interesting how folks refer to ‘paper eagles’ almost exclusively as being 13 year olds… What about the kids who became inactive at 14 and all of a sudden show up at 17 1/2 looking to finish their Eagle. And somehow it has become noble to help these scouts while diminishing the 13/14 year olds?

    Some kids play ‘select’ sports – we have had a number of scouts who bring that level of enthusiasm to scouting.

    I would much rather have a young man complete his Eagle and then hang around and be useful – always impressive to see a troop with 3-4 Eagles helping out.

    People need to stop associating an Eagle with perfection. We need to stop knocking them off their perch – the quickest way to lose a scout once he receives his eagle is to say ‘you should know better, you’re an Eagle’. Rather, we need to help them soar even higher. Whether that be OA, Venturing, Summer Camp Staff, National Outdoor Award, High Adventure, etc. There is a whole world out there beyond Eagle.

    Folks often asked us how our troop had so many ‘young’ guys who were Life… The implication was that we were ‘easy’. We solved that problem when our 7/8 grade scouts out performed their older scouts at Camporee events. When you have a solid Trail to First Class program that ignites their imagination and reinforces their skills, how could you expect anything but a group of high performing scouts?

    • THANK YOU for the great commentary. I agree that there should be no debate, but I also understand the concern about parental interference.

      I congratulate those who have lots of Life Scouts. This indicates that a number of young men have been busy. In my troop we have a three tiered patrol program. One patrol works on tenderfoot – 1st Class, the second patrol works on Eagle required merit badges and a third patrol that works on other elective merit badges. The second patrol typically has to do a bit of work outside of scout meetings but they have an opportunity to completed the basic required merit badges in a year or so. There is nothing easy about this system and our counselors have high expectations. There are no gi’mes in Troop 38! The system works for us.

      Earning the rank of Eagle is a personal journey and the pinnacle of a significant amount of personal growth. We have found that there is next strange phenomenon that happens with young Eagles because the leaders and other adults ask if they next intend to earn all the merit badges. My son had been working really hard on finishing (for years) the merit badges and was becoming frustrated because he had so much work that he really didn’t want to do – when I asked him a simple question. “Is this your goal?” To which he responded, “NO.” He wanted to help other scouts and do high adventure.

      I think that the bigger question is what to do with our young Eagles. In many cases they are too young for high adventure and they are coming off a track of high accomplishment. We have implemented the position of Troop Guide where the more accomplished scout helps younger scouts, webelos and even Cub Scouts. Likewise BSA has the Hornaday Program of which my son has just completed his Silver(#4), NOAA and STEM. Likewise there are Varsity and Venturing programs. Our challenge has become that we end up in a Lone Wolf scenario where scouts are forced to work alone because no one else is that interested in advancement at that level.

      Might I also make a suggestion?

      If you have a young Eagle add value to the Board of Reviews. These are high accomplished individuals who are not just going to pass off the next palm, they are seeking further direction and guidance. In my son’s last board he presented to a panel that included a fire firefighter and scouter who was not a direct report, a manager for a software company and a retired U.S. Marine. He walks into his board of reviews with a types overview of his scouting activities, goals, plans and service for 3 months and made a presentation. Then the questions got interesting and life mentoring began. He now has 4 year goals, college considerations and high adventure options. It is so important that we continue to build our boys and not stop at Eagle, because that is where opportunity starts.

  125. I barely made it to Star Scout before I was to old to advance in rank anymore. I found it extremely hard to advance with little to no parental support. However I was very pleased with myself for attaining Star Scout. =)

  126. I have a soon to be 12 year old Star Scout. He was on his way to Life in three more months. He has been through so much in one year of scouting that will make some adults tremble. He finally thought he found a good troop that did not mind his drive to be a young Eagle. His new scoutmaster promised that this unit encourages them to achieve Eagle young since his own son earned Eagle at 13. At almost four months in this troop we find out that the leadership is creating obstacles to hold him back and not achieve Eagle by 12 1/2. For three months he has been working as Instructor to First Class assigned by the Scoutmaster, when another adult leader told him to go inform his SPL of his position. My son obeyed. The adults decided they will start counting his leadership as of that day. The following week the Scoutmaster tells him that his son (SPL and OA Rep) is very busy with his other activities outside of BSA and is unable to attend OA meetings. Since my son is now an Arrowmen, we attend Round Table regularly and my son attends OA meetings regularly he is being reasign to be OA Rep instead of Instructor to First Class. Furthermore, the Scoutmaster tells him that for this troop he sees fit to add the requirement of being 14 years of age to serve in the leadership position of Instructor to First Class. However, while the younger scouts work in their Communications Merit Badge my son had to come up with ideas to encourage the young scouts to achieve First Class in less than a year like he had done it. The following meeting the young scouts work towards their Personal Fitness Merit Badge and once again my son is ordered to help the young ones achieve the requirements but he is not given credit for the service while performing the duties of Instructor to First Class. The adults told me my son was displaying Scout Spirit and doing his Good Turn Daily. When I complained about the situation and the fact that the adult leadership is not keeping records of hisleadership role and participation the Unit tells me that if we do not like the way they run the program we are free to go to another troop. BSA is very clear in Guide to Advancement that “No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements”

  127. I am the father of two young men who earned their Eagle rank at 14 years old. I was very involved in their time with Boy Scouts. However, I did NOT “earn” the Eagle rank, my two boys earned every bit of the rank along their path to Eagle. All I did was insure they had opportunities to participate but it was each of the boys who did the work and completed the requirements.

    Reaching Eagle Scout while 14 years old was their goal so I made certain they had the equipment, time, transportation, funds, and whatever else was required for them to camp-out, cook-out, hike, bike, canoe, attend training classes, attend merit badge classes, and whatever else they needed, when they needed it.

    My oldest boy’s Eagle Scout project took 8 months from start to finish, else he would have made Eagle Scout when he was 13 years old which was he goal. But, he gave that up in order to insure the 4 acre cemetery which had not been attended too for 75 years was thoroughly cleaned, headstones straightened, etc. He did such a good job the country historical society president invited the Dallas Morning News to the cemetery for an overview of his work. The Dallas Morning News carried my son’s story of his endeavor to get an indifferent community involved in helping to get the over-grown cemetery back into some resemblance of a cemetery instead of a jungle on the front page of the newspaper. The Dallas Mavericks was so impressed they honored my son as their “Volunteer of the Month,” recognizing him during a Mavericks’ game.

    My next younger son was slow to start his Eagle Scout project else he would have made Eagle Scout at 13 year of age which was his goal when he entered scouting.

    These two boys stayed in scouting, traveling around the country on various opportunities while staying active in their troop as leaders. They enjoyed being called upon to lead other scouts when attending any scouting function such as summer camp and they never failed to satisfy any other scout or adult leader in the performance of their responsibilities. They continued working on Eagle palms and their religious awards.

    There was only one instance when I was unhappy with an adult leader along their path to Eagle Scout. It was before the younger son’s Board of Review. One of the board members told me he was not going to allow a 14 year old boy to become an Eagle Scout. An Eagle Scout himself when he was 17, he felt all scouts should be 17 years old before they were entitled to be an Eagle. I pointed out to him the Boy Scouts requirement that if a boy has completed the requirements, adults cannot withhold the rank, or award, as appropriate. I wish I could underline this last sentence. If the requirements have been completed, the scout must be awarded the rank. Those of you commenting a 14 year old boy is too young to be an Eagle Scout seem to have forgotten that Boy Scout requirement. IF YOU HAVE EARNED THE RANK, IT CANNOT BE WITHHELD. This requirement is necessary to protect scouts from capricious adults who may inject personal issues that serve to deny a scout what he has earned. So, that son’s Board of Review met and later the same adult told me he was very impressed with every answer my son gave to the board during their questioning. Remember, you cannot deny what is earned and Eagle Scout is earned by following a clearly marked path regardless if you start out on that path at 11 or at 16.

