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Looking for Input on Managing Time for Badges/Requirements


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#1 swilliams

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 09:25 AM

My oldest son just crossed over to Boy Scouts and, as of now, is planning on achieving his Eagle.  He's also in honors band, swims and plays football.  He may end up choosing on his own to forego one or two things, but for now he wants to continue music and sports in addition to scouting.  I'm not too concerned about it for the immediate future, as he's just starting middle school in the fall, but I see where time may become an issue. 

 

I'd love some input as to what he can focus on now, so that if he decides to stay on the same path he doesn't become overwhelmed with a year or two to go.  I know nothing about the Eagle requirements right now, but will be getting our handbook and having our first Boy Scout meeting on Tuesday.  I thought it might be helpful, in the meantime, to get input from those of you who may be (or have been) in a similar situation.  Apologies ahead of time if there's already a good thread on this.  I'm not the best with the search function!


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#2 Chisos

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 09:39 AM

My thoughts...if he's planning to keep all those activities, and wants to do them at a high level, then yes there will be time conflicts in the future.  Especially when High School gets here and the expectations get ramped up.

 

There are some "time in service" requirements (i.e., serve in a position of responsibility in the troop for a given number of months) for the higher ranks.  He should make a plan to get those done sooner rather than later, especially if other commitments would prevent him from doing those jobs when he is older.  Other stuff, (merit badges and such) can be done as time permits.  What I've started reminding scouts, is that if you want to be Eagle, you're going to need to have at least 16 months for which Scouting is a priority between when you get First Class and when you turn 18.


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#3 Rock Doc

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 10:02 AM

Something to consider down the road is how your son's troop defines what it means to be "active", as BSA is a little fuzzy on this aspect and allows troops to make their own decision. Our troop requires 50% participation in meetings and activities for 1st Class and above, and 75% participation for scouts holding positions of responsibility. There's also some latitude for non-scouting activities that align with Scoutings aims. As Chisos stated, your son will need at least 16 months to complete Star, Life, and Eagle while demonstrating that he meets his troops definition of being "active". 


Edited by Rock Doc, 24 April 2017 - 10:03 AM.

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#4 qwazse

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 10:06 AM

@swilliams, Welcome to the forums, and congratulations to having such an active and engaged child ... good luck keeping up with him! (If your kids are like mine were, you're in for a very busy couple of decades!)

 

The first step (actually a bunch of little steps) is for a boy to work on becoming a first class scout. All of the skills needed to do that are described in his handbook, and the some of the older boys in his troop should have become good enough instructors to teach him. In a perfect troop older boys (usually patrol leaders) teach, test, and sign off on new scout's mastery of skills. Not every troop is perfect.

 

The challenge that very active boys have is setting priorities. My Son #1, in 7th grade, after an exhausting trip with the band, said "That's it, Scouts first, Soccer second, band third." After he settled on that, we could support him accordingly. (I myself put scouts, science, youth group, and music first. Sports was just not my thing.) Your son should soon lay out his priorities, and that should help with that process. Sometimes, one priority will push rank advancement to the bottom. (E.g., the best scout I ever knew aged out at 2nd class rank.) In a boy scout troop, that's okay. (Although most of us really try to encourage at least slow and steady advancement over 5-7 years.)

 

The second challenge with very active boys is that scouting -- even if rank advancement is not a priority to the boy -- takes time to get the most out of it. A fifty mile backpacking trip in rugged terrain starts years before by committing weekends camping, hiking, mastering skills, procuring and modifying equipment. Even the seeming simple process of hiking and camping independently with your mates (what I've come to call the pinnacle scouting experience) takes time learning who your real friends are, who is a good citizen and will respect the property they hike on or camp in, and who has the right equipment and skills to make the day or night out truly fun.

 

Sometimes, those people will also be your band and sports buddies, but often times you need to accept a different set of friends (maybe even reach out to strangers outside of your troop) to do that activity. If your son makes First Class rank, and is still scouting 3 years from know, lots of such opportunities will open up to him. So, the next practical step that I tell 11 year old active boys is to make themselves useful to their parents to the tune of about $100 a month (above the usual things he may spend money on). That way, by the time he's old enough, he will have saved what he needs to enjoy some big-ticket scouting. (And things around your house or business might look better than you would have expected. ;)

 

Or, if he decides that scouting isn't for him, he will have the resources to participate in other activities ... or even help his family in a pinch.

