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What are your favorite ideas for motivating Scouts to complete the Eagle Scout award? Here are a few ideas to get the juices flowing. If you have others, please share them by e-mailing .
Note: Not all of these motivating techniques work, or are even good ideas. If you find them inappropriate for motivating your Scout or at odds with the ethics and values of Scouting, by all means don't use them. But sometimes desperate parents resort to desperate measures. Our recommendation: motivate boys early and often, and help them get Eagle while they are enthusiastic and active if possible, so that nobody gets desperate.
Stories about how Scouts got motivated to complete Eagle
From the Webmaster:
I was the district Eagle advancement coordinator for 2 years when my son was 12 and 13. He saw so many 17.99 year olds appear at our door to turn in their application at 11pm on the night before their birthday that he decided he would not let that happen to him. He completed Eagle well before he was 18 and then kept telling other Scouts to get Eagle done as soon as they could. He could tell that Scouting was much more fun for him as an Eagle Scout in high school than for some of his friends who had the potential to complete the award but still had merit badges and projects to go.
In my opinion, Scouts should make every effort to complete Eagle before they get too far into high school, and troops should support them doing so. Once boys hit high school, they get very busy. In my experience, there many 17+ year olds who are great kids, have benefited from the program and live by the Scout oath and law, and are deserving of the award, but have been relatively inactive in Scouts for a couple of years. When they are in their senior year of high school, they are busy and concerned about many things. Sometimes they are overcome by "fumes" - perfume and gasoline fumes in particular. Some get particularly involved in sports and others are in challenging academic programs and concentrating on grades and college. Regardless of the reasons, they are busy and some look for ways to do as little as they can to get Eagle done. This puts a lot of stress on Scoutmasters and adult leaders who may not even know this formerly active Scout well. These adults, while sympathetic, feel uncomfortable making what they judge to be compromises about leadership, projects, and participation. Probably some people are born procrastinators and there will always be plenty of last-minute Eagle Scouts, but where possible I think it improves the Scouting experience for the Scout and the leaders when a Scout is able to complete Eagle when he is younger and very active without diminishing the significance, merit, or value of the Eagle award.
From Jim Weidman:
Do your Eagle project early!
Soon after my son became a Life Scout in January 2001, he selected his Eagle project, planned and wrote it up, had it approved and got it done in early Spring while still needing 3 Eagle required merit badges. My son knew that 1 badge would be earned before summer camp, one during summer camp and the last one in September/October. Once his Eagle project was done, he knew the toughest requirement was behind him and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.
Do your Eagle project early!
No one said you must wait until you've earned all the required Eagle merit badges before you do your Eagle project. My son saw many Scouts in our Troop complete all their merit badge requirements then struggle to do and complete their Eagle project before they turned 18. My son (an Eagle Scout) and I recommend selecting, planning and having your Eagle project approved and then completing it soon after you've earned the Life rank. Most Eagle required merit badges can be earned just about any time of the year. Depending on what your project is, you may have to wait for warm weather in your area before you can do your project. As others have pointed out, as a Scout gets older they become involved in other activities, and it becomes more difficult to convince them to do an Eagle project. It's much easier to tell a Scout they only need to complete one or two merit badges for Eagle than to tell them they need to do an Eagle project. Which one is more work to a 16 or 17 year old?
Do you have a story of what motivated a Scout to complete Eagle that you would like to share? Let us know here.
Last update: 8/10/2006