    BTW, those two boys completed their postgraduate education and are young executives with Fortune 500 companies, still outperforming their peers. I gave them the incentive to achieve, they earned the recognition, not me. Be glad ANY scout earns the Eagle Scout rank, regardless of age. We should be encouraging more boys to earn Eagle Scout, not less.

  128. To all those who attended the “school of sweeping generalizations”, I beg to differ with you about 13-14 year old young men as being “too” young. I can tell you that no matter when someone gets the award, they have worked hard for it and parents had to be supportive, not Eagle proxies. Art D. Eagle at 13….

  129. There really is nothing to debate… unless we plan to change the rules. If a boy CAN make eagle while still twelve, then more power to him. No one has the right to question the boy’s rank so long as he has met all the requirements… period!

    The whining on this topic is embarrassing.

    Anyone who calls them “Paper Eagles” is an embarrassment to Scouting and does great disservice to the youth who read such childish and negative comments. Shame on you! If there is any question here – it must be about the requirements or Troop leadership – not the boys.

  130. I agree, it depends on the boy! Just to give an example, I personally know a now 13 year old young man who became Eagle at 11. Yes, many of you will discredit him as a “paper Eagle,” but let me point out some other facts to consider just to illustrate that it really depends on the individual. This boy started High School at 7, and is now ready to begin an engineering degree at a renowned university. I can assure you that he perfectly understands the rank and it’s requirements. I agree, maybe not every 11 or 12 year old has his level of insight, but that determination should be made by adult leaders on a case by case basis.

    • Congratulations to the 11 year old boy (now 13), to his parents, and to his Adult leaders troop that encouraged him to advance and grow in scouting at his own speed. So proud of them! I would love to read more about him.

      • Doris,

        This was certainly not a case of adults encouraging him, but more a case of this young man pulling the adults. His troop does not really have a program that pulls youth through to the highest rank. It does not run after scouts to get requirements done or schedule periodic classes that will eventually result in the achievement of Eagle. His troop truly believes in boy led and boy driven.

        There is nothing written anywhere about this boy – no web or newspaper articles. He knew very well the general opinion about young Eagle Scouts – the sometimes almost hostile attitude. He did not allow his parents to even as much as put anything into the local paper. He is used to these negative sentiments, as he has done many things on a different schedule and has often encountered negativity as a result. People judge without taking all facts into account. People see what they want to see – maybe only based on their own circumstances or abilities. But not all are created equal, and we tend to forget that. How can anyone on this board criticize anyone without knowing them in person. We should not resort to such generalizations and say a boy is too young at … age. There are plenty of highly immature 17 or 18 year olds, and we cannot call them more qualified simply on the merit of age.

        I have witnessed many Eagle projects, most projects were conducted by scouts about to age out. So one would assume that those scouts are more mature, have a greater ability to be leaders, are more of the take-charge kind, etc. However, the ones I have witnessed did not fit that mold. They were rather tongue tied when it came to instructing other scouts or adults, completely disregarded certain aspects of the project such as safety concerns, were too busy to come up with a decent write up, etc. So from my personal experience, I cannot necessarily say that an older scout performs better than a younger one. Some do, and some don’t. In my opinion, age does not figure into this at all.

        But as far as this 11 year old Eagle (now 13) is concerned, he is an interesting character. As indicated, he is starting his EE degree, was the national #1 door-to-door popcorn salesman a few years back (no corporate accounts), places in national and international piano competitions, is moving on to sea scouts, has led a team of over 40 volunteers, logged several hundred volunteer hours in a single year, gives piano concerts in nursing homes, etc.

        Members of this board, please do not judge people too fast.

        • Andrea I love that you could share at least that much with us. I know about the negative attitude towards young scouts advancements. My son is a regular 11 year old with a huge drive and focus, you would never imagine the hurdles he is going through just to advance from Star to Life. Troops encourage them to achieve 1st class in less then a year and then they expect the boys to standby until 16 or 17. So many tears I have shed over the injustice. He calmly tells me “wait, I will do it & we will move on” The last extra requirement they added is for him to communicate by email and to write formal letters to request leadership service project, Scoumaster Conference and Board of review. He is the only boy out of 17 total in his unit to have to do this in electronic and written form. As I write to you this lines from my cell he is on the PC writting the formal request letters.

  131. This is a Joke, the requirements are the requirements.I received mine at 14 1/2!! I would have received it sooner if the Scoutmaster’s son and his friend wouldn’t have thought it was their job to give or withhold rank advancement. Scouting is supposed to inspire self reliance and self motivation, not judging whether someone is old enough. It is the parent’s job to inspire their child to explore a new experience. It’s up to the Scout leaders to nurture the the child’s experience. You people who judge whether someone is too young think that scouts should stay in scouting longer. I think we we should nurture their interest while they are young. Modern life has too many distractions that take under motivated scouts way from scouting. The real issue we should be debating is: “How to get young people to join and then stay in Scouting!

  132. Remarkable, whatever the age a scout achieves the rank of Eagle makes that a stronger productive individual if their path to it was true. When that person has to think about holding a position in the troop or the meal he is to prepare for his patrol, when he has to stop and take a deep breath while on a required hike,bike ride or swim. Be responsible for the welfare of other scouts that eventually they have to train as they advice, does not matter if and when they leave scouting
    . Anyone on this thread that has not made Eagle or gone through the requirements to be the Rank would be like giving their opinion on how to be a General in the Arm Forces

  133. After being a half interested Cub Scout, my son told me at crossover that his goal was to be an Eagle Scout. I was uncertain that he would be willing to do what was necessary to complete the requirements; particularly when I began understanding the level of commitment and work to achieve his goal. He just finished his Eagle Project this past weekend after turning 13 in May. It was his last requirement for the rank.

    As a parent who was new to Scouting, and as a Leader, I have learned that Scouts who’s parents work with their children are normally more successful. They learn more, they achieve more, and they gain rank more quickly. For me, the real benefit was that he and I learned much together. We will fondly remember and talk about all the awesome times he and I had together – This has been the real gift of Scouting for both of us.

    He has earned every Rank Requirement without benefit of my signature. He has completed all 21+ Merit Badges. His attendance has been excellent. His knowledge and love of Scouting and the outdoors is engrained. He has experienced a great deal and continues to be excited about outings and all the other goals in Scouting he still hopes to complete and attain. He is well aware that this achievement will be a moment that he will remember, rely upon, and be proud of for the rest of his life.

    He earned it and he deserves it.

  134. I just earned my Eagle Scout at the age of 17, very nearly 18. I was completely ready and even began the groundwork for my Eagle project at the age of 13 or 14. But then I made the decision to join the International Baccalariate programme. The only school that offered it was on the other end of the valley where i lived. It was a 1/2 hour drive but i didnt have a car. I rode the city bus every day to school which took two hours. It took another 2 hours to get home. I would get up every morning at 4 am and be on the bus by 5am to make it to school by 7. Then after school i participated in track and Cross Country and would sometimes not make it home till 9. Then Id get up at 4 and start it all over. As you can see with this type of schedualing it became very dificult to continue my scouting as my troop never met when i was avalible. I didn’t even have much time during the summer to work on it because I would have 3 5,000 word essays to write and 6 books on the cold war to read before summer ended. (not even mentioning the weekly spanish and athletic requierments)

    Was i lazy? no. I was doing valuable productive things with my time. But i desided to make a choice. There were two things i wanted to do with my life. I wanted to serve a mission for my church and to become an eagle scout. I finnished high school early and began working 60 hours a week during what wouldve been my senior year to earn the funds for my mission trip. During what little time i had left i fille out paperwork for both endevors. I somehow found the time to plan and carry out me eagle project, among many other stresses that come with being 17.

