Tuesday Talkback: What are your thoughts on 12-year-old Eagle Scouts?

Tuesday-TalkbackA select few very motivated boys are now earning the Eagle Scout Award before they can (officially) see a PG-13 movie.

Yes, the latest members of the “youngest Eagle Scouts ever” club are 12 years old.

First, the facts. It is, technically, possible to earn Eagle at 12. To join Boy Scouts, you must be a boy who is 11 years old, or one who has completed the fifth grade or earned the Arrow of Light Award and is at least 10 years old.

Reaching First Class comes with no time limit requirements. But once there, a boy must be active four months as a First Class Scout to earn Star, six months as a Star Scout to earn Life and six months as a Life Scout to earn Eagle. Add those numbers together and you get 16 months, or the minimum length of time from joining Boy Scouts to earning Scouting’s highest rank.

Let’s say we have a 10-year-old boy who earns the Arrow of Light and joins Boy Scouts. It’s quite possible he could complete all the requirements for Eagle Scout before he becomes a teenager.

So it’s possible, but should we encourage it?

I asked a similar question more than two years ago, and that post has now generated 190 comments from Scouters like you.

It’s time to have the discussion again. So for today’s Tuesday Talkback, tell me: What are your thoughts on 12-year-old Eagle Scouts? Leave a comment below.

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  1. Although they meet the letter of the requirements, they haven’t met the spirit. I don’t know any 10 year olds that are ready to be active leaders in a Troop. They really haven’t become a true leader. Our Troop encourages the boys to earn their Eagle before they turn 16 (and get their driver’s license and we lose them to all the other activities) but we’d push back on someone being 12 and earning Eagle.

    • True – by requirements it might be possible, but what kind of life does the boy have? It isn’t just the rank requirements but the merit badges that go with the rank qualifications. You’re telling me that a boy is making the rank requirements, the 90 days requirements on some of the Eagle required merit badges, in addition to earning all the merit badges needed for rank requirements, going to school and having a family life? I do not believe so. Between maturity levels, the spirit of scouting, the true meaning of scouting, I see it as a dis-service if the adults in his life allow it. He’s missed the entire point of the program. I am not for it at all. While he may have earned the rank what on earth has he learned – how to hurry up and finish something without smelling the roses along the way? Shame on the adults who have allowed it.

        • I think a boy 12yrs old is just to young to make Eagle. In our troop and I’m sure in others too, we have Life Scouts that can’t or don’t even roll up a sleeping bag correctly or put know how to put a tent back in its original bag every camping trip. And earning Merit Badges @ Summer Camps too is an issue. MB’s that should take a certain amount of time are done and completed in 5 days. Thats not right! MB Universaties and MB Week siminars are also included in this. There’s a lot of “give me’s” out there and its wrong!! The Scout hasn’t earned it it was just given to him a lot of the times.

        • I earned mine whenI was 12, because I studied and was disciplined , it really helped me later in life ,,

        • Honestly, if a scout is determined enough, and he really wants it for the right reasons, then I see no problem with allowing him to earn Eagle at 12. Honestly, it gives him more time to just enjoy all that the program has to offer without the added pressure of advancement.

    • My first question would be, “Who are the Scoutmasters of these troops?” In my experience, the parents of these boys are generally troop leaders of these troops, and will have the Scout read the handbook in front of them then repeat back what they just read and sign off the achievement as being “completed”. Did they really learn anything? I am proud to say, our Scoutmaster is the complete opposite. He makes sure the boys study, plan and execute satisfactorily for every achievement. And the Scoutmaster is responsible for handing out Bluecards for Merit Badges, I cannot see any conscientious Scoutmaster handing out a “stack of bluecards” so a 12 year old scout can earn 61 Merit badges in 2 years. Something is definitely wrong here.
      Also I am currently watching my son go through this process now, and even though his goal was to have his Eagle by 16, it did not happen. This was not due to any fault on his part, but from the time he completed his Eagle project, documents sent for all the reviews and received back from National took approximately 8 months. I would like to know what their Eagle projects were, and how much “help” they received from their parents, and what they did to expedite this process. Is a 12 year old’s Eagle project evaluated under the same scrutiny that a 17 or 18 year old’s would be? My son was put through some rigorous question and answer periods from the Troop Committee to help him have the best project he could. This experience was invaluable in teaching him life skills.
      So, even though they have all the boxes checked, in my opinion, they haven’t put in the blood, sweat and tears that other scouts have. Learning, practicing, doing then teaching others is a big part of the Scouting experience. Not much room left for these when you are busy checking off boxes.

      • I think the more important question besides claiming that a twelve year old is not experienced enough to deserve the Eagle rank is: Does this individual commit to living out the Scout oath and law in his life? Because regardless of how small or new you are, you can still find a way to make a difference in other people’s lives. And that’s the vision of the BSA, to form good young men who make the world a better place.

        • How does the average 12 year old boy learn to live the scout oath and the scout law in their every day lives if they’ve only been in scouting for a year? We are not giving young men time to develop, to learn from life experiences, to make mistakes, fail, learn lessons from those failures and apply those lessons to life when we allow them to achieve the highest rank at such a young age.

    • Questions about leadership and maturity should be directed to the adult Troop leaders and not the Eagle Scout. Its a huge waste of talent and presents an unfortunate example of poor judgement when the adult leaders aren’t ready for young Eagles to become active leaders in their own Troops. Eagle Scouts deserve much better than having their spirits quashed by untrained adult leaders who want to believe the Troop belongs to them and other parents who write the checks. Stand with those Eagles as equals, and continue offering the consultative guidance you’re supposed to provide. Let them lead their Troop like the most enthusiastic new ASMs you’ve ever seen. Only then can your Troop environment appropriately reward all your Eagles, regardless of their age at date of Eagle rank, with the continued leadership development they deserve.

      • Wow, can’t belive some of these comments. I finished the requirements for my eagle at age 12. But didn’t get until I was 13. That was my goal. I hated the fact that a few misguided leaders tried to hold me back, due my age. Never the less I’m now 58 and all those lessons I learned as a young man have served me well in life. You can’t let a bunch of weak control freaks steal your dreams and many will try. Be prepared.

        • Jim, it is unfair to categorize everyone who doesn’t agree with the policy of allowing 12 year old Eagle Scouts as “a bunch of weak control freaks” who are trying to “steal” a young scout’s dreams. It certainly does not live up to the standard of being kind. There are valid arguments on both sides of this issue. One side values the goal: Eagle Scout. The other side values the journey to the goal. Congratulations on reaching the rank of Eagle at a young age. Maybe you were an excellent young Eagle. I cannot say that, that is always the case. These are decisions that are made on a case-by-case. I wish that Scoutmasters who have valid reasons for not wanting to approve (through the Scoutmaster conference) a young scout for Eagle would get the support they need. It would, IMHO, make for an a better class of Eagle Scouts.

        • Eagles are meant to soar, not to be stifled. Good Leadership is about helping everyone achieve their goals, not holding them back.

        • Well, if we are going for banalities, remember that a bird that leaves the nest before it is ready to fly will fall to the ground and die. And that is what some people are trying to prevent. I will bow out and leave the last word to you.

        • “Weak control freaks” might be harsh, but this is not a matter of opinion (which is why I think it is a linkbait article).

          BSA policy allows 12 year old Eagle Scouts. Period. A Scoutmaster can follow that policy, or they can make up their own rules violate the policy. If you can’t follow the policy, get out of the BSA.

    • While I think 12 is too young I will say that not all boys are the same. You can tell a difference in the boys that are a scout with desire and boys who are scouts for the fun, activities and socialNess of the group. Just complete lung merit badge requirements doesn’t cut it for eagle. Showing that you are ready to lead, and show the scout waus is also important. Eagle should be shown by scout as earned and carried through his life not parents. Good leaders and boards will teach that to the boys no matter what their age…..some boys mature in showing that faster than others as well as being more capable of leading younger. Some takes a little longer and some are right on target.

    • Honestly, if they meet the requirements and pass their board of review I have no qualms with it. The board of review is the double check to ensure that the Scout meets the requirements both to the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. I am confident if the board earnestly conducts their review holding to the high standards of Scouting, and finds the scout worthy and deserving, it doesn’t matter how old he is.

    • I agree that there aren’t many younger scouts that fully comprehend the significance of the Eagle, but be careful about encouraging them to wait, you may be setting some up to age out before earning their Eagle. Please remember that some select few young men are simply driven to succeed. I believe we as adults have the duty to remind the scout to enjoy the activities and to work at mastering the skills, instead of learning them for the moment to get checked off.
      My son is one of those young men who is driven to succeed not only in scouts, but in school as well. Scouting is what keeps my son well rounded. His fellow scouts have always looked to him for direction. He will be able to go to Philmont the same year he graduates from high school and he will still have to wait a few months before he is able to obtain his drivers license. It is children like this that really benefit from the diversity in the scouting program.

    • My son earned his Eagle at age 12.5 with 51 merit badges, he turned 12 at NYLT. By this point he was a member of Order of the Arrow. He was the second of 7 in our small Troop of 12 boys, from a very small town and school. All were hard workers, and were driven by the others success.
      You are ignorant and small minded if you think all 12 year olds are too young.
      My son took Tae Kwon Do from the age of 5, and earned his first of 2 Black Belts at 10. He has a 3rd Dan in Youn Wha Ryu, and 2nd Dan in TKD. At 13 he earned Brotherhood in OA, on his 14th birthday at the 2013 National Jamboree, he completed the SEAL challenge. At 14&15 he was Chapter Chief in OA for our District for 2 terms. At 15 he received his VIGIL Honor, as one of the youngest ever in the 2nd largest Lodge in the nation. At 16 he was Elected Lodge Second Vice-Chief for Shawnee Lodge. Now, at 17 he has been nominated to run for Lodge 1st Vice-Chief. He now has 87 Merit Badges, and would not accept one given to him.
      Your job as adult leaders is to help the youth achieve, not hold them back! You can not, add or subtract requirements EVER. We are here to serve the youth, period.
      By the way, I was 14 and my brother 13 when we earned ours, in 1984 and 1973.

  2. I believe that 12 years old is really a bit young to understand all of the concepts, and to really be able to lead a group of Scouts and Adults in planning, doing and completing an Eagle service Project. 16 months is just too short.

  3. How could we stop it? If a boy does the requirements, we can’t prevent them or add other requirements before they become Eagles. I think troops need to work with boys individually to keep them active and involved and take what thy learned to continue working with other boys.

    • What if the rank requirements were changed from time in rank, to minimum ages for the ranks? This would strictly force them to be a certain age and not prevent advancement. This would also allow an older boy entering scouts to potentially advance faster to catch up.

    • they are too immature at that age; maybe if it is a small troop and he has been placed in a leadership role and excelled it might be possible; But not the Norm

    • Beth…..good adult leadership is essential. My experience when makes Eagle Scout he eventually loses interest in scouting and doesn’t return back to scouting. My question what about the SM responsiliy to execute his duties as SM. The SM judgement is very subjective and especially evaluating leadership abilities. Most 12 year olds do not have the maturity to become Eagle Scout. The rank of Eagle Scout is very prestigious in Scouting let’s downgrade because some parents want their son to be the youngest Eagle Scout. Some SM and TCC are not taking their responsibility as adult leaders very seriously.

  4. I do not think that there are too many 12 year olds that are mature enough to fully get the point of most of the Eagle required merit badges. This is not supposed to be a “do it and get over it” learning system. We are here to teach life skills and help mold these boys into responsible leaders.

  5. Not sure I have ever met a 12 year old that could demonstrate how to be a good leader so it would be difficult to run and Eagle Project.

    To be honest I would also wonder about his comprehension of the basic scout skills that are part of getting to First Class. Let alone his thoughts towards life goals and his path forward once Eagle is complete.

    At that age has he simply earned Eagle or truly become and Eagle Scout?

      • You can say the same thing about a Scout who finishes his Eagle Scout right before his 18th birthday. You should not discourage a boy who is active in his Troop and meets the requirements. What does that say about Scouting? Follow the rules, complete the required work and wait until you’re (insert age here). And let’s be honest, we are talking about boys. Most still need to be reminded to brush their teeth and take a shower well after they’re 16 years old!

  6. Fine by me if the boy shows me his leadership and maturity level is there. Some kid’s that come from broken homes have more maturity and resource skills than some 16-18 year old’s i have seen.

  7. If they have done the work why should we discourage their efforts. I see so many procrastinate till they are almost 18 and people don’t seem to have a problem with that. I have more of a problem with that than I do a 12 year old who knows what they want.

  8. While I appreciate the tenacity of a young Scout taking on the Eagle commitment so early, I would have to ask myself what his rush is? It will be over a year before he may participate in a high adventure, and he could easily burn out on Scouting before he has a chance to really experience it. It’s been said often that the trail to Eagle is a journey, not a destination. I would get the feeling there are other influences determining his Scouting experience, not himself.

    • Why is it over? Eagle Scout is not the end. Their are palms and more merit badges. Not to mention NYLT, camp staffing and high adventure. Run a good program and will not lose boys just because hey earned Eagle.

      • Life’s trail is indeed a journey and we do not know how bright each young man’s flame will burn, or for how long. I do know that if he has the desire, I should do what I can to aid him. If I discourage a boy because I think he is too young, I may lose him. I knew a young man like this: he got his Eagle when he was 12, went on to earn every merit badge, received 20 eagle palms, loved Venturing, NYLT and more. Scouting was his launchpad. He is 19 now and making plans for Woodbadge.
        “You are expected to meet the requirements as they are stated—no more and no less.”

    • And he may burn out on Scouting before he reaches Eagle at 17. What’s the difference? You guys keep talking about earning Eagle as a journey, but your words are more like the Eagle rank is a final destination. The journey is not the rank, but the experience. I’ve got a son who earned his Eagle at 13. Was he young and immature? Yes. The project was huge, and his Scoutmaster said the project was worthy to be two, yet he pulled it off. He then spent the next four years enjoying the journey as an Eagle, focused not on requirements but on service, leadership, and growth. These were his goals, his desires, and his Scouting. Let the boys decide themselves. You can guide them, enable them, and facilitate their growth, but don’t impede them.

  9. Earning Eagle Scout at 12 years old is not a good thing. The Scout will have to race through accomplishing merit badges and performing leadership roles. I have seen this occur once. The main problem is one of maturity. Eagle Scout candidates that are 14-17 years old are more mature, will have a much broader experience, and generally handle themselves better than 12 year olds. Not a good idea. Thanks for the opportunity to comment.

      • This reply is coming from an Eagle Scout that truly earned every bit of the merit badges and awards that I received. First it must be stated that there is no “maturity” level for attaining Eagle Scout. That being said, I have many friends that have relied on my skills from scouts, and as a 12 year old boy , could you say that you would rely on him to take you on a high adventure hike? A twelve year old boy lacks the practice of the skills you pick up along the AWESOME journey to Eagle. Second thing I would like to reply on is that for the Parents and the Adults that guided a twelve year old boy to Eagle , you should be embarrassed!! At the age of twelve you cannot honestly state that if something happened on a climbing, whitewater, or hiking event you would be okay in letting that scout take control of your troop and try to guide other maybe older scouts!! BSA strives to have “boy lead troops” with adult guidance !! I have personally seen many scouts achieve Eagle Scout while in their teens 14-17, and I would gladly allow them to guide more of our older and younger scouts . Additionally I agree that scouts achieve things at different rates and I support them no matter what . In conclusion, attaining Eagle Scout was such a mind blowing, fun, and educational road that a twelve year old boy really couldn’t have enjoyed or participated in yet!!! I feel like my Eagle Scout means less!!

  10. Yes it is possible but what are they really learning. It is like anything else you prepare for.if you move to fast you lose prospective about the meaning.

    We must help these boys to grow at a steady pace so they achieve thirty real potential. If they become a eagle to fast then all you have is a boy with a award and no leadership quality’s.

  11. I’m going to predict up front how this discussion is going to go:
    First there is Group A who will say this is too young, they are too immature, and it shouldn’t happen, flat out, no exceptions.
    Group B will be a smaller and say every boy should be taken on his own merit and although it might be okay for some, in general it should be discouraged.
    Group C, a pre-judging group, will say in all cases it’s the parents doing this, not the Scout. No kid that young would want to do it that fast.
    And Group F, (just 1 or 2 of you) will come down hard on someone for earning it young or having a son who earned it young without knowing or appreciating their full story.

    Now that we’ve got this standard banter out of the way, let’s have a good discussion on how to really assess a boy.
    What goes into a good Eagle Board of review?
    Why would it be okay for some boys and not others.
    Who can make a decision to allow a boy to move this fast: the parent, SM, Troop Committee? Can you hold a boy back?
    Should Star and Life Scouts have more rigorous reviews to see if their leadership skills are there?
    Is receiving an Eagle all paper requirements? Or is there something more to it?

    And my last question, just how wide spread is this “problem”? One, maybe 2 boys (if any) in a Council every year?

    • this is the answer to the problem: Star and Life Scout candidates should have more rigorous SM Conferences to see if their leadership skills are there. The BOR should then confirm that it agrees with the SM’s positive recommendation.

      • When the scout successfully leads his Eagle Scout Service Project to completion, he has fulfilled all the leadership requirements for Eagle.

        Also curious as to why you consider 12 year old eagle scouts to be a “problem”…

        • Actually, on top of his Eagle project, he must serve in a leadership position for 6 months. So, technically, leading his Eagle project to completion is not a fulfillment of the leadership responsibilities.

        • The Eagle Scout Service Project has nothing to do with a Leadership position. Here’s what the project is: While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community.

      • If a Scoutmaster is using the conference as an opportunity for the Scout to “prove” anything, he needs to be retrained.

        The fact that “leadership” is only required for the project itself notwithstanding, exhibiting leadership is self evident and requires no explanation. A good Scoutmaster can spot a good leader a mile away.

    • Our son was was 13 when he truly achieved the rank. We had to leave the troop he had been in because the committee chair said she didn’t believe in eagles under 16 and wouldn’t budge for his review. He has stayed with his new troop for years now as a leader. He also continues to help the community in which he did his eagle project which is in another state. I am so proud of my now 16 year old. He also is in Sea Scouts and is a leader on the ship. Age is not the only measure of maturity.

  12. I don’t see the benefit to the boy, nor have I ever met a boy that has earned his eagle that young that really shows the merits of being a scout.

    Rubber stamping the boys through for crazy parents doesn’t help the boy, and really what is the boy learning if he is an Eagle and doesn’t know the basics of scouting?

  13. Let’s face facts: Eagle Scout is a rank, it is apart of one of the 8 methods of Scouting: Advancement. Eagle Scout is not a state of mind or something a group of adults can nominate a boy for, it is an Advancement rank. It has requirements just like Tenderfoot, BSA policy states that no one can alter those requirements unless so stated in the Advancement Guidebook. No Scouter should ever discourage any youth member from doing something positive, advancement is a positive act. Scouters’ job one is to fulfill the mission of this organization, it is not to stifle a youth members development.

  14. I agreed it is possible in that time frame but I wonder if the youth has the leadership skills that the program encourages. I question whether a youth that young is truly benefiting from the program from that time forward. He has the abiility to earn eagle palms, but what advancement/goals does he embrace from this time forward.

    There has been discussions for decades “what do with a youth that earns his eagle before 16 and keep them engaged and interested?” At age 12, you now have 6 more years of “how do we keep the youth interested in the program?” before they leave unto the next achievement/activity outside scouting without the leadership skills that they could learn.

    I have a similar concern about the scout who earns 90% – 100% of all merit badges by the time they are 16.

    • There are amazing opportunities for growth beyond the troop setting. There is OA, NYLT, NAYLE, etc. In my experience, I see boys whose leadership has expanded into these roles only to come back to complete their eagle project as something smaller than what they have been doing.
      I love that boys with strong leadership skills and talent can earn their eagle and then continue to develop into extraordinary young men. And OA doesn’t limit them to only 6 more years if they earn their eagle at 12, they can go 8 more years before shifting into an adult role.

  15. On the flip side, my 9 year old Webelo is already thinking of what he can do for his Eagle project, when the time comes. Some boys are very mature and are ready for it, but I think the majority of boys are not ready at 12 years old.

    • My 7 year old Bear Scout is already planning his Eagle Project too! He’s talk to my older son’s SM if he can start getting blue cards to work on merit badges now, and has proclaimed he will get Eagle his first day in Boy Scouts and SPL in the first year. I love his enthusiasm even after I’ve pointed out that Eagle can’t happen in one day, nor can he work on Merit Badges yet. He assures me he will do it. 😉

  16. In my opinion no it shouldn’t be allowed unless the scout can fully demonstrate that he has 1. fully “learned” the basic Scout skills, 2. demonstrated leadership skills, 3. can express to other leaders things he has learned from merit badges. I realize this appears to be adding additional “requirements” for completion of the rank, but I would suggest that it is really a confirmation that a 12 year old has the maturity to understand all that has been “presented” to him and has the realization of what it means. I have 3 boys (1 star, 1 second class, 1 tenderfoot) and I can assure you that my boys are smart in their outdoor skills and have backpacked over 80 miles on the AT (50 miles in one stretch) but I wouldn’t say the younger two of them are mature enough at this point (11, 12, 15yrs) to fully understand and/or apply the information that is required of the rank.

    • When the scout successfully leads his Eagle Scout Service Project to completion, he has fulfilled all the leadership requirements for Eagle.

      And having a ” the realization of what it means” is not a requirement either.

      • Disagree. Re-read the requirements for Eagle. The “Project” is a completely different leadership experience, than the requirement to “hold a position of responsibility” within the Troop for 6 months, these positions are specifically listed. Boy Scouts does not allow “double-dipping”. Meaning a rank advancement requirement cannot fulfill another requirement such as for a merit badge or Eagle project.

    • The scout has proved his knowledge and leadership…he must prove his knowledge at each SM conference he has done since he was a Scout. He has had to prove his leadership at each SM conference since Star. As a check on his development and growth he has sat down for 6 board of reviews BEFORE his eagle review.
      So is the issue a 12 year old eagle…..or is the issue that some young Eagles should never have gotten through to this rank…thus an adult leader issue….

      And if he is truly a leader and ready…you can’t hold him back because you don’t know how to keep him interested for 6 more years. You will loose him at 12 by holding him back…. If that is a concern then perhaps again the program your troop runs and it’s adults should look to be improved.

      Every child Is different…..if you are truly thinking this is an issue then you should look at you SM conferences and BOR procedures and catch his immaturity or lack of leadership well before his eagle project and BOR.

      • I agree, you cant stop a born leader… Just like you couldn’t stop these fine young people achieve greatness: Michelle Wie, won the Women’s Amateur Public Links tournament at the age of 14. Balamurali Ambati, the youngest person to become a doctor at 17. Child prodigy, Ruth Elke Lawrence, youngest person ever to attend Oxford at 11 yrs old….

  17. I think taking a year to get to first class gives boys time to really solidify their scouting skills and get enough activities in with his troop to make it meaningful. Then if they are that motivated to do the 4, 6, and 6 months…. by then they are at least 13. I think that should be the youngest Eagle age. My son is an intelligent, mature, motivated 12 yr old and is almost Star. He is enjoying the process. He plans to be Life shortly after his 13th birthday amd then take time to plan a meaningful project and such. They need to enjoy the journey, not make it a race to a “finish line”.

  18. A twelve year old has not been afforded the opportunity to explore and hone his skills when he is allowed to obtain his Eagle that young.
    My younger brother and I both earned Eagle at about seventeen and by then between the two of us we had been bullied, exprienced jealousy of being advanced and/or promoted over one of our peers. We both had the great exprience of going to the Sea Base with contingents from other councils and were thrusted into having to lead those boys we did not know.
    Being an Eagle equals being a leader and setting the example when the road is hard. Where has a twelve year old been challenged when you allow him to earn Eagle at that early age?

    • It’s not a matter of a scout being “allowed” to become an Eagle at age 12, but a matter of him completing all the requirements. And when the requirements are met, he’s an Eagle, regardless of age.

  19. I guess my question would be this Bryan. How many Eagle Required mb Counselors did the boy go to outside of the Troop? Is the boy really that motivated is their some driving force behind him that is more motivated. I know of 2 12 year old Eagle Scouts. Both have dad’s that are their Scoutmasters. Both cannot even look you in the face when they speak to you. I really question why anyone would really want to push their sons through that fast.

    I’m not saying that there aren’t 12 year olds that are mature enough or smart enough to handle the task. But they are a very select few and I have not met one yet.

    • A unit cannot require a boy to go outside the unit for a merit badge counselor. That’s adding to the rules. They can strongly encourage it, and can even suggest that failure to do so is in violation of the Scout Law (A Scout is Obedient) but it alone cannot be a standard for earning the rank. I would hope that a boy’s inability to have a conversation with an adult would give the Eagle Board of Review pause to consider whether he has adequately exercised leadership skills and to seek other evidence of that.

    • Some Troops “encourage” their Scouts to take all their Eagle MBs from Troop MBCs & there are even some that want their Scouts to do all their MBs with in troop MBCs, something that is against BSA policy.

      I found out that another Troop was doing CITW for several of their Scouts because the MBC assists me at times for another MB. While one of the ASMs signed off on my son’s Blue Card, he was not completely “happy” at doing so. His son who was the ASPL & now the PL even “advised” my son to wait until their in troop MBC does it prior to Troop meetings because he has the Scouts work on all 3 Citizenship MBs at the same time.

      Our Troop has a policy NOT to work on MBs at meetings or even campouts. If a Scout is working on a MB, the Scout can use troop activities to meet a requirement if it satisfies the MBC but the Troop SM/ASMs are not going out of the way to complete MB requirements.

      • Some troops have the resources to have Troop MBCs for a wide variety of MBs. There is nothing wrong with that, and no policy against it. There is no reason they should not encourage their boys to use their local resources. (If they were to require the boys to use their Troop MBCs, that could be against policy.)

        The only reason that I can see that possibly being a problem is if their Troop MBCs are not registered, not trained, or not requiring the boys to actually earn the MB.

        I am not aware of any BSA policy/guideline that suggests that MB work at troop meetings and/or campouts is a bad thing. Even if it were, having a MBC offer his services to a group that wants to come before troop meeting would not violate such a policy.

        • Concur with everything you said. I was just pointing out what some Troops do in the 1st paragraph & what our troop does in the 3rd paragraph. The one between just shows how our Troop pushes the Scout in a certain way. With over 130 MBs now, I do not see how any Troop could have in Troop MB Counselors for all of them. What would that Troop do if a Scout wanted to work on a MB where no Troop MBC was registered? Still, some Troops try to do only in Troop MBC only.

  20. While the 12 yr old may have the ability to meet the requirements, it is highly unlikely that the drive to do so comes from the Scout. There are, of course, rare exceptions. Scouting can be an incredible journey for a youth. Reaching the pinnacle of Eagle rank at 12 means that much of that journey has been traveled on a bullet train instead of on a hike with your fellow Scouts. I do not see value in that journey. So even if the Scout is driving, should he be? And to what end? Rushing towards the peak? How much higher is there to go? What is left for goals to keep him in Scouting? We do not expose Cubs to alot of the Boy Scout program elements until Webelos because we want them to have something to look forward to. Something to be excited about. The same applies here.

  21. When I was in scouts back in the mid to late 70’s, there was a time wait between earning Tenderfoot, 2nd Class and 1st Class. Maybe BSA should go back to that so the boys don’t rush through to 1st Class as they can now. I’ve seen boys get 1st class in 3 months after crossing over. These ranks are perhaps the most important to the boys as they are learning the skills that will make them a well rounded scout. Are they really learning these skills if they hurry through to 1st Class?