 

So, focus on your boy being a First Class scout. Then, once he has that patch, ask him what his plan is. By then he would have had 3 conferences with his scoutmaster, and 3 boards of review with your troop committee who will have asked roughly the same question. Help him with that answer!


Edited by qwazse, 24 April 2017 - 10:08 AM.

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#5 Col. Flagg

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 10:07 AM

To be honest, one has to ask themselves why they are in the various activities. I never joined a sports team asking the coach how we were going to win the title that year. I played because I loved the game. I played in band because (at the time) I wanted to be with my friends.

 

Scouting should be no different. Be involved because you love it. Go on adventures because you want to be with your friends. Don't worry about making Eagle. If you do the first two things, making Eagle will eventually come. In my opinion, if you are just on the first step of your journey and you are already asking what the destination looks like, you may be missing the point of it all.

 

IMHO the question you should be asking is, "How can I best help my son learn, grow and mature in the Scouting program?".


Edited by Col. Flagg, 24 April 2017 - 10:08 AM.

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#6 swilliams

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 12:32 PM

To be honest, one has to ask themselves why they are in the various activities. I never joined a sports team asking the coach how we were going to win the title that year. I played because I loved the game. I played in band because (at the time) I wanted to be with my friends.

 

Scouting should be no different. Be involved because you love it. Go on adventures because you want to be with your friends. Don't worry about making Eagle. If you do the first two things, making Eagle will eventually come. In my opinion, if you are just on the first step of your journey and you are already asking what the destination looks like, you may be missing the point of it all.

 

IMHO the question you should be asking is, "How can I best help my son learn, grow and mature in the Scouting program?".

 

Thank you for the words of advice.  I try not to push my kids into anything, but let them determine what they want to do.  It's because he loves scouting that he's expressed the desire to earn his Eagle rank.  (If that's the right phrase.)  I'm just here to try and help him as best I can, like you said at the end of your post. My younger son, now...  I wish I could transfer some of the drive from the older one, lol.  Little one just wants to hang with friends.


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#7 Col. Flagg

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 01:14 PM

Thank you for the words of advice.  I try not to push my kids into anything, but let them determine what they want to do.  It's because he loves scouting that he's expressed the desire to earn his Eagle rank.  (If that's the right phrase.)  I'm just here to try and help him as best I can, like you said at the end of your post. My younger son, now...  I wish I could transfer some of the drive from the older one, lol.  Little one just wants to hang with friends.

 

I hear you. So the best analogy I can give you is one of a journey and the ranks are weigh stations on your map; the destination is Eagle. Start at Scout and just review with him the journey, noting all the cool points of interest along the way:

  • camp outs
  • troop/patrol events
  • first year Scouting stuff
  • summer camp
  • merit badges
  • cool training opportunities
  • high adventure bases
  • other cool awards (NOVA, STEM, outdoor award, 50 miler, etc)

If you do that -- and stay involved in the unit while he enjoys himself -- Eagle will come....and faster than you think.


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#8 qwazse

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 01:22 PM

Thank you for the words of advice.  I try not to push my kids into anything, but let them determine what they want to do.  It's because he loves scouting that he's expressed the desire to earn his Eagle rank.  (If that's the right phrase.)  I'm just here to try and help him as best I can, like you said at the end of your post. My younger son, now...  I wish I could transfer some of the drive from the older one, lol.  Little one just wants to hang with friends.

Most cross-overs dream of Eagle, a few put in the time over a period of years to achieve it.

Most musicians dream of being a star, a few put in the time and sacrifice to achieve it.

Most athletes dream of the championships, a few amass the self-discipline, strength and skill to arrive.

 

They all have the same pattern. I guess they all start with being sufficiently inspired to have the the time.

