Eagle Scout says rank ‘more of a launchpad than a final destination’

Ever heard of a Scout “Eagling out”? That’s the unofficial term for a young man earning Boy Scouting’s highest rank and leaving the program shortly after.

Well, that idea’s lost on newly minted Eagle Scout Andrew Arnold from Monterey, Calif. Not only is he planning to stay involved in Scouting after his Eagle Scout Court of Honor last month, he also sees the Eagle journey as a process that will “flow on indefinitely past Eagle and even past the age of 18.”

Andrew, a member of Troop 43 in Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council, shared his view of the journey to the Scouting’s summit — and beyond — in a speech at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor in August. Based on this speech, you’ll see Andrew has wisdom beyond his years and has a bright future in writing, public speaking, law, politics or pretty much anywhere he wants to go.

A Scouter in his troop, Mike Djubasak, said I could share Andrew’s speech with you. Take a look:

Despite what the presence of ranks may lead one to believe, the Boy Scout’s career is certainly not a stratified process that is undertaken in large blocks: it is a gradual, sloping one that never really plateaus. Ranks may represent static, concrete tiers of growth, but they are simply markers, data points that attempt to illustrate the curve of maturation that the Scout undergoes.

So why does it all end with Eagle?

It doesn’t. Well, the ranks do, though palms offer further quarry for the ambitious and prolific Scout, but the process doesn’t. That slow, gradual process continues to flow on indefinitely past Eagle and even past the age of 18, without nominal ranks to mark the progress.

Eagle Rank simply represents the point by which the Scout has proven that he is not only a leader, but that he has particular ambitions and goals that he is willing to pursue, with the leadership he has developed proving to be a vital asset towards these ends. What separates the Eagle Rank from those of Star and Life, besides the more rigorous Board of Review, is that Eagle requires that the Scout must complete a service project that he decides upon and fleshes out in complete detail, necessitating resourcefulness, foresight, and creativity.

This requirement is unique in its asking for the Scout to elect a cause that he deems important and in the level of problem-solving that it demands. Just as achieving First Class reveals that the Scout has acquired a sufficient repertoire of Scouting basics, and just as the preceding ranks of Star and Life mark the growth of the Scout as a leader who has seen both failure and success, improving from each, Eagle Scout Rank shows that the Scout has become an individual who not only leads others, but one who can lead himself towards a goal that he has selected while leading others.

This is true leadership: autonomous and passionate. If the Scout’s goal is noble, then others will follow his leadership, for he has the knowledge, skill, and vision to achieve success.

Ranks are important in their ability to roughly show what talents and abilities the Scout has honed up to that point. Yet, there is vast knowledge beyond what is required to achieve First Class, and perfect leadership and foresight, being naturally impossible to acquire, will always remain beckoning goals on the horizon.

The ranks reveal clearly what may be expected of the Scout, but they certainly aren’t endpoints: a true Scout will exceed the expectations of the rank, even those of Eagle, and continue to grow and learn indefinitely. In this way, Eagle is more of a launchpad than a final destination: with the skills that the Scout has proven, the true destination could reside anywhere he chooses.

Um, yeah. What he said. Well done, Andrew!

About Bryan Wendell 3269 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.