    • I think this is a good point. BSA wants Scouts to finish 1st class in one year, which should be do-able in one year for most Scouts. But, what is the scout learning and retaining in 3 months about all Tenderfoot, 2nd and 1st class requirements? Some kids get it, but part of leadership is helping others as well.
      I think requiring a Scout to be in the troop for a year before being considered, or perhaps starting the clock on the 4 months of leadership, is not out of the question. That would not keep a Scout from getting to Eagle before turning 13 and would ensure they work on basics for their first year.
      There really are some ambitious Boys, but if they demonstrate skills, selfless leadership, and self ambition, you should not stop them. Key is “self” and not heavily pushed by the parent(s).

  22. I do not think a 12 year old has the maturity necessary nor the Scouting experience to do a proper Eagle Project unless someone else is doing the lion share of they work they are supposed to do. I think it cheapens the award.

  23. Why should we put restrictions on an otherwise ambitious, determined Scout? Aren’t these the qualities that we look for in a Scout? We should celebrate his maturity, not tell him to sit down and wait for the rest of the boys. If he has reached this level, he has done so with the supervision of the Troop leadership.

      • I find it rather sad that folks are supportive of how little is required of Eagle and basically, that it has become SO easy to get that even a pre-pubescent can achieve it in as little as 19 months. I think its very sad in how little the Eagle rank has come to mean.

        • Kind of an odd statement considering that Eagle requirements have only become more stringent since 1911. Why would anyone think it “means less” if the challenge is greater now than it has ever been?

        • That’s easy Chet. Because it is significantly easier to get Eagle now than it was decades ago. There was once a time when a scout needed to demonstrate competence at a skill before they were awarded badges of merit. There was a time when a scout who earned the swimming MB needed to know how to swim. There was once a time when camping MB required fifty nights camped. I’ve seen a summer camp sign off on the camping MB when a scout didn’t even have twenty nights. There was a time when you not only needed to show you did something once, but that you were proficient at it. Not any more. Now everything is streamlined and made easier so a scout simply needs to show up at a class and he gets a merit badge. It wasn’t long ago that Environmental Science MB used to take a minimum of 30 days. Anyone care to make a bet that the cooking MB is going to be rewritten so it is easy to earn in 4 hours at a summer camp class?

        • I would say it isn’t “easier to earn Eagle” but technology has made it easier for a Scout to access what they need to obtain Eagle. A Scout can now readily find MB Counselors within Council, other Councils, organizations like Museums, etc; he can now find Service opportunities within close proximity to himself, find resources on earning MB, ranks, etc; and in a lot of times right from the phone in his hand. The rank is earning more merit badges, Cooking just added this year so that there is more to do to earn the rank, but at the same time technology makes earning the ranks “easier”. After all you can download a Family Life chore chart, or make one easy in Excel, find examples of Physical Fitness charts, other Scouts Eagle Projects, etc.

  24. Yes, the requirements don’t prevent and neither should the unit leaders. However, the leaders should also be rigorous in holding boys to the standards and making certain that the boys earned the badges and not the parents. I would never want to hold back a boy who made the most of his early Scouting years by telling him he wasn’t old enough. Better questions involve whether he (and his peers) believe he has adequately discharged his leadership duties, whether he is living out the Scout Oath and Scout Law, and is seeking daily to keep himself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight. These are difficult standards for most 12-year olds to meet, but by no means impossible. If they are meeting them and serving ably as leaders in their units, then they should not be denied no matter how young they are.

    • Regarding leadership duties, when the scout successfully leads his Eagle Scout Service Project to completion, he has met all the leadership requirements for the Eagle rank.

      • Jack -you say this over and over. …but he has had to show leadership for the previous 16 months since he turned star. To allow a boy who is not leading at Star or Life to skip through and then turn him away at eagle is WRONG….
        His lack of leadership should have been caught early and his development Mentored by his SM…..

  25. It depends on the Scout, but on the whole, 12 is too young. Or 13. And I say that as the dad of a 13-year-old Life Scout who could potentially earn Eagle by his 14th birthday. Eagle isn’t just a rank. It’s about demonstrating appropriate leadership skills. I look at the boys on our Troop, as well as other 12-13 year-olds that I know, most of them haven’t had the opportunity to develop those skills yet. They frequently think Leadership is about telling people what to do and punishing them if they don’t do it.

    Just my $0.02.

      • You keep saying this, but it’s not true. At Star, Life, *and* Eagle a scout must hold a leadership position. (or carry out a unit-leader assigned leadership project.) At twelve, very few boys are mature enough to lead a group of their fellow scouts. That’s where the maturity bit you keep asking about comes into play. If the troop just hands out leadership patches and doesn’t hold the boys accountable, I guess there’s no question about ability or maturity, but I don’t think that’s BSA’s intentions with this requirement, considering Star, Life, and Eagle each has a requirement that says “Be active in your unit” and one that says “Demonstrate Scout Spirit”. Yes, one or two boys will be mature enough to lead at twelve, and if they are, they should be allowed to lead on. But more than likely, the reality of such a situation is that the parents are behind the rapidity of advancement and probably participated much more than they should have in the Eagle project. That’s what shouldn’t be allowed to happen. The *scout* is supposed to be earning the rank, not his dad (or mom).

        • Just because you wear the patch,it doesn’t mean you should get credit for the position. That should be determined at the SMC of whether the boy fulfilled his position responsibility. Our SM is very good at doing that and always discusses it with the ASMS before hand for their opinions

  26. My son was into scouts, and ONLY scouts when he was that old. The only sports he played were towards his Merit Badges. He joined as a Tiger, and carried through with Eagle. HE LOVED being a Boy Scout. Upon joining the troop, his goal was to earn EVERY BSA merit Badge available, and although I NEVER thought it would happen, I supported his goal every step of the way! He did it,, he actually earned every one available while he was in scouts, but he completed his last REQUIRED (not all badges) at the age of 13 and his project. HOWEVER, I was not comfortable with him moving forward to becoming an Eagle Scout until I knew in my heart he was really ready,, he was only 13 and I felt he needed to mature a bit more to be able to prove what good leadership skills are about, so he earned his at age 14. After all, these Eagle Scouts are supposed to be a leading example to the other scouts. I just hope other parents/leaders look into that aspect for scouts this young before they allow them to move forward with that final step to attain Eagle Rank. I am not saying to hold them back until age 17, I am just saying, a parent and leader should not allow this to happen until they can honestly say during a board of review “yes, he is ready”

  27. While I am impressed by a kid who is that motivated, I agree with many on this board that getting the Eagle that young is kind of missing the point…and that they are far to young to truly enjoy and comprehend much of the joy of what they are learning as Scouts. Perhaps a “Proper Pacing Badge” is in order….

    • The flip side of this coin is the 17 years and 9 months old Scout who is frantically trying to pull together his Eagle project. I see a lot of them and in many cases they are not worthy of what a 17+ year old Scout should be able to accomplish.

      • agreed – I am tired of seeing 17 year olds rush in at the last minute to get the Eagle rank because mom/dad are forcing him to do it. Of course, these kids have been largely AWOL for many months, and have done very little in terms of leadership, mentoring of younger scouts, etc. But they get their Eagle b/c the BOR members would feel bad if they didn’t give it to him.

  28. My personal feelings is the boy has a lot of “Scout growing” to do. Some Scouts treat Eagle as the pinnacle, then move on to other things. I don’t think Eagle was meant to be the stopping point but rather as completing a challenge, then helping your Patrol or Troop-mates achieve Eagle.
    I don’t thin the leadership potential is there. I have know some pretty driven Scouts, but none that “I” would classify as an Eagle at age 12 and some at 13 or 14. I also think the experiences that the Scout receives as a Jr Leader, are what makes him an Eagle not just technically completing 21 MBs and a couple other requirements.
    I would hope their basic Scout Skills were tested along the trail and these are kids who could, say LEAD at Philmont, or Northern Tier, or any other High Adventure. Is High Adventure the test? NO. It’s an example what we all know. We know the challenges on the trail. Can he do it at 12? Not according to the requirements for going to Philmont!
    Yes I am quite aware of the exceptions!
    I just think we are making these kids grow up way too fast.

  29. An Eagle is a magnificent bird that soars high above all other birds. The rank of Eagle is also one that places a young man in a high plateau for the other young men of his troop, his family, his environment. It requires one to know one’s self. At 12 years old, I know of very few young men that really know themselves, their skills and abilities. Yes, there may be some exceptions but to gain the Eagle at age 12 and then to live up to the responsibilities that comes with attaining that rank at a later age (Age 16 when perfume and gasoline come into focus) is mind numbing. I’d say no to getting the Eagle at 12.

    • Awesome analogy, and one that has made me think of something. The Eagle soars above all other birds, but not all Eagles are able to soar that high, only the mature ones. But all Eagles start young, immature, and in much need of teaching and mentoring. So does the age of the young man earning Eagle really matter, or is it a matter of what we as the “old Eagle” do to teach and mentor the young one?

  30. It seems that the conventional wisdom is that the motivation is to be respected and encouraged, but the leadership could be lacking. I tend to agree with that. One of the reasons that I interview EVERY candidate whose resume includes “Eagle Scout” is that I know that individual has had challenging leadership opportunities and has shown the drive to achieve a difficult goal.

    I have no problem with a scout who truly demonstrates leadership and meets every qualification fully, but I fear that in some cases it’s the parents or troop leadership that is “motivated” to get a scout through the ranks. I hope that Eagle Boards of Review will apply the same rigor to approving a 12 year old as they do for a 14 or 15 year old.

    • Statistically, they will hardly ever need to use that “rigor” for 12 year old Eagle candidates. However, it will come in handy when an 18 year old candidate walks into the BOR and calmly explains that his parents have been the driving force behind his advancement for the past year. It gets interesting when the Scout admits he has been mostly MIA for unit events and really didnt do anything in his last position of responsibility….but his Scoutmaster signed off on it knowing the Scout was out of time.

      Imagine the hue and cry if boards applied “rigor” then.

  31. It’s hard to have a one size fits all answer. However, when achieving Eagle at such a young age, even 14, I think the boys miss some great experiences along the way. On paper it is possible to reach it at that age, by doing everything quickly and in the minimum time. However I think the journey is as important as the destination in this case and they have certainly missed some lifetime experiences that are usually along the journey.

    I will strongly say that if the boy has completed all of the requirements, he deserves the award, no matter how young. But it saddens me to see him miss the experiences along the trail.

    • It’s easy to have a one-size-fits-all answer, and you provided it at the end of your post: if the scout completes all the requirements, he becomes an Eagle scout.

      And the trail doesn’t end at Eagle!

  32. An Eagle Scout at the age of 13 myself, I would still have to agree with most of the replies on here about not getting the full Scouting experience by that age. However, I was extremely self-motivated and quickly went up in, not just the ranks, but also the leadership position. By the time I got my Eagle, I was already SPL of the troop. And now, at the ago of 20, I have gone beyond the troop and have served multiple terms as a district OA officer and currently serve as a Council Venturing officer, and I’ve served five summers on my council’s camp staff, all things of which have led to my receiving the Vigil Honor last year. While most of you are correct in saying that 12 year olds aren’t ready to receive Eagle, it is not always necessarily true; and I am living proof of that. Thank you.

  33. Just as a correction to the article there is a time requirement in getting to First Class. The Scout has a thirty day fitness requirement for Tenderfoot. The requirement to have three overnight camping activities also typically adds time. I have never hood of a troop that does ten activities including three overnights in the thirty days it takes to earn Tenderfoot.

    if the boy has the drive to earn all available Eagle Palms, wouldn’t they have to Eagle when they are twelve? It takes 60 months to earn to earn all of the palms. That means they have to be Eagle on their 13th birthday. As long as the palms are available in the same state they are today you can’t even talk about a minimum age to Eagle. How would you feel if someone told you that there is an award available that no one in Scouts can ever earn?

    • Our troop easily has ten activities every three months. But we never have a scout fly through the ranks as quickly as tenderfoot in the first 3 months they are part of the troop.

      • I can see 10 in three months, but not within the 30 days needed in Tenderfoot.

        We don’t pressure our boys to complete any requirement by any time. We actually prefer for them to get their first summer camp done before we start guiding them to Tenderfoot.

  34. While it may be possible, I think it doesn’t serve a scout well to rush thru a program and miss all the other opportunities that are available as he matures and can understand about serving other people, and really becoming a leader. Motivation to a singular goal is an aspect of Asperger’s Syndrome, but earning Eagle rank should not be just getting a ticket punched.

    I had a conversation like this when our troop came back from camp and this one scout didn’t have all these requirements signed off in his book – his dad was livid – that his son didn’t get a god ROI on his camp tuition – and I said that the point is not to just get a requirement signed off, the scout needs to know and understand the requirement, another scout, or an adult, may be depending on him in the woods somewhere – so he really needs to know.

    I find it hard to believe that a scout who rushes thru everything so quickly that he gets to an Eagle BOR by his 12th birthday would have mastered all the skills, and personally would not want to have to depend on that scout and his skills out in the wilderness.

    I am sure that there are those who may actually be capable, but I think they would be the exception, where in most instances it would be the parent who did most of the work, and honestly, I wouldn’t want to be in the woods dependent upon that parent either.

      • Cannot attend any of the High Adventure bases, yet
        Cannot attend NYLT, yet
        Cannot be a camp councilor or CIT,yet
        Cannot attend the National Jamboree, yet

        I will say most probably are not very well rounded scouts. Merit badge universities and paper chasing are their experiences.

        He will probably be gone before he is old enough to do any of the above.

        • Bob, earning Eagle at 12 doesnt PREVENT a Scout from going on to enjoy those things either. If a kid is so “ate up” with Scouting that he earns Eagle at 12, why in the world would he leave the program after he becomes one of it’s most revered members?

          Eagles under the age of 18 leave the program for one reason: they werent having fun to begin with. Doesnt matter if they are 12 or 17.

          BTW, I bet less than 10% of all Eagle Scouts have completed 1 item on your list above. I’d love to see stats that prove that bet wrong. Doesnt mean they arent great Scouts though.

        • Chet,
          I don’t have time to research this topic beyond the Eagles I know closely, but here is a small sampling of Eagles that disprove your 10% assertion.
          My Dad, my 2 brothers, myself, and my 2 sons. (I have uncles and nephews who are Eagles too, but don’t know all their other scouting history.)
          6 Eagles – all have been to a Jamboree – Dad in 1950s in Orange County California, both brothers in 1977 at Morain State Park Pennsylvania, myself and 2 sons in 2010 at Fort AP Hill Virginia.
          Only 1 has been to NYLT (unless you count my Woodbadge as NYLT for grownups.)
          None have been to a high-adventure base.
          None have been a camp councilor or CIT. (Both my sons were hired, but quit before the camp season started because of other issues that are not relevant to this discussion. I interviewed for the position but was not hired.)
          That is 100% of this small sampling of 6 Eagles.

          If you meant that they would have done these things before earning Eagle, then 4 of the 6 attended Jambo before earning Eagle, and one of the remaining 2 had been to NYLT prior to earning Eagle. That is 83%.

  35. As an Eagle Scout that earned his at the age of 15, I personally feel that 12 to young to be recognized as someone that has shown the drive, time management, and responsibility that goes with the Eagle Scout rank. However, it depends on the individual Scout. I have met some Scouts that bring their “A” game and ingest the Scouting program to its fullest and at the same time, I have seen where the parents are pushing the Scout to advance and they go through the motions get the rank and then quit the program.

    It I had it may way, there would be time in service requirements for every rank above Scout and the time would be progressive. Less than three years is seven merit badges per year (including the time when the Scout should be focused on Scout to First Class).

    Just my two knots …

    SM James

  36. If there is a truly outstanding (very) young man who has met the requirements, it would be terribly wrong to withhold the Eagle from him. A troop is made up of many different types. Some never make it to first class and drop out, and some get their Eagle days shy of their 18th birthday. On the other end is a very rare young bird. If he’s earned it, he should get it.

  37. Favorite quote from the original article..

    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.

    I didn’t earn Eagle. I have no room to judge anyone else. If they are motivated and do what they are required to do, then we have no room to judge them either. If you have a problem, take it up with the Eagle Board of review. That’s the way to handle this.

    And – as a unit committee chair, I know its always the parents that make things harder. Let the scouts be scouts.

    • By your argument, most of those who sit on an Eagle BOR have no business being there. Only Eagles should sit on that Board. Baden-Powell *himself* was not an Eagle, and yet, we hold him as an example. Saying that “you cannot judge if you’ve never been an Eagle” is ridiculous. That is why there are requirements and a set parameter that must be met.

      Using your argument, nobody may judge anybody on their job, unless they’ve done it. Don’t like Congress? You can’t judge, you’ve never been there. Don’t like the job the President is doing? You can’t judge, you’ve never been there. Don’t like criminals on the street? Police can’t judge, they’ve never been there….

      • Im sorry – I mean to say I can’t judge someone else’s drive and desire to be a Eagle scout. And, really, I am not in a position to say a 12 year old can or cannot be an Eagle. When I am on a BOR, then I will have a say in that.

        I’m glad you chose to be supportive instead of judgmental in your reply as well. Thanks!

  38. I find it interesting that while we live in a modern world, sensitive to all types of discrimination (including age) – we seem to be concerned about a person’s age (being too young). Assuming the scout has earned all of the requirements – why should his age be an issue? I’ve read the comments thus far, and they all speak to ‘leadership’ – would the scout be able to complete his project (or many of the other requirements for that matter) if he lacked leadership? The question should not be ‘is 12 too young’ – the question should be, are all Eagle Scouts held to the same standard? If this is the case – then age should not be an issue.

      • This is not true, If you look at the requirements each rank (star life and eagle) require a tenure (in either 4 or 6 months) in a leadership position. Now while I don’t agree with all the troop positions that qualify for this, it is a requirement. A patrol leader is one example of this requirement.

        • Scott, the requirements you are referring to are for scouts to perform in Positions of Responsibility, not leadership. So non-leadership positions like Bugler, Historian, and Librarian count just as much as PL, SPL, or JASM.

      • Jack – out of curiosity, are you involved in Scouting currently? If so, to what extent?

        You seem to be repeating the same information over and over again, without much conversation on the topic.

        For everyone’s sake – http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/star.aspx

        While your comment below, which I can’t respond to for some reason, does point out that the requirement states a ‘position of responsibility’, let’s be realistic – every one of those positions requires leadership in some form, and the requirement was built around that philosophy. If you want proof, look at a Scout Handbook from 10 years ago; you will see the same requirement except ‘leadership’ has been replaced by ‘responsibility’.

        Ask anyone who has truly benefited from Scouting what they liked most about their leaders. If you find anyone that says ‘my leader follows the requirements in the book by the letter regardless of circumstances and benefit to the Scout’, please tell me.

  39. At the age of 12 or even 14 the scout lacks the leadership experience needed. I think the motivation is great, but how long does the motivation last and if he Eagles that early what does he still have to motivate him? He has not even had the chance to experience all the great opportunities that Scouts have to offer. 15 1/2 to 16 years of age is more acceptable in my mind.

    • Hi Carla, He has:

      Other positions of responsibility.
      Order of the Arrow, (Brotherhood, and maybe Vigil)
      Other Eagle service projects
      Venturing with his sisters, girlfriends, and buddies who missed out on scouting in Jr. High.
      Leadership training.
      BSA Guard.
      Climbing Instructor.
      Junior NRA.
      Wilderness First Aid.
      The land, sea and sky!

      We scouters often are so wrong-headed. We think boys do service and master skills to make rank. It’s backward. Boys make rank because they love doing service and mastering skills.

    • Carla, what leadership experience are all 12, 13, and 14 year old scouts lacking?

      And why would a 12 year old Eagle scout not have a chance to experience all the great opportunities that Scouts have to offer?

  40. If the effort toward an early Eagle is driven by the BOY, then I would join in with enthusiasm. But if it is being driven by the PARENTS, they will have to find another Troop to march their boy through. I suspect the recent 12 year old Eagles had parents who did far too much of the work for the boy to feel that it was HIS accomplishment.

  41. Well, for starters, that 11 year old Life scout has to constantly prove to others that he deserved his rank!

    I personally, have no way of judging others from this side of the internet. For my part, I shut down any notion of “First Class: First Year” in our troop. We tried that strategy for a while, and it wasn’t getting any more boys to Eagle any sooner, and we had boys with terrible skills. When our new SM took over and was getting heat from our committee about not every boy advancing one rank per year, I could see the poor guy getting flustered. So, I spoke up and said “No, we will not demand any boy to advance one rank per year, nor will this troop ever pursue such a foolhardy strategy.” That was some years ago, and we’ve been having a lot of fun ever since.

    That committee member who brought up issue? All of her den made Eagle in their own sweet time.

    We do make simple demands. Only senior scouts (typically PL/SPL) can sign off on Tenderfoot to 1st Class skill requirements. Parents can only be a merit badge counselor for their own son a couple of times. A boy can be assigned to the same counselor for up to three badges.

    So, in our troop, if a 12 year old comes up for his Eagle, I know it will be because he is an enthusiastic young man who has served his troop and community well.

  42. I have to agree with Tom. Speeding through the ranks at the minimums leads me to believe in the pressures to finish so fast, something is missed. The enjoyments of the experiences. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around, it will pass you right up” –- Ferris Beuller. Savor what you earn along the way. That said, I hope he did enjoy his journey. If he earned it, then kudos to him, he deserves it.

  43. As a parent and scout leader of a scout not yet 13 but a Life Scout and working on his Eagle Project I’d have to say it depends on the scout. Is he truely learning the lessons of the required merit badges or just driving through them. Has he held a patrol leader position or are his leadership positions been ones while important not put him in charge of others. Most important is doing it so he can be done with scouts or so he can focus on helping younger scouts grow or yo challenge himself with other scouting adventures.

    • “Most important is doing it so he can be done with scouts”

      Yikes. Would you recommend any boy, but particularly a twelve-year-old, for an Eagle Scout Board of Review if he declared “be done with Scouts” as his motivation?

  44. I think 12 year old Eagle Scouts & their parents miss the point of Eagle. It’s not a race, but a journey that those Eagle Scouts miss out on. It’s not only the destination, but the journey to get there that builds the skills, leadership, and character of the Eagle. By racing through it, you miss the experiences that build that. I feel sorry for those Eagles they missed out on these!

  45. While technically able to earn it at such a young age I do not think it should be sought after. A certain amount of maturity needs to be involved to truly understand what it is they are striving towards. It isn’t the end result that matters it is the journey to get there that does and when you rush through it so quickly you miss the most important parts.

  46. I don’t care what age you are – there are almost no boys who ‘deserve’ the Eagle when they earn it. Boy’s brains don’t finish developing until they are in their mid-20s. The ability to have the gravitas to be a leader without others ‘giving’ you the opportunity doesn’t usually come until well after that.

    Look, there is always a reason to put down somebody and say they are not good enough. Age, by itself, is not really a great measure of a man [and yes these are supposed to be young men we are talking about].

    The reason that Eagle is such a big deal is because of the thousands of young men who have earned it and then gone on to do great things with their lives. Practically none of those men would have been able to do those great things at the moment they became Eagles. They grew into that role – and part of that growth included Eagle.

    For the 12 and 13 year old Eagles of today, they have not had that opportunity – but their growth will not finish in Scouting – though it can continue in Scouting for many years after they achieve that rank. The overall trajectory of their lives is not set in stone, but they are no less likely to become great men than the 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 year olds who ultimately get awarded the same rank.

    Likewise, there is no guarantee that somebody will learn or appreciate the journey more by it taking more time.

    Those who are true Eagles – regardless of the age they received it – will grow into it. They will find ways to continue to enjoy Scouting and give back to their unit more than they ever take from it.

    Those who are ‘paper’ Eagles are going to have their parents find ways to get them the award as quickly as possible – through arranging for the merit badge opportunities for jr., shopping for units that support that ‘type’ of advancement. It is – and has been a fact of life for decades. Adding a minimum age to ranks would do almost nothing to change that.

    A 12 year old Eagle is as much an Eagle as a 17 year one. They just have more of their life journey ahead of them.

    • I tell my boys (and their parents) that you get out of scouting what you put into it. The boys who skate by on the rank requirements are cheating themselves, and they aren’t respected by the Scouts who really do the work.

  47. The path to Eagle is a journey, not a trip. A journey is something. That should be enjoyed. A trip is something that is more often than not endured because we have to. Take time to learn from the journeys experiences and not just check the boxes.

  48. My son just went through his Eagle BoR. He turned 14 in July. He is very mature and motivated. He has been in a leadership in 4H and school. He has also held leadership positions in Troop and was selected as a Patrol Leader by his fellow scouts. He was also selected in the spring to become of a member of the OA. He is regularly requested for his skills in knowledge and leadership by his teachers and fellow classmates. His project was large and required a lot of organizational skills as well as leadership of 28 volunteers. He was highly praised by the group he did the project for.

    Before his boards the Chairman came out to tell him that he had called in a guy that used to run the boards (and he was like a legend in the council) He went to his boards, was grilled by 6 members. He answered everything they asked and was very mature about it to the point they asked if he was 35 years old instead of 14. Some of them members commented on his maturity of his interview.

    After he was grilled there was a couple on this board that felt he was not mature enough. Twice they had asked him in the interview what his future plans in scouting were. He gave his answer the first time which consisted of continuing on and working with the new scouts. The second time he was asked he was told not to give the answer he thought the guy wanted to hear but the real answer…the answer was the same. In the end with some heavy duty threat that they were not going to let him become an Eagle they passed him through.

    Yes I am a parent. However, my son has got to were his is on his own merits unlike some. Yes we were there to support him, like drive him to events, pay for it, download and printout worksheets, buy supplies…but he did it all.
    A big deal was made here recently about a 13 year old getting all the available merit badges. To me that is impossible based on the efforts my son had to do to get 49 to date, but his leadership passed him through and that is on them.

    It upsets me that this board could grill and question my son about his commitment, when he has and continues to prove it in his effort and participation, but an Eagle board will pass through the almost 18 year old who barely got there and probably won’t be around much in the future to assist the troop

    • My son expects to get to his Eagle BOR just before his 14th birthday. By then he’ll have 25-30 MBs (including most of the ones related to the outdoors or that require real physical exertion), three leadership positions (including SPL since we are a young troop), the National Outdoor Awards in camping and aquatics, plus Mile Swim Award, 50 Miler Award, and at least one trip to a High Adventure camp. He’ll have a track record of being active in OA, and he attends 75% or more of the troop’s activities despite playing his chosen sport for 9 months out of each year. He’ll do his Eagle project without assistance (or interference) from any adults.

      Age is irrelevant if the candidate has done the work. Focus should be on what has been achieved, and not on his age.

      • My son just earned scout rank at 11 years 5 months. Can’t imagine a 12 year old Eagle…that said i don’t agree eith tge NOR being extra hard on the young svout just because off their age. That will turn these young men off.

  49. If the boy truly earned it, then it’s hard to argue against it. However, as the parent of a boy in scouting – I signed my son up for more reasons than just obtaining his Eagle Scout. Those benefits, obviously, change and adapt as the boy gets older. He will get different benefits out of it at 16 than at 11.

    Which begs the question… why should a boy stay in scouting through high school if he obtained his Eagle in 6th grade? What’s the retention strategy for these scouts who have already achieved the end goal?

    • An Eagle COH is not a graduation ceremony. We expect our younger Eagles to continue to participate in the Troop, and we teach from the beginning that Scouting is a journey and not a race to Eagle.

      Kids will stay in scouting through high school if they enjoy it (Eagle or not). Make it fun and they won’t leave you at age 16. Conversely, make up a bunch of retention rules or delay their rank advancement, and watch them walk out the door.

      • Once again, Jack nails it. Once we all remember that advancement is only 1 of 8 methods and while Eagle rank is a great award, it’s not the focus of the program, we can get back to running healthy, Eagle populated units.