    The reason I say all this is to point out that circumstances need to be taken into consideration. We cant look at a 17 year old and call them lazy for being 17 when they achieve something. I worked very hard for my Eagle and I earned it. While i was in scouting I was involved. I was the highest ranked scout in our troop at the age of 12. My best friend went on to surpass me and reach his eagle before I did. but that doesn’t make either one of our ranks “more earned than another”

  135. DOES an Eagle still retain its cachet? Unfortunately, not for me…. I have a friend whose 16-year old son is getting his Eagle. His mom kept pushing him to start work on his project, but he seemed only vaguely interested. His mom went ahead and conceived his project, coached him on how to present it to his leader, thought of ideas for several fundraisers, did the vast majority of the fundraiser work herself, wrote the words to his sales pitch to local businesses, wrote his thank-you emails for those who donated to the fundraiser, and is now busy helping finish his (her?) project.

    In reading about some of the Eagle Scout projects in our local paper, we see boys cleaning out a planter, or putting up a simple sign on a trail as their total project. Is THIS what it takes to be an Eagle Scout these days? Please don’t tell me about all the badge work that the boys did leading up to their Eagle Scout pursuits – I’ve watched this mom double and even triple dip on badge requirements for years for her son and others in his troop. Becoming an Eagle Scout used to be an honor, not a playground for helicopter moms.

  136. I think it depends upon the individual and the amount of effort they put into it. My son just earned 1st class. At 11, he knows more about scouting and than many of his older troop mates. Some of these individuals are Star & Life Scouts. He has taught 14 yo scouts how to orient a compass/map, how to use a bow drill to start a fire, who William Boyce was. I could go on and on about his knowledge. He has hiked 70 miles to earn his hiking merit badge….50 miles of this on major mountains in the northeast. Mt Washington, Katahdin, Acadia. He is an active member of the community serving our nations veterans every chance he can get. He is more patriotic than everyone else in his troop and far more so than the average HS senior.

    Age doesn’t matter. The effort a person puts into something makes the difference. My son has his eye on Eagle Scout by 13. He then wants to pursue his Quartermaster as a Sea Scout.

    His heart is set on attending the US Naval Academy. What he is learning in scouting at such a tender age is helping work toward that dream.

  137. My son began Scouting the first week of 1st grade as a Tiger and stated from the beginning he wanted to be an Eagle Scout. He earned all of the Webelos Achievements, not just those needed for the Arrow of Light and when he bridged reiterated he wanted to earn Eagle Scout. As he worked his way through 1st class the most difficult thing he encountered was leaders telling him he was too young and moving too fast. Leaders with older sons stated they he and others were too young and tried to impede progress. My son earned his Life Scout at 13 and may earn his Eagle before 14. To all of those who say he is too young to earn his Eagle watch him. He is the Senior Patrol Leader, has dealt with more adversity growing up than most. Living with his single father, coping with the death of his mother and a lot more the boy has developed more leadership skills and self-confidence at his age than most 17 year olds He will succeed if the adults will just get out of the way and let the boy lead.

  138. My son will earn his Star rank at 12 and probably earn Life at 12 also, right before he turns 13. He has earned 12 badges so far.
    He joined cub scouts as a Tiger and earned all 20 activity pins as a Webelos and AOL. He LOVES Boy Scouts and never misses a weekly troop meeting or outing.
    He will likely be an Eagle by age 13. His position of responsibility is as a Den Chief- he has not been able to get a “better job,” although he loves being a Den Chief and plans to do it all the way through.
    Should we tell him to slow down or just not promote him???

    • How would you feel if you have worked hard, followed the rules, do the service, done everything that is written in the book to earn a promotion and your boss decided not to promote you because you are too young for the position in his eyes? That would be called Age Discrimination, wouldn’t it? Let him shine, he is dedicated, he should receive the pride that goes with it!

    • How can one earn Star and Life scout all in the same year? If I remember correctly from when I was a scout there are time requirements on how long you have to be a certain rank before you can be promoted.

  139. Star scout- you must serve as a leader and be active for 4 months. He will complete that in March or so. Life Scout- be a leader and be active for 6 months. He would then likely complete that in Sept/October. That is how you can do both in one year.
    My son is hearing impaired and has worn a hearing aid since kindergarten. Scouting has been a very positive factor in his life and has helped him have self-esteem despite having this handicap.

  140. You know, I turn 14 in May and all I need to do is finish my eagle project write up. But as they say, paperwork is not everything. Up here in Alaska, I can mountain bike, hike up a glacier, sea kayak, and catch unlimited supplies of silver salmon. And that’s only on an overnight trip! I’m just saying, our trips are BOSS! But with living in such a great place, we always have the opportunities we obtained on our trail to eagle. So as long as you continue to learn and practice, 13 is not too young for eagle.

  141. I was a Cubscout, Webelos and a Boyscout when I was 13. It was invaluable experience in outdoors skills, social skills and other experiences. Due to negative peer pressure when I went on to middle school and after finishing Webelos I quit for two years and then did scouting again for another year before giving in to the same negative peer pressure and quitting again. During that year I completed many merit badges but without actually receiving them. It didn’t matter really. The scouts gave me invaluable skills in all areas from navigation, outdoors skills, mechanical skills, independence, resilience and ability to handle crisis situations calmly and still be able to make decisions and all around competence. It is just too bad there may not be an option for adults to complete their Eagle award. In addition to that my advice for boys is not just to go all the way and become Eagle scouts but also not snort at all the shop and art classes your schools offer you. Take every one you can. It doesn’t mean you’ll end up working in a factory, it means you’ll end up building your own factory. Do not ever listen to the people that put down your achievement. They are just envious that you are becoming better people than them. I also recommend Girlscouts become as engaged as Boyscouts, because I’ve known some women explorers these days that have amazed me. Girls deserve to experience the outdoors as much as boys do. I had an 8th grade math teacher once that talked about something called Mental Shelves. He meant those are shelves in your brain you put your fundamental skills upon which remain with you your entire life. Well, Scouting gives you the most powerful mental skills you could ever earn.

  142. I got my eagle at 13 years old. At 12 I started the process. I worked so hard for what I did that besides school I had no life outside of scouting. When I joined my troop a scout who had got his eagle at 14 Inspired me to do what he did. At just 17 this young man was the most impressive human being I had met in my whole life. So I started to work towards my eagle. When I got to life scout I announced my plans to start my eagle and be SPL of the troop. I got elected and began my work on my project. They said I was immature to handle all this. They said I was too young. They said I should do one not both. I did both and exceptionally well. To say that my parents did the work for me or to say I did the bare minimum to earn my eagle is a slap in the face to me and to anyone who accomplished what I accomplished. Once I got my eagle I stayed involved with the troop until I was 17 earning 63 merit badges total, two eagle plams, and was the senior patrol leader once again. My parents were a support system not the only reason I did this. No one made me do this except myself. I love scouting so much I remember coming home from meetings at 12 years old crying because I felt I could do better than I had done. I was the reason my Eagle Scout happened at 13. This discussion is irrelevant. Why shouldn’t I have been able to do what I did when I gave my whole life to it?
    – Joseph D.

