August 1, 2012

100 years ago today: "Arthur Eldred, a 17-year-old Boy Scout from Long Island, became the first person to earn the Eagle Scout rank."

"Eldred's initial accomplishment was to complete the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout only six months after that supreme award in American scouting was announced in April 1912." 
The leaders of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), assuming it would take several years for any boy to earn the required 21 merit badges, hadn't yet devised a final review system for Eagle candidates; they hadn't even settled on a design for the medal....

Out of the more than 115 million boys who have passed through the Boy Scouts of America in the last 102 years, approximately two million have become Eagle Scouts, a 2% rate that has climbed to about 4% of all scouts in recent years....

Many went on to notable careers and distinguished service to the country. The list of famous Eagles over the last century includes movie and television stars, six Medal of Honor recipients, Nobel Prize winners, novelists, a number of astronauts (including most Shuttle astronauts), Tuskegee airmen and Japanese-American internees, congressmen, senators and governors, an endless number of corporate CEOs and university presidents, a U.S. president (Gerald Ford), and the first man to walk on the moon (Neil Armstrong). But there are other, perhaps less obvious, Eagles as well: sexologist Alfred Kinsley, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and Washington's disgraced ex-mayor Marion Barry....

22 comments:

ndspinelli said...

I coached a kid who made Eagle Scout and he built a roof over the benches of our baseball field as a project. Great kid!

wyo sis said...

In my experience, after raising two boys, it's the parents, especially the dad that makes the difference. If dad is into scouting, the kids make Eagle.

carrie said...

I'm a mom and I'm the one who helped my son on the road to Eagle. But you do need one supportive parent or adult mentor to make Eagle.

Scott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
creeley23 said...

I was a scout for about a year -- enough time to go on some wonderful hikes and campouts plus earn my Tenderfoot rank and a technically illegal Hiking merit badge (merit badges require a Second Class rank or better). Then my family moved and I never got back to scouting.

I had two friends who were Eagle Scouts. One committed suicide in the Nineties after his career burned out and he spiraled into depression. The other became a top paramilitary neo-nazi in the Eighties. (I got the shock of my life last year when I stumbled across a video on the web of him being interviewed by The Order.)

I'd have to say that the ambition and expectations which drove them as teenagers to become Eagles played a part in their respective downfalls.

However, I don't imagine my friends were at all typical. I remember the Boy Scouts fondly and respect those who participate.

Original Mike said...

I've always regreted not making Eagle. Lifesaving merit badge stood in my way.

edutcher said...

Never hurts giving a kid something to shoot for.

We hear a lot about dreams these days.

What people need are goals.

TWM said...

My youngest son made Eagle Scout last July at the ripe old age of 14. One of 51,000 or so who made it in 2011 and a little over two million who have received it in total.

His two older brothers only managed Life Scout before they aged-out (due to the distractions of girls and jobs), so we really encouraged our youngest to get it done early.

I'm proud of all my sons, but let me tell you having Seth get Eagle is one of the best moments of my life.

Plus, scholarships are already being offered because of it and you can't complain about that.

rhhardin said...

I was working towards hummingbird rank.

Sofa King said...

Huh. You know, I always assumed that the FOE was related, but I see now that the dates don't line up. Interesting.

On a related note, with the marriage age creeping up and up, we really need some good fresh fraternal organizations.

Fprawl said...

And Me.

TWM said...

"In my experience, after raising two boys, it's the parents, especially the dad that makes the difference. If dad is into scouting, the kids make Eagle."

Actually, in Seth's case, I would give most of the credit to his mother, who started him, and his two older brothers, out in Cub Scouts as a Den Leader and then an Assistant Troop Leader in the Boy Scouts (adminstration - she doesn't like the woods so no camping for her). I did help, camping, canoeing, and white water rafting with them now and again, and showing as much attention as I could with me being gone working quite a bit, but without her he would not have made it.