        We have over sold the Eagle rank to the adults instead of the kids. Now, our entire outlook is Eagle-centric and our program (and Eagle retention) suffer accordingly.

  50. Some posters here have mentioned that they would assess the leadership skills and achievements of a 12 year old Eagle candidate in his Eagle BOR. That is too late in the process! If you have concerns about a boy racing through his rank requirements, then the SM needs to be addressing it at each SM conference before his BOR for each rank. As a backstop, each BOR can gently probe to see if the boy has met the rank requirements.

    If you sit on your hands and let a kid (and his parents) race through the ranks without mastering the material for 16+ months, then you can’t complain when he comes to you for an Eagle BOR.

    Don’t blame the kid (or his momma) if he gets Eagle without earning it – blame the SM and the BOR members who promoted him without making sure that the kid really did the work.

  51. What about the BORs? The Scoutmaster’s Conference. Isn’t this the place to see if the boy is where he should be to advance.. not the parents over your shoulder pushing, but the SM first should be aware of the boy’s level before signing.. if the boy shows maturity, knowledge, and has arrived at the level of requirements needed to advance then why not. But the first place is with the SM. YOu have some boys who grasp things faster then others. and some boys who take longer then the time needed. that’s another reason why you have boys finishing MBs etc. at 17 sometimes..

    • Scout masters conferences are not pass or fail. You simply have one.

      If need be the SM can slow a lad down with scout spirit requirement, but if the lad is gun ho that isn’t right.

  52. Our troop has a FCE (First Class Emphasis) program. We offer, to the scouts who are interested, workshops once a month which mentor them to learning the skills required for Tenderfoot, Second, and First Class. It is not mandatory, and they are on their own for completing all the remaining requirements. A number reach First Class in a year, and we find those typically are the ones who will carry on toward Eagle.

    We publicize the local MB workshops available…for them to start a MB, even in the workshops, they (not their parents) are required to contact the advancement chair personally (phone, in person, email as a last resort). This encourages their communication with adult skills, and puts responsibility on them. Should they want to take a MB which appears to be clearly beyond their maturity level, they have to justify taking the badge to the advancement chair.[If the advancement chair has to issue a blue card whatever, this reduces the advancement chair to a box full of blue cards].

    If someone reaches Eagle at 12, that to me means that the SM/ASM (whoever conducted the SM conf) is not doing his job in rubberstamping him along to his BOR. The SM needs to fully evaluate just how well he retained the skills attained in reaching First Class, and how well he has performed any of the leadership positions of Star and Life. The patrols should be selective in offering leadership positions to someone with little experience in the troop.

    That being said, if he passes the increased scrutiny in spite of his age, there is nothing in the requirements that prevents it. But each step must be performed in strict adherance to the requirements, so as to not dilute the value of the accomplishment.

    This comment is coming from an adult scouter who, back in the mid 50’s, STUPIDLY dropped out of Scouting as a Tenderfoot because of a poor troop, and regrets it to this day. My grandson, first male in the family after two daughters, achieved Eagle shortly before his 16th birthday

    • Carey, you and your troop committee should review the recently updated Guide to Advancement. The BSA merit badge process is significantly different from what you describe above.

      • I may have summarized the process in the interest of making the post shorter, Jack. Can you be specific? I’m scanning the GTA and don’t see where I have substantially deviated. I would appreciate your comments.

        • I’ll try to find the source later, but here’s my recollection of the key differences:

          – Scouts go to the SM, not the Advancement Coordinator, for blue cards.
          – Scouts do not have to justify anything to anybody in order to get a blue card. The SM discusses the MB with them, and gives them a signed blue card and the name of at least one registered MBC.
          – SM does not approve or disapprove of a scout working on an MB. The blue card was updated at the beginning of the year to reflect this.

          “for them to start a MB, even in the workshops, they (not their parents) are required to contact the advancement chair personally (phone, in person, email as a last resort). This encourages their communication with adult skills, and puts responsibility on them. Should they want to take a MB which appears to be clearly beyond their maturity level, they have to justify taking the badge to the advancement chair.[If the advancement chair has to issue a blue card whatever, this reduces the advancement chair to a box full of blue cards].”

        • Here are the source documents from the BSA:

          From http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf

          See “ The Scout, the Blue Card, and the Unit Leader” regarding who decides which MB a scout works on:

          “The discussion a Scout is to have with the unit leader is meant to be a growth-oriented and positive conversation. The unit leader should discuss any concerns related to working on the merit badge and provide appropriate counseling. It is then the Scout’s decision whether or not to proceed with the merit badge. The process is intended to inform the Scout about what he may encounter along the way, and perhaps to give him suggestions on how the work might be approached. It also has the purpose of keeping the unit leader up to date with what the members of the unit are doing.”

          See sidebar text on page 47, regarding who distributes blue cards:

          “Because of the counseling opportunity involved, it is the unit leader’s responsibility to sign blue cards.In the role of giving leadership to the delivery of the troop program, a Scoutmaster, for example, has abetter opportunity than other leaders to get to know the youth. This background with the Scouts allows a unit leader to add greater value in the discussion and counseling intended to take place with the signing of the card. However, in circumstances when this maybe impractical—for example, in large units or when the unit leader may be absent—the unit leader may delegate authority to sign cards and conduct the discussions. This authority should be entrusted to a knowledgeable assistant unit leader.

          From http://www.scouting.org/filestore/advancement_news/2013-January.pdf

          See page 6, regarding the SM ability to approve or disapprove a scout working on a MB:

          “The terms “qualified” or “approved” were never meant to indicate that the Scout needed to pass some sort of prequalifying test before pursuing a merit badge, or that the unit leader had pass/fail authority to allow—or to not allow—the Scout to undertake work on a badge.”

          See http://www.scoutmastercg.com/merit-badge-blue-card-change/ for an image of the new blue card (not an official BSA website).

  53. Given that BSA summer camps give away merit badges and boys do not actually do the items listed in the requirements, I say “why not?” I’ve seen boys who couldn’t swim “earn” the swimming MB, boys receive the canoeing MB who couldn’t hold a paddle correctly nor know how to steer a canoe, scouts who couldn’t tie a knot earn the pioneering MB. The BSA has lowered the standards for advancement in scouting, so who knows what we’ll get. You can have a truly excellent scout earn Eagle at a young age. You can also have anyone “earn” Eagle if they stick around long enough by picking up required merit badges at MB fairs, summer camps and district events.

    • Really? We must have the best summer camp in the world then. We had a female Venturer swim instructor refuse to sign off on a Scout’s Swimming MB strictly due to his lack of “good form and strong manner” as per req # 5. Neither the Scout nor his parent’s were happy about it but she stuck to her guns and I respect her for that because she was operating in both the Scout’s and Scouting’s best interest.

    • The problem you describe is not that ‘BSA has lowered the standards’, it is that there are too many leaders who don’t enforce the standards.
      A merit badge counselors job is to ensure that the requirements are met exactly as they are written.
      If a boy can’t swim, then the counselor should not sign the card.
      If a boy can’t paddle or steer a canoe, then the counselor should not sign the card.
      If a boy can’t tie a square knot, then his leader should not sign off the advancement requirement.
      If a requirement was not done as a part of the camp curriculum, then the camp staff should not sign the card (unless the boy can show that he had completed it separately.)

      I’ve been to lots of camps and MB fairs. Admittedly, some leaders sign things that they should not. As district staff, we were aware of a few of those, and they were never invited back to instruct again.

      Any boy who gets my signature on a blue card or an advancement requirement has done the requirement.

      • Dear Scoutaholic: you have BSA employees at summer camps who are signing off merit badges for scouts who did not complete the requirements as written. You have employees of the BSA who are signing off merit badges for scouts who can not swim, who have not cooked or camped. They develop “creative” substitutions: for example, how many scouts who complete the art merit badge at summer camp do requirement #6 ? Exactly zero scouts – because none of them take a field trip to a museum, gallery or artist’s workshop. The BSA as a corporation has lowered the standards. If you bring up the fact to the camp that they are not completing requirements they say “we’ve run this camp for 50 years and we know what we’re doing” blah blah blah. This is one of the major problems of why Eagle scout rank is meaningless. Some kids have done little to earn it because they earned their merit badges at summer camp from 16 year old staff members who don’t know anything more than the scouts themselves, while other Eagle scouts have done a tremendous amount because they worked with merit badge counselors who knew their stuff and made sure that the scout completed the requirements.

        • Even when some of the bad leaders who don’t enforce the standard are employees of BSA, that does not mean that the standard has been lowered.
          The standard still exists, there are just too many who ignore it.

          Apparently the camp leaders you talked to need some retraining, or need to be replaced by someone who will do it right. 50 years of doing it wrong is not sufficient reason to continue doing it wrong.

          As for Art #4 (I assume that is what you meant, since there is no #6): It is possible that there was a small art exhibit, gallery, or workshop AT camp. It is also possible that they DID leave camp to visit one. I’ve seen camp programs that left camp for other things, why not an art exhibit?

        • The “art exhibit” is prior art work left behind by the previous scouts. Technically – this supposedly meets the requirement. But it is not what the writers of the merit badge requirement had in mind. They wanted scouts to go see some art done by professional artists. Or even go to an art museum. Wouldn’t that be great! And this isn’t one summer camp. We go to two different summer camps a year – I’ve been to eight or so different summer camps personally. They are all fast and loose with the requirements so that scouts go home with a handful of merit badges. One scout exhorted at a PLC that he liked camp xx because “all you had to do was show up for class” and you go the merit badge. Imagine my surprise when my son came home from his first summer camp with the pioneering MB. I was shocked. This was a tough merit badge to get when I was a kid. You had to really know your knots and lashings and ropework. I thought what an amazing accomplishment. But I quickly found out from talking to him that he didn’t know any knots nor lashings. The next year I went to a summer camp with our troop and was really shocked at what was passed off. I’ve been doing this for ten years now – so the shock has worn off. But don’t delude yourselves. Scouts at one time were accomplished at a skill before they were awarded a merit badge. Today they just need to show up and quietly listen for a few hours and voila! they’ve earned a merit badge.

        • Our camp makes the Scout complete Art Rqt #6 before coming to camp. The Scout visits the Art Gallery & his SM/ASM/Parent signs off that the rqt has been completed.

          For my son, I had him take pictures of his visit to the Nelson-Atkins Art Gallery. He put several pictures onto a couple of PowerPoint Slides & then printed them out. He 3-hole punched them in put them in a presentation binder with his MB Worksheet along with a copy of the Museum Guide. I also signed the form that said that my son had made the visit. I hold my son’s feet to the fire to complete the MB requirements. I sometimes require more proof, but that is from my “parent” hat & not my MBC hat.

          My son earned the Art MB at his first camp. I did not stay the entire camp so do not know if the other Scouts did Rqt #6 before they arrived or received a partial. I also do not know to what standards the other rqts were done, but I do know the one that I was responsible for him to do before he arrived at camp was done correctly.

        • Any summer camp worth their salt will either inform the Scout the merit badge may or may not be completed at camp, or inform the Scout which requirements must be completed prior to camp in order to complete the badge; this information is usually presented a few months ahead of time in the leader’s guide. In many cases there can be as many as three or four requirements which must be completed — some of them are time-consuming as well. In your case it sounds like your son was ahead of the game and took the initiative — bravo!

  54. As a parent of a young man who earned Eagle at age 13, I fully support those scouts with the desire and drive to complete the requirements at their own pace. This young man has remained in scouting. He has staffed NYLT (twice), NAYLE at Philmont (twice), was a crew leader for high adventure, was a Den Chief for 6 years, has been an active ceremonialist, staffed Jamboree as a Trek Guide, has been elected to District level OA office and received OA Vigil before turning 18. All of this was accomplished while maintaining a high GPA, taking a significant number of AP courses and actively leading his robotics team. He has remained active in Scouting in his first year of college, been elected to a Council level OA office and is planning to attend another high adventure with his Venture Crew this summer. He was very driven to obtain Eagle before High School as he saw many of those in his troop disappearing in ninth grade and not returning until 6 months before they turned 18.
    I agree, Eagle at 13 (or even 12) is not for every youth. However, there are some exceptional cases where it is appropriate.

  55. I can not speak for any other young man, but I can speak regarding the experience of my own son earning Eagle at 12; there is no “one size fits all” plan regarding maturity, leadership abilities, and age.

    My son was more than able to accomplish what was needed to complete his requirements…and more. The biggest problem he had was overcoming the adult leaders preconceived notions about age, rank advancement, and leadership. He was the kid constantly reminding the adults that scouting was meant to be youth driven and frustrated that he had to fight to be allowed to lead.

    I’m not going to spend the time to itemize all the examples of how my son showed leadership far beyond what I have seen with other scouts…including those that are earning Eagle at 16 or 17. I’m not going to point out the many situations where he showed better judgement than his adult leaders, nor the many occasions where he exemplified wisdom far beyond his years. I will, however, let you know that since that 12 year old EARNED his Eagle, he has consistently helped others along their way, participated in 2 National and 1 World Jamboree, and is currently working on his 98-100th merit badges. He has 15 palms (soon to be 16), and has gone on to earn the Denali Award, NOA, and the Religious Award. The point being, he didn’t just get his Eagle, and fade away; he earned the Eagle as part of his journey along the scouting trail…a trail that appears to be one that he will stay on through out his life.

    I would agree that most 12 year olds are probably not the force behind the rank, nor have the ability or tenacity to lead against all the odds, BUT, I caution those of you who feel no 12 year old could possibly have been motivated enough, nor aquired enough leadership skills to earn Eagle to remember, no two people are the same; just because you have not experienced that special young man doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist (and remember, those young men may be reading this…and your words can and will affect how they feel, about you, scouting, and themselves, for the rest of their lives).

  56. When I was a Scoutmaster we had a young man who earned Arrow of Light and joined the Troop at a age 10 in 2008. We were a new Troop without older boys so he did the leadership positions at a VERY early age. He readily took advantage of the Merit Badge opportunities we provided and completed the requirements for Eagle rank when he was 12. Yeah, he checked all of the boxes but the leadership aspect of his skill base was missing and it showed later on. Last night, 5 years later, we had an 17 year old Scout who is the same age as the 12 yr old Eagle rank earner complete his Eagle Scoutmaster Conference. There is no comparison as to how much more the older Eagle earner got out of Scouting. Based on my experience I think 14 is the minimum guideline age I will use in the future for an Eagle Scout. At 14 they still have time to continue to learn and USE their Scouting frame of mind in high school.

  57. Our Troop has had 2 -12 year old scouts earn their Eagle Scout Rank the past year. It is my opinion that each Scout is different. Some Scouts are very capable of attaining the Rank of Eagle at 12 years old. There are always exceptions to the standard. It is the Scouts that the parents do the work and are driving the Scout that you need to make sure that the Scout is ready to become an Eagle Scout. Also, keeping those early Eagle Scouts interested in Scouting is the other challenge for the Troops. Making sure that they give back to the Troop that supported them through Eagle Rank is key!

  58. I have seen some very impressive young men come into the program and some may have the chops to be an Eagle Scout at that age, but I really do think that they should wait until at least 14 to get more of a feel of the whole scouting experience. This should not be a race to the finish, but a journey to a goal. It takes time to truly learn the skills to be a good example of an Eagle Scout to other scouts. That should be part of the goal, to serve as an example to other scouts of the kind of character that and Eagle Scout shows to the world. Yes there probably are some out there who truly do embody the qualities of an Eagle Scout, However, I’m not sure a 12 year old has had enough experience to do that, on average.

  59. I guess I always wondered “why the rush?” And how many of those 12 year-olds are driven by personal motivation….or by their parents? My experience has shown that it is the very rare pre-teen or early teen that can show the necessary leadership skills to be an Eagle Scout. I’ve been involved with Scouting nearly 50 years as a Scout and Scouter. Not to brag, but just to show a lot of years observing a lot of youth…

  60. There are some Eagles who truly “earned” it, and some whose parents are probably more deserving of the award than the scout is. The same is true whether the boy is 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, or 12 year old. When boys earn Eagle, it’s because they met the requirements. My thoughts? If you (subjectively) feel a boy hasn’t gotten enough leadership experience, that is an issue to examine within your program, not a problem with the boy.

    • And keep in mind that, except for the Eagle Scout Service Project, there is no leadership requirement for Eagle Rank. So if the scout successfully leads his project to completion, he has met all the leadership requirements.

      • Not entirely true. The Eagle Scout candidate still has to serve in a position of responsibility for six months, which, if executed properly, will show his ability to lead even if he’s the librarian, scribe, or otherwise.

        • Agreed. When I hear the objection that a boy hasn’t had proper leadership experience, I think of two things: the boy-led troop and the patrol method. If the troop is properly implementing these, even a minor position of responsibility is an opportunity to learn about leadership.

        • From the Guide to Advancement:

 “Responsibility” and “Leadership.”

          Many suggest this requirement should call for a position of “leadership” rather than simply of “responsibility.” Taking and accepting responsibility, however, is a key foundation for leadership. One cannot lead effectively without it. The requirement as written recognizes the different personalities, talents, and skill sets in all of us. Some seem destined to be “the leader of the group.” Others provide quality support and strong examples behind the scenes. Without the latter, the leaders in charge have little chance for success. Thus, the work of the supporters becomes part of the overall leadership effort.

        • I respectfully disagree. The Quartermasters in our troop, and others I have visited, have many opportunities to demonstrate leadership, not just responsibility. A Quartermaster’s job is to enlist the aid of others to achieve the common goal of procuring and maintaining patrol and/or troop equipment. If that’s not leadership, then I don’t know what is.

    • Robj, I think you are dead on. in my years in Scouting (as a youth and in all sorts of positions as an adult) nothing has aggravated me more than the statements “He is too young or that he is too immature”. Thankfully, in most cases these sentiments were expressed by short-termers who never really understood the program. i.e. people who were easily ignored.

  61. In my neighborhood, there’s a Troop which refuses to allow their Scouts to sit for an Eagle board until they are 16 (or maybe 15.) I think this is just as wrong as the parent who earns Eagle for the Scout.

    We have a few Scouts in our Troop who Eagled shortly after their 13th birthday, and they are excellent Scouts, and good leaders. I’ve also seen Scouts who I was sure the parent was doing a lot of the work, but didn’t have anything except a feeling to back that up.

    I think each Scout will proceed at their own pace, and get from the program what they want to get. Camping and high adventure isn’t for everyone.

    • That troop is violating BSA advancement policy in a big way. They need a stern talk from their unit commissioner.

      Adding an age requirement is adding a requirement. That is expressly forbidden in BSA policy.

    • I also know of a troop like that. They also have a policy that only merit badge counselors who are troop members may counsel certain Eagle required merit badges. The Scoutmaster is probably the Dean of Scoutmasters in our area, so no one will call the troop out for this violation of BSA policy. Our troop has received Scouts who transfer from this troop. I sat on the Eagle BOR as our troop representative for a young man who was between 13 & 14. He was very poised and articulate. He continued with the troop, was an excellent SPL, received his 4th Bronze Palm when he aged out, and had enough merit badges remaining to complete the 4th round of Eagle Palms.

  62. Yes it should be allowed but not promoted. Does the motivation come from the Scout or the Parent? Scouting skills should be developed and used on a continuing basis. How can you really participate in EDGE if your focus is on how fast you get to EAGLE?
    On the subject of Plams, to me they are there to say thank you for staying active in Scouting after becoming an EAGLE.

    • Not sure what you mean. I’ve had first-years walking around showing each other how to lash together mini towers. How to start fires with flint and steel. How to find north. How to breath/stroke/float so they could pass the swim test. Mom and dad weren’t around, or if they were, had a hard time keeping up with the bundle of focused energy.

      Those are the kids who advance quickly. I call them “game changers.” Advancement is no longer held over their heads. Adults can’t threaten them with that pathetic “use for your required service hours/camping night speech.” They show up at every campout and service project because they almost can’t help themselves. Somebody told them a scout is helpful, and they actually believed it!

  63. I’d much rather have a 12 year old Eagle who stayed in the program and got to have fun in Scouting for the additional 5-6 years, than a Life for Life who spent his whole time in being hassled about when he was going to finish who missed it by a day (intentionally or unintentionally).

  64. I am at the beginning of this problem. My son is 10 and could earn the AOL by February and thus bridge to Boy Scouts. He earned several activity badges at camps and other district level events. I am his den leader and he earns activity badges along side his den members. Do I bridge him in February or retain him and go for the super achiever? Is he too young to start Boy Scouts? As a life scout, I really want to encourage my son to earn the Eagle. Do I motivate him to earn eagle quickly? I have been wrestling with this decision for some time now. My son wants to earn the super achiever and bridge early (I don’t think that is possible). He wants the Eagle, but I don’t know if he wants it at 12. But, if he does, then I will back his play. As a non-eagle, I feel a great amount of respect for Eagle scouts. But, I also don’t want to dilute the significance of the award by rushing it. The troop my son likes produces Eagles. I think my son can make it with their leadership. I want to support him and help him succeed. And, I don’t want to set him up for failure by rushing things he may not be ready for. But how do you know you are really ready for something until it happens? I am truly praying his path to Eagle will be clarified. And if it is not a clear path, then at least I pray it is a successful one.

    • Depends on your son and the troop. Mine started at 10 with a troop that was mostly 15 and under, and the weekend after joining went on a hiking trip. Trial by fire and did fine with the help of the older scouts and the leaders. Hes now 14 and just completed a term as SPL. I have seen boys join our troop at 10 who are more mature than some of our 13 year olds and others who should be back with the Tigers. I would suggest supporting him the best you can without pushing him. Troop will be a big change over Pack and he will need your support until he gets in the flow. Once he gets there you will need to let go. Sounds like he is ready try.

    • Steve, I was in exactly the same boat – a 10 year old AOL son who was openly telling me his goal was to be a 12 year old Eagle. My concern was not his enthusiasm but the environment within the troop he was bridging into: no Eagles under 15, no Eagle retention, Eagle projects being done for panicked 17 year olds and their frantic parents during the meetings. I was mortified at the idea of the the stares and glares he would get from adult leaders that had made squeaking in under the 18yo wire into an art form.

      The answer? I left the unit and found(ed) a unit that embraced the program as written.

  65. While I applaud anyone for “earning” their Eagle, I too wonder the drive behind a 12 year achieving this.

    Also, the purpose of any board of review is to evaluate whether the boy has taken the ideals of scouting and applied them in his life. So many of todays Eagle Scouts leave scouting, either for a short term or entirely, because of the pushing they have received from either parents or Unit Leaders. How is this benefiting Scouting?

    If this 12 year old boy stays very active and becomes a source of pride and inspiration to others then I applaud him. However, if he is now the poster child for what parents think their son should achieve, and push their boys harder, then I fear that this will have a hugely negative impact.

  66. To truly maximize the Eagle experience I feel a boy needs to not only fulfill the skill requirements but participate in several leadership positions, learn to work with others in a team setting and develop physically and emotionally. This takes some time. We should encourage boys to pace themselves on the road to Eagle and look to earning that rank between the ages of 15 and 16.

  67. I am an Eagle Scout, I am a Vigil Honor Member, Former Camp staff and I was the district advancement chair for 4 years. I have done over 200 BOR for Eagle scouts. I have seen young men who I have turned down for not having the maturity and ability to do a project yet. I have turned down prominent scouting families sons for not having projects ready to being to me. I held boys to the same standard for being an Eagle. I can tell you that I signed off on some boys who were young. Never 12 (none ever showed up), but I did on 13 and 14 who had there stuff together. Most were in the 16-17 range. I can tell you that the boys that came to the BOR who were 16-17 spoke much different about life, what they had learned in scouting and were able to reflect back on what scouts meant to them. The 14 year old had no idea when asked about there scouting history what that meant. Most did the bare requirements and did not have a good feeling about what they had done, because they had not done the extras. Yes you can get the Eagle rank at an early age of 12 or 13 or even 14, but to live as an Eagle I feel that you need the extra time in to really develop as a person and get the intangibles that really make you what you turn out to be. I know a kid who got eagle at 13, His parents sent him to 4 summer camps in one summer. 6 merit badges a week that is 24 in a 6 weeks time. He had all the Merit badges and only needed a project and time. Not what I would call a quality scouting background. He meet the requirements, but I think there is more to scouting then just requirement fulfilling. I do think that boys are made into men by the experiences that have. I want my sons to be eagles just like me, but I also want them to earn it with experience not with a quick set of requirements being fulfilled.

    • What is wrong with going to 4 summer camps? It summer break is 12 weeks long, would it be better for the Scout to be sitting at home for the other 11 weeks watching TV or playing video games?

      My daughter has been going to a German Language Summer Camp since after her 3rd grade year. That first year, it was a week long. For her next 5 years, the camp was 2-weeks long. After her HS Freshman year, she went to a 4-week camp which is the equivalent of four week-long Boy Scout camps. Her maturity level, responsibility level, & not to mention her German increased exponentially over that 4-week camp. The camp was already asking her when she was going to be a counselor for them (requirement is HS graduate & 18) even though she just headed into her sophomore year.

      BP wrote ““A week of camp life is worth six months of
      theoretical teaching in the meeting room.” Based on that, the Scout that did 4 weeks at summer camp did 2 years worth of learning in a meeting room. While I would probably never send my son to 4 camps in the same summer, it is highly likely that he will attend 2 camps in the same summer many times over the next 6 years (summer camp & Philmont; summer camp & National Jamboree; summer camp & International Jamboree; and summer camp & Blair Atholl).

      While my son may earn Eagle at 13, it will be because he wants to do it. I will, however, facilitate his Scout activities as much as possible so he will have the opportunities I never had when I was his age.

        • Right on the mark David! What is wrong with more than one summer camp per summer. Good grief. This last summer my son went to his troop’s summer camp, then to Jamboree, then a Council summer camp designed for Cinematography and Theater merit badges.
          Moreover, some of these posts, John’s included, make it sound like the learning, maturity, and experiences end at Eagle! Do they believe that a boy can’t continue to learn, mature, and experience while wearing an Eagle on his left pocket. Of course the boy can!

  68. If a scout is motivated and mature he can do it. My son was eligible and wanted to get his Eagle Scout at 12, however we felt maturity and experience play into the role of becoming an Eagle Scout and did not allow him to finish his last two Eagle MB until he was 13.5. He received his Eagle 3 days after his 14th birthday and we felt we made the correct decision. During the 2 years he continued working on Merit Badges and took on additional leadership roles and was actually the SPL after receiving his Eagle, he has now taken on the Jr. ASM role. I am watching a new generation of ASM’s/Parents pushing scouts into getting it all done by 13 and walking away. Scouting should not be about checking off boxes for college applications.

  69. As long as the boy is motivated, I don’t see a problem with this. My son is 13 and a first class scout. He has been a den chief, assistant patrol leader and not a troop guide. He wants to be an eagle.

  70. So to sum up …
    Some scouts should be allowed, some shouldn’t.
    Some scouts are impressive in their early maturity, some aren’t.
    Some families help their scouts a little, some help a lot.
    Some scouts stay in the program after eagle, some don’t.
    Some scouts have a drive to get Eagle, some don’t.
    Some troops are too strict, some are too easy.
    Some MB counselors are good, some aren’t.
    Some MB programs are thorough, some are cursory.
    Some Scoutmasters put a lot of thought into the Eagle process, some won’t.
    Some Eagle Boards of Review are too easy, some are too tough.
    National should but some or age restrictions in the TF, 2C and 1C requirements, or maybe not.