 

Other people learn to make friends and wind up running for president. Don't write the little one off just yet. :D


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#9 MattR

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 01:49 PM

swilliams, I have a slightly different view on this. The most important achievement a young scout needs to make it to Eagle is friendship. Scouts with friends are having fun. Scouts having fun stick around. There's plenty of time for rank advancement if a scout sticks around.

 

An 11 year old is still young enough that it's easy to make friends. Somewhere around 13-14 peer pressure gets intense and not only does it start getting harder to make friends but they're even more critical. That's kids start pulling away from mom and dad. A 14 year old that doesn't have friends in a troop will likely drop out. It's not about other things to do, it's about friends.

 

So, go camping with him. Don't hover. You don't even have to see him very much on the campout. Just make sure he's there, having fun. Share the dirt with him and the resulting stories. Get him jazzed about going on the next campout. Oh, and once in a while ask him how his advancement is going.


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#10 Stosh

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 04:44 PM

Thank you for the words of advice.  I try not to push my kids into anything, but let them determine what they want to do.  It's because he loves scouting that he's expressed the desire to earn his Eagle rank.  (If that's the right phrase.)  I'm just here to try and help him as best I can, like you said at the end of your post. My younger son, now...  I wish I could transfer some of the drive from the older one, lol.  Little one just wants to hang with friends.

 

No private in the Army joins to become a general.  I always get concerned when a boy joins Scouts just to get his Eagle.  If he joins a sports team just to win a title?  Is that good enough reason to play a sport?  

 

I think your "Little One" is just fine where's he's at.  If his friends all want to hang with Scouting, even better. 


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#11 resqman

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 05:53 PM

Oldest son played on high school sports team and travel sports team at same time.  During one season, he would leave one practice early to arrive at the other practice late with 7 practices scheduled over 5 days.  Just before his 15th birthday, decided he needed to earn Eagle so would have something on his resume to get into college.  Never been a scout until then.   He had to work very hard at scheduling to attend events that offered the activities he needed to complete requirements.  Attended district and council wide activities without his troop to complete requirements. Missed a few sports practices and a few games.  Also had to forego some school dances and parties.   He had to make scouting a priority.  Tough choice at that age.  Certainly doable.  

 

Boy joining at age 11 has 7 years.  The minimum amount of time required based on adding up required time in rank and holding required POR is only 17 months.  3-4 years from start to completing all requirements for rank of Eagle is reasonable with regular attendance and participation.   The problem usually hits around age 14 with the fumes, perfume and car fumes.  The lads tend to get a bit distracted and not as focused on Scouting.   A lad who is involved in lots of other activities will have to learn to schedule his time wisely and will likely need to take 4+ years to complete all the requirements.  Some of the activities you listed will actually meet some of the requirements. 


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#12 SSF

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 05:59 PM

My advice to you is to have a very candid discussion with your troop's scoutmaster as to exactly what level of participation is required and see if that will mesh with the level of participation that your son puts into swimming, football and band.

 

The other question I would strongly recommend you ask is does the troop do things by the book. i.e. do they adhere to the BSA program as written or do they choose to march to the beat of their own drum and "apply" the BSA program "as they see fit." The SM might be a bit taken aback by that, and others on this board may disagree with me on this, but it's a completely fair and reasonable question to ask; particularly given that your son a) wants to advance and b) is highly involved  in other pursuits.

 

For example, I know of a troop that only counts camping trips as "activities," so for that troop, a scout needs to complete five camping trips, as opposed to three camping trips and two activities, as outlined in the actual requirement, to earn Second Class.

 

The other factor is how far your son wants to go with football, swimming and band. 

 

As an example, all travel soccer players and their families in my town know that if you play travel soccer in our town league, then you have to commit to putting travel soccer first...period. The league is extremely blunt, direct and unforgiving about this. They don't care what other sports or activities you're involved with. They're thinking is that if you've been fortunate enough to be granted a spot on the travel team, then you'd better be ready to give nothing less than 100% commitment to the team for the whole year; that's the Fall and Spring seasons, as well as playing indoor in the Winter.

 

I know for a fact that kids have been benched for entire games, for putting another sport or activity ahead of travel soccer. It's not fair or reasonable IMHO, but it is what it is...again, this particular league is unforgiving. 