  143. There seems to be some sort of disconnect between being of age and being qualified. I’m an Eagle Scout. Yes, I earned it when I was nearly 18. But contrary to so many comments – I didn’t disappear and come back years later. I was busy bringing up the younger scouts. I served all the normal leadership positions (APL, PL, ASPL, SPL, JASM, ASM… yep, SM too!)

    I don’t think we ever had a scout in my troop get Eagle before they were 15-16 years old. We were a “high adventure” troop. We had a camping trip once a month, regardless of weather. There were other troops in our area, and we affectionately called them “merit badge factories”. They advanced towards their Eagles much more quickly than we did. All of them were good troops, but different. We were just more “gung-ho” with the outdoor activities. But we were also fierce leaders.

    When I was young, our SM was an honorably discharged Master Sargent (US Army) and Vietnam Veteran. He taught us SO much. And if we were simply more diligent, we would have been very qualified Eagle Scouts at much younger ages.

    The bottom line is this… it depends on the troop, SM, parents, community, and most importantly the scout himself. I like to see boys evolve into their ranks. When you see a Star Scout, Life Scout, etc… you know what to expect. When you see an Eagle Scout… you know what to expect. It’s when you see an Eagle Scout and he’s NOT what you expect, that’s when disappointment sets in. If the scout is qualified, his age shouldn’t matter. But it’s SO much more than simply completing the requirements… It’s BEING an Eagle Scout.

  144. In my opinion, and these are just my opinions, can a youth demonstrate the leadership and responsibility that go with being an Eagle? And in this day and age, where everyone get a trophy for participating, where does the scout learn how to handle failure?

    First Class, Star, and Life are all ranks that require a scout to have some position of responsibility required for advancement. Yes, maturity plays a huge factor in all of this, and as leaders, we have to gauge if we think the scout can handle the responsibility that comes with the next rank or explain that we need to hold the scout back for a few months to see if he is ready.

    I have seen many 17 year olds who either just give up on scouting or are preoccupied with being a teenager. On the Flip side, I have seen 14 year olds as SPL while taking part in other extra curricular activities. As one of those nealy 18 year olds, I had to have the extra push from my leaders and parents. Yes, I made the rank of Eagle. When I was 18, Eagle was a key to open many doors. Now that I’m older, I can see it being so much more.

    After I became an Eagle, I stayed with my troop. I felt a duty to help other scouts who wanted to become an Eagle do it. Now, I ask the scouts do they plan to give back?

    I also find when a scout has to earn every merit badge to cheapen what it means to be an Eagle. In my troop, we are not a merit badge factory, we encourage the scouts to go at their own pace. while we would like to see ever boy make Eagle, we watch as they grow that they make the choices in their lives. That is what an Eagle scout does. He steps up when needed, steps aside to help others, and is humble in all he does.

  145. I am sharing this story primarily for the Scout Masters and adult Scout Leaders who might be reading this.

    My son was diligent in pursuing his Eagle. He started attending Scout meetings before he was eleven and worked on earning ten merit badges per year – a reasonable rate for Scouts that are applying themselves through the summer and holiday months. He passed each of the rank advancement reviews, first with the Scoutmaster and subsequently with the “Board of Review” group. He earned all of his Merit Badges after three years; completed his Eagle Project in the summer of his 14th year; and submitted his Eagle Application just after his 15th birthday. He had been with the same Troop attending almost all of the meetings for 4.5 years. He had been on well over ten outings with the Troop and he did a lot of volunteer work outside the Troop as well.

    The Scoutmaster approved and signed the application and then convened a mock Eagle BOR with six other key adult Troop leaders. The group unanimously voted to send my son on to the real Eagle BOR at the Council level on a Thursday. The following Monday, the Scoutmaster sent me (the dad) an email noting that he had changed his mind, that he had gone to the Council and whited out his signature, and that he was not endorsing for Eagle after all. At first I thought there must be some glitch – but after talking with the SM, he indicated that he did not think my son was “ready” and that he had not effectively demonstrated “leadership” in the Troop over the years. If that was the case, I asked, then why had my son passed all of the SM conferences without so much as a comment? No explanation.

    As a Troop dad, I was pretty involved with assisting with events for bunches of Scouts and many, many outings over the years, but I was extremely careful not to sign my son off on anything. Still, I believe the SM thought that I was pushing my son through and that he was not what the Troop referred to as a “Good Eagle.” I also perceived that the SM was hung up on the notion that my son did not exhibit “Scout Spirit” and that was the primary reason for the SM’s doubt.

    Truthfully, though there was never any hint of conflict, my son did not like the SM (and vice versa) nor did he enjoy the meetings, but our family rule is that once you start an endeavor, you are not allowed to quit. So my son muscled through the requirements and even received four (4) letters of recommendation from adult Leaders in the Troop. Eventually, I became exasperated with what I considered a form of cowardice on the part of the SM as there was no feedback or guidance about leadership from the SM (or any other leader) over the years. And while the SM called on the adult Leaders to conduct the Mock BOR and actually vote to send my son ahead, the SM then unilaterally decided to strike his signature. It was all a capricious sham, really, and I struggle to this day to understand why.

    The Council ruled that the application had been properly submitted; all requirements had been fulfilled; and the bid for Eagle had been formally endorsed by the SM. There was no provision or precedent for reversing or counteraction. My son passed the BOR without difficulty and he enjoyed a private Court of Honor that many Troop leaders and fellow Scouts attended. He gave an awesome speech and his big brother (also an Eagle from the same Troop) gave him the Oath and pinned him. It was an enormously special day.

    In my view, we as Leaders and parents, have the obligation to hold to the rules and standards of the BSA. Although my son was only 15, he earned the rank of Eagle because he worked very hard to achieve it. He took no shortcuts and violated no rules. Yet, when evaluated by the SM, a different standard and a different process was applied. If a Scout’s worthiness for Eagle is in question, then we owe it to that Scout to teach him, coach him and guide him along the way – not ambush him at the goal line. The result of this experience is that my son proudly carries his Eagle card in his wallet…but he has virtually no interaction with his Troop and does not wish to be involved with Scouting on any level.

    • Well, I am disappointed to hear of this experience. For one thing, a “mock up” board of review is not part of the Eagle application and it is a definitive departure from the norm. Though I’m sure there is more to the story, it sounds like the SM really didn’t want your son to make Eagle at 15 but he didn’t know how to stop the train. Maybe by voting, he hoped other leaders would agree with him and thereby relieve him of his responsibility to say “no.” What’s most unfortunate is the impact this had on your son – who apparently did nothing wrong – and the loss of valuable relationships. I agree with you that we need to focus on the rules and guidelines and not allow the SM to alter the process. Well written post. Thank you for sharing this.

  146. If a scout completes the requirements for Eagle, then he can be an Eagle, Maturity, serious, writing his life story, are not requirements for Eagle Scout. You can only ask that they complete the requirements as written in the book. One of Scouting’s biggest problems are adults who want their requirements, not BSA. Stick to the requirements in the book, and nothing more.
    B Campbell
    Eagle Scout
    55 years in scouting

  147. How does a 13-14 year old carry a 40-50 lb pack on camping/hiking trips (outside of dump camps)? There needs to be less of a focus on the merit badge/requirement system and a greater emphasis on the outdoors experience and becoming comfortable in nature distanced from the influences of media and other urban distractions. I just feel 13-14 year olds’ (on the whole) don’t yet command the physical maturity to enjoy literal mountain top experiences. It’s no loss to them if the rank is all they’re after; but if they’re searching for something greater that will stick with them longer they need to wait. Scouting, like most activities, functions on a “You get out what you put in” dogma. If you only put in 2-3 years you’re, in all likelihood, going to get less out. One Eagles opinion.