    And Bryan knows how to pick a good topic for a blog … or maybe not. 🙂

  71. We are fortunate enough to have councilors for every Eagle required merit badge in troop. It takes us about 2.5 years to rotate through them one after another. A motivated scout can get through the requirements. Many of our scouts are 14 or 15 by the time they make Eagle. We have yet to see any earlier My son joined the troop at 10 with a gun-hoe attitude of getting eagle as soon as possible. He is now 14 just got his proposal approved and has one requirement on Eagle Merit Badge to complete. Its been hanging for over a year. A 12 year old scout is a possibility if they can keep the motivation but I would think it is more the parents motivating than the scout. I hope they have fun along the way

  72. Personally I do not like seeing scouts become eagles at that age. They do not have the leadership skills, the maturity level that they should have to lead and teach their fellow scouts. It takes time to develop as a scout and a person, no reason to rush thru advamcement.

  73. While it is easy to check the boxes on achievements, I find it hard to believe that a 12-year could show that much leadership in the troop unless it is a very small troop. One of the most important things the boys learn from taking the time to get to Eagle (and I’m not saying they have to be on the cusp of 18 before getting there) is how to be a leader. I’m not talking about a leader just in the ‘I’m up in front of the room, you better be quiet and respect me’ way. I’m talking boys that have spent time in the troop, learned to get along with many people, have earned the respect of the other Scouts and adults alike, and have shown that a leader is always there for the other Scouts so that when they get up in front of the room they don’t have to ask for respect, they’ve earned it. Those are the boys that are ready to be called Eagle Scouts.

  74. my son was 1 month short of his 14th birthday and some thought that was to young (until they met him). If the boy completes the requirements and can pass a BoR then I see no problem with the age. I have seen 18yo that are border line at their BoR so I think age does not have anything to do with it.

  75. Maybe it is time to think about an age requirement and a longer time in rank. We don’t want to loose Scouts to all their other activities(i.e. sports, highs school activities), but at 12, can they fully grasp the Eagle Project, or are the parents having to do more than they should be. My son just made Eagle Scout. He turned 15 the month he finished his project two months ago. This was a lot on him and the board was tough on him because he was younger I think. Just my thought on the subject but sure is something to think about.

    • Melissa, that was a requirement when I was in Scouting as a youth and very few scouts made it to Eagle including myself. BSA has enough trouble keeping scouts in the program as it is. We do not need to put other road blocks to discourage Scouts. We as Scouters need to provide great programs that will encourage scouts to stay and complete Eagle rank at their own pace and keep it “boy lead” to minimize the parent influence.

  76. My oldest son was 17 when he finished his eagle, my youngest finished all of his merit badges and other requirements before 12, However he is almost 14(march) and still has not completed his packet and or project.. When they are ready to finish they are ready… IF they do what they do as long as they are not over 18 they followed the rules and did what they needed/wanted to do.. BOY LEAD right??? I know, I know back in the day packs weighed 2 tuns, mountains were up hill both going up and coming down and snow came down sideways…The requirements are the requirements and the time spaces between ranks are there to help ensure success… I say 12 year old eagle scouts-“If the do the work for it why not…” are we going to discriminate because of age??Or they are too young to get it.. That is not what scouting is about..

  77. The length of service requirements for Star & Life are for service in a leadership role (in my mind 2 different roles). In addition to the rank requirements, there are also time elements to Family LIfe, Personal Fitness, & Personal Mgt Merit Badges. Seems to me that doing all of this concurrently has the potential to detract from the learning opportunities that the program provides. Achieving Eagle in the shortest time possible doesn’t add any value to the achievement. And speeding through the ranks like this means that everything else is taking a back seat to Scouting.

    I would encourage the Scout to have more fun: join a club at school, try out for a play, read a book you don’t have to, take music lessons, join the track or swim team (where coming in 1st means something), even (dare I say) play a video game. I would also introduce the Scout (and his family) to some of the other awards available to him (like the Religious Emblems). If a motivated Scout can earn 1st Class by the end of his 1st year, then take 6 months to a year to earn each subsequent rank, he can still make Eagle by 14 or 15. He and his Troop will benefit.

  78. While it is possible and in some cases well earned, it is the Troop Leadership that is ultimately responsible. In each rank advancement, the Scout must complete the requirements stated and then is subject to the Scout Master’s Conference. As a Scout advances through the ranks this should become more than a quick cursory view of the rank requirements completed, but an increasingly more thorough discussion of the individual, his motivations, and his knowledge. After a comprehensive interview, if it is deemed that the Scout needs more motivation, leadership skills, basic Scout knowledge, and yes, sometimes more individual discipline skills say so and do not present the scout for an Advancement Board Of Review. This is not just for Eagle but for each and every rank. If the Leader conducting the Scout Master Conference finds that there is reason to delay the advancement BOR, the specific must then be discussed with the Scout and his parent(s)/guardian(s) in the presence of another Troop Leader. From there, a course of action can be formulated. If the Scout is at the point of becoming an Eagle, he should be able to accept this assessment and correct any deficiencies. This could well establish the real motivational drive as well, Scout or parent.

    • The unit MAY NOT deny a Scout either a Scoutmaster conference or a Board of Review, per national policy. However, it IS the Scoutmaster’s responsibility to ensure that the Scout meets all the requirements as written. If, for example, the boy does not live up to the responsibilities for his Position of Responsibility, the Scoutmaster should not sign off that requirement in the Scout Handbook.

      The point is, if the boy is not living up to his responsibilities or adequately meeting the requirements as written, Scoutmasters should not wait for a Scoutmaster Conference at the end of the advancement trail to step in and make corrections.

  79. This is a tough subject for myself. I earned my Eagle days before my 18th birthday. Not necessarly the best way. It all depends on parents, leaders and mentors. If I had a scout that showed the enthousiasm to get it early I would assist him. I do recommend that they get it before they turn 16, then they are ruled by two gasses, gasoline and perfume. I try to mentor as much as I can.

  80. I agree that most 12 year olds are probably too young, but the current system allows for that to happen. So how does one objectively make sure that maturity (a subjective item) is present? I think one needs to be able to objectively document this to minimize favoritism, personal opinion, gut feelings towards a particular scout. Also, one needs to make sure one is not running afoul of BSA requirements concerning retesting of MB work (which in my opinion may reveal a shallow understanding of the material versus a deeper understanding. But that’s the rules).

    So short of a scout being obviously immature, what criteria can be used be used for maturity? Are there other items that may coorelate with maturity that can be objectively used?

    A few thoughts:
    1. Don’t make it easier for a scout to get a MB by having MB classes within a troop meeting.
    2. Although you cannot require a scout to use an out-of-troop MB counselor, reach out to the community for MB counselors and don’t look to fill these MB spots with Troop parents.
    3. Have the troop meetings be full of Scout stuff. Knot relayes, lash relays, etc. Make sure the scout has a deep understanding of the scout material by constant reinforcement.
    4. For service projects, make sure the scout is running the show. Not a parent, not an adult leader, not another scout.
    5. Don’t fill youth leadership positions just to fill them. The scout needs to perform an acceptable leadership role in the position they have. If that quartermaster is failing, then the scout needs training and if the job is not being done, then the scout needs another position that works.
    6. Consider using scenarios in board of reviews that test scouting knowledge that may be deeper than you are currently using. Again, these are meant to be objective so having a correct answer for the scenario is better than not. I think having scenarios where you are testing the scout’s ability to critically think may be too advanced for the younger scouts.

    So that is my 2 cents.

  81. Why would you whant to get it so fast,its about growing up to become a young man getting there eagle deprives them of there social interaction with there peers, camp outs. Fun stuff thay think thay need to grow up so fast slow down and have fun.

  82. I can say that I don’t allow my boys to work on some of the Eagle required merit badges until they are a bit older. Like Personal Management. My 16 year old is finishing that one right now, and he has learned a lot from it. He would have gone through the motions and filled the requirements when he was twelve, but the time-management skills especially wouldn’t have done anything for him. I don’t want my kids doing that badge until they are in high school.

    But that is a house rule. 🙂 I can do that. I’m the mom.

  83. I am now watching my 17 years and 8 month son complete his packet for Eagle, and his younger brother, 13, has a fairly good plan for finishing before he is 15. I’d much rather see a younger scout who is motivated to move up to the rank of Eagle and continue in the troop than see boys just hang out at Life for three years then rush at a project before they age out. Yes. Some helicopter moms push their kids young so they can check that box for college, quit scouts, and devote their high school years to sports, but if a Scouadter knows his boys, that shouldn’t happen.

    I think the question is worded wrong. The question should be “so you trust your Scoutmaster to hold an honest Scoutmaster conference?” If you disagree with 12 year old Eagle Scouts, you are questioning the integrity of that scout’s Scoutmaster and members of his previous board of review, who passed him on all the earlier ranks. Maybe that scoutmaster sees an energetic boy who is self-driven, when all we see is a generic statistic about how many 12 year old Eagle Scouts there are. I do not believe there should be a minimum age restriction on earning Eagle, especially one imposed by a council or District Eagle board. If the boy has demonstrated appropriate leadership, signed off by his Scoutmaster, if he has successfully completed the merit badges to the satisfaction of the merit badge counselor, if he has completed his project, I would rather trust the judgement of the Scoutmaster with that particular scout than make a blanket rule.

  84. My concern would be that he would then lose interest having met the challenges of making Eagle…The journey is 99% of the fun…As a merit badge couselor for badges not required for Eagle (Astronomy, Radio, Space Exploration and the STEM badges) I dont get may takers and when I ask kids why, they their parents tell them if it not on the path to eagle, dont waste your time…It seems that making Eagle is the ultimate goal and all the peripheral stuff doesnt matter.

  85. First of all I don’t understand the rush. Enjoy Boy Scouts take you time and learn as much as possible. How much are they really learning and remembering what they learn at 12 years old? I’ve known a lot of 11 and 12 year olds, more than half of them can’t remember what they learn in history or other subjects in school. And some of them can’t even remember to do their chores. I don’t think a 12 year old Eagle can really do all that Baden Powell had wanted an Eagle to learn. That’s why I think it’s all the way to 18. I personally think it’s way too early and I don’t think it’s worth the rush.

  86. “So it’s possible, but should we encourage it?”

    Absolutely not!
    From my experience, very few boys have the maturity and skill-set for achieving the Eagle Scout Rank on their own, with moderate encouragement in staying active and reminders of whats next for them to do.
    Scouting should be a marathon – not a sprint. I personally feel that a boy that takes his time and paces himself with his “scouting career” gets more out of the program.

    Ive seen the boys that are “spoon fed” the program by Units; being given Merit Badges without touching pen to paper-and gotten way too easily-(Scout Fairs handing em iut like candy?!), positions of leadership given in “title only” with no work or responsibility required or demonstrated, and parents that do too much FOR the boy, speak for the boy incessantly, etc.
    All this with only one objective = get the boy his Eagle Rank and leave.

    But, there are exceptions and I would never want to stand in the way of that one boy getting it all done -on his own- brilliantly demonstrating a passion for accomplishment, responsibility and leadership …. Im there to applaud him and reward him every step of the way!!
    I happen to be a proud father of one of these exceptional boys. He will be getting his Eagle Rank next year – at the age of 15. (Btw-he started his Life -to- Eagle journey in June, 2012 and got his Life Rank at age 13).
    He was extremely motivated and took major satisfaction in accomplishments with recognition. It wasnt until he got to Life that he started to get distracted and his “time management” skills started to become a new challenge.

    Remember this:
    We should be preparing these boys for LIFE! And with that, I believe takes time.
    It’s my opinion that BSA should intigrate some more time requirements that dont make it possible to get an Eagle Rank at 12 yrs. old.

  87. If the boy truly has the motivation to do it and is not being pushed by his parents or leaders, and they are still earning and achieving, not being given special allowances because of their age, then why would we stop them from doing their best.
    Boy Scouts is about more than just ranks, patches, and achievements, it is about the boy learning to do for themselves, skills that are used for a lifetime, learning to be leaders, and be a good person. It is up to the leaders and parents to make sure the boy is getting all they can out of Scouts and not just meeting the requirements for the rank. If he gets the Eagle and then leaves, then all he has done is earned a patch on his shirt. If he earns Eagle and stays in Scouts to continue to help other Scouts earn their ranks and leads his troop, then he has learned what scouting is about, and has truly learned what the Eagle means. There is no age requirement for a true understanding of things, it is knowledge and experience, so Eagle at 12 or 18 is ok, as long as they understand and honor it.

    • I did not answer the question, “should we encourage it?” I do not think it should be discouraged if the boy is motivated to do it and does it on his own, but it should not be encouraged or promoted as something you have to do to be as good as someone else. Encourage the boys to learn and be in Scouts and enjoy the time learning skills and being with piers while archiving each rank.

  88. I believe it is our job to support boys in their rank advancement … but NOT to encourage it at an accelerated pace. Furthermore, I seriously question the true value of an Eagle rank earned at such a young age – both on the basis of the retention of what a young man has learned, and on the true leadership experience he has had in the process. The value of a leadership term comes from what can be learned in the process and applied in the future – something that requires a degree of maturity that is largely lacking in such a young boy.

    I serve in a council where boys are largely encouraged to complete their Eagle rank at a very early age, to make room for religious activities in their teen years. I see boys wearing an Eagle rank that don’t remember how to tie knots and don’t tuck in their uniform. “Lead by example” has very little application for such young men. While I respect the rank they have earned, I regretfully question the true quality of their Scouting experience.

  89. Certainly there is a small percentage of boys who can and will become Eagle very young and will continue in Scouts and get everything they can out of it. BUT for the vast majority of boys, there are true lessons to be learned in the journey to Eagle which can only truly be appreciated with maturity. Maturity most often comes with age (not always but mostly).

    I encourage all parents to not just push their boys through before the “fumes” hit just because they’re afraid their kid will lose enthusiasm but to encourage them to stick with Scouting. One of the biggest benefits our troop has had is having older boys stick around to be those experienced Scout Leaders; those who can help lead and really make the troop BOY lead. The likelihood of a boy who earns Eagle at 12 or 13 sticking around till his 17 or 18 is very slim in my opinion.

  90. I have seen a few boys at 12 that knew their stuff, earned their MB,s and rank and could have earned their Eagle by age 12. They usually were in scouts at a young age and had an older brother(s). My old troop never held back a boy, but suggested that they mature, learn more, and just have fun at a younger age.

    Our troop was more concerned over quality than quantity of Eagles coming from the troop. We really were not only interested in Eagle’s either, but developing the boys as future leaders, husbands, and workers.

    Most of the parents of scouts agreed with the troop leadership as well. We had a couple of boys that could have earned their Eagle at a later age of 12, but none did this.

    We did have one transfer boy come into the troop. He turned in his blue cards and earned 12 MB’s in two weeks! Of course his parents were the councilors for all of them. They wanted him to earn his Eagle really bad. We had declined him on his MB’s. Apparently he pulled this in 4 other troops. The parents never figured that SM’s talk to other SM’s. The boy didn’t even want to be in scouts to begin with. The family soon left our troop and he became a Lone Scout. The council was wise enough not to accept his advancements. But this is one extreme case.

    My personal opinion of an Eagle at age 12 is that the parents earned it or the troop is an eagle mill. The troop may be more concerned of notching their belts at the number of eagle’s in the nest than on the boy’s welfare.

    • Rejecting blue cards is not the right way to handle this. You have to accept the signed card, period.

      But, you then call the district and have them drop the parents as registered merit badge counselors, because they are not following BSA policy.

  91. Actually, it is possible for a Scout to earn Eagle at 11 years, 5 months. Here’s the math:

    Under the 2013 requirements:
    • To earn Arrow of Light, requirement #1 states, “Be active in your Webelos den for at least six months since completing the fourth grade (or for at least six months since becoming 10 years old), and earn the Webelos badge.”
    • Join at 11 years of age (or “has completed the fifth grade or earned the Arrow of Light Award and is at least 10 years old”)
    • Tenderfoot–requires physical record of 30 days as a Scout
    • Second Class – no minimum time or tenure and can be earned in parallel with Tenderfoot
    • First Class – no minimum time or tenure and can be earned in parallel with Tenderfoot and Second Class
    • Star–requires tenure of four months as First Class
    • Life–requires tenure of six months as Star
    • Eagle–requires tenure of six months as Life

    If a Scout has earned his Arrow of Light and active in his Webelos den for six months and has completed the fourth grade, he can join a Scout troop on his 10th birthday.

    T=10 years old at the time of joining a Boy Scout troop

    Tenderfoot physical requirement of 30 days (let’s call it one month)
    Second Class and First Class requirements are done in parallel with that of Tenderfoot, i.e. the Scout “blasts” through the requirements, including the camping (he’s done patrol and troop camping and other activities in the summer and those authorized in the troop has accepted those activities). *This is key.* There is no tenure between Tenderfoot and First Class and, in fact, until recently, the national Advancement Team had promoted “First Class, First Year” based on the premise that a Scout advancing to First Class will most likely stay in Scouting longer.

    So, T= 10 Years, 1 month

    Star tenure of 4 months

    T = 10 Years, 5 months

    Life tenure of 6 months

    T = 10 Years, 11 months

    Eagle tenure of 6 months

    T = 11 Years, 5 months

    Should he do it? That’s really up to the Scout and his Scoutmaster to determine his motivation. Since the Scoutmaster should reference Section 2 of the 2013 Guide to Advancement to help with bringing a quality program to the unit, the emphasis will be on the experience and not merely “checking off” the requirements.

    As a district advancement chair, I’ve see too many units base their program around advancement (merit badge classes during troop meetings, etc.) and abdicate a quality unit program that naturally results in advancement.

    Secondly, I’ve seen too many Scouts who’ve attended merit badge midways/clinics (including summer camp and jamboree) and walk away with completed merit badge cards when the requirements, as written, were not met.

    In these cases, I blame the the Scoutmaster, MB Counselors and other adults running these venues rather than the Scouts for robbing the Scout of his experiential learning (the phrase from GTA Section 2).

    • Lou, I fully agree with your comments – with one note.

      I have been our troop’s advancement chair for over nine years, and in that time I have come up against scenarios like you’ve described many times. I have been instructed that my job as advancement chair is NOT to “test” the boy on the validity of the blue card he brings me, but to simply verify that requirements have been signed off. I’ve presented a number of merit badges to boys that I had doubts about (as an example, several required merit badges cannot be completed solely at a merit badge midway, yet I’ve had completed blue cards for them turned in to me).

      The leaders who operate these events bear the responsibility of ensuring that requirements are truly completed before handing the boy a completed blue card. These requirements cannot be met simply by a boy’s attendance.

      • Unfortunately Tim, this happens all the time now. Scouts “earn” merit badges without being able or required to complete the requirements as written. The BSA guide to advancement has encouraged this – if something is signed off – it is signed off – even if we know the scout hasn’t completed 20 nights camped or cooked the meals in the cooking merit badge. It is a shame. And a sham. And it means Eagle doesn’t mean anything because you have no idea of the quality or lack of quality behind the badge. Maybe some parents did the work. Maybe no one did and someone simply signed things off.

      • Yes, Tim, if the MB “blue card” is signed by a council approved merit badge counselor (easy to do in one’s local council where one can obtain a copy of the council merit badge councilor list and not so easy if the Scout earned his MB outside of the council), we cannot deny the Scout his merit badge.

        If there is a question about a specific merit badge counselor that needs to be brought to the attention of the council advancement committee, the 2013 GTA has a form in the appendix (Topic – Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns) that should be completed and submitted, even for an out of council counselor. I’ve followed up with my counterparts in the other councils when there are concerns by our troops and, of course, word does get around as to summer camp/merit badge midway/group instruction in that council.

        But, it is still incumbent upon the Scoutmaster and his unit committee to ensure that the Scout has every opportunity to reinforce the skills learned (rank and merit badge) by having a quality unit program and encouragr him to teach that skill to younger Scouts, especially if it is suspected that he didn’t really complete the requirement. One cannot “take back” a requirement or MB once it’s signed off (GTA Section 2, GTA Topic, GTA Topic

      • The latest Guide to Advancement addresses this issue and allows units who -KNOW- the boy could not possibly have met the MB requirements to not award the MB to the boy. If you haven’t read the GtA cover to cover, I’d encourage you to. There are some small changes with big implications.
        You want section Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges, page 53. That said, I personally stress the word “limited.” http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf

    • Lou,
      What about the time required in a “position of responsibility?” This scenario could only be fulfilled if this Scout were in a very small troop. Kelly mentioned that the family in her email left the troop and the Scout was a “Lone Scout.” It’s not possible to continue as a scout in that scenario, as the scout has to be a member of a troop with a Chartered Organization. No CO, no Troop.

      • Bob,

        Advancement for the Lone Scout is addressed in Topic in the 2013 GTA where the criteria for this type is (note item #1 regarding home-schooled youth):
        1. Home-schooled where parents do not want them in a youth group
        2. U.S. citizens living abroad
        3. Exchange students away from the United States
        4. Disability or communicable illness that prevents meeting attendance
        5. Rural communities far from a unit
        6. Conflicts with a job, night school, or boarding school
        7. Families who frequently travel or live on a boat, etc.
        8. Living arrangements with parents in different communities
        9. Environments where getting to meetings may put the Scout in danger

        For position of responsibility, remember there is an alternate to this requirement in regard to a service project. Topic specifically addressed this, “For example, a Lone Scout may fulfill a position of responsibility by serving in his school, place of worship, in a club, etc. Where it is not possible to meet requirements as written, a Lone Scout counselor may suggest equal or very similar alternative requirements.”

        The Lone Scout counselor may be his parent or guardian.

        Where there are Scout troops or teams in the area and the parent or guardian decides that they want their boy to be a Lone Scout, it’s up to the local council to accept/reject their application. Do parent abuse this? I’m sure there are cases.

    • Are there those who could earn Eagle as a 12 year old? Sure…you see 12 year olds in college sometimes. Would I encourage it…no. Does the BSA need to “slow it down”…no. The percentage is extremely small.

      Some real observations to match Lou’s timeline:

      Requirements allow it – Older Time between ranks requirements actually would allow a scout to make Eagle faster but you also had to be 11 to join. Now you can be 10. You used to have to go over your approach on working on your next rank as part of your SM Conference as well. Now working on all 3 ranks at the same time allows quicker advancement.

      Troop/Patrol events – counting – no real standard – some count basically anything including more than one event on the same event (day hike during a campout) – the 5 events for 2nd also count for 1st so 1st class requirements can be finished in 30 days

      Soft PORs – Historian, Librarian – No leadership challenges faced like PL/ASPL/SPL have…troop doesn’t or hasn’t set reasonable expectations for performance

      MBCs are in troop or parents – allow close access to Eagle Required MBs

      EP that do not need much planning or execution – Conservation EPs can be done relatively quickly (just ask the 17.5 y/os)

      BORs pushed to minimize time between S/L/E – 4 or 6 months to the day so the scout is not delayed

      Life ambitions/Other Leadership positions statements on his Eagle application thin – what other areas do 11 year olds get to lead?

      Troop hopping when ULs don’t cooperate with the plan – ULs pushed – GTA waved under the UL’s noses

      ULs and MBCs do not want to be seen as holding scouts back or feel it’s easier and less headaches to not deal with the parents

      Soooooo…..Sadly my experience in the younger Eagles I’ve seen is that the entire process is managed by helicopter parents and the scout is along for the ride. Does the Scout “make” Eagle or “earn” Eagle?

  92. I personally think we put way too much emphasis on Eagle to the point where it has turned not into an achievement along a spectrum that continues beyond Eagle, but a “graduation” that boys (and their parents) think of as the end. That’s wrong, and it creates a horrible brain drain on troops.
    Anyone who has thought about it knows that a boy can earn Eagle by 12, and if a boy wants to, he can do it. My concern whether he’s 12, 14 (the avg Eagle age in the ’50s), or 17 (today’s avg) is that he doesn’t disappear. Eagles that disappear are useless to my unit, and the investment we put into them is wasted. I don’t need their names on a plaque, I need their butts at our meetings teaching the younger scouts, leading trips, planning an exciting program, etc.
    For that reason, I’ve started promoting the National Outdoor Awards. It’s impossible to earn some of them until way into their teens, and frankly they tell me more about a Scout’s commitment to Scouting (outing) than Eagle does. They require long-term activity and planning, and that means time spent with the troop.

    • AMEN! That’s my goal…I want young men…that have earned AND LEARNED…to be sitting in the meetings, teaching and guiding the other boys how to keep and maintain a boy-led troop. I have yet to see a single young man earn his Eagle and STAY. On that note, my son is 13 (as of 9/11/13). He is currently SPL (and struggling with the responsibility) and he recently earned his Life rank. I believe he is only SPL…because no one else wants to do the job. His SM is already talking Eagle project. Yes, he has completed all but 1 of his required Eagle merit badges…BUT, do I believe he is ready? Absolutely NOT. He wants more than anything to earn his Eagle…but his main focus right now is community service and getting his patrols organized and the unit on track. With his frustration level, I could easily see him earning Eagle and wlking away. That is the last thing I want to see happen.

      • Eagles dont stick around? No one wants the SPL position? Leana, those are MAJOR indicators that something is wrong within the unit. As chair, you should reach out to your unit and district commissioners and have them lift the hood and check the engine.

        • OH, I KNOW exactly what is wrong with the unit! But, I have a committee full of parents that are unwilling to enforce the proper changes to get these boys to a truly boy led troop. ‘they’ want to keep the boys as ‘cubs’ and refuse to give them enough room to grow and learn from their mistakes.

          I’m a true believer in ‘if you only put ketchup, buns, and pickle relish on your menu; and your QM forgot to pack the chuck box—you better pool your resources and think fast’ I’m sure you’ll plan your campout better next time.

          I believe that a young man should be led by a man. But, if an SM can’t provide the proper planning and leadership materials…that SM should accept help from the committtee, not be offended by the offer of help and threaten to quit. Yes, our unit has issues. And, they need fixed. I apologize for my negativity. I just came out of a situation where the SM and ASMs didn’t allow the boys to do the menu on their own…so they threw one together 3 days before the campout and texted ME to ask if we had funds available and if I would shop. Then, proceeded to text me FROM THEIR CAMPOUT that they had NO WATER. guess, you better start teaching the boys how to gather water from a survival stand point. I mean it was a wilderness survival campout! Shoot, there was enough morning dew that they could have gathered leaves off the ground and filtered the water into canteens.

        • That sounds pretty bad Leanna. No doubt – a Webelos III troop is probably the hardest problem to unwind because you are basically competing against the will of the adults (who have all discovered that running a Web III troop is easier to run than a boy led troop).

          As CC you hold virtually all the cards. My suggestion would be to have a heart to heart discussion with your COR and let him know that you are going to be re-organizing the unit to run by BSA program guidelines and it is likely to cause friction. Once you two are on the same page, pull the SM in for a meeting and inform him of the terms under which he can continue to run the unit. If he balks, thank him for his previous service and fire him on the spot with the COR’s approval. If the COR balks, resign and find a new unit. A wise man once told me that if the SM, CC, and COR aren’t singing in harmony, there will never be a good resolution to unit issues. Cut bait and find a new fishing hole. Your sanity will thank you later.

        • Here is the deal. Troop program resources volumes 1-3 lay out a 36 month program for the boys to follow. All the SM has to do is train the SPL, teach them to cook, make reservations, and drive places. It is much more fun that way.

        • Yeah, that is true Scott but it sounds like Leanna is having trouble with adults who aren’t interested in the mechanics of the program not necessarily the content of it.

        • Then they must go. We went thru that. The CO said you don’t want to turn away volunteers. They are hard to come by. The next week when they were informed 2 dozen scouts were quitting along with 8 registered leaders and looking for a new CO, they decided in favor of removal.

  93. As advancement chairman for my distrct, I have had a couple of young eagle scouts. I do not feel that they really understand why they are providing the service(s). I would like to see an age mininimum to become an eagle scout.
    Maturity and knowledge comes with age.Being able to be in complete charge of a eagle scout project is difficult if the scout is young.