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#13 swilliams

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 05:38 AM

No private in the Army joins to become a general.  I always get concerned when a boy joins Scouts just to get his Eagle.  If he joins a sports team just to win a title?  Is that good enough reason to play a sport?  

 

I think your "Little One" is just fine where's he's at.  If his friends all want to hang with Scouting, even better. 

 

Don't get me wrong, he joined scouts because it was something fun to do, and he's been a scout since Tiger.  He's equally excited about trips and loves the camping aspect of scouting.  He was excited about getting his whittling chip and pocket knife.  I don't see a problem with having a kid who looks at his possibilities and says, "Wouldn't it be great to achieve ____."  With the crossing-over on Sunday, he was talking to some of the Boy Scouts who were there to welcome the cubs into the Troop, and afterward said he hopes he can get his Eagle.  All I hoped for was some input into managing what I know will be a time constraint, assuming he still wants to be involved in music and sports. 


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#14 qwazse

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 07:08 AM

....  Boy joining at age 11 has 7 years.  The minimum amount of time required based on adding up required time in rank and holding required POR is only 17 months.  3-4 years from start to completing all requirements for rank of Eagle is reasonable with regular attendance and participation.   The problem usually hits around age 14 with the fumes, perfume and car fumes.  ...

I've started to call BS on the "fumes" explanation. Girlfriends can help on Eagle projects. Cars/motorcycles can get you to counselors and campouts. (Building a car could even get you a merit badge or two.) Girlfriends who want to hike and camp elect boy scouts into venturing positions of responsibility.

 

Basically, if a scout has taken a while to earn 1st class and camping MB, he will probably take his time advancing to Eagle, until that age 18 deadline looms. (One reason why I wish that deadline wasn't there.)


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#15 NJCubScouter

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 09:49 AM

swilliams, I think that people here are trying to provide you with input, but the situation you are seeking input on is kind of abstract and fluid.  The demands on your son's time will be changing constantly as he progresses through middle school and into high school.  Everyone's "talent" for time management is different.  Some sports coaches and band directors are reasonable and flexible when it comes to scheduling practices and workouts and excusing absences, and some (particularly as you get into high school, and some non-school leagues) are not.  Some coaches/band directors view their particular team or activity as all-consuming, as someone gave an example of above.  I have seen similar examples.  We had a coach/director (I'm being intentionally vague here) in our high school whose reaction to kids seeking some sort of balance between his activity and other activities was so extreme, and he wouldn't change, and he did a few other inappropriate things, that it eventually cost him his job as a teacher.

 

I have seen kids have to make choices between sports and Boy Scouts, or marching band and Boy Scouts or at least take a "season off" from Boy Scouts.  I have even seen an SPL take a "season off" from Boy Scouts and remain SPL, which I think is a bad idea, but I wasn't in charge.  I have also seen kids just give up and choose one or other other.  The marching band seems to be a particularly difficult thing to do at the same time as you are doing something else, and some kids choose one or the other, and other kids manage both.  If your son develops an interest in robotics, there is another popular time-conflict-generator.  I have seen almost every possible combination of all these things work, and not work.


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#16 perdidochas

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 10:04 AM

My oldest son just crossed over to Boy Scouts and, as of now, is planning on achieving his Eagle.  He's also in honors band, swims and plays football.  He may end up choosing on his own to forego one or two things, but for now he wants to continue music and sports in addition to scouting.  I'm not too concerned about it for the immediate future, as he's just starting middle school in the fall, but I see where time may become an issue. 

 

I'd love some input as to what he can focus on now, so that if he decides to stay on the same path he doesn't become overwhelmed with a year or two to go.  I know nothing about the Eagle requirements right now, but will be getting our handbook and having our first Boy Scout meeting on Tuesday.  I thought it might be helpful, in the meantime, to get input from those of you who may be (or have been) in a similar situation.  Apologies ahead of time if there's already a good thread on this.  I'm not the best with the search function!

He's got at least 6 years.  He has to do it, not you. He has to plan it, not you.  First, just support him in having fun camping. If he doesn't have fun camping, getting his Eagle will be like pulling teeth.

