Friday, June 8, 2012

When the level of maturity of an Eagle Candidate reflects negatively in his project application….

I recently had the opportunity to review three Eagle Service Projects back to back. Although I think I know better I was a bit surprised when I was able to put them in chronological order by the age of the boy. As it turns out one was written by a fourteen year old, one by a boy nearly sixteen, and the last by a seventeen year old young man. In return correspondence to all three Scouts I write that I found the projects to both meet both the “requirements and expectations for community service at the level of an Eagle Scout Candidate”, a statement I am comfortable with. However, the actual presentation of each of the three applications was dramatically different. Not to say that every sixteen year old, for example, has the same level of maturity and skill in expressing a concept in the written form, but you could tell who was 14 and who was 17. What constituted a complete sentence for the fourteen year old was light years from the material presented by the seventeen year old.

I am not necessarily the most eloquent writer myself, and have been told I should be grateful for both MS Word spelling and grammar checking, but I think my recent review brings to light an interesting question. Is a boy who is working at or below an eighth grade English composition level really ready to be an Eagle Scout? I know that we have allowances for those young men who are “challenged”. This is not what I am talking about. I think it is reasonable to expect a certain level of proficiency in communicating idea’s, plans, and strategies with regards to ones Eagle Project. After all this is part of the learning process, is it not. So where do we draw the line. I know the age at which a young man should be considered for Eagle is often a matter of debate in scouting forums.  Let’s try to refrain from any arguments that are solely based on age. We are all likely to agree that there are always expectations to the rule. I also am quite aware of the specific evaluative criteria for an Eagle Service Project so we can also avoid that path. I would like feedback with regard to applying more subjective criteria to evaluating the written proposal, perhaps taking into account a follow-up conversation with the Scout. Can we answer the question; [when] should the evaluator state in good conscience, your project is good but I think you need another year before you consider implementing it?

1 comment:

  1. Learning to write correctly at all of those stages is of utmost importance. It is perfectly acceptable to comment on the written project, if not, how will he learn? Could a draft be first? Being precise will go a long way when he enters the "real world" as an adult. Being an Eagle Scout is a big first step into adulthood.


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