  94. All the comments so far are my believes as well. There is no way a 12 year old can manage the processes that it takes to be an Eagle at that age, except with both parents, or others, doing most of the work. I have a general rule that they should get their eagle before they get their drivers license(usually16 in most states). When they get their drivers license they get the three “sniffs”. they sniff gasoline, perfume and money. They get a car, get a girlfriend and get a job,,,and then school get in the way some where.,,,Let them enjoy camping, hiking, friendship and 100’s of other adventures.

    Scout leader for 36 years

  95. Boys should become young men in the process of becoming Eagle Scouts. Progressing in the minimum time should raise questions about who is doing the work – is it the boy or is it their parents? It’s also worthwhile to look at who is pushing for rank – is it the boy alone, the boy with some encouragement from parents/other adults or is there a parent or other adult doing all the driving (scout is doing what they’re told)? Adults doing the work for scouts or being the primary/only force driving advancement should be avoided. With all that said, if there is a boy of 10 who charges hard to earn his Eagle, more power to them!

  96. I think Eagle Scout projects are for the older scout who has to juggle the likes of aHigh School schedule and teenage life and still get the project managed into all that. My daughter would have easily completed her gold award prior to being 16 and a Junior and instead completed it the summer of freshman year as a new 13 year old or so, the demand on her time and her interest level in lots of other things was less. I am imagining this to be the case for my boy scout 7th grader. If my daughter is able to complete the gold award now that she is completely immersed in high school life, acadmeically, socially and sports wise, then I think that gold award holds more weight for those considering that she did complete it. She also appreciates the magnitude at which completing it is. She also better understands the purpose of completing it and others that are working with her on it can also better appreciate who she is in her project.

  97. I would not encourage the young scout to earn his Eagle as soon as possible. I think that the scout should mature before he tackles his leadership, service project and some of the required merit badges. Also, he is short changing hmself on the excitement and benefits of the scouting program if he earns his eagle and leaves the program.

  98. I’ve seen a common thread through the responses so far…yes, it is possible to earn your eagle that fast. Does that mean it was done correctly? My opinion is no. Troops that are known as “merit badge factories” and “Eagle factories” exist in our area, as well as others. Parents and multiple leaders establish themselves as counselors and shove these kids through the program like they are making sausage. The merit badges are designed for the kids to do the work. They work at their pace, not one established by the parents or the leaders. This is where you get the cream rising to the top, so to speak. Not every Scout will earn Eagle, nor may the have the desire to. We have one Scout in our troop who hates camping, but he is coming to Scouts for the other features of the program. Will he advance…technically no. You have to have overnight camping experiences to advance. I don’t know how many kids I’ve seen miss Eagle by one or two badges, because they didn’t have the time or placed other things as a priority over Scouting.

    Should a parent be allowed to council a MB for their son? Our troop has adopted a policy of not allowing that, and we have even gone as far as saying that they should investigate using another counselor over someone in the troop. We do not want folks thinking that we have established a “drive thru” merit badge system.

    So are these 12 year old Eagles dedicated or being railroaded through? I guess we can’t say without knowing the Scout in question. The level of dedication required from not only the Scout, but of the leadership has to be EXTREMELY high in this case. Required service hours, camping/overnight requirements, the dreaded “90 day” requirements for Family Life, Personal Management and Personal Fitness, rank pre-requisites…it can’t all be learned and “experienced” in that short of a time…just my opinion.

  99. I really believe we should discourage attainment of this rank at such a young age. Earning the rank of Eagle goes well beyond earning merit badges and rushing through leadership positions. Young men should grow through experience and leadership during this journey. It’s not a race and I wonder how much a young man has taken away from the program when they achieve eagle at such a young age. I also wonder what attraction the program will hold for a boy who has achieved this rank young.

  100. I Believe that the scout earning Eagle at the age of 12 and even sometimes 13 at being pushed to get it. I don’t think that you are even old enough let alone Responsible enough to earn Eagle at 12. That means that most of the Eagle project was probably planned by and adult. Because I am 17 and having a hard time planing my eagle project…I do not see how a 12 year old could possibly do this.

    • Well said, Christopher. I think your comment, as a 17 year old scout, has the most value.

      Good luck finishing your Eagle project and wear that medal proudly! You really earned it!

  101. Wasn’t there a requirement (back in the early-mid 1980’s) somewhere in there (post-First Class) that you had to hold a position of leadership for X amount of time? I can’t imagine a lot of 11-year-olds being good Senior Patrol Leaders (with experiences to share and knowledge to impart on the ‘younger’ kids). I know I wouldn’t have been a good SPL at 11 years old.

        • Hi Mike, no need for me to re-read anything. I’m very familiar with the requirements, and what I wrote is correct. here is no current requirement to hold a position of leadership for any rank, including Eagle. There are, however, several requirements to hold Positions of Responsibility.

        • A Scoutmaster-assigned service project for Star and Life may be substituted for a POR.

          Star Requirement #5: While a First Class Scout, serve actively in your unit for four months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility (or carry out a Scoutmaster-assigned leadership project to help the unit):


          Life Requirement #5: While a Star Scout, serve actively for six months in your unit in one or more of the troop positions of responsibility listed in requirement 5 for Star Scout (or carry out a Scoutmaster-assigned leadership project to help the unit).


          Eagle is the only one requiring, explicitly, that the Scout serve in a PoR for 6 months *and* demonstrate leadership through his Eagle Scout service project.

      • He’s right. It says “position of responsibility” not “position of leadership.”
        Let the hair splitting begin ….!

        Star requirement #5 …
        “While a First Class Scout, serve actively in your unit for four months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility (or carry out a Scoutmaster-assigned leadership project to help the unit):
        Boy Scout troop. Patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader, Venture patrol leader, troop guide, Order of the Arrow troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, bugler, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, instructor, troop Webmaster, or Leave No Trace trainer.”

  102. 12? Is that even possible? Always thought there should be a minimum age, 15 or so. One must stop and smell the roses if you may, and Scouting has a lot of roses to smell. I had my Eagle board the night before I turned 18, I had left Scouting when I was 14 and returned 2 years later, it made me want it more. I am almost 50 and I look back at the mentors that helped me along the way. It’s not just the award but the journey taken, Besides, many leave their Troop after Eagle, there is nothing left to shoot for.

    • Nope. Nothing. Well, except the other 110 merit badges, Hornaday award, hornaday medal, nova awards (4), super nova medals (2), Outdoor achievement awards (5), Outdoor achievement medal, 50 miler, Eagle palms.

  103. I certainly wouldn’t seek to demotivate an ambitious young Scout. But this bothers me for a couple of reasons. First, the cynic in me has to wonder how much parental elbow grease went into the effort and what lesson was taught to the Scout. Second, and much more importantly, the purist in me has to wonder how much emphasis we are placing on the individual achievement of Eagle Scout at the expense of the traditional goals of Scouting (replacing Self with Service, developing strong citizens, etc.).

  104. Seems like we all agree … the real tragedy is
    (1) that such boys may not get as much out of Scouting as they truly should, and
    (2) such boys are likely “Eagle and out” and miss out on so many other aspects of what Scouting is all about.

    I got my Eagle at 17 … and I got it because I finally decided I really wanted it (and therefore better git’r’done!) That accomplishment means more to me than it ever would have at a younger, more immature age. The real value in that accomplishment, though, is now being able to serve as an adult in the same troop I earned my Eagle rank from – to pay it forward for a new batch of Scouts.

  105. Wow, I disagree with the tone and direction of almost all of the previous posts. The point of scouting is to build good boys. The mid-hudson valley council had a “policy” that they would not allow any boy to become eagle before he is 14. My oldest son was gung-ho in scouting. He took the initiative to call Merit Badge councilors and without any assistance from his parents or leaders contacted the mayor’s office (it was quite a surprise when the mayor called our home asking for our son). Many people asked us what they should do at his project but we simply directed them to ask my son and he managed the whole project and developed leadership skills. If our family vacation schedule hadn’t gotten in the way he would have been 13 at his board of review and would have been rejected (I didn’t know that until after the fact) and that would have been terrible for him and would have killed his scouting experience. He remained active in scouting through his eighteenth birthday.

    If a boy can meet the requirements then he should get the badge. If the boy leaves scouting after achieving the rank of eagle it is because his leaders aren’t following the program or don’t know how to build a program that will engage older boys who have already reached eagle.

    In no circumstances should a boy be denied advancement based on his age rather than on his qualifications. Age is not the issue. The quality of the scout is the issue and anyone who says differently does not understand the true purpose of scouting. Sure, there will be boys who reach eagle only because their parents essentially drag them through the process and do all the leg work on the project for them. But that happens with 17 year old scouts as well 12 year old scouts.

    The program is a good program. Stick to the program and don’t let your own biases hinder boys who enthusiastically embrace it. If the scout actually meets the requirements and is living the scout oath and law, then they have earned the badge … PERIOD!

    • Do you honestly believe, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that a 12 or 13 year old can be trusted to take charge of a catastrophic situation? i.e. hurricane, tornado, earthquake.. If not why? That is what we should be training them for. To take charge. When we see that knot WE should be able to trust him to just that. Not run home to mommy and daddy. Oh no, age and maturity is a big deal. By your words I would guess you would pass off a boy regardless of ability. You would also send a kid to camp 4 or 5 weeks so they can obtain merit badges the easiest way. Shame, Shame on you.

      • I absolutely would trust a 12 or 13 year old who has been properly trained to handle any situation. In fact there are 12-13 year old boys I would trust much more than 16-18 year old boys.

        Do not assume the type of leader I am or what I would want my boys to do. 1 week out scout camp each year is enough. In order for a boy to earn the required badges for eagle before they turn 12 they would need to have a lot of personal motivation and seek out counselors on their own initiative.

        Shame on you for presuming to add requirements to the scouting program. Shame on you for thinking you know better than those who wrote the requirements for the badge. And shame on you for not encouraging your boys to be the best they can be.

        In my experience boys will rise the expectations set for them. Get off your high horse and evaluate each boy as an individual rather than by some arbitrary standard you think is better than the one established by the BSA. Certainly, there are 12 year olds that shouldn’t be eagle. There are also 17 year olds that shouldn’t be eagle. It is about the boy not about the age.

      • I whole-heartily have to disagree with Mike here. All of that is opinion or a parenting choice. But it’s not Scouting. No where does the Boy Scouts of America say any teenager should be able to take charge in a catastrophic situation. You will not find what you just said in any of the literature. I take the direct opposite and disagree that is NOT what we are training them for.

        It might be an great aspiration. Certainly one could make it goal for a son or daughter. But we’re not raising Lieutenants in the army. We’re raising teenagers to one day be men.

        When I see an Eagle knot or award, I think of a young man who, while still in High School, did a lot of work, had a goal and achieved it, did a worthwhile project, set his sights high, wore a uniform that probably got snickers from peers, stood proudly, learned a lot along the way, and is better prepared for adulthood than those aforementioned snickers.

        I sincerely hope our Eagles “run home to mommy and daddy” when they need them. Not out of cowardice, but because they are mature enough to know when to ask for help, guidance, and maybe in times of need, a little charity from those who love him most.

        I don’t expect most adults to know what to do in a time of crisis. BSA doesn’t teach crisis management. It’s teaches boys to grow, learn, expand, extend, manage, and much more.

  106. I would no more trust a twelve year old Eagle scout any more than I trust the leadership in Irvine, Texas or b HUSSEIN o. Obtaining the Rank of Eagle requires Strength, Growth, Knowledge, and Leadership among other attributes. No 12, 13 or 14 year old can fully understand the Duty and Responsibility they take upon themselves when accepting the Eagle Oath and Commission. Many 15 and 16 year olds do not properly earn the rank but are passed through for convenience – financially. I am not a stick in the mud. I started serving as an adult leader in 1977 and have seen many change, mostly bad. Now is the time to get back to the basics of scouting. Back to Honesty and Integrity. Back to when a young boy was tested for rank advancement he knew his stuff. Not like today when they do it once they are passed or that one item counts for three different requirements. This has nothing to do with race, nationality or other politically correct areas. As for those with handi-caps, we can modify the requirements but not to the detriment of the Ideals of Scouting. As for the original question, There is a reason less than 2% of scouts obtained Eagle years ago. It was hard and tough. I have seen to few scouts who could actually handle the old days and the old ways. Perhaps we, as Old Timers, need to take even a greater role before it is too late

    • Pining for “the good old days” has nothing to do with this. If you believe the requirements for eagle should include an age requirement then you should petition the BSA to change the requirements. Do not presume to punish boys who work hard in the program today just because you have not had the good fortune of working with exceptional young men. AGE DOES NOT MATTER. The quality of the boy is what matters and any artificial requirement you imagine for yourself (including the eagle oath and commission) is exactly that, your own imagination.

      There is nothing in the requirements for Eagle Scout that mention anything about the made up eagle charge and commission. The requirement is for the boy to live the Scout Oath and Scout Law. That includes your request for honesty and integrity. I believe that is covered in teaching a boy to be trustworthy. Unfortunately, you are missing eleven other attributes in the scout law that boys need to embrace and demonstrate in order to achieve the rank of eagle, along with having honor, doing their duty to God and country, and keeping themselves physically fit, mentally awake, and morally straight. Why you feel the need to add to that I have no idea. Maybe because your organization doesn’t expect that from their scouts.

    • Mike, a couple of questions for you.

      Does the unit you are involved with have a quality unit program? By that I mean that it has at least one outdoor activity per month with a specific Scouting skill theme for the activity?

      Are the troop meetings prior to the even/activity set up to teach the skills (not classroom, but hands-on i.e. EDGE instruction) by the older Scouts to the younger Scouts and incorporate inter-patrol games to reinforce the skills?

      Are the Scouts being signed off while on the activity rather than in the troop meeting?

      Have those who are signing off on the requirements properly trained junior leaders under the coaching and mentoring of the Scoutmaster and then reviewed from time to time to make sure that the leaders are maintaining the advancement standards (doing the requirements as they are written, no more and no less).

      Is the Scoutmaster reviewing the Scout’s advancement by asking questions about his experience in the unit and not quizzing him about his Scouting skills (i.e. How was Johnny as an instructor for lashing? What did you learn from him? Was he clear in his explaining how to lash? Was his demonstration good? Did he have you show him the lashing?) then if finding issues, taking corrective action with the instructors and then providing the Scout with opportunities to “pay it forward” with younger Scouts as an instructor himself *and* to have future activities include opportunities to reinforce the learned skills.

      Are your unit boards of review providing feedback to the Scoutmaster with areas of concern in the area of advancement through similar questions of the Scout? Are the BOR members even trained in conducting effective boards of review or are they perceived as “rubber stamps?”

      If your unit is doing all of this, then your unit is following the tried and true advancement method of Scouting as defined by “Green Bar Bill” Harcourt and still done today in properly functioning units.

      All too often, our memories about Scouting in our youth are tainted with time and we forget that Scouting is only as good as the unit program leadership understanding the advancement method.

      *That* is why Section 2 of the latest GTA was written – to reinforce the *reason* for advancement as a method and not as an end unto itself.

      Experiential learning, folks. Hands-on, not classroom, instruction through a good unit program will naturally result in a Scout’s advancement, so when that Scout is tested, he will know his stuff then, additionally, reinforce the skills as time progresses and the Scout continues to grow.

  107. I have some personal experience sitting on an Eagle board of review for a young Scout and, after he passed, provided the following words for he and his parents as a “charge” (to the best of my recollection) to address those who may question his status:

    “Eagle Scout is more than a rank. It is a state of being. One can recognize an Eagle Scout by the way the person; whether they are a youth who just completed his Eagle board of review or a senior citizen who has lived a long a fruitful life conducts himself. The commonality of these two individuals is the same; they’ve accepted the Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan as an integral part of their being. The Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan are more than words and the meanings behind the words. They are the very source and core of how they conduct themselves in their everyday life.
    In everyday parlance, ‘Boy Scout’ is, for good or bad, a description and ‘Eagle Scout’ is almost always an explanation. ‘Well, he’s an Eagle Scout’ has become shorthand for an entire body of skills that has enabled a man, young or old, to accomplish something.

    Every Eagle Scout, during the course of his life, experiences having certain expectations laid upon them. Adult Eagles come to appreciate the full implications of the phrase ‘always an Eagle.’ It is the only childhood award that appears on your resume that is recognized by potential employers. It will likely be included in your obituary. You become accustomed to the flicker of respect in the eyes of others when they learn you are an Eagle, suggesting as it does unseen skills and strength of character.

    The Eagle medal, patch, and lapel pin, which will be awarded to you at your Eagle Court of Honor, are merely outward signs of an inward reality. They, by themselves, mean nothing. It is you, regardless of whether you are wearing your Eagle items or not, that should exude ‘Eagle Scout’ and you must not simply wear it on your sleeve as a memento. As was said, Eagle Scout is a state of being and not merely an award. I cannot emphasize this enough.

    There will be those who will try to cast aspersions about your age and experience as an Eagle Scout. How you react to the aspersions will reflect, not only upon you, but every Eagle Scout who has come before you and who will come after you. Remember this.”

    • Well said Lou. I was there when you said it and I expect I will hear something close from you when my son has his Eagle Court of Honor.
      One thing I would add, those that cast aspersions says much about the character and “Scout Spirit” of the one casting.

  108. We need to look at the real problem here. Which is a National Organization that wrote the advancement requirements that allow this to be possible. They are more concerned this generating advancement than making sure that the advancement is truly earned. Merit Badge Universities and Summer Camps that offer boys a chance to earn 6 MB in a week are also to blame. The rules need to be rewritten so a boy needs to be in Scouts at least 4 years to earn Eagle.

    • I think the problem is more about the implementation of the program in individual units and in enforcing the current requirements. The timing on the requirements has not substantially changed in more than 25 years. What has changed is the way people treat the requirements. That is what needs to change.

      • You’re hanging out with the wrong 14 year olds. Some of the 2013 14 year olds in our troop are amazing. They are phenomenal. They stand up for their values in a climate of moral decay I couldn’t even imagine when I was a young man. They give service to all kinds of charitable and civic organizations. They are well read and can discuss politics and have their own opinions. They are outstanding scouters and help all the boys, both older and younger, to improve and stick to their standards. I think most 1949 boys faced with the moral, and ethical challenges of today would struggle at least as much.

        Do not short change the today’s youth. They have tremendous potential. They will rise to the high expectations placed on them by those who care about them who have earned their respect.

        • I am not “shortchanging today’s youth.”
          I am not “hanging out with the wrong 14 year olds.”
          I also do not disagree with your assertion that boys of this age from 1949 would struggle at least as much as our current youth do. In fact – I agree.

          All I said was that these are two different eras, and are in my mind therefore incomparable. If you derived more than that from my statement, then you read way too much into it.

        • Tim, I believe I understood you perfectly: The requirements of the Eagle in 1949 cant be compared to today because the Scouts of 1949 cant be compared to the Scouts of today.

          And, as stated, the eras are different. The Scouts aren’t. This past weekend, after a 20 mile backpacking trip, I had a 3 hour conversation o on the drive home with an 18 year old Eagle and a 13 year old Life Scout about: the molecular make up of asbestos and it’s properties, the relative merits of minimum wage laws, job hunting based on personal budgetary requirements, and a subjective comparison of bluegrass to dub step music. The depth of the discussion in each case impressed upon me that no one should ever sell these boys short.

          Increasing the Eagle age requirements will do nothing except produce fewer Eagles and hamstring the go getters.

  109. As an Eagle Scout and a current Scout Leader I believe that those who rush and earn it before there 15 birthday are not learning everything they need to. They may complete the requirements, but they are not learning the material

      • You raise an interesting point. We don’t give a whole lot of thought to First Class these days because as you say, those skills are mastered in a year or two. A lot of folks in fact see First Class as little more than a stepping stone on the way to the coveted Eagle, and they use Eagle counts as a measure of unit success even though it is an individual accomplishment. So my question would be, what’s the point of the exercise? Is it completing First Class, completing Eagle, or something completely different that we seem to have lost sight of?

  110. I have watched boys who have made Eagle at a young age (under 16) and I don’t think it was a good idea. Of the 3 in our troop, 2 have left before they turned 16, and one who is now 15, acts like he has something better to do than help younger boys. I am the Committee Chairman and I have voiced my opinion , but to no avail. I have sat on a few Eagle boards, and I see questions asking what they like about Scouts, how to tie knots and what was challenging about scouts. I think if a boy is going up for Eagle, these questions should not have to be asked. I want to know what they think about what is going on in the world. How they would change something for the better, issues in their community, These questions might help a child realize if they are prepared for Eagle, that it is not an entitlement, but an honor.

    • With regards to boys leaving after Eagle: That ought to be a huge red flag to you as a committee chair. Something is wrong if the Scout is receiving the message “this unit has no more challenges for me.” Your Eagle board questions sound spot on to me, however, it may be that your unit is too focused on advancement overall.

      BTW, as chairman, you have more than an opinion – you hold the trump cards on the unit’s direction. While you cant do anything to change the advancement requirements themselves, you can help makeover a unit to one that older boys WANT to have a role in, regardless of their rank.

  111. This kind of a funny question to me… I am usually answering the doorbell to a scout who needs a signature on his Eagle application form on the eve of his 18th birthday!

    When my dad came to one of the first COH’s we had when my son was a first year scout several years ago, he looked around the room and asked, “Where’s all your Eagle Scouts?” I had to tell him that it seems most of them get it so late in their scouting career that they are out of the troop right away after their COH. (My son was no exception, it turns out… though he is still registered as an ASM.)

    12 or 13 a little young? Maybe. but I think that is the trend we will see. The scouting system is changing folks!

    The number of boys in the program over the age of 16 is shrinking.We are recruiting younger at the cub scout level (Tiger Cubs and ?). They (and their parents) can only stay interested in the Cub program for so long. Today’s kids are more sophisticated earlier and need the challenges of the Boy Scout program at an earlier age. I am willing to bet that we are going to see the age limits for entering Boy Scouts lowered to 9 years old over the next several years. That means 10 year-old First Class scouts and 11 and 12 year-old Eagles!

    Scary thought isn’t it? Let’s hope the Eagle requirements don’t get watered down along the way.

    We are already making some exceptions for High Adventure. Northern Tier tried 13, but have now added “AND completed the 8th grade”. We took a group of mostly 13 year-olds (all going from 7th into 8th grade) to Northern Tier and they had a good time, but struggled at times too. Adults had to carry the canoes and we packed an extra pack to make each pack lighter. Some portages were two trips.

    Final thought… a work colleague and I were discussing a resume for a potential hire one day a few years ago. I mentioned that the candidate had Eagle Scout on his resume. My colleague (not a scouter) came back with: “Ach! Eagle Scouts are a dime a dozen.”

    I hope not.

      • Longhouse council in northern NY has had a pilot Lion program for over 5 years now; i was a “Lion cub leader” twice when i lived there. I liked it, and it was very age-appropriate for kindergarten boys. Having done it twice, i can see improvements to our program are still needed, but i liked having cubs start at kindergarten. Kids now start soccer at 3, so starting cubs at K isnt goifn to burn anyone out, if its done right.

        • I help with our district Cub Scout recruitment. I am always asked by parents of kindergarden boys if they can join and the look on those boys faces breaks my heart to tell them they have to wait a year. They are ready and they should be able to join.

        • I saw that when I did a Google search earlier. Good for you! I don’t know why our council site says it is the only one in the country… maybe was at one time and is old info. I also saw a vague reference on Wiki about the Lion program being rolled out nation-wide for the 2014-15 program year. Haven’t seen anything official though…

  112. Maybe the issue to raise is not the age of the boys but is about their commitment to living the principles of scouting. Every ranks has the requirement to “show scout spirit”. I think too often this requirement is overlooked. This requirement means they not only understand the principles of scouting but that they are striving to live those principles in their everyday lives. Ask your committee and scout master what they are doing to make these active principles in the lives of the boys from Scout to Eagle. Once they understand and live the principles the program becomes one of developing character rather than a camping club. When you the boys buy in to developing their character the advancement follows naturally.

  113. Could I have become an Eagle Scout at age 13? Yes.
    Did I? No. I consciously waited until I was 15.
    Why I chose to wait was for several reasons. At 13, there was no way I would be able to pull off a great Eagle Project. Even at 15 I felt bad having my dad drive me around to get donations from stores.
    There are others in my council who got it at 13 but their mommys and daddys did it all for them. Their parents counseled 10 MBs until the child got all of them and then swapped to 10 new ones. The children who have their parents do the work are, in my experience, the most annoying Eagle Scouts. “Haha, I got Eagle before you!” was a frequent taunt and my only thought was “at least I earned it.”
    Yes, there are some exceptions, some boys are responsible enough to do it themselves but unfortunately many of them are simply done by mommy and daddy.
    A local scout camp has become notorious for handing out MBs to scouts who could not have possibly earned them while there. How can a scout complete Personal Fitness or Reptile and Amphibian Study in one week? Many scouts in the troop were trying to hand the badges back at the Court of Honor because they were not earned. Unfortunately, because this camp is run by the council, questioning the validity of the badges does not make a difference.
    12 year old Eagle Scouts happen because the parents, troop, and council don’t care enough about the boy and him learning the skills that makes an Eagle great instead choosing to simply make sure he gets everything done ASAP.

  114. I am a troop volunteer and currently have a 12 year old scout. For my discussion, let’s assume all scouts are Arrow of Light.

    My AOL Webelos crossed over in December. As an average most would have about 2 to 2.5 years before their 13th birthday to qualify as a 12 year old Eagle. AOL scouts should easily pass through Scout award and Tenderfoot rank. Camping and hiking and being in the outdoors should not be new to AOL scouts. Earning First Class within the first year should not be a challenge for AOL scouts (the one exception maybe the swimming requirement). During that first year scouts will also go to summer camp. I know many counsels offer a buckskin program but I favor scout skills being taught within the troop thus allowing the boys to earn real merit badges at camp. For my son, he will have 3 summer camps under his belt before his 13th birthday. So if he earn four merit badges per camp that would be 12 merit badges. That would mean that he would have to earn the other 10 on about a 1 merit badge per quarter rate. If the scout only makes it to two camps, then he would have to earn the other merit badges on about a 1 every other month rate. In no way do I feel this is a rushed pace to eagle.

    Leadership requirements do not require that you are a Senior Patrol Leader. While that is an import role in scouting it is not a mandate. Other positions like Librarian, Bugler, Scribe, … also count as leadership roles.

    Some argue that you must be an older scout to earn your leadership dues. Being older usually only means that you are bigger and can use intimidation because of your size to get things done. While this is a factor even in the adult world, intimidation and leadership are two very different things.

    As my son just transitioned from 11 to 12 years old and serving his second term as Librarian, he had his sites on SPL. As his parent, I have encouraged him instead to run for patrol leader first so he can get his feet wet there before seeking SPL. But with elections this month then six months later, he could be PL and SPL with in his 12 year old year. I feel he will be a fine leader at either position.

    Although my son will not get his eagle while a 12 year old, depending on his progress he won’t be far behind. The main reason for the delay is timeliness getting merit badges done. He will often go for several months and not even work a merit badge, then bam he gets pumped up and will turn several out at one time. It’s those kids that can stay motivated all of the time that can earn eagle at 12.

    One thing to consider is that a boy 12 turning 13, is quickly become eldest in the troop anyway. I would like to see a age breakdown of active boys in troops across America. Maybe by age by quarter.

    What really concerns me are the boys that are barely making it by 18. Our troop has had several boys that earned eagle but couldn’t even put the badge on their uniform because they had turned 18 before their ceremony. You can almost bet that the 12 year old eagle will more than likely be a better candidate for things in life than the eagle who barely makes it. Just my thoughts anyway.

