Answer—Not at all. But our Scouts advance regularly, and earn Eagle Scout at over four times the current national BSA average.
Why do we have so much advancement, and such a high percentage earning Eagle? If you know teenagers, you know you can't 'push' them to do anything they don't want to do (at least not for long). And while we have a very small number of 'fast burners' who earn Eagle in under three years, the average T97 Eagle takes almost five years to earn the award. And some will use the full seven years. The secret is providing fun and rewarding activities. Scouts remain active in T97 about three times as long as the average troop. They stay because they are having fun. Our average (median) Eagle has camped 79 nights, including 4.8 week-long summer camps and 2.7 one- to two-week high adventure treks. When Scouts are active for that long, advancement happens; it doesn't have to be forced.
We think advancement is important because the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) says it's important. So important that it's one of the eight 'Methods of Scouting' that BSA training teaches Scoutmasters to use (it is the combination of those 8 Methods that makes Scouting unlike any other organization).
What about quality? It shows up indirectly in what Scouts can do: camp for a weekend in mid-winter, stay dry, cook hot food (often good, too), stay warm, teach younger Scouts the same skills. After two or three years, seasoned Scouts are ready to go out for a week with just what they can carry on their back; many miles from outside help; perhaps above treeline in snow or hail; perhaps paddling a canoe into a 40-knot headwind; and coming home with big smiles and new maturity, because they have learned the skills and the attitude to have fun in any conditions.
The local council also measures quality as a Scout approaches Eagle. The council's Eagle Coordinator for our district must approve all Eagle service projects, and the Coordinator chairs the Eagle Board of Review that determines if a Scout has met the standards of the Boy Scouts of America.
Last Revision to This Page: 18 October 2018
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