And it's true as noted above a lot of mothers are involved, many times due to being single parents, but the main thing is simply to GET THEM THERE and be interested.

Then again that's the case with pretty much every activity for a kid whether it's sports, Scouts, band or whatever.

TWM said...

"I had two friends who were Eagle Scouts. One committed suicide in the Nineties after his career burned out and he spiraled into depression. The other became a top paramilitary neo-nazi in the Eighties. (I got the shock of my life last year when I stumbled across a video on the web of him being interviewed by The Order.)"

How tragic. And intriguing. For two of them to have such problems. What's the common denominator here, I wonder?

Nawww, just kidding.

I have a college friend whose son made Eagle and then two years later was convicted of arson. It was an alcohol binge-caused fire, but that's no reason so he did some jail time.

He recovered nicely though, finishing his bacehlors degree, then a masters, and now working on his doctorate.

Conserve Liberty said...

As a particpant in, Coordinator of and finally Chairman of the Eagle Scout Boards of Review in my community I've personally observed over 3000 young men at the moment they are told they have earned the Eagle recognition.

I can say with authority that they have in common the self confidence that comes from having reatedly set small goals and achieved them, then set larger golas and acheived them, finally bringing together everything they have learned selecting, planning and carrying out an Eagle Scout Service Project.

Parents, Adulot Scout Leaders, non-affiliated adults and other Scouts all have a part in a young man earning his Eagle Recognition. But the driving force - the difference between an Eagle Scout and everyone else - is the confidence, knowlege, skill and will to complete the work.

These aqre rare and exceptional young men.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Randy Pausch of 'The Last Lecture' fame was not an Eagle Scout but often selected Eagles as assistants. He saw it as the triumph of earnestness over cool.

What other achievement from their youth are men proud of in their dotage?

sydney said...

My second son is an Eagle Scout. I have to say, it was the most impressed (and proud) I have ever been of him. He had to design and build a bridge over a gulley that separated a soccer field from our town's middle school. The old one was crumbling apart. It took a tremendous amount of work. He raised $5,000 by himself, found and purchased the supplies, persuaded adults with needed equipement to volunteer, and managed all of his workers to get the job done. I'm not sure I could have done what he did. It was a learning experience that he is not likely to have gotten anywhere else.

Sunslut7 said...

Ann,
My experience with the BSA was a defining moment of my life. Through practice of scouting as directed by the Scouts, qualifying for and being nominated to the Order of the Arrow, the pursuit of my Eagle designation,my participation in wilderness adventures at jamborees and at Philmont; I learned many lessons that have helped me in life. I am very thankful that both of my parents served as adult scout leaders: Den Mother, Pack-Master, Scout Master, Patrol Adult Leader and as Scout Troop Treasurer. I could not achieved my goals without their help. It is said that: "Life is an adventure." Scouting is a wonderful way to train for the journey.

Pettifogger said...

When I attained the advanced age of 11 so that I was eligible to join the Boy Scouts and could go camping, I thought I was at the pinnacle of life. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing left to achieve. My mother had other ideas, however, and I became an Eagle.

ndspinelli said...

The National Boy Scout Camp in Philmont, NM is beautiful. I stumbled upon it taking a scenic route to Taos.

paminwi said...

Our Governor Scott Walker was an Eagle Scout. So.... how long will it take for garage to make some snide comment about that! Time starts... NOW!

ken in sc said...

I was a Second Class Scout and had completed requirements for First Class but dropped out before the required Honor Court. My step-son was a Life Scout, working on his Eagle Project when he aged out. He was the Chaplain of his troop. Now he is a Jewish Christian Messianic Rabbi and a Hebrew Bible professor at a major university.

ken in sc said...

I don't want to cause my step-son any more problems than he already has. So, I won't tell you where he is a professor. Many Jews hate Messianic Jews--Jews who believe in Jesus. Hatred is an equal opportunity religion.