    • There is so much to be said here, but on your point of 18 year olds. From my point of view, in hiring a candidate for employment with all things being equal, I’d hire an Eagle that earned his rank at 18 juggling cars, girls, and honors classes and STILL worked at getting his Rank, then an Eagle that earned his rank at 12-13 year old and barely know what the honor means. There are a few stellar 12-13 year olds and I realize the “requirements” are all that need to be met but when you’re older people have an expectation of what an Eagle means (whether right or wrong). Scout Oath & Law, someone who can lead, one who is responsible. Meeting someone who is an Eagle Scout used to mean something. I pictured those that were committed through a length process, learning leadership, responsibility and values. When I hear a 40+ year old say “I earned my Eagle when I was 13”, for some reason, the credibility just goes out the window.

  115. Scouting values and charcter traits are like concrete, to me. The longer it cures, the harder it sets and longer it lasts.

    I also think it is important to balance everything. As a scout, I was in a troop that made earning merit badges a monumental and painful process. I got the required 21 MB’s, earned eagle at 15 and stayed involved thereafter, but I never went near another merit badge. Neither did anyone else in my troop. No one ever got palms. As an adult scouter, I hear the statistics quoted about how the majority of eagle scouts are initially exposed to their future profession thru scouting, but that isn’t even close to true for me or my scouting peers.

  116. In my personal opinion, 12 is just too young. There are some extremely smart scouts who can learn everything they need to advance through ranks, however, becoming an Eagle Scout is about developing leadership skills. I don’t know any 12 year old and doubt I will ever find a 12 year old capable of actually leading a group. When it comes to the leadership project, it takes a lot of planning that many young scouts can do. I feel a bigger emphasis should be placed on holding a leadership position in your troop or patrol. I think that a leadership role shows a lot more about the type of leader and person that you are. I also think the requirement should be adjusted to serving successfully in one of the leadership roles. I know scouts who sign up for quartermaster and never go on a campout in their term and get that requirement signed off. It is wrong.

    • I know it is rare but when I had barely turned 13, still a 12 year old in many ways, I was leading groups of people over the internet with different interests and many much older than me, with just voice. I agree that 12 is too young for Eagle but a 12 year old can lead just as affectively as a anyone if they are mature and have leadership skills.

      • How did you lead groups of people over the internet? I would suggest leading scouts at a campout or backpacking trip is a far cry and a lot harder from what you are describing.

        • It was in a game and even when they disagreed with me I got them to do what I thought we needed to do and I have lead scouts on a camp out and on a backpacking trip and it is much easier than getting the people I was leading to get where we needed to be useful, let alone being useful.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. I have met a 12 or 13 year old or two that I have been blown away by with their maturity and leadership, but it’s a rare scout at that age that has the maturity and leadership experience within the Troop setting that would suggest a scout is ready for Eagle Rank at such a young age. I recently had a 14 year old scout gloating over the fact that he had achieved his Eagle Rank before other older scouts in our Troop. I found that to be in very poor character of the younger Eagle Scout and poor in Scout Spirit. It’s a rare 12 year old that fully understands the meaning of what it means to be an Eagle Scout, has fully demonstrated he has really mastered all his scout skills including all tying all required knots, and has shown leadership at the Troop Level that would suggest he has what characteristics are expected of an Eagle Scout, and has had time to give back to the Troop. If the 12 year old plans on sticking around for 3 or 4 years after he Eagles, that is great. If he is simply there to get his Eagle at 12 or 13, and bolt, like some do, then it only tends to make a Troop look like an Eagle Mill.

    • I like the suggestion that an Eagle candidate should have to show leadership through serving in various roles in the troop. I would like to see the additional time that this would require make it impossible to attain the Eagle Scout rank before 13 minimum. 12 years of age is just too young. I’m sorry but I came from an era when the youngest Eagle Scouts in our troop were late 14 and early 15 year olds! There’s SO much more to the scouting experience than just doing merit badges! The additional leadership requirements would do much toward addressing this deficiency.

  117. I will step back a little and ask the first question. Should a Scout earn First class in the matter of, I would say, one month. Experience has demonstrated that this doesn’t work.

    I tried this for a week long camping activity. In order to go on this activity the Scouts had to be registered Scouts and complete the Tenderfoot fitness check thirty days before this activity. This gave the Scouts a chance to prepare for the camp. Plan the Menu, pack, and so on. Upon arriving at camp they were given a workbook with all the requirements of Tenderfoot, Second and First class ranks. These requirements were broken up into the simplest steps and sorted into eleven categories. These Scouts earned beads for each step that they passed off.

    These Scouts liked the approach and started passing off the requirements right and left. I then threw out the challenge that if all 23 scouts completed the workbook, with no exceptions, I would hold a Special Court of Honor on the last night. This would include me cooking a full steak dinner (and I am a chef). I would also cover having family come along with a few special guests.

    Just to jump ahead they all got their First Class Rank in one month. Two of those 23 Scouts became eagle Scouts at 13.

    That was 20 years ago. None of those First Class boys have any interest in Scouts now.

    I found more success with those scouts who took their time and earned First class in their first year, and used next two years to get eagle. Have them work at their own pace.

  118. While I would not encourage 12-year old Eagles, I would not discourage it as long as it was the Scout driving himself & not his parents. I think Scouts can become Eagles at an earlier age for several reasons. First, the SMs are better trained. I don’t remember my SM in a small-town ever sat down with me & said, this is what you need to do to advance. I think I made Second Class, but do not ever remember a BOR. There was only 2 adults that ever came to meetings & 1 of them was only there sometimes. Now, the Scouters have access to unlimited amounts of training on line & in person that will assist Scouts better along the Eagle Trail.

    Second, there are more access to MBCs. Before the Internet, a Scout had to track down a MBC. In small towns, that was really difficult. Back then, only 1st Class & above could earn MBs so I never saw a single MBC. I never even heard of a MBC & as far as I know, the SM was the MBC for every MB. Now, a Scout in my area can go on line & find a MBC for all 130+ MBs in a second.

    Third, and I know there are people who will hate this, there are MB Colleges/Forums/Fairs, etc. where Scouts can earn MBs and/or start them. These were not available a generation ago. While some of these MB Colleges are poorly run, most hold the Scouts to the standards. This is even the case for the Eagle required MBs. Within 200 miles of Kansas City, there are at least 30 MB events every year. The only thing that gets in the way of my son going to more of them is that he is camping with his Troop.

    My son crossed over in February 2013 and last weekend completed his 28th night of camping with his troop. He has spent at least 3 full days working on other Scouts’ Eagle projects. He goes to almost every Troop, District, and Council event because I am on the District Commissioner Staff. He has been 1 requirement short of making first class for 2 months & that is making a useful camp gadget. On both of the last 2 campouts, he was supposed to have made it. The SPL even told me both times that he would monitor the situation. My son failed to get it done so that means that his next opportunity will not come for another month. If he had done the gadget earlier, he could have made First Class in a month but that is the point. Each scout advances at his own pace & he has slowed himself down. And by the way, he already has 25 Merit Badges but only 2 of them are Eagle required. It is probably impossible for him to make Eagle at 12 now and probably won’t at 13 but will probably get it sometime in his 14th year. And that is fine with me.

    • You mentioned that earlier, scouts could not earn merit badges until they completed first class. I remember that. I also remember that there was either a Scoutmaster Conference up to First Class and a Board of Review for higher ranks. I wonder if there is any advantage… or disadvantage of returning to that standard…with maybe the exception of requiring the First Aid merit badge to earn First Class (that came about long after I became an adult… dont know if that is still in place).

      The idea of needing to attain First Class before earning merit badges, and earning patrol or troop leadership positions, creates essentially another tier (like the crossing over ceremoney for Webelos to Scouts… I think it can create a sense of accomplishment and a sense of growing up (socially), that might be missing now.

      I remember that many years ago, in Smithsonian Magazine, the author of an article on BSA’s history, described the idea similar a safe “gang” essentially… where younger boys can feel important by hanging out with older boys, and older boys establish self esteem by being able to tell younger boys what to do (ok… better phrased as leadership/mentoring). Needless to say BSA was not happy with that description…

  119. Having an Eagle Scout in the family, he ranked to Eagle at 16, I feel 12 is way too young for a boy to become an Eagle Scout. I don’t even see how that’s possible considering they have to be 10-11 yrs old to join Boy Scouts, rank every 6 months which takes close to 3 yrs to do AND earn 21 Eagle Scout merit badges. I agree with some of the other comments, the longer it takes to Eagle the better the scout turns out, the more he learns and can understand what he has accomplished and can retain in the years to come.

    • Read the requirements! There are only two ranks that have a six month time period requirement, one that has a four month requirement, and one that has a 30 day requirement. That’s 1 year five months, not three years. And 21 merit badges is not that difficult.
      I have seen boys that have been absent from Scouting and rush in at the eleventh hour to “grab” their Eagle seconds before turning 18 and then they are gone! Is this the “better” Scouts you are referring to. On the other hand, I have seen younger Scouts work hard and diligently to become Eagles and then have time to spend with the troop after becoming Eagles.
      Time and age are not the best methods of judging a Scout.

  120. I have known many Eagle Scouts as a retired professional. I have spent the years since my retirement just as busy in Scouting as the years before and during my professional tenure. So I have approved a lot of applications and asked a few of those to work that project and application over again.

    I believe I have seen more 18 year olds getting their Eagle because their mom pushed them at the last minute than I have seen 12 yr olds who were pushed by their fathers. Way more. And of the four I can think of they have Ll become even better more active Scouts.

    My own two sons were 13 yr old Eagles as my brother and I were too. I know that maturity is a big deal for them and I think if the SM agrees their Scouting Spirit is comparable to a 15 year old then leave them alone. Some are ready at 12 and many more are not ready at 18.

  121. Well, maybe he’s a genius and is motivated way beyond his peers? I’ve got a motley crew that runs the show. They make the calls – where we camp, what we do, with a little guidance from myself to help them sty on track. Most worry they won’t make Eagle and some don’t want it. I encourage otherwise, but I’m totally fine with their intentions as long as they walk away being “prepared for life”.

    It is, however, in my opinion, highly unlikely a troop spits out a 12 year old Eagle unless it is completely under the control of an adult. Barring the time requirements for ranks which are accounted for in the article, completing the Eagle required MB requirements takes time and a lot of spot-on planning to compress into a one two year window – ESPECIALLY if you have lots of kids at different requirement levels and different paces. Nobody is going to plan their camp-outs around one person’s 1-2 year Eagle plan.

    Sure, there are always exceptions. As mentioned in an earlier post, children of scouting executives probably see double the scouting time most kids do. Fine, I’ll buy that. However, what I won’t buy is your average twelve year-old planning and executing an Eagle project without significant hand-holding by the adults. Again, always exceptions, but it shouldn’t in any way be common.

    At any rate, to each his own. I wish those 12 year old scouts all the best and sincerely hope they got what they wanted out of their scouting experience. Hopefully they stick around for a few years to teach their secrets of success to the scouting community.

    • Without advancement hanging over their heads in high school when they have a great deal of work and activities to field, earning the Eagle rank, maybe not at 12 but a bit older frees them to take advantage of the vast scouting program beyond the troop meeting in a small room in the basement.

  122. In our unit, the boys are encouraged and mentored to become First Class, but there is no need to have that done strictly w/in the first year. The unit is almost completely boy-run. Adults help with mentoring the younger scouts when needed, but most of the learning goes by the EDGE method from boy to boy. Adults Counsel some badges and carry out some of the planning and paying for the boys’ wishes for camping and other events, set up fundraisers, etc., but figure if the boy is motivated, it will happen. Most of our Scouts are having such a great time with the outdoor program, service events, and helping with their friends’ Eagle projects that they (mostly) stay in and active until they age out. Almost all of our Scouts become Eagle at some point between 15 and 18. Our unit is somewhat unique in that it holds boys from 3 different school districts, so the boys don’t all go to the same schools or necessarily know each other before they join Scouting. They are here because they wish to participate.

  123. What we’re obligated to encourage is simply this: That every Boy Scout advances in rank at his own chosen pace. The BSA has said this from “day one,” and for sound reason–this is about individual growth and development, with the ultimate goal being character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical development.

    • Hal…I think reading a number of the posts folks are wondering if a scout this young is advancing “at his own chosen pace” or if the pace is being chosen for him.

  124. I think it is to young of an age to be an Eagle Scout. I know I have not met any 12 year old boys that would be good leaders. Let alone be able to lead an Eagle project “by himself”. I prefer the scout to be older first.

  125. My son could be that scout. He joined at ten and currently holds the rank of 1st class working on star and he is only 11

  126. My son’s troop has two groups: those that earn Eagle during their senior year and those who earn it in 8th grade. Those that earn it young continue to be active with the troop, earning Eagle Palms and taking leadership roles if no one wants them. They are also active in OA and then pursue leadership positions there as well as NYLT. My son completed his project at age 13 and when his memorial stone has arrive, he will complete his Eagle at age 14. If they stay active, they can continue to grow and still benefit from the experience. If they earn it and quit, it is a waste.

    • I would agree that generally it is true that boys who earn their Eagle rank around 14-15 remain more active in the troop following earning the rank. I cannot speak to 12-13 year old Eagle scouts, since I do not know any. I can say that I personally earned my barely within the age limitation, and I am now a Scoutmaster. I did not remain very active in my troop after earning my Eagle since I left for college. I did not return to Scouting until years later, but by no means was my scouting experience a “waste.”

      The 12 year old boys in my troop are in no way ready to earn the Eagle rank. They are great young men, but they have not mastered the skills of the required merit badges and still struggle with the concepts of the Oath and Law.

      I think a variety of factors play into how prepared a scout is for advancement at a young age, not the least of which is the Cub Scout program. I also have experience with many youth through teaching, both middle and high school. Those who are mature enough to lead at a very young age are indeed rare. Even among 14 and 15 year old children maturity is becoming ever more rare. Along with parenting and education, scouting can teach the skills and ideals that help boys grow to mature young men.

      Unfortunately, it has been my experience that over-parenting is often to blame for immaturity, and over-parented children are often pushed (whether it be at 12 or at 18) into earning ranks for which they are not ready. A few exceptional boys may truly be ready at 12, others at 14 or 15, and some may never be ready, but may “earn” the rank anyway. Scouting has seen fit to leave those decisions up to local troops, districts, and councils, and we as scouters must trust that the leaders and boards of review which represent these groups will faithfully fulfill their duties to ensure that each scout has mastered the skills and ideals which each rank and merit badge requires. Will this always happen? I doubt it. Should Scouting change the requirements? Occasionally, they do. Maybe increasing service hours requirements would be a good step in the right direction. Maybe requiring Star and Life leadership projects would also help young scouts in being better prepared to lead. In any case we should not criticize scouts for earning ranks at exceptionally young ages, but rather review the process to ensure that we are offering local scouters the necessary training and guidance to appropriately evaluate scouts. I think, in most cases, the answer is yes.

  127. The reason this is happening is because of the homosexual issue. Many parent’s see the value of their son becoming an Eagle Scout, but they don’t want to expose their sons to this destructive lifestyle. This was issue that was forced upon Scouts, and not one that way wanted. Unfortunately, it was corporate sponsors who made the decision to push this through and not the Scout parents. As an Eagle Scout, I too agree that 12 is too young, but BSA has brought this on all of us.

  128. Every scout is an individual with different strengths and capabilities. It is the SM, Committee Chair and Advancement Chair’s responsibility to monitor these special scouts and be sure they are getting what they should rom the program and are truly earning the rank themselves. Never meeting that 12 yr old Eagle makes it impossible for me or John Q Public to make this call. I am proud of my two Eagles and I am confident they earned the rank at 17.

  129. Bryan, one minor nit to pick about the article. There IS a time-based requirement to reach First Class (actually, to reach Tenderfoot). Tenderfoot requirement 10a and 10b require that the boy improve his physical fitness over 30 days. So essentially, the minimum time from joining to Eagle is actually 17 months, not 16. That’s often overlooked. ;o)

    That said, I allow (of course) but don’t encourage Scouts to try to earn their Eagle rank at age 12 or 13. Instead, I encourage them to learn all they can and participate in as many troop activities as possible. If they’re really into Scouting, advancement happens naturally. One family has three boys who each reached Eagle within a week before or after their 14th birthdays.

    Another important tool is the Position of Responsibility. Scoutmasters should be firm but fair in judging the performance of a Scout in that role. Set expectations in advance, and make sure the Scout lives up to them. If not, step in and make corrections, but don’t count the time as served if the Scout hasn’t been doing the job. If the boy DOES live up to his responsibilities admirably, then he’s probably ready to advance regardless of his age.

  130. An Eagle is not something you just wear or earn. It is supposed to be something you become. Over time the scout develops a set of beliefs and behaviors centered around the Oath and Law. I am not sure that this can be attained by a 12 year old in the span of a year. Further, it is the experiences a scout gains over time that helps shape the Eagle. These experiences take time. I am certain it can be done in a year, but I am equally certain that it should not be done in a year.

    • Kenton don’t forget that a Scout keeps developing, gaining experiences and learning even after he earns his Eagle. The Scouting Trail should not end with Eagle as it does with boys who wait until 17 1/2. The younger boys have the opportunity to stay with and help the troop and grow themselves as they do.

      Why be so negative on a younger Eagle? Show Scout Spirit and Scout Brotherhood and be happy for, and celebrate any Scout that attains Eagle, regardless of their age.

  131. Many here have disagreed with the assertion that an Eagle Scout should not be put in the situation of leadership in a catastrophic situation. Ok, let’s consider reality, life, what really happens. When the tragedy at Virginia Tech occurred, a student, an Eagle Scout, was shot in the leg. He used electrical cord to slow the bleeding. I believe he was 19. Younger Eagles have also faced situation in high school. Remember Columbine. Ages 15 – 18. Middle schools have also been targeted. Those boys are 12 – 14. Elementary school. 11 year olds. Now, is a scout who is so close to Eagle in elementary school able to handle adversity? I hesitate to mention Newtown because some of you will be shocked and I will have NSA, FBI, CIA and all the other alphabet groups contacting me. But this was reality. This was Life. These things actually happened. Could they handle a gun shot wound. What kind of wound is that? Try a Puncture or abrasive wound. Perhaps with powder burns. Will they remain calm enough to realize that. History cannot be changed or altered. Consider the advancement requirements. Would a 12 year old Eagle Scout help or run? They should help because they should have been trained to do so. Do not do a disfavor to the scout by letting them skate through the requirements. Do not add or take away from requirements. Make sure they can do them.

    • Our troop has such emergencies and Mobilizations for this very reason.

      Will our 12 year old be able to do it? I believe so – he was given a challenge to build a new gateway. He looked them up and then when I came out of the troop meeting – they were building it. A monster. And he (the 12 year old) went out and cut the staves down in the back of his house to do it.

      So yes, I think boys can be trained to respond to emergencies. Can they do it when puberty hits and girls get in the mix? I have more of a doubt than most that that is the perfect time for him to make Eagle.

    • We have a Scouter in our troop who was awarded the Heroism Medal for saving a life. I believe he said he was 12 when it happened and only a few weeks after he had learned the skills he used to save a man’s life.

      However, you are really missing the point: A Scout’s rank and a Scout’s age have nothing to do with what kind of emergency he may have to confront. If anything, teaching the skills early and often will benefit him more. If he happens to choose to advance through the ranks quickly, so much the better.

  132. We had a discussion on this very topic at the Troop meeting tonight. The consensus was that the older Scouts have a genuine respect and pride for earning the rank of Eagle, while the younger Scouts see this as another award to achieve. Maturity of a boy is the biggest factor to consider when a Scout earns Eagle as opposed to being awarded Eagle.

    • C’mon Chip, the older Scouts have a genuine respect while the younger ones don’t? WOW! Really?
      I just recently overheard a Scout, that was just about to age out, talking to his buddies, say, “Yeah, my Board was easy. My Scoutmaster had told me what to say. When they asked me, “Why should you get the rank of Eagle? My Scoutmaster told me to say, “Because I earned it” not because I deserve it.”
      Is this the “respect” you are referring to?
      Don’t you think there are both older boys and younger boys that have a genuine respect and other older boys that just want the badge?
      Be happy for the boy regardless of his age!

  133. As one who has served in many positions within scouting and who has seen many different types of young men. It would be my opinion that this exact scenario would be extremely rare. for a boy of 10 to contact all the merit badge councilors, participate in the required outings and accomplish everything necessary to obtain eagle scout. the process of board of review and eagle scout project are enough to push most young men to the limits. to actually accomplish this you would have to not only have an extremely motivated scout but also a motivated troop, committee, parents and fellow scouts. Not only motivation but maturity gets the boys through the process of learning leadership. If a boy is not motivated then it is not his eagle scout award. it belongs to the ones who dragged him across the finish line. It is not all about the destination it is about the Journey!!

  134. I had a great engineering teacher who graduated from a top tier college at age 14. I had a friend who had a PhD in math at age 19. A friend when thirteen visited her brother at Harvard and went on a double date with his fourteen year old room mate. Should these boys have been held back because of their age? Yes, Doogie Howser was a TV show but there are a few exceptional boys who can earn the advancement and retain what they know. They may be natural born leaders. They may be more mature than the other scouts. They are few are far between but being a discouraging obstructionist is not in the Scoutmaster’s handbook. This is not an epidemic. Let someone enjoy their accomplishment. Let someone be able to serve when they don’t have advancement hanging over their heads for the next six years. You can’t judge all people by their age. People do not all develop at the same rate. There is more to scouting than advancement in a small room in the basement. Those who are Eagles more than five minutes from their eighteenth birthday have a lot of life to live.

    • Right on Cavewoof! You are absolutely correct. I was going to remain silent and not share my Son’s story, but after reading your post can not remain silent any longer.

      My Son EARNED his Eagle rank at age 11. His Eagle Board of Review lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours start to finish. At the time he had earned 53 merit badges, had over 40 nights of camping, been to Jamboree twice, once as a participant and once as a Webelos visitor in 2010, been elected to Order of the Arrow and passed the Ordeal, been elected Chapter Chief of his Order of the Arrow chapter, had earned the National Outdoor Award, had already been Patrol Leader, Instructor, and Troop Guide, and was elected as Senior Patrol Leader of his troop one week after he turned 12, the three other Scouts that were running for Senior Patrol Leader were all 15 years old or older, one was 17. My Son is well liked by the other Scouts in his troop and is an inspiration to both the new younger Scouts and the older ones as well.

      His Eagle Project involved 42 people that he had to supervise and lead and over 180 hours. Not including the construction suppliers he had to deal with.

      My Son plans on staying with his troop and joining Venturing when he is old enough and Sea Scouts. He would like to earn the Silver Award and the Sea Scout Quartermaster Award. He has been active in Scouts since he was a Tiger Cub and has had almost perfect attendance from the start to now. He earned the Arrow of Light and every Webelos Activity Pin, he also earned every Cub Scout Beltloop and Pin.

      I can also tell you through all of the years, it was my Son, not me, or his Mom, or any other adult, that was driving the train.

      My Son loves Scouting, goes on almost every troop outing, and has had so much fun, and yes, has also managed to enjoy the journey! His favorite things are, camping, knots, lashings, camp cooking, swimming, and hanging out with his Scout buddies. He also plays AYSO soccer, goes to his Church Youth Group twice per week, manages to do well in school, plays piano, and rides his bike and plays basketball with his friends in the neighborhood almost every day.

      I have read a lot of these comments from ADULTS and have kept quite but after reading your post Cavewoof, felt compelled to respond. You are correct “discouraging obstructionist” IS NOT in the Scoutmasters Handbook and to the “nay sayers,” I agree with you Cavewoof, let the Scout enjoy their accomplishment! Where is the “Scout Spirit” in the people that criticize the young Eagle Scout? What part of the Scout Oath and Law are the “nay sayers” living up to when they “bad mouth” a boy when he earns his Eagle Rank at a young age? Celebrate, support, and be happy for your Scout brother who earns his Eagle Rank, regardless of his age!

      I am very proud of my Son, not just for earning his Eagle Rank, which is a great accomplishment, but also for his confidence in life, for the way he conducts himself when dealing with the adults in our troop and elsewhere, for how serious he takes his position as Senior Patrol Leader, and for how he is always thinking of ways to make his troop a better troop and more fun for he and the other Scouts.
      And yes, I am certain my Son EARNED his Eagle Scout rank.

      • Wow…Trying to do the math in relationship to my new scouts that crossover. Takes all of them sometime to settle in after crossover as it is also around the end of school and spring activities.

        Clearly little if any slack in the timeline if he was 11 at his EBOR. He must have come in and immediately done the 1st TF PT requirement and he must have had a very active troop to get 10 troop/patrol events, including 3 campouts in a month. I love to see the troop’s schedule to see what they count and what I could do for my guys. Can you send me his troop’s info so I can contact them?

        Did he have multiple rank BORs one a night? I’ve never had this happen. Mostly because of the troop events requirement. S/L/E BORs right at the 4/6/6 time?

        53 MBs…about one a week or so…did the unit have lots of MBCs? We have a good number but only really cover about 20. The others they are interested in they go outside the troop.

        Keeping up with him would be a full time job for the advancement chair in most troops.

        You commented on “discouraging obstructionists”….did he experience this in his troop…doesn’t sound like it. Glad he’s having a good time.

        • Thank you Matt. He is having a GREAT time! As you can see he is very active. No multiple BOR’s. I think it was about five months for S, seven for L, and six and a half for E. T, 2nd and 1st were more than a month.
          The 53 merit badges were 1 year 8 months, not one year, so not one per week. There were MBC, two summer camps and a lot he did throughout the year. I will say he is not the average Scout, he bought his Boy Scout handbook and was talking about being an Eagle Scout when he was a Tiger Cub. And once he went to the 2010 Jamboree as a visitor, in his mind he was a Boy Scout and couldn’t wait until he could bridge over. As to camping, he does troop campouts, patrol campouts, and OA campouts. He also goes to Church Camp outs but these don’t count towards Boy Scouts.

        • Hi Matt. Sorry, I ran out of time before I could answer you as to what our troop does and what you could do for your guys.

          Generally, we have at least one camp out per month, a hike every other month, at least one activity per month, various service project opportunities, and a merit badge opportunity each month, this is in addition to our regular meetings. Let me give you an example, starting at the end of September, we started with a Council camp out, Mountain Man Thunder where the boys shot black powder rifles, threw tomahawks, and learned other mountain man skills, the troop started working on the Astronomy and the Space Exploration merit badges, then on Friday the Scouts went to the Griffith Observatory for the evening working on their Astronomy merit badge, on the way home we stopped at a great Los Angeles landmark burger joint for a late night food fest, then Saturday the troop went to a local airport to start work on their Aviation merit badge, afterward we stopped at a local Mexican restaurant for a delicious lunch, later in the week the boys had the opportunity to go to a radio station to work on the radio merit badge, then on the following Saturday the boys went to Pasadena to work on the Railroad merit badge, rode the train to Los Angeles, took a tour of Grand Central Station, and then rode the train back to Pasadena, this week-end the troop is going camping at the lake where they will have great fun and work on their Motorboating and their Water Sports merit badges, then at our next troop meeting we are inviting the Webelos, recruitment, and are building model rockets, then on the following week end there is a Merit Badge College, my Son will probably not attend the merit badge college because his soccer team is in the season playoffs, then we have our Court of Honor, then at our next troop meeting we are again inviting the Webelos and carving pumpkins, then the following week end we are joining a Sea Scout ship for a day of sailing to work on the Small Boat Sailing merit badge, then the following week-end we are finishing off the Space Exploration merit badge with a camp out trip to the desert where the southern California rocket clubs gather to shoot off model rockets for the week end, we will be bringing the Webelos and the rockets that they built together to fire off, then the following week-end the troop is going to the printing museum and will work on their Pulp and Paper merit badge and their Graphic Arts merit badge, then the next week end is a troop hike, I forgot to mention that the week before Mountain Man Thunder the Order of the Arrow Scouts in our troop had their Order of the Arrow Conclave camp out. Then down the road we have a snow ski trip, Winter Camp, overnight Winter Fellowship Night, Christmas Sailboat Parade, OA Winter Camp, etc . . . That is about all that I can remember, I may have left something out, but it gives you a general idea. I hope this helps you and your troop with some ideas. Matt you have an open invitation to join us any time you like on any of our fun times!