  148. Plain and simple, if a boy has done his requirements and shown that he can plan and lead a project (not the parent[s] doing the work), then he is ready for Eagle. As many have stated, I have seen way too many 17 year old boys come in at the last minute to get a project done so they can say they earned their Eagle. This does not benefit the troop or the award.
    I actually like seeing younger Eagle Scouts (as we now have in our troop who earn his Eagle a few months before his 14th birthday). It has been a huge motivator for the new scouts to see an active Eagle Scout in the troop. He continues to grow and learn more leadership skills and is acting as the Troop Guide. At 14, he went to Phimont and carried his 40-50 lbs pack without issue over an 84-mile trek and he attended the World Jamboree and was able to bring back and share these experience with the troop. He now has earned his first four palms and is on track to earn several more. The motivation he has to continue his Scouting career (including Venturing) has increased since earning his Eagle as there has not been any false barriers put in his way.
    Age (along with other physical traits) should not define if someone is ready to become an Eagle Scout. There is no rule in Boy Scouts that defines an age requirement, how much a boy can lift, how far he can hike, etc. We are not allowed to stop a boy who has completed his work from progressing to that level. Shame on anyone who does prevent a Scout from progressing. I will preface this with re-iterating one point. If the Scout (major emphasis on Scout and not parent) is doing the work I have no issue with the advancement.

    • Thank you Midwestscouting, for sharing your thoughts. This morning is the best day to read an encouraging letter like yours. My son greatest dream since he joined Cub Scout as a Tiger, was to become an Eagle Scout. He earned his Arrow of Light and joined scouts in February of 2013 with only 10 years. In eight months he became First Class, from there on it was an uphill battle against adults that did not understand his drive to become a young Eagle. He got hurt physically and emotionally but he continued strong switching troops to avoid the bullies and to reach Star rank. The previous troop mandated a 6 month period of leadership instead of a 4 month period as the handbook states. Promises were made by the next troop and he received Star rank as soon as he joined them. Since that day in March 2014 he performed as Troop Guide or Instructor to First Class. However, the adults did not keep record of it. Soon after there were elections to the Order of the Arrow. A month later Camporee, you should have seen his face glow with so much happiness. May was the Ordeal. In June, the adults finally wanted to put on record his leadership. That was taking away three months of leadership from him. The Scoutmaster refused to follow Guide to Advancement 2013. The Scoutmaster had attended Woodbadge training and was bullheaded in his idea that his Woodbadge ticket would be not to allow any scout in his troop to be in a leadership position if they were not 14 years old. At the time my son was only 11. First my son tried to make his point, but the Scoutmaster would not listen, he brought in reinforcements. It was time for me to get involved (I am a single mom). I went all the way to headquarters, the new Scout Executive was also called to the equation. The result was a separation letter from the troop against my son and I on August 18th 2014. We did not hide the incident from anyone, when we went out searching for a new troop. We were even told that we had to go through a person in the Council before we could contact any other troop, as if we were a menace. Thankfully, there was one Merit Badge Counselor that saw what was being done to my son. One good hearted person that was in Scouting for the children and not to bust his ego. He was working with my son on his Camping Merit Badge and invited my son to join his troop. But my son is as strong will as his mother and was set on getting his rank. He responded to his counselor, while holding my arm to stop me from uttering a word “First I will finish my rank, then I will move”. He was asked by the Church Representative to write formal letters to the Scoutmaster petitioning a Scoutmaster conference and Board of Reviews, to which my son complied. Nothing he did mattered. Then, they said he could not be Instructor to First Class any longer that a new position was assigned to him as OA Rep., which would required him to attend the Round Table meetings. We are a low income family, attending RT meetings regularly put extra strain to our finance. Truth be said, our Troop Eagle Scout and Senior Patrol Leader, son of the Scoutmaster, held that position. This young man took Ballet lessons and he had a conflict of schedule with the RT meetings. In order to help himself the position for O.A. Rep was thrown to my son as another task to be accomplished in order to continue his trail to Eagle. My son not only took the OA. Rep position seriously, but he said to the SPL and adults that he would continue working as the Troop Guide or Instructor to First Class. I am sorry to report that my son was unable to make the adults in that troop come to their senses. I was not able to make them reason to follow the Guide to Advancement. It took as almost two months to get registered in another troop, you cannot imagine all the gossip around it. A year has passed. This evening my son is going to his Eagle Board of Review. He finished all the requirements by August 18th 2015. He wanted to do his EBOR before August 29th, but it took the adults a little over a month to do all the documentation, approvals and scheduling of the BOR. My son turned 13 on August 29th 2015. In my heart I know he is an Eagle. In our house we celebrate him as a 12 year old Eagle. We are immigrants, my son is a First generation born American. We are going through other type of injustice that makes my son’s drive even stronger. There was a time right before his Eagle Project when we were homeless, but my son continued Scouting strong. The weeks that lead us to today were not easy either. Only three weeks ago one of the boys in his troop during a meeting yelled to the entire troop “V, and his family are illegals and they should all burn in hell”, to what my son replied; “I don’t know where you get your information, but you are wrong. The boy then jumped him. The other older scouts pull him off my son, but he charged a second time. His Scoutmaster had to separate the 16 year old off my 12 year old. Don’t get me wrong my son is 5.10, but the 16 year old is at least 6.3. As you see, I was not there to do the work for him. I was not there to protect him either. He did the Eagle trail on his own. I merely supported his goals. Today, the day has come, the anxiety level is to the top. I hope everything goes right. His Eagle Board of Review Starts at 7pm. I think I am going to switch the Parent letter I wrote to the Eagle Board of Review to this one. My Scout is Strong! My boy will be an EAGLE at 12 years and one month old! HE IS PREPARED!!!

  149. I can only speak for myself, I made Eagle at thirteen 2 months shy of my fourteenth birthday in 1964. I also made Brotherhood in the Order of the Arrow when I was thirteen. Was I too young, no way. Was I a good leader I like to think so, parents and scouts in my troop thought highly of me so I was told. I was sent to every type of leadership training they could send me, we had over sixty kids in our troop, 10 patrols was I not qualified to lead? Some parents thought I was to big for my britches, but again they didn’t complain when my guys would win awards at the camporees as we would win top honors given to a troop.
    Kids today are not the same as when I grew up, no ambition they want everything given to them. To do what I did was because I wanted too and it carried over to my adult life. I owned my first company at twenty one years, over the years I owned 2 other successful companies all thanks to my experiences as a scout and of coarse the support of my family.
    Granted maturity and age don’t always go hand in hand but If a kid has the guts to push forward and achieve the brass ring more power to him.
    Very few people know I was an Eagle Scout and have never used it to negotiate anything in my life but am still proud of myself for achieving my goals as a kid.

  150. Where does it say that ‘maturity’ is needed to obtain Eagle Rank? Every age and boy will be mature at different points in their life. My boy is mature on different point in his life, on others not so much. As far as Scouting, he was ready for his Eagle Rank at 13. As far as school, not so much. His interest lies in Scouting, not in school. He EARNED his Eagle rank.