 

My oldest son got his Eagle and he was in orchestra and played football.  My main advice is for you to let him have fun, and support him, not nag him or do it for him.


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#17 NJCubScouter

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 09:10 AM

I always get concerned when a boy joins Scouts just to get his Eagle.

 

I think I have only seen one Scout in our troop who was strongly focused on Eagle from the moment he joined, and in fact while he was still a Cub Scout.  I remember him saying he wanted to make Eagle before his 14th birthday.  Nobody told him he couldn't, or shouldn't, but in fact he did not make Eagle before his 14th birthday, I think he made it around his 16th birthday.  But in my opinion he was the "best" Scout our troop has had in the almost 15 years I have been involved, measured both by "accomplishments" and Scout Spirit, particularly service to the troop and others.  I won't give all of his statistics, but he is the kid I was referring to a few weeks ago in an advancement discussion, that his Eagle project was really 2.5 to 3 Eagle projects and he knew he could do a lot less, but it was for his church's camp for disadvantaged children and he wanted to do "the whole thing."  He has also continued to give back to the troop, is now in his mid-20s and is registered as an ASM although we rarely see him since he lives a few states away, but he did organize and run a camping trip for the troop about a year ago.  He's a great kid.  This of course does not mean that a Scout whose primary focus is on Eagle at the time of crossover will necessarily turn out to be an exemplary Scout, but in this case he did.


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#18 bsaggcmom

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 12:30 PM

As others have said your son has plenty of time. Let's do a little number crunching to put things in perspective. Based on your son being 11 years old now he has about 7 years to complete his Eagle journey. He needs (currently) 21 merit badges, that's only 3 a year for the minimum. There are 7 ranks from start to end: Scout; Tenderfoot; Second Class; First Class; Star; Life; Eagle. Again that'd be 1 rank a year. But he can work on items in Scout, TF, SC, and FC all at the same time, so very possible to get more than 1 rank a year some years, it just happens. Some of the required badges have time requirements, usually 90 days of doing something. That's a 3 month commitment to working out daily, tracking your income/expenses or doing chores around the house. If he continues as an athlete then his fitness tracking is a breeze. Household chores probably are too. That leaves financial tracking not too hard either.

Camping merit badge requires 20 nights of tent camping. If he fulfills his FC rank requirement of 5 campouts, he'll more than likely already have 10 nights, 5 two night trips. Add in the 6 nights allowable from 1 summer camp, boom at 16. He'd only NEED to camp 2 more weekends to have enough nights. Exceptionally doable in 1-2 years, in some troops if the dates work out it can be done in 1 year.

Cooking merit badge has a few requirements that can pose a problem or 2 if not active outdoors or the troop doesn't camp a lot. But nothing that can't be overcome. Only other time requirements have been mentioned already, time in position. About 17 months, but they don't have to fall consecutively, 1 month for TF, 4 for Star, 6 each for Life and Eagle.

So when you look a Eagle by the numbers achieving it is extremely possible. In fact, I can't understand why every scout doesn't achieve it other than a desire not to. And I really don't understand the 17 year old, 11 month and 23 day old Life scout that still needs 4 Eagle required badges and project taking a week off of school to finish it all in his last week. We have one in our troop doing that right now.

Just tell your son that slow and steady wins the race. Work a little extra in an off season or school break time, don't stress in the middle of a season. Use his time wisely, read a merit badge book instead of playing video games or watching TV for 30 minutes a week and badges can be had in a short period of time. The journey is his to pick. GOOD LUCK!!
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#19 qwazse

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 03:42 PM

... If he continues as an athlete then his fitness tracking is a breeze. ...

You would think.  :mad:  If only I could get back my wasted breath from every scouter athlete who I told to get a blue card and earn Personal Fitness in the preseason ... I'd have enough breeze to power a Sea Scout ship! :laugh:

 

...
So when you look a Eagle by the numbers achieving it is extremely possible. In fact, I can't understand why every scout doesn't achieve it other than a desire not to. ..

A belief that he can, and a belief that he should start now.

...

This is ten percent luck
Twenty percent skill
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
Five percent pleasure
Fifty percent pain ...


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