        • Given the level of activity described, your troop should have multiple 11 year old Eagles. You also must have a ton of adults who can support events every weekend. Were the other troops in the area this activities?

        • That’s interesting Kimble. Every outing is to earn a merit badge? What you describe sounds like an adult run troop. Also doesn’t sound like much opportunity for boys to lead when every outing is headed up by a merit badge counselor.

        • Hi Matt: No, no multiple 11 year old Eagle Scouts. 🙂 Not all Scouts want to be young Eagle Scouts, some do. We don’t push the boys and they move along at their own pace. So, only one 11 year old Eagle Scout. But all of the boys have a lot of fun and learn a lot along the way.
          That is usually the biggest challenge, having enough adults to cover 2 deep leadership and the proper ratio of Scouts to adults.
          I am not sure about the other troops, some are more active than others, but we are pretty active.

        • Wade, you know it’s funny how some people just have to try to find a negative in an otherwise positive situation. You couldn’t find it within yourself to say something positive like “that’s great that these Scouts have so many fun opportunities.”

          First, every outing is “not to earn a merit badge.” Every outing is to have fun and maybe learn something, and if it is possible to have a merit badge opportunity that is a bonus. Many boys already have a particular merit badge but go on the outing because it is fun and interesting and they like being with their friends. And there are other boys that don’t have the merit badge and are not interested in earning the badge but go to have fun. Such as Motorboating. A lot of the boys just want to go tubing and ride in the boat, and that is fine. Or Astronomy when a lot of the boys that already had the merit badge went on the trip because they like astronomy and the Griffith Observatory is just cool! No one is required to earn a merit badge. It’s funny how you say “earning merit badges” as if it is a “bad thing.” Moreover, if you look at what the Scouts have done, you will see that not every outing has a merit badge opportunity.

          Second, it is a boy run/boy lead troop, the boys decide what to do on a troop level, and then chose what events to do on a personal level. Not all boys do every event. Our adults do do the driving of vehicles.

          And the third point you are incorrect on, is you wrongly assume that “every outing is headed up by a merit badge counselor.” Again using Motorboating as an example. It is a two day camp out. The counselor is not “heading up the event,” the counselor owns the boat and drives the boat while the Scouts get to ski, wake board, and go tubing. If any of the boys want to work on either of two merit badges, they have the opportunity to do so during those two days. Every thing else is lead by the boys. We have a saying, “If a Scout can do it, an adult shouldn’t.”

          Our guys are having a great time! Go ahead Wade, say something positive. I know as a Scouter you can.

      • Kimble,
        I’m sorry, but I think you are painting his accomplishments a little too rosy. He may have earned his Eagle at 11, but some of the other things you mentioned don’t fit the timeline.

        He attended Jamboree as a participant before he made Eagle at 11? Not if your council contingent paid attention to the qualifications. 11-year-olds are not eligible to go to National Jamboree as a participant.

        This 11-year-old Jamboree was his second, and he visited the previous one as a Webelos? If he attended 2013 as a participant at 11, that would mean he visited 2010 as a Webelos at 8. How did he get into Webelos when he was 8? National Jamborees are usually held every 4 years, which would mean that, if his Jambo experiences were not in 2010/2013, he would have been an even younger Webelos.

        Was his 2nd Jamboree the World Jamboree in 2011? I don’t think they take 11-year-old participants at world jambo either.

        • Hi Scoutaholic:
          You don’t need to apologize. I am not painting anything, rosy or otherwise, my Sons’ accomplishments are what they are, and they are all a matter of BSA National records. He did earn his Eagle at 11 and the timeline fits.

          No offense, but perhaps you should review the rules. Especially before you challenge someone’s veracity, and before you make a bold statement that happens to be incorrect. First, it is not up to the council contingent, it is up to National. A Scout registers on-line directly with National. Eleven year olds are eligible to attend Jamboree as a participant if he is a First Class Scout and has completed 6th grade. My Son was a Life Scout and had completed the 6th grade.

          Jamborees are often held four years apart but the 2010 Jamboree was held five years after the 2005 Jamboree so it would land on the 100th year anniversary of Scouting in America. The 2013 was only three years later in order to get back on the “4 year track.” However, in the past Jamborees were not always four years apart. And trust me, I know the difference between the 2011 World Jamboree in Sweden and the 2013 National Jamboree in West Virginia.

          If you can’t figure out how a boy can be a Webelos at eight, perhaps you should review those rules as well. Remember, Cub ranks are based on age or grade level in school. He was an eight year old Webelos visitor at the 2010 Jamboree and turned nine shortly thereafter. He started Webelos second year when he was nine and turned ten. He joined Boy Scouts when he was ten and went to the 2013 National Jamboree at age eleven.

          Do the math and you will see that the timeline fits just fine.

          One should not make a public statement such as “11-year-olds are not eligible to go to National Jamboree as a participant.” and claim that it is a true statement until one has done the proper research. Had you properly researched this issue you would have seen that your statement was incorrect.

          Just out of curiosity, have you read the 2013 Guide to Advancement cover to cover?

        • Apparently I should have been more clear. By the Jambo rules I was familiar with (2010 – I was there), 11-year-olds were not eligible to go to National Jamboree as a participant. Apparently they modified that rule in 2013. If I remember correctly, the 2010 rule was age 13.
          I’m aware of the National registration process, and I’m also aware that council contingents have had their ways of getting around some of the qualification rules.
          Most boys in my area start Webelos on their 10th birthday. I know the BSA rules allow Webelos based on school grade, and I even know of 1 or 2 packs locally that do it that way. I hadn’t realized that they were starting Webelos two years earlier than the norm that I am used to.

          Yes I have read the GTA. What does that have to do with this? Jamboree age rules shouldn’t be in the GTA.

        • This is why I highly encourage troop shopping. Some will put a smile on your face. Some will make you want to eat your hat. The determining factor lies within the adults in the troop, not the Scouts themselves.

        • Chet…Troop shopping should not be used just because you didn’t get your way. I know of scouts who were in 4 troops in a little over a year and also wanted to be a Lone Scout because the evil troop leadership actually wanted the requirements met and not checked off.

        • “Chet…Troop shopping should not be used just because you didn’t get your way. I know of scouts who were in 4 troops in a little over a year and also wanted to be a Lone Scout because the evil troop leadership actually wanted the requirements met and not checked off.”

          Those types of problems tend to self resolve. In fact, once the Scout leaves your unit, his parent’s issues are no longer your problem at all. If they swap to another unit, you can give a heads up to their next Scoutmaster or CC a if you feel compelled but people who perpetually troop hop are generally their own worst enemy.

      • So he was elected to Order of the Arrow and passed the Ordeal, and then was elected Chapter Chief of his Order of the Arrow chapter, and all of this happened before his Eagle BOR (which was before his 12th birthday)?

      • Kimble: While others may think 53 MBs in 20 months is near impossible, too many, or couldn’t have been done properly, I do not. My son crossed over in February 2013 & has already earned 25 MBs (but only 2 are Eagle required).
        Troop Overnight Lock-In: 1 MB
        Adjacent District MB Forum: 3 Sat Mornings = 2 MBs
        District MB Forum: 2 Sat Mornings = 2 MBs (1 partial later completed)
        Kansas State University MB College (w/ Troop Campout) = 2 MBs
        Local WWI Museum = 1 MB (I am the leader, but an Asst signed him off)
        Cp Jayhawk MB Immersion Cp = 7 MBs (More Staff than campers)
        Cp Bartle (10 Days Long) = 5 MBs (paperwork messup prevented another)
        In Unit (Before meetings) = 3 MBs
        HST Library = 1 MB
        Architecture Museum = 1 MB

        All it takes is a little planning, some coordination, and prioritization to complete the requirements. At almost every MB activity my son has gone to he has been the one most prepared as he has read the MB pamphlet, completed the prerequisites, & put notes on his MB worksheet. When this is done, the MBC does not have to “pull” the information from the Scout but instead there is actually input/discussion by the Scout.

        • Thank you H. David. And “hat’s off” to your son! Tell him to keep up the good work! If he keeps up like this, he’ll have more than 53 in 20 months! 🙂
          Like you say, with a little planning and preparation a lot can be accomplished!

  135. No just no! 12 years old is not an Eagle Scout!!!! How can they possibly have the leadership mastery they should be able to demonstrate at that age to be an Eagle Scout? There is no possible way sorry, and how did they get elected to leadership positions and hold them for the required length of time. Our Troop requires “front line” leadership for Eagle Scout…patrol leader, plus higher level leadership ( and I don’t mean historian or bugler either!) It takes time to learn the ropes and do a good job as a leader 12 or 13 is way way too young.

    • Apparently your troop has created additional requirements for the Eagle rank by requiring a scout to hold certain “leadership” positions. You are not in accord with BSA policy.

      By the way – bugler is not a position of responsibility.

    • They don’t need to get elected to leadership positions in order to earn Eagle. Nor do they need a “front line” position.

      Your troop is adding to requirements, which is against BSA policy.

    • If expecting that scouts will demonstrate leadership, beyond being simply being historian, then I guess we have indeed placed some other considerations into play. In a troop our size EVERY scout will have ample opportunity to find an appropriate leadership position. If they have not held a position such as SPL, PL, Troop Guide, Instructor, etc can you honestly say they have demonstrated excellent leadership? In my opinion, and in the opinion of many others that I’ve met over the years, no…
      How quick to judge so many of you are! We follow BSA policy quite closely, an Eagle Scout is a leader, that’s why this rank is held in high esteem by our society. If you’re going to allow kids to skate through without genuine leadership experience then I feel sorry for you, and for the scouts who get through without learning those valuable skills, leading their peers etc. We put up no barriers and are there to help every scout who wishes to do the work and become an Eagle Scout. A few years ago I had a 17 year old earn his Eagle rank, and we held his Eagle Court Of Honor. After conclusion of the ceremony, this Eagle Scout walked up, put his arm around me and thanked me. I asked why, he had done all the work to earn it. He said very simply;
      “you made sure I worked for it, it didn’t come easy, and because of that it means so much more to me” I’ll take that from a scout to heart and I’ll let your smug criticisms pass, ( yes I know bugler is not really a leadership position I was exaggerating to make a point). I don’t know what passes as leadership to qualify for Eagle Scout in your troops, in ours you must actually serve your troop as a leader.

      • Albert, the only “leadership” required for Eagle is in the Eagle project itself. That is what it is for – to give the Scout a chance to provide leadership to his own idea. By your admission, you have already “judged” the BSA regulations and found them beneath you and your troop. Smug? Sounds like you are writing your own book on it.

        • Just to be the voice of sanity here, there is a requirement for each of the Star, Life, and Eagle ranks that requires the Scout to do the following (this is from the Star requirements, as an example).

          “While a First Class Scout, serve actively in your unit for four months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility (or carry out a Scoutmaster-assigned leadership project to help the unit):

          Boy Scout troop. Patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader, Venture patrol leader, troop guide, Order of the Arrow troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, bugler, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, instructor, troop Webmaster, or Leave No Trace trainer.”

          The ranks of Life and Eagle have similar requirements, which can all be found here – http://www.scouting.org/licensing/sitecore/content/home/boyscouts/advancementandawards.aspx

          Chet, please do your research, as your statement above is incorrect.

          For further clarification, Jack is correct in that you don’t need to be elected to a leadership position; ranks of office such as Historian, Quartermaster, Webmaster, etc., are usually appointed. In fact, most of the ranks of office can be appointed instead of elected based on leadership discretion.

          I do disagree with Albert by principle in that a troop does not have the right to change BSA requirements. I do, however, believe that it is the Scoutmaster’s prerogative to determine whether or not the scout has actually served fully in their appointed rank of office, or if they are simply wearing the patch.

  136. I understand that it is possible for a boy to earn all of the badge requirements in 16 months but what is not possible in that time frame is that boys ability to demonstrate what it means to be a leader. Being an Eagle scout is, or should i say used to be about setting an example, being a leader in your troop, school, community. Being an Eagle scout should be about learning from the leaders, the older scouts, trying and failing, perservering and succeeding, growing into that leadership role and once you have done that, then and only then should a rank of Eagle scout be considered. This rank used to be reserved only for those who not only fulfill the badge and.prior rank requirements but for those who stand out as examples, leaders and role models. All of this is impossible to achieve at 12 and an Eagle rank given at such a young age in my opinion is a watered down version of what the rank is suppossed to represent and stand for.

    • I disagree with your statement “Being an Eagle scout is, or should i say used to be about setting an example, being a leader in your troop, school, community.”

      According to this page which chronicles the change in Eagle Scout requirements over the ages, it wasn’t until 1958 that there was much to earning Eagle than just having enough merit badges: http://www.troop97.net/bsaeagle.htm. (This is a great website, btw, an the history each handbook, too. Check it out!)

      Everyone’s “should” and “used to be” and “it’s not anymore” are all about the philosophy of Scouting, but aren’t in the requirements. It’s the goals we internally want for our boys, but in many ways it’s just opinions.

  137. As an Eagle Scout, I am a bit hesitant to want a 12 year old to be an Eagle Scout. On the other hand, I have never met a 12 year old Eagle Scout. If and when I meet one, I might be surprised at their maturity. I would assume that someone actually cared enough to teach him the skills he needed on top of the natural leadership and organizational skills he already had from God. I know the other assumption is that he was pushed through and requirements signed off without completing them. That is between him, God and his leaders. If we don’t think he can be an Eagle Scout at 12, then obviously we don’t want to put the time in to teach, train and encourage him at an early age. As a 48 year old Scoutmaster of 3 years, I know that I have a long way to go in teaching the youth under me. I have a scout who potentially could be a 12 year old Eagle Scout. I see the maturity that he exhibits. I see the raw leadership skills he has. Now it is my turn to help him be the leader that I see in him and God has gifted him. No I will not sign advancement requirements off just to help him advance. He has to learn it and earn it just like I did. A 12 year old Eagle Scout could be an inspiration to the younger scouts and hopefully a motivation to the older scouts who need to get off their seat warmers… Regardless, we need to encourage all our Scouts to be the best they can be regardless of the rank they achieve and how old they are.

  138. I’ve been in Scouting for 40 years and like it when in the old day u have to wait at least 3 months between scout- first class then 6 months for the others . I think it still should be this way, it lets the boys grow and not just whizzing through it as a joke like it is now. you should be 13 at least before u earn your Eagle. im not an Eagle but my son is he got his at 16 I pushed him after he got his star but he earned it no because I push him toward it but because he want it and was mature enough to understand what it meant to be an Eagle scout not like at 12 years old.

  139. Knocking out opinion – I have a kid who’s singluar goal is to get it at the age of 12. He already has a project – and his parents have been hands off.

    Do I think they miss out on a Scouting Experience? Depends. If you are a troop that goes out and intentionally puts roadblocks in the way of the kids – then sure – you might be the reason why kids wait until they are 18.25 years old to finish their board of review.

    I strongly believe that it is the Adults, not the youth that causes many of the Scouts to not even meet the 14 year old mark of 1949. In my honest opinion if you are putting on a BOY LED program, then yes – the Scouts can make Eagle at 12. And I can tell you that some SM’s believe 14 is too young.

    My 12 year old Scout is set to be Patrol Leader when he makes life. This is something HE wants to do – and I challenge him – the challenge is part of Scouting – but I can tell you – he brings the younger kids and older kids together.

    All a Scoutmaster has to do is to encourage leadership.

  140. In my opinion, when scouts get their Eagle this fast the mission of the Boy Scouts is being missed. The real reason we have scouting is to instill values and build character. Rank advancements is only 1 of the 8 methods. In order to instill values, we need the boys involved for a long time not just a year and a half as they race to see who can get the Eagle the fastest. I encourage my scouts ans their parents to slow down and enjoy the journey and to remember why Scouting exists.

    • Bry, it seems your position assumes the Scout will leave after he gets his Eagle. The Scout has plenty of time to have additional values instilled and more character built while waring san Eagle on his chest. Boy Scouting should not end with the Eagle, if it does it says something about the Scout that earned it, be he 12 or 17.

  141. I got my Eagle at 17, and I can personally attest that Eagle would not mean as much to me now, when I’m 18, if I had gotten it at 12. Heck, I can’t even remember some of the merit badges I did during my first year.

  142. If the Scout is goin after it, don’t hold him back. This will make them want to give up. Even if the older boys are not going forward, that is there problem. Let the boy get it all. Holding my son back made him want to give up. I think our Scout Master realized this. My son will be able to get his Palms for working hard to get finished before he was 17 or 18. Most boys quit at 16, driving, girls, etc. So let them Earn it!!!!!!

  143. The problem here, so to speak, is a troop leadership problem not a scout problem. It is our job to judge a scout’s maturity and skills and guide him to grow and develop. We need to have the guts to tell a scout that even though he has checked all the boxes he isn’t displaying leadership, taking initiative, demonstrating skills, whatever the case is. There is more to being an Eagle scout than checking off boxes of things “done”. The requirements through First Class are skills that require practice, not things you do once and check off and move on. It’s a rare boy who is truly a mature Eagle scout at 12 or 13. For this reason we shouldn’t regulate at what age a boy can be Eagle. We should simply do our jobs, including not signing rank advancements and Eagle apps until the scout has achieved the rank and we are are comfortable endorsing him.

  144. I feel very strongly about this because my son earned his Eagle at 14, doing most of the project work at age 13. As many things go in life, I feel the “readiness for Eagle” should be a case-by-case basis. Just like Kathleen stated, the scout needs to be truly ready and has the desire to go ahead with the project.
    What does concern me are leaders and advancement chairs who only look at the age of a scout and not their ability. My son actually had a very hard time getting his project approved because the district advancement chair determined him to be too young. After reassurance from the SM that he was more ready than some 17 year olds, he was reluctantly given approval. His project was a huge memorial refurbishment and rededication on a base, that required him to interact with the Garrison Commander, DPW, a garden center, a carpenter, the post historian, etc. He learned skills in communication with adults, how to write up a proposal and be prepared for and run a meeting, and how to shake hands and speak with adults in all positions.
    However, at his Eagle BoR, the district advancement chair, after finding no problems with his book, receipts, letters of recommendation, etc. and passing him, commented that he still didn’t feel like he should award an Eagle to someone so young. A year later, his project was chosen as the Eagle project of the year for 2011 in our council, out of 300+ projects.
    Since then, our son has bristled when he hears of a 17 1/2 year old that does a very meager project and is rushed through the process with help of the advancement folks because he is “short on time.” Unfortunately, he is right. Too often I have seen an older scout squeak through at the last minute with a project that may not have been approved if the scout had more time to do a “decent” project.
    Our son is a junior now and is busy with sports, NHS, and a heavy load of AP classes at school. He follows his Eagle pledge and gives back by being an active member and president of a venture crew. He is very proud to have earned his Eagle and is very happy to have gotten it out of the way before he got so busy in high school. He would certainly have no time to do such an involved project and have the opportunity to learn so much from the execution of it.
    So is this the best route for all scouts to get their Eagle so young? Probably not. But in some cases, it is the way to go. And I know what you are thinking, did he do it or the parents? We helped him set up a time line for when different parts should be finished, splitting the project up into smaller, less intimidating chunks. All we provided were reminders of deadlines and encouragement when he got frustrated with adults who didn’t return emails or phone calls and drove him where he needed to go. That is all. Everything else he did himself!

    • Hats off to your son and for you for letting/making him do the project. I do have one issue with something you said though: “He is very proud to have earned his Eagle and is very happy to have gotten it out of the way before he got so busy in high school.”
      To me, making Eagle is not something you “get out of the way.” That makes it sound like it’s just another task on a list of chores. Maybe you didn’t meant it that way…

      • I agree with you. We had a talk with our son about goals he wanted to achieve. He wanted to attain Eagle, have a job by 16, and start taking college classes at 16 as well. We discussed and he agreed, working on the Eagle rank first, was where he should put his priorities. He worked HARD for 2 years accomplishing what he needed. Most of his project was completed this summer at age 13. He did it all, only asking my husband and I for direction when needed. We are just waiting for a memorial stone to arrive, then the BOR. He also wants to attain leadership positions in OA and has those plans for later.we encourage, but it was his desire. Kudos to you and your son. I would rather boys get it early than have my son participate for a couple of years, drop out, then come back end of 11th grade to get the project done during senior year.

      • Some youth set their goal to earn Eagle, make a plan and are extremely happy to accomplish this goal. They usually have other goals in Scouting and getting the Eagle finishes one goal, they can put more time and energy on these new task. The Parents should be more worried by the distractions of G&G, Girls and Gasoline, dating and other social events are very important to teenagers, plus studies, sports, band, choir, debate, etc. Accomplishing Eagle before G&G distractions makes everything easier.

        • Personally, I hate it when people talk about getting Eagle out of the way before the scout succumbs to the fumes (car fumes and perfumes), because part of leadership and growing is being able to balance everything that you have to do within the 24 hours a day that you have. I was one of those scouts that earned my Eagle when I was 17, and I didn’t even have my board until just after my 18th birthday when I had already moved for college, but the things that I learned during that two years of planning and execution were the most important thing I learned during high school. I hadn’t even finished my project when I graduated, I did it when I came home from working camp staff on Saturdays. During my time as a leader afterwards, I have yet to see a scout that was ready to conquer their eagle project and truly understand what everything up to that point meant when they were 12-14 even. Don’t take me wrong, I have seen many that when they were 12 I could tell would become Eagles, but not usually until they are 15-16. Most of them have agreed with me that when they were 13 or so they couldn’t have understood what it was to be an Eagle and they actually held themselves back and focused on the unit instead.

  145. As a retired Scoutmaster I had to confront this situation on two occasions. both times I had to sit with the parents and the scout to explain the process of advancement with the Eagle rank as the goal. Once the parents understood that their son will be required to show leadership in a leadership role, do a couple of projects not including the Eagle project, must complete 21 merit badges 10 of which are required with at least two of them taking 3 months to finish and learning the basic scout skills that is needed to advance the parents better understood that their son needed to take his time and enjoy scouting while pursuing the Eagle rank.
    It takes the adults in the troop to ensure that the Eagle candidates are qualified in every aspect of scouting before the earn the Eagle rank. Very, very rare do we find a scout of 12 or 13 years of age that possess the leadership and skills to earn, not win the Eagle rank. The scoutmaster and the assistants need to be firm but fair when conducting the Scoutmaster conferences’ and let the scout know he has some short comings that need to be addressed before advancing. IT IS NOT the board of review responsibility to address these shortcomings.

    • I agree that “unqualified” Eagle candidates are a symptom of a series of failed SM conferences. It’s not the BOR’s responsibility to police whether the boy is ready to advance. The SM needs to fulfill his responsibilities.

  146. As a former District Advancement Chair, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. Everyone talks about leadership. I agree that in most cases, a 12 year old does not have the same experiences as a 18 year old. To me the question is does the 12 or 13 year old show leadership. Are they trying to get better and grow in leadership. This is all you can ask from a scout. That they try to get better and keep growing. Most 18 year old Eagle scouts I have done a EBOR had the following scenario. They were either Star or Life going into high school. They rarely participated in scouts in high school and then right before they turn 18 they get their Eagle Scout. What value were they to their troop the last 3 years? My son got his Eagle Badge at 13. My son was told by one scoutmaster he didn’t show leadership at 13. It was because the troop was adult led and he didn’t lead the way he would have done it. He transferred to a different troop and they were boy led and they said he was the best leader they had. The difference is the 2nd troop let him lead instead of trying to control the leaders. To many times, we as adult leaders try to control and dictate how the scouts should show leadership. We want leadership the same way we do it. Who is to say we are right in our leadership style. We can’t control leadership. We need to help the scout grow in their own leadership style. There is more than one way to lead a group. Just look at the leadership style of great leaders.

  147. I am not in favor if a boy earning Eagle at such a young age. I was a young Eagle at 14. Looking back I think that was too young. Scouting, like life, is a journey not a race. Take time to enjoy the experience along the way.

  148. My Younger son was 13 when he earned life. He is now 15 and has his BOR. This Sunday. At first I was frustrated that he took 14 months to complete his project. Now however I see that he wasn’t mature enough and had to complete it when he was ready. If the scouts do it on their own, I say God bless them. I suspect however that there was some shall we say encouragement to accomplish this feat. I know when my son was 12 and 13 and serving in leadership positions it was challenging to say the least to have the older scouts take direction from him. These scouts must be extraordinary.

  149. As with anything in life, mistakes are made when you rush. As leaders, we should not promote a rush-for-rank. Fun is more important than most people will admit.

    Eagle by 12? I agree, it should be on a case-by-case basis. However, as leaders, we need to help our Scouts keep their eyes on the prize. And, while they might not understand this, we should… the prize is not rank.

  150. I appreciate all the comments made thus far. Maturity during the middle school and high school years is a thing that isn’t necessarily defined by age, although I would argue that age has some influence amidst the many variables that contribute to it. In our Troop, the one concept that our Scoutmaster emphasizes is that each merit badge and rank advancement be earned, not just handed out. In this sense, I agree with those who have voiced concern over using a “check off the boxes” method. With my son approaching his Eagle BOR in less than a week, I look back over the 5 year journey it took, and although he has often been jealous of those in other Troops who got the rank at a younger age, I am proud that he actually earned every merit badge and rank advancement along the way. As Kathleen mentioned concerning First Class rank, the program of Scouting is designed to teach skills, and I would add to that that those skills are not just the outdoor skills for First Class rank, but also life skills that go beyond rank. The BSA Mission statment is this: “The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” This cannot be achieved through simple actions (learning skills, working on projects. etc.) – it must be achieved through coaching and mentoring boys over time. You can’t instill values using a checklist, and it takes time. How much time? That goes back to individual maturity levels, but more importantly speaks to the involvement of all the leaders with the group and also with each individual Scout. There is no substitution for simply time well spent.

  151. Of course all children are different, but I do not believe most boys that are 12 or 13 are mature enough to be getting their Eagle. I prefer them to be close to 15 – before driving, jobs and dating! They get the time to show REAL leadership – during outings and with leadership positions. Younger boys haven’t had TIME to LEARN how to be a leader.

    I think the title of EAGLE SCOUT will lose some of its luster if it keeps getting easier to earn. It has always been held in such high regard because of the difficulty, hard work and leadership shown while obtaining it. However, it seems to have become pretty easy to obtain over the last 10 or so years. If it isn’t really difficult, what makes it special? I just don’t like the program being “watered down”, we have Troops becoming “Eagle factories” and really young Eagle Scouts are one result. We give them the title which says they are a good leader, but are they really? Are they old enough and have they had time to demonstrate consistent leadership – enough for us be able to say they are good leaders? I will agree that this is due to the adult leadership in the troops. I think they look at the book and say he met the requirements, so I have to sign off on it and pass him along.

    It is a tough call, because there will be the exceptional child who DOES show great leadership early and have the drive to move forward. Although it would not hurt him to wait, should he have to wait? It is a hard question. Also consider that when you let Mr. Exceptional go through young, Mr. Mediocre who has also completed the official requirements wants to go through young as well. Boys and parents don’t want to hear that Mr. Mediocre is not as ready or mature as Mr. Exceptional and they will both advance the same – most leaders will not want to deal with the negative reactions.