  151. Regarding all the comments saying 13 year olds do not have enough leadership experience. And people saying 13 year olds are not mature enough. Are we saying that you are taking the liberty to change the requirements? Last I read, there is NO requirement that says a boy needs to have a certain level of maturity in order to achieve Scouting’s highest rank. And it is NOT required to be a patrol leader, or Sr. Patrol leader in order to earn the rank of Eagle. The requirements gives a pretty long list of leadership positions that a boy can use to fulfill the requirement. Here they are:

    Patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader, troop guide, Order of the Arrow troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, bugler, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, instructor, webmaster, or outdoor ethics guide.

    As Boy Scout leaders, we cannot add to or take away from the requirements. So if a scout serves his time as the troop bugler, he has met the requirement and qualifies for eagle. The biggest problem we have had over the years is that as scout leaders we like to impose our own requirements for rank for what we feel is best. However, we do not have to right to do so. If a boy comes to us and says they have a goal to reach Eagle at 13, it is up to us to provide them the program to achieve their goal without adding or taking away from the requirements as they are written.

  152. I see the whole purpose of the eagle project as an opportunity to teach leadership. My son went to NYLT last year and came home with the goal of having his Eagle by the time he went back. He came home and went through figuring out which badges he still needed to complete it and found the merit badge books on his own. He chose a project on his own. He left after school to meet up with the contact to complete it on his own. He wrote and distributed the flyers on his own. I was simply his transportation when he needed to go out of town for supplies because my son happens to be 12. I will tell you he showed far better leadership than my son who got his at 15. The point of the eagle is for a scout to have the opportunity to make something happen, learn from mistakes, see what works and what doesn’t. Did he lead every part of it perfectly? No. But he learned, he adapted and he conquered. I’ve seen 17 year olds show less leadership than my 12 year old. If a scout is a paper eagle, the parents/leaders have done a disservice to the scout. We have never forced our boys to complete their eagle, but we have always been there to support and help. A candidate should be judged by his merits, not his age.

  153. As a parent and a scoutmaster I don’t think a scout at any age is too young to earn his eagle. If the scout has done the work , has had it approved all the way by leaders, adults , mentors and advancement chairs then he should be eagle. I have come across some resentment in my troop when it comes to my son age 12 and a star scout. How did he get there you might ask? With hard work and some unique circumstances. He was able to take advantage of going to camp for 3 weeks last summer because his mom taught a merit badge class at camp. So he was able to earn 12 merit badges plus a partial which he has since completed. When he was awarded these at the fall court of honor some parents where upset because their son didn’t earn all these merit badges. Did those boys go to camp for 3 weeks …. no. Did those boys do the work to earn those merit badges…no. All of my sons requirements where signed off by program area directors who are all either adults or eagle scouts themselves. Yes my son has been very fortunate is his scouting so far and he done very well for himself. The camp director found out he had started to play the trumpet in school as gave him a goal if you will. He said that if he could learn the bugle calls he needed to learn then he could be the bugler for camp this summer. So my son came home and the first day of school he asked the band teacher how much time she had for him to learn these bugle calls. Is my son a go getter … yes but I am sure there are more of them out there. I have never signed off on any merit badge for him or ant requirement other than scoutmaster conference. So my opinion is that it is up to the scout as to when they want to earn the rank of eagle.

  154. One of the neat things about Scouting… it starts from where your at, unlike school where you are sometimes lumped into the group. Hopefully the Scouts path will be a balanced between Merit Badges, Leadership, and Outdoor Skills. Patrol Leaders and Troop Leaders require continuous, and on going training, coupled with specialist training opportunities. A Eagle Scout, like a 1st Degree Black Belt in Martial Arts should be at his beginning at not at the end.

  155. The problem is not 13 year old Eagles. The problem is parents, Eagle mills and paper Eagles. Every scout is different. A very small number of scouts – VERY small number are ready at 13 or 14. Most scouts are not ready. But some parents are only in it so that their scout can get in, get eagle and get out before high school. Eagle is only a check box for scholarships and college admissions. And as a movement we are making it too easy. We have units who brag that 90 or 100 % of their scouts make Eagle. I’ve seen merit badge fairs and summer camps that sign off requirements for Eagle merit badges like they’re nothing. And I’ve heard tell of cookie cutter Eagle projects that required very little in the way of time, planning, leadership or execution. So I blame parents and leaders – we’re the adults who should be holding scouts to a reasonable, achievable standard, but not letting things slide so easily. It’s not a tragedy to tell a scout he needs to redo a requirement for a merit badge or a rank because he only put in 50% effort. Or he really still can’t tie a two-half hitches knot yet. Or he doesn’t understand the first amendment rights. You re-teach them and they come back. But this offends parents who want their scout to earn Eagle by a certain date. I think the BSA starts this kind of thinking in Cub Scouting because every rank is age based and you MUST make it by a certain date or move on. So groups of cubs start at 6 together and advance together for 5 years. Then they move on to boy scouts and some lag behind – parents get mad at the Scoutmasters. Some boys just don’t advance at the same rate as others. Some advance faster. The real question behind the question is: Are we making sure every scout gets the most out of the program, and that we are not just paperworking over certain requirements, so that they can Eagle-out at 13 or 14 so it doesn’t interfere with high school.

  156. I earned my Eagle just before I turned 18, mostly due to my own procrastination. My observation when I was in Scouts was that most of the young Eagle Scouts came out of LDS Troops. We used to joke that they gave merit badges away in those troops. Though, I think that LDS youth are able to start Boy Scouts earlier.

  157. I hear this discussion within my own District and it always bothers me. I was 13 when I earned my Eagle. I worked hard and sacrificed many things to complete my Eagle. I went on to serve in several position within my Troop, Camp, Order of the Arrow and began an Explorer Post after receiving my drivers license. I never left, but returned more active and engaged when my son was old enough to become a Tiger. Currently I have 3 boys, who at their current rate of progress and activity, will be ready to complete their Eagle requirements by 13 or 14. I would never think about standing in their way to slow them down. They have worked as group from Cub Scouts. Each one of them earned super achiever and Arrow of Light before crossing over into the Troop. They challenge each other and every other boy in the Troop to do their best. They challenge the Cub Scouts in the Pack as well int their positions as Den Chiefs to do their best and work toward great things. I

  158. I have had the experience where a scout earned the award at 14 and was a shining example to the rest of the troop. He didn’t ‘lord’ it over them, he stayed active in the troop, continued to attend summer camp, until he left for college. He truly was what an Eagle should be.

    I have also seen those that young that really didn’t appreciate what it meant to be an Eagle. Got the award, acted like he was better than the rest. That’s where the maturity is an issue.

    And there’s that just get the award and done. We call that “Eagle and Out”. Yes, they did the work. Yes it was approved all the way up the chain. Are they a good example for the rest of the troop? Not so much. I have seen Star and Life Scouts that are better examples that some of those Eagles.

    As stated by others, it’s different for each kid. If they succumb to the ‘fumes’ (perfumes and gas fumes), it may be hard for them to commit to scouts. Or, they don’t see Eagle as the goal others do, but enjoy the journey and the time with their friends in the troop.

  159. Why is this even a discussion? If the boys have met the requirements, passed a board of review, and “earned” the rank of Eagle Scout they are clearly not too young. The requirements are tough for youth of any age and I think every boy matures at a different rate. Every boy also has a different home and family life experience and outside opportunities that can help or hurt their readiness. Every troop also differs in the opportunities they offer the scouts to advance and achieve their goals.

  160. As a Mom of a 14 year old Eagle Scout and the District Commissioner, I think you need to look at each boy at the time. Some boys are not even ready at 17 1/2 to be an Eagle and others like wise are ready to be at 14. Are they living the Scout oath and law? Why do they want to get it so early. And yes who is doing it the boy or adults (not always the parents). We made sure that our son had an adult mentor that was in Scouting but not with our Troop and let him work with our son. That was not only good for our son but for us parents too. Our son also has 64 merit badges. Some youth, Scouts are their extra activity like sports, band or other things. I know I have one who lives at my house. With that said he wants to stay in Scouts till he is 18 and is already talking about hoping to be a Scout Master.

  161. The comment “paper Eagles” is disrespectful. My son earned his eagle scout at 13 years and 10 months. He did all of the qualifications, the work and a very large Eagle Scout project. There were a lot of folks in our scout troop who were jealous because at 16-17 they hadn’t consistently attended meetings, hadn’t done extra activities as camping and events. My son was committed, dedicated and accomplished the requirements just as anyone else who earned the Eagle Scout. He also then stayed in Scouting as a mentor for other youth, particularly the younger scouts and as a result several of his friends earned the Eagle at 15-16.

  162. Recently I was on a Grand Jury panel for a month. We live in a big city and the cases brought before us were horrific. Another panelist commented on the age of the ADAs the youngest was twenty-four. I indicated that life is a bell curve and there are exceptional people. We discussed calling 911 and the police officer being 21, the Resident in the hospital taking care of you is 25, the pilot landing a supersonic jet on a dot in the middle of the ocean on a moonless night is the same age.

    This young Eagle discussion wont go away. The BSA is fast to note each year the average age of the Eagles are well into their 17 to 18 age but they never publish the distribution of the percentages of Eagles that are to the left of the median. Every snowflake is different and every boy and his family situation is different.

    I finished my Eagle requirements at age 15. I went to the board of review with two others from my troop who were almost 18. They were gone and I had three years of great scouting to go and was able to participate more in activities in high school and hold a job without the advancement hanging over my head.

    Our son finished his Eagle requirements at age 14. As parents we never pushed him to do so. He joined scouting two months shy of age 12 and two years later he was ready for a project. Our preference was that he become Eagle before he started high school. He would be attending an intensive college prep program and having to take merit badges is similar to having more classes to attend. Scouting is 24/7 all year. It doesn’t have to stop in the summer just because there is no troop meeting or you are not in camp. He spent those weeks working on merit badge requirements and then called the counselors once meetings started in September.

    Where he showed maturity is in dealing with a dysfunctional and disturbed scoutmaster who sabotaged his efforts to get a project off the ground. The scoutmaster made up his own rules and gave reasons that are contrary to the Guide for Advancement. I discussed this sabotage with the committee chair. The scoutmaster was verbally, emotionally and psychologically abusive to the scouts. The parents wanted their sons in scouting but were afraid of the scoutmaster. The real reason was there was a group of boys all the same age who joined at the same time. The scoutmaster wanted his son to become first class, get the first leadership position and become the first patrol leader and Eagle in the group. He had to control everyone else’s advancement. And so he did. So with all of the kneecapping of our son his son was an Eagle only twelve days before our son when our son would have been Eagle for a year. Not quitting, not being angry he stared down this disturbed adult and prevailed.

    Becoming a young Eagle allowed our son to be a Lodge Chief and a section officer for three years, attend a Jamboree, be a crew leader at Philmont, and return to Philmont with the OA trail crew, be a five time NYLT staffer and SPL, staff at NLS, have a national responsibility with the OA, be an A student, be president of two major clubs in school, be in student government and the captain of a varsity sports team. But nobody thought he was too young for any of this. He is in his first year of college now and people think he is older and thought he should be a senior by now.

    I was an advancement coordinator with a troop that had well over 100 Eagles in its 90+ history. I carried seventeen Eagle applications into the Council office in three years time. Some of those Eagles were exceptional, some average, most over 17 years old never having enough time to sew on the patch before they were eighteen. There were also some that took shortcuts, forgot what they learned faster than they learned and some that trouble me. Some of these young men continue to be exceptional everywhere they go. Others still go for the shortcuts. But in the end they all are different and few, very few are 13 or 14.
    I am so sick and tired of this subject but it wont go away. As a district committee member I have leaders approach me saying, “we have to stop these 13 year old Eagles” I say stop them from doing what? Then I say name one and they can’t.

  163. I would like to enter into the conversation on the Eagle Scout. There are also some boys out there that are earning or should be earning the Eagle Scout but because of their special needs they will never be as mature as a typical child. And the special need boys can’t remember everything along the way especially if the skills are not used on a regular basis like knot tying or tent set-up. Also most of the time you have to get the boys interested in Eagle before the driver’s license or they will never earn it once they drive. I agree each boy is different but some 17 year old special needs boys act as a 13 year old and will never mature to 17 until they are 25 which is too late to earn the Eagle unless the leader is willing to sign the papers allowing them to go longer than 18 which most leaders will not do.

  164. I’ve always felt that there should be a minimum age to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout. An Eagle Scout is a proven responsible leader and one has to develop these traits and swiftly completing the requirements just doesn’t give the young man the time it takes to evolve into a true responsible leader!!! My personal view is that a young man must be at least 16 and has proven that he can and will like his everyday life by the oath and law, I’ll go as far as including The Outdoor Code. These are just my views, but I think the ranks of Star, Life and Eagle requirements should be changed to incorporate the needed steps to ensure it produces the best of the best when the Eagle rank is presented!
    Kerry Jones, Sr. Eagle Class of ’84

  165. I think that its stupid that this is even under debate. I got my Eagle when I was 12 and was completely self motivated. I did the work. I sat the 20 or so hours doing paperwork. I led a project in 100°F heat for 9 hours. I am no less qualified for it than someone who wasted time being inactive for a few years and had to barely squeeze in the paperwork and project. I am still involved in scouting and am trying to get all of the merit badges.

  166. I agree 12 or 13 is a young age for an Eagle Scout simply because some Kids are not mature enough to really get into a leadership position. They feel uncomfortable leading others Scouts that maybe older, more outspoken and face it not very forgiving. For example we had a very smart young Arrow of Light Scout that Satisfied Eagle
    Requirements before he turned 13. He absolutely did not want any position of responsibility with decision making over other kids attached.
    After getting his Eagle Rank he quit Boy Scouts. I am glad he learned as much as he could before he left, it will help him along the way.
    He was just not mature enough to be an effective leader and making him wait 1 or 2 years would not have been good for him.
    The older kids that are 16 and 17 having made Life Scout around 14 and 15 are not finishing their Eagle Requirements. They have fallen victim
    To the “Fumes”. Perfume and Gasoline fumes have given them other distractions that only their Momma can break …..if she is strong enough.
    A lot of these kids will age out before they reach Eagle in our Troop.
    So I would rather see them reach their last rank and possibly learn enough to help someone, maybe even save a life at 13 than try to compete
    With all the distractions they relish from 14 to 18.
    Most I think will not stay and participate.

  167. The other measure I think is comical is using a scout’s school grade as a marker for entry into an activity. You can skip a grade or be left back. producing three or more different ages depending on when in the year someone is born or what the admissions policy of the school. There are several Eagle related camping programs in my council. One is an aquatics week including the availability of swimming and lifesaving. You had to be twelve or finished with the sixth grade. My son was older than a scout who was able to go because our son had not finished the sixth grade because his school does not allow 4yr olds in their Kindergarten. I was told by the ASM to rant and rave to get our son into the program. I would not. It is not right, fair or in the scouting spirit.

  168. I’d say it depends on the Scout. I have met kids that have been pumped through Eagle Mills that are certainly not qualified at 13, I have met 13 year olds that would knock your socks off with their qualifications. I’ve met 17 year olds that seemed to young or too inexperienced to have earned the rank.