  152. 300 Comments before another topic is posted! This one is generating some heated debate! What does that tell us about how the vast majority of scouts and scouters feel about being an Eagle Scout at 12? In my (admittedly biased) opinion, there should be more requirements for time in leadership positions making it impossible for a scout to make Eagle Scout until AT LEAST age 13! Merit badges used to be the standard by which scouts were advanced. Later, we added service hours and time-in leadership positions as well as the service project. For most people, this was sufficient to ensure that a scout was ready when they completed their Eagle Scout requirements. Today, I’m not sure that the requirements are sufficient anymore.
    Merit badge conferences and their like have made acquiring merit badges quite easy! My son is 12, a Star Scout, and he has earned 25 merit badges already! He still needs 2 more required for Life Scout and he needs to serve in a leadership position but he will be ready for Life Scout sometime next year. I refuse to push him. He is at that point in his scouting career where HE needs to show the initiative! He has informed me that he wishes to be a Den Chief for a Webelos den. He also volunteers for helping out with various projects so service hours are never a problem. He is a pretty good Star Scout and, with a small amount of pushing, he would be a Life Scout before the next Court of Honor but he’s not quite ready yet! He still has responsibility issues and his leadership skills could also use some more honing. He will get there! He will be a Life Scout by summertime give or take a month.
    As far as making Eagle Scout, he has time but it should be HIS decision and not mine! I am confident he will get there and when he does, it will reflect upon his character, maturity and leadership, essentially what the Eagle Scout award is all about! Because of this, I can’t agree with the pell-mell race to get to Eagle Scout even if it’s theoretically possible.

    • Remember the back end: if you increase the minimum time to earn Eagle to 2 full years (thereby eliminating the possibility of 12 year old Eagles) you also guarantee that any boy who joins the program over the age of 15 will not earn Eagle either. Conversely, if you add an age requirement to the rank, you prevent quite a few highly motivated young Scouts from “doing their best”.

      • A boy that doesn’t join scouting until he’s 16 isn’t going to earn Eagle now. (at least it would be very unlikely). I don’t think we should worry so much about 15 year olds that have never been in the program not being able to get Eagle (truth be told, while some exist they are a very small number) so much as making sure those scouts that do earn Eagle have truly shown themselves to be of a caliber worthy of the rank.

        I wouldn’t have a problem with extending the “time in rank requirements” to 3 months each for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class, and upping Star to 6 months. It would give the scout more time to mature and really show off their leadership and character. Plus it gives more of an opportunity to hone the scout skills learned in the first three ranks instead of rushing through them to get to Star.

        I would also approve of a National change that no scout can have the same Merit Badge Counselor for more than three badges. We all know some scouts have mommy or daddy sign some questionable blue cards; this would prevent that and actually require scouts to learn to work with more adults.

        Some will probably say that doing this would lower the percentage of Eagles. I don’t see that as a problem. Better quality than quantity.

        • I didnt say over 16, I said over 15. And I just badged a Scout who did that very thing a few months ago. When he joined, I asked him what his goal was and he quickly stated the he wanted to be an Eagle. I explained the time requirements and went so far as to write in the “drop dead” dates for 1st Class, Star, and Life in his new book so he would know that going beyond any of them would end his chance to earn Eagle. There was virtually no “slack” left in his time requirements. But he made it.

          I bet the number of 15 yo new joins who aim for Eagle is probably lower than the number of 12 year old Eagles. But I am not interested in denying either group the opportunity. Extending the requirements by a few months wont provide ANY measurable increase in “maturity” or “leadership”. It will just reduce the number of Eagles.

          If you have an MBC problem, you need to let your District or Council Advancement team handle it. If mom or dad isnt properly registered as an MBC, you dont have to accept the card. If they are registered for 10 or 20 badges, then you need to contact your advancement team and let them know it’s a problem and give them the names of some other MBC’s you have recruited to fill that void.

          As far as gatekeeping on Eagle > how can the quality be lower if the requirements are tougher now than they have ever been?

        • Actually the debate over whether Eagle is harder today than in the past is a good topic for another Bryan Tuesday Talkback.

          A couple of historical points that suggest it was “harder”:

          Camping MB was 50 nights – not 20 and no long term camps counted
          Each MB required a scout to go before a BOR to get it approved
          There were really no Group Instruction MB opportunities…each one was basically a one-on-one experience
          Troop Warrant Positions were only a few – now there are many more that you could argue make the requirement easier
          Swimming and Lifesaving were required MBs and there were no optional ones. Lifesaving also required Swimming
          EP introduced in 1965 but even today it is not hard for an 11 year old to accomplish

          There are others but I’ll save them for the Tuesday topic in the future

      • Unfortunately the forum software doesn’t let me reply too far down the chain, so this is in reply to your latest post.

        If you re-read my post, I’m saying that there’s already an upper age limit for joining scouts and getting your Eagle. 16 year olds can’t really do it, so I find the argument of “well, then someone that joins at 15 couldn’t make it” unconvincing.

        And I disagree that more time in service doesn’t provide an opportunity for showing leadership. Which is harder, being a leader for 16 months or being a leader for 2 years?

        As far as going to the District/Council advancement chair to report bad merit badge counselors – that is very much a “by the book” answer that doesn’t reflect reality. I bet the District Advancement chairs were looking the other way on those 12 year old Eagles and no amount of pointing it out would change anything. I want a policy that reflect the reality on the ground, not the reality that National dreams of.

        And as far as “the requirements are tougher now than they have ever been”? I’m going to need some evidence because that sure isn’t the case from where I sit.

        • I didnt say “someone who joins at 15 couldn’t make it”. In fact, I just gave you an example of one that did. Is there already an upper age limit to start the journey to Eagle? Yes, technically it is 16 years and 7 months old. Highly unlikely? Yes, but possible if he can get 10 troop/patrol activities and 3 campouts done under a month. I’ve never seen it happen so I dont see the value in increasing the requirements even further just to preclude the possibility. Your point here seems moot.

          As far as the opportunity for showing leadership (setting aside the whole leadership/position of responsibility distinction which you evidently aren’t trained on) – the question isnt “Which is harder?”. Carrying that logic out to it’s conclusion, we could say 5 years of leadership is harder and simply make Eagle virtually impossible to obtain. The real question is “Is it likely that the Scout will grow significantly while serving in the position over 4 or 6 months?” and the answer is yes, he will.

          As far as having a dysfunctional district and council advancement team – your best bet is to read the manual thoroughly and then volunteer for those teams. When you see an adult going outside of the rules, hold them accountable – publicly. If you arent willing to hold adults accountable, you have no business holding children accountable either. Own that, brother. You want a policy that overlooks the fact adults are holding each other accountable? No thanks.

          Dont believe the requirements are tougher now? See for yourself:

      • Chet, you’ve misinterpreted my comments about the upper age limit for Eagle twice. I’m not sure what else to say when my posts aren’t being read!

        Instead of making snarky comments about whether a position of responsibility can be called a leadership role, you could see the bigger point, which is that there’s a difference between a short-term committment and a long one. Eagle is supposed to be a lifelong commitment, I don’t think asking a scout to put two years in is onerous. Actually, I wouldn’t even have a problem with your five year comment. Then the youth that earn Eagle would be the ones that really wanted it, not the ones that start it as an afterthought at age 15 or have their parents push them through at 12. Having fewer Eagles is not a problem.

        As far as taking a new role every time I see a problem, that’s glib but not practical. I’ve already got 3 hats I wear in scouting – sure, load someone down with more jobs until they don’t have time to do any of them. That will keep them from pointing out problems on the ground!

        And I looked at your link. Doesn’t look like it’s getting harder since the 70s. In fact, looks easier to me. If you want to say it’s harder than the first Eagle requirement ever, then I think you missed the point.

        • Yeah, we’ll just have to set your point about the upper age limit aside because I cant tell if you are agreeing, disagreeing, or making an entirely different point in response to my initial post about not lowering the max age to join and earn Eagle. Making it impossible for 15 or 16 year olds to join and earn Eagle serves no Scouting purpose. You can agree or disagree. No worries.

          And, Im not making a snarky point. It’s entirely legitimate: Calling 4 months “short term” and 6 months “long term” is silly, especially in regards to a “life long commitment”. Increasing the requirement for Star to 6 months wont have any measurable benefit long term – I challenge you to provide one. Taking a new Scout and saddling him with a 9 month restriction is a BAD idea because those ranks are NOT designed as incremental steps to Eagle, they were designed to indicate that a Scout had demonstrated basic skills competency and some basic experience. That’s why the requirements are not sequential. (Your admission that 5 years of required leadership would suit you is about as compelling as saying that starting Scouting at 15 is an “afterthought”. Geez, we are here to provide an opportunity, not shut boys out.)

          As far as taking a role in advancement – hey, you got to pick your battles. You either have a dysfunctional advancement team or you don’t. If it’s not worth your time to switch hats and take on the challenge, it’s not worth the rest of the program’s time to change the rules to suit your dysfunctional district. Help fix it or sit down. Pretty simple.

          If you read the link I sent and still think the requirements have gotten easier (even with your contrived starting point in the 70’s), then you need to re-read: 1970 – 4 requirements. 1972 – 6 requirements (and a brief increase to 24 MB’s), 1978 – 6 requirements, 1999- 7 requirements, 2009 – 7 requirements and a specific Eagle workbook, 2013 – 7 requirements, a specific workbook and 2 new required MB’s. So, yeah, we have the hardest requirements ever. What point exactly am I missing? That boys are still achieving it so we should move the goal post AGAIN? No, I got that point – I just think it’s silly, petty, and largely indicative of adults with grossly inaccurate perceptions of their role in the program.

    • Hi Steve. The requirement is not “leadership positions” for S, L, & E, it is “positions of responsibility.” Then with Eagle, it is leadership in completing the Eagle project.

      • Yep, thanks for the clarification! I was imprecise (and that can get you in trouble!) While I’m answering your post, I’d like to address Kane and Chet’s back and forth thread if I may.
        They seem to be looking at the flip side of the coin in this argument: if we increase the time necessary to attain Eagle Scout, then we risk having more older boys that want to start scouting unable to achieve the Eagle rank.
        I would submit that it would be the rare exception to have a boy of 15 want to start scouting with the goal of attaining Eagle Scout. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened but it would be exceedingly rare! Why, it the boy is so driven, didn’t he start earlier? To wait until (essentially) the very last moment to start requiring this individual to do everything absolutely right with no room for error is highly unlikely to say the least! With that in mind, having the cut-off be 6-8 months earlier doesn’t weigh as heavily (in my opinion) as preventing someone from getting their Eagle rank 6-8 months later.
        What do we want in an Eagle Scout? For me, looking at my son, I want a responsible young man that personifies the Scout Law, that exemplifies leadership and demonstrates a maturity in all that he does and someone I am proud of! No, he doesn’t have to pull off his glasses, rip open his shirt and reveal a big red S on his chest! Sometimes it seems like that is what we expect of Eagle Scouts…
        It is the exceedingly rare individual that would be able to demonstrate the determination, perserverance, leadership and maturity that the Eagle Scout rank exemplifies at the age of 12. What is the downside of requiring some demonstration of leadership (above and beyond “position of responsibility”) as part of the learning process toward Eagle Scout that, as a consequence, would make 13 the earliest eligible age for Eagle Scout?
        There is so much more to scouting than just getting the Eagle rank!! Scouting is a journey and Eagle Scout is NOT the end! It is a milestone in and along that journey. In fact, I’m not sure if there really IS an end to the journey as long as one is willing to keep going! I earned my Eagle Scout rank at 15 but I was active in scouting until I was 18. I then started down a different scouting path as a scouter. I left the scouting path for about 25 years and then came back when my son was ready to start down his path. The journey continues and where it will lead is anybody’s guess but rest assured it will be one for a lifetime!
        Sorry, I sometimes go all “nostalgic” like that but maybe you’ll understand why I feel the way I do about this rush to get to Eagle Scout. It’s not a race! There is no finish line! Scouting is one of a number of processes (in my opinion, one of the best) whereby a boy matures into a man through a series of experiences and challenges which will forge and temper the individual’s character and leadership skills, all of which requires time and experience. Perhaps some will get the full benefit from this tempering process by age 12. I leave it to you to decide.

  153. Fantastic, the Boy Scouts need more highly motivated Youth. The Eagle Rank has no requirements concerning maturity. But it takes a lot of self motivation and maturity to accomplish this at a young age. Other youth look up to a Young Eagle and try to learn from his example. Young Eagles want to work on staff at Summer Camp and want to serve Scouts thru the Order of the Arrow and maybe join a Venturing Crew. I always say it’s better to have a very talented 12-13 Eagle than a 17 4/5 year old Eagle that has hanged around Scouting and is only motivated by his parents telling him he has to make Eagle. Usually a youth that is 17 1/2 can’t remember what requirements he passed for any of his merit badges, etc.

    • It’s nice for a young man to earn Eagle, but it should be his choice, not his parents. NOT ALL YOUNG MEN ARE QUALIFIED TO BE EAGLE SCOUTS, PERIOD. If a youth learns the Boy Scout camping basics and learns patriotism and duty to God and learns some lifelong values, then the Boy Scout Leaders have accomplished something worthwhile. Some youth don’t become mature until they are in there mid-twenties, before that, they don’t do any real thinking and rely on their parents.

  154. Poor leaders and parents who think Scouting ends at Eagle. There is so much more to experience, achieve, and serve once that nice Eagle is on the left pocket. Don’t make the requirements any easier … and certainly don’t make them any harder. Encourage, coach, and inspire those whom you serve to be their very best … and to be the best. They will thank you later.

    • Exactly! Some of these people make it sound as if Eagle is the end of the road! The Scout continues to learn, grow, mature, and have fun, why not with the Eagle on the pocket.

  155. If there is not at least one (or likely two) parents intensively involved in scouting, there is no Eagle, regardless of the age. Younger than 16, you will always have at least one parent in leadership in their scout’s troop. Kinda funny that way. Or from low income families? yeah right.

    • Just not accurate. We average 4 eagles per year and 3 of those will have no parent in our adult leadership. Our eagles range in age from 14 to 17.5 years.

  156. First, a couple detail corrections. The Tenderfoot rank requirement number 10 requires 30 days. Those 30-days in addition to the 16 months you mentioned, make the fastest one could possibly earn Eagle 17 months.
    If a boy were to complete 5th Grade and earn Arrow of Light shortly after his 10th birthday, he would then be eligible to join scouting. Adding 17 months to that scenario, means that the earliest a boy could possibly fill all the time requirements for Eagle would be at the age of 11 years and 5 months.

    Now for the opinion part:
    Should a young scout hurry through the rank advancement requirements to be an Eagle at 11 or 12? Usually not, but there may be circumstances where it would be reasonable.
    Is it possible that a young scout has truly shown the leadership required? Could he be mature enough? Could he possibly have done the required planning for the project? Possible, yes, but such a youth is rare.
    Is it fair for someone to look at a young Eagle and assume that he didn’t “really” earn it? That his parents/leaders pushed him too fast? That leaders/parents did too much for him? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
    Should a leader stand in the way of a scout advancing quickly, because the boy is young? NO
    Is it better that a boy take his time to advance and earn Eagle after more time and experience? Usually
    Is it better that a boy never really get motivated to finish until he is up against the age deadline? Rarely.

    I have served on dozens of Eagle Boards of Review. A few of the boys were young. More of the boys were older. In my experience, it is the boys who are 17.9 whose qualification is more in question. I’ve never had a young one come to the BOR who hasn’t been able to show understanding, leadership, and maturity that they should.

    • I also wonder how these 12 year old scouts get around the “10 troop activities” required for first class. Meetings are explicitly excluded from those, and even with Courts of Honor, Service projects, and a very active camping schedule, I have a hard time seeing that take less than 5 months or so.

      • I hope that are not ‘getting around’ the ten troop and/or patrol activities.

        I can imagine a couple ways they could do it:
        For the 3 camping nights, a troop weekend camp can be 2 nights, and then they only need 1 additional night, which could be from a patrol campout, or the troop campout the following month.
        If the troop has some boys working on their Eagle projects, there could be several times that they meet to help.
        The patrol might go for an extra patrol activity just to have fun, or to work on some of their scouting skills.
        The new scout and his troop or patrol might go to a district/council sponsored activity.
        The new scout and his troop or patrol might attend a local a merit badge pow-wow/midway type event.
        They might go to a local charity or business that sponsors an activity or a merit badge event.
        The troop might have an activity outside of their regular meeting times, or instead of having a meeting.
        Some troops count attendance at a court of honor toward their 10 activities.

        If the troop and patrol don’t have enough activities for the speed the boy wants, there is always the option of being dual-registered with a second troop. That is not uncommon here. Boys who really like scouting are registered in their locally sponsored church troop, and also registered with another troop that has a different charter and doesn’t play by the same church rules.

        • Scoutaholic..the requirement is not 3 nights of camping it’s 3 separate camping events

          Recheck being dual registered…you can be in a troop and a crew but not 2 different troops…maybe Bryan can check policy for us on that

        • I hadn’t reread the exact wording on the 3 camping nights. They must be 3 separate activities. There are still plenty of opportunities to do that in a short time period. If you are only registered in one troop, and your troop only does one camp each month, then (,depending on when the camps fall during the month,) they could be completed within 6 weeks (one the end of a month, one at any time in the middle month, and one at the beginning of the third month). It could be even faster if there is a patrol camp, or a second troop, or another activity (say a multi-day conservation service project) that includes an overnight.

          You can recheck the dual registration rules if you like. I know boys who are dual registered. I’ve never seen them do it for this reason, but it is possible.
          In my area, 99+% of scouting units are sponsored by the LDS church. Some LDS units are not well organized and don’t do scouting at the level that some boys want. When that is the case, the boys tend to stay registered in the church troop with their peers, but at the same time, they seek out another troop that does scouting at the level they prefer. They go to 2 troop meetings every week, and attend activities of both troops when they don’t have conflicting schedules.

        • The actual requirement is:

          “Since joining, have participated in 10 separate troop/patrol activities (other than troop/patrol meetings), three of which included camping overnight. Demonstrate the principles of Leave No Trace on these outings.”

          That’s three camping trips, not two.

          And really, if you’re trying to dual register to game the system, you’re doing it wrong.

        • I got the reference from our registrar and you can be dual registered in 2 BS troops. If they are I would think one has got to be the lead troop for advancement for requirements completion recording, Blue Cards, BORs etc

      • My son has gone to almost every possible Troop & Patrol Activity since he joined the Troop. It still took him 3 months to reach 10 activities because of the 3 separate camping activities. Any Scout that can do First Class in a month must be camping every week . . . and I don’t know any Troop around here that does that.

        • I don’t know of any troop that does that either, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

          Looking at just the activity requirement, that would be 10 activities (3 of them overnight) in a month. Add 4 troop meetings into that and you are doing some scouting activity every-other-day.

          Remember that not all of these activities have to involve the whole troop. Some can be patrol activities. Most will not be attended by everyone.

          If you have several older boys all trying to get their Eagle projects done over the summer, you may be invited several times to help.

          Sometimes a troop will cancel a regular meeting in favor of doing an activity instead.

          My troop didn’t do that, but I have had months where I did it. As an older teen, I was involved with my Explorer post, and was JASM for my troop, and was Chapter Chief for my OA Chapter, and was heavily involved in the OA dance and ceremonies teams. There were plenty of weeks that I did scouting at least 6 days of the week. There was at least one summer that I didn’t spend a weekend night in my bed for the entire summer. There were times that my bed went unused for over a month.

          I pointed out in my comment above how it would be possible, even if your troop only camps once each calendar month, to get three camps within 6 weeks. It all depends on when the camps are planned, and If you luck out and start your 30-days of Tenderfoot requirement 10 at the right time to coincide with the planned camps.

          What if the boy were to serve as a Den Chief and go to a pack or Webelos den camp? Some scout leaders might count your Den Chief duties as a troop/patrol activity. (No, I’m not interested in fighting over the correct interpretation of the exact wording of the requirement. Read it for yourself, and decide if you think it is worth asking the Scoutmaster.)

        • Our troop has the activity level required to meet the requirements. So far this month, we had a bike trip overnight campout the first weekend of October; a backpack trek the 2nd; and this weekend we’re going to a state park for some fun, but will include a hike and a service project. The last weekend of October has four activities – two service projects, a night hike, and then we play “boffer sword” on Sunday with nerf swords and shields. I’m not sure what the final count is of the number of activities is for the month. But it is not possible for a scout to do them all because they overlap. Typically a scout in our troop will take 6 to 8 months to reach Tenderfoot, and 16 to 24 months to reach First Class. Can they reach first class in 3 months? I guess theoretically they could. But in practice, there are young scouts learning and older scouts teaching and guiding and things get mucked up and things take time and things get repeated. It is messy but it is fun. We advise parents that if the primary focus is to get Eagle (and get it quickly) we are probably not the right troop for them.

        • From this description, it appears that there might be enough, depending on who does the counting and how they count them.

          I count 7 activities if you count each mentioned once.
          If you count the bike trip separate from the campout, and the fun, the hike, the service project, and the overnight at the state park each separately. Some might count this schedule as 12 activities. (Does one have to return home between activities to make it a separate activity?)
          db didn’t mention if there was a possible overnight on the 4th weekend that has 4 listed activities. That would make 8 (or 13) activities in the month with 4 overnights (or only 4 weekend activities if you prefer to count it that way).

          I still would not encourage every boy to earn First Class in his first month and Eagle in 17 months, but this schedule for October appears that it would be possible to get the needed activities done that quickly.

  157. Frankly, I do not see how a 12 year old can truly understand and appreciate the maturity that is (or should be) a product of the path taken to Eagle. Is the 12 year old truly completing the substantial service project? As one can read from my comments, I believe a 12 year old is just rushing through the scouting experience, is this really in his best interest? Slow down, enjoy, it’s not a sprint.

  158. We’re all familiar with the John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

    This so aptly applies to teenagers and explains why so many Scouts are approaching their 18th birthday before their Eagle Board of Review. It’s usually in middle school when they start discovering all sorts of activities, both in and out of Scouting and school. They get involved in student council, join the soccer or hockey team or receive the dreaded X-Box for their birthday. Along comes high school and they become involved in more sports, join the quiz bowl team, start taking advanced placement classes, keep playing their X-Box to chill out, go for their driver’s license, get a part-time job, start dating … all of a sudden they realize they’re 17 years old and they’re looking at doing an Eagle Scout service project on top of everything else and they still have three merit badges to go! The paperwork for one Eagle in our troop I know slid across the counter at council just two days before his 18th birthday.

    While I don’t believe in parents pushing and shoving their children in ten different directions and not letting them be children, and I certainly don’t agree in having a Scout rush through being a Scout at 12 or 13 just to get his Eagle wings, you must admire the tenacity and persistence of those who do, as they’re likely to be the go-getters in life (but also as likely to stress-out and have a heart attack at 45). If the Scoutmaster is in touch with the Scouts, he should be able to see through parental pushing at Scoutmaster conferences and encourage the Scout to slow down and have fun, too. Note I said encourage, not demand. If it’s clear it’s the Scout motivating himself, who are we to stop him?

  159. When I earned my Eagle, I was 18. It was the norm in scouting back in 1991 that boys didn’t get their Eagle’s until they were old enough to show leadership and mature enough to make decisions. At 18, a boy can vote and can go into Military Service. Not too many 12 or 13 year old boys would I trust going to war and making decisions about other people lives. When I got my eagle, only 1% percent of all boys were getting their eagle award. Now, with changing standards and the low bar we set on earning merit badges (some earned in a day), that percentage has grown. As an adult leader, I see the difference in these young men who earn their Eagle when they are young, and don’t have the mentality of “Do your Best”.

    • BSA has never been focused on making boys into soldiers. Your approach to assessing leadership and maturity via “readiness for war” has not ever been a part of rank advancement.

    • As a combat veteran, I can wholeheartedly confirm the age that a Scout earns Eagle is totally irrelevant to his suitability as a warrior. Two totally different things (thank goodness).

      However, younger Scouts generally DO have the mentality of “Do Your Best”, after all, it is the Cub Motto.

    • What does military service and voting have to do with earning the rank of Eagle. And as a matter of fact that 1% figure has not increased that much.

      • The current rate is about 4% from the latest literature I have seen. That is quite a bit of difference from 1%.

        • The # published by the BSA says 4%, but if you do the simple math yourself, you will see that getting Eagle is no longer rare. Approximately 25% of boys who become boy scouts now achieve Eagle. I agree that if Eagle were difficult, then only 1 to 4% of scouts would achieve it. But with summer camps, helicopter parents and merit badge university give-aways, getting the Eagle rank is now common place and is simply a matter of putting in your time.

        • Sorry to take us a little off-topic, but percentages can sometimes be confusing/misleading. Four percent of *what*, exactly? Four percent of all registered Boy Scouts are Eagle at a particular point in time? Four percent of registered Boy Scouts earned Eagle during a particular time period (e.g, calendar year)? Are Venturers included? Or is it four percent of all scouts, including Cubs?

          Bryan, you would do a big service to scouting if you can provide the data and methodology used to calculate that percentage.

        • Wade – what “simple math” do you base your 25% number on? There might be a couple of small units that are producing numbers like that (and more power to them if they are doing it by the book).

        • Sure thing, Chet. There were approximately 850,000 scouts in the BSA in 2012. There were approximately 60,000 Eagle scouts. Simple math means that 7% of scouts were Eagle. But that’s not an accurate representation of what really goes on. You know that includes scouts who just joined and still have six years to finish their Eagle. So if you were to look at how many new scouts joined in 2012, there were probably about 250,000. Let’s be generous and say 300,000. It is hard to know – because the BSA doesn’t publish that number. If you take the 60,000 Eagle scouts divided by the 300,000 who joined scouts in a given year, you see that about 1 in 5 boys who join scouts will end up as Eagle. 20%. If the number who joined was 240,000, then the number of Eagles is 25%. The 4% is some BSA marketing number that is used to make it seem that Eagle is difficult and rare, when in fact it is easier than ever to achieve and it is common place.

        • I believe that the number might be 4% of “all Boy Scouts” earn Eagle in any given year. I take that from the statement on this page that says that in 2012 (the 100th anniversary year), “About 7 percent of all Boy Scouts earned the Eagle Scout rank in 2012.” See http://www.scouting.org/About/FactSheets/ScoutingFacts.aspx. I believ that 2012 is not the norm because some Scouts purposely delayed to earn in the Centennial Year while others speeded it up. If you look at the number of Merit Badges earned (previous post by Bryan), the numbers were rising leading up to the Centennial. http://www.scouting.org/About/FactSheets/ScoutingFacts.aspx

        • jack, the 4% is based on the number of registered boy scouts at any time. I’ve never seen any figures showing otherwise.

        • WadeI can personally see the numbers in my district and we are nowhere near 25%. In fact, we arent even close to double digits. YMMV

      • The only to accurately calculate the number of boys who join Boy Scouts that become Eagle would be to track a cohort from a given year until they reached 18. In 2012 in our council, we had 11,338 Boy Scouts. In the same year, 850 Scouts earned Eagle for 7.5%. I know our council is higher than many others. As a District Commissioner, I sit in on meetings where our retention rate is discussed. If 25% of any cohort was reaching Eagle, I don’t think that retention would be so high on the agenda.

        When I did my Scoutmaster OLS last spring, there were about 25 of us. About 5 were females leaving 20 males. Only 2 were Eagle Scouts & 1 of those was a HS senior that just turned 18. There were, however, about 5 of the males who reached Life, but did not. The others, like me, didn’t even achieve that rank or were never in Scouting.