  169. I was one of those under-the-wire Eagle Scouts, completing my project just weeks prior to my 18th birthday, and getting boarded a few months later. I was pinned an Eagle Scout as a freshman in college. That being said, I do believe that it depends on the individual. As a 17 year old Scout, I understood the importance of this honor, and it went on to help me earn a ROTC scholarship and vital in my 28 year military career. I also felt committed to give back to Scouting and have served in numerous positions to include Scoutmaster, Asst. Scoutmaster and Cubmaster. I used to believe that 14 might be too young, but I recently met such a boy and he’s one of the most squared away Scouts I’ve ever met. This is, however, due in large part to his father who has instilled many of the values I think are vital to an Eagle Scout. The problem today is that in too many instances, boys are rushed through the process. Many of the adults running units are not Eagles themselves and it’s my opinion they don’t understand the importance. In some cases, I’ve seen troop leaders treat Eagle Scout like any other rank. Also, many of today’s youth feel “entitled” to the award. Another factor is, in my opinion, that too many of today’s adult leaders put too much emphasis on “boy led” and allow key tasks to be taught by boys rather than adults. In some of these instances, the boys do not teach the critical skills at the level they deserve to be taught. This past summer, two of our Scouts were taking the Wilderness Survival merit badge at camp, and the two instructors were 14 year-olds, but instead of properly supervising the boys in the construction their shelters, the two instructors were tucked away behind a tree playing video games. This is what we come to when adults rely too much on “boy led”. I still believe that to get the award at an older age (15 or 16) might be ideal in that they have the maturity and also the longevity to stick around and pass their experiences on to the younger scouts. But times have changed, and boys at this age are also up against what I call the “cool” factor, where being in Scouts is not considered cool by peers and also competing interests such as sports, academics, and girl friends may interfere. In the end, as others have stated, it comes down to the individual, and to the boy’s troop leadership that the Scout properly earns the award and understands the importance of it. Some may be ready for this honor at 13, and some may not. It is up to us as adult leaders to try and maintain the standards and insure that only those worthy of the award get it. As the saying goes, “never given, always earned”.

  170. In my personal opinion, earning Eagle Scout at either 13 or 14 is okay. Yes, some many question about these young Eagle Scout’s maturity or leadership position, yet many of these young men worked hard to earn this rank. In some troops, a younger individual has to work harder to earn some of these merit badges. Some people are also said that these young Eagle’s are handed Eagle, and yes In some cases this is true. The same can be said for young men about to turn 18. In the troop I was in, there was a 14 year old and a 17 year old who both were close to earning Eagle Scout. The younger man was extremely active in every aspect of the troop, yet the older Scout never attended a single meeting. Yes, both men did receive their Eagle Scout. One worked towards the rank, yet the other was handed Eagle in a basket. Sometimes the older individuals are the ones who are handed Eagle because time is running out for them to earn this award. Unfortunately, the young man became less active a few years later and I can understand why. Many of the other individuals in troop became jealous and tried to bully this hard worker whenever they could and treated this scout with the upmost disrespect. The sad part about the bullies were that some were the scouts and some were the adult leaders in that troop.

  171. Each individual is unique and different. I became an Eagle at 14 1/2 and stayed involved in Scouting through college. I had a hiatus after college and started up again when my son became a tiger cub in about 1997. I am still active today.

    I’m not certain what too young is. I now am a member of the District Advancement Committee and recently reviewed an Eagle Scout project for a 13 year old Life Scout. Part of what he needed to do relied on skills he SHOULD have learned in earning Communications MB. He hadn’t a clue. Hunch is mom and/or dad are driving the process and making sure he “earns” his MBs but is not too concerned if he “learned” his MBs.

    It’s not a race, it’s a journey. I still have my Scout skills. I know how to tie the knots my SM taught me and when to use them; I know how to handle a knife and axe and start a fire with one match. I can identify trees and can use a map and compass. I know how to treat an injury and what side of a podium the US Flag is placed. I know how to camp and be safe and dry.

    We need to keep in mind that you don’t earn Eagle Scout you BECOME an Eagle Scout.

  172. My son earned his Eagle in September this year. He actually finished the project while he was 13, but filling out the paperwork and contacting all those involved for signatures and approvals takes time.

    I am very proud of my son and I have to say that I did very minimal amount of work towards his scouting program. It was the leadership in scouts from his mentors that he learned most of his skills.

    I believe that the Scout Masters have a lot to do with how the boys progress. If the troops are well organized, have scheduled and PLANNED meetings, the boys will learn.

    If a boy has passed his Eagle requirements without the understanding of the Oath and Law, that is not necessarily all his fault. The blame falls back on the committee members that signs off his merit badges and not drilling him about all that went into the badge work. The blame falls back on the Scout Master, Assistant Scout Master, and Troop Leaders for making sure that the child is understanding the importance of Scouting and why.

    I am not saying that the boy does not have any blame, because he does too. I am just saying that if his leadership isn’t working with the boys and teaching them values, he can only learn what is being taught.

    We come from a very strong scouting community and 9 out of 10 boys that participate in the program becomes an Eagle, but they have to prove what they learn every time they go camping or hiking. The leaders only supervise and the boys have to put up their tents, start the fires, cook the meals, pack up the camp and leave no trace at the end of the trip.

    Scouting is a journey and you get out of it what you put into it.

  173. So I was blessed to achieve my eagle 2 years ago at the age of 17 (court of honor was well after my 18th birthday) like a month before my 18th Birthday. To this day my apartment in College has my eagle awards on my night stand and I have a variety of things framed back home. I was in a great place for ME. That being said I have a lot of friends who got their Eagle at a very young age and a lot that got it closer to when I got mine.

    I was lucky to have parents that didn’t really think Scouting was worth it until They sat in my Eagle Court of Honor and came to realize the impact it had on me as a young man and the impact I had the opportunity to have on others. So they were not involved at all woth the Troop and to be honest it forced me to get Eagle done all on my own accord. Others will tell you to get it done and some will push you but parents are a huge factor in that. Truth is you will always push your own kids harder cause you know what’s happening with them! And yes I had Troop Mom’s and Dad (friends whose parents I got close with in the process) but again they don’t push like your parents would.

    On the other hand when I worked at my first Summer Camp I worked as a CIT (Counselor in Training) at first. And one of my co CIT’s was an Eagle at the Mere age of 14. Quite the inpressive feat. He had 80 some Merit Badges and did end up completing them all before he turned 18 but something was off. He definitely was a great guy, lived by the Scout Oath and Law and of course he was always prepared but he hadn’t truly developed the skills to be an Eagle in my opinion. One of the nights he was asked to light a fire (on a dry, dry day) and he couldn’t. It took him an hour and a half and a couple other CIT’s to start a fire. As an Eagle scout I feel you represent more than just the Scouth Oath, Law, Motto, and outdoor Code. You represent some of the most achieved young men in the world who can be looked to for anything. By no means am I bragging about the achievement. But often when I meet an Eagle scout my evaluation goes to whether I can rely on this person for anything and if in a pinch can they figure it out with me instead of for me. A person that not only completed requirements but learned close to 100 tabgible skills just for rank requirements even before Merit Badges. No one knows it all. But everyone who wears an Eagle badge should have LEARNED not just gotten the requirements done. There are plenty of people who can do it at a young age. I just feel that most of the people that do either have not truly learned, have not truly matured, or their parents were overly involved. But again like every Eagle Scout out there every boy is different and it’s very case by case

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