The Eagle Scoutmaster Conference

on August 8, 2007 in Advancement, Eagle, Leadership, scoutmaster conference

Mike called to schedule his scoutmaster conference for the rank of Eagle Scout. I had been looking forward to this call. He had finished his Eagle Project a week earlier, and his merit badges had been completed last May.

It got me thinking about this blog and the article I posted last September about scoutmaster conferences. There are a few additional points that I like to cover during an Eagle conference so I thought I would take the time to share them with you.

One of the first things we do is the uniform inspection. Troop 68 does not require a Scout to be in uniform from hat to socks, but we do require the belt, neck wear, and the shirt with all the patches in their proper place. Just as a person is expected to dress sharply for a job interview I like to see the Scout correctly dressed for his Eagle board of review and court of honor.

The Scout and I will spend several minutes talking about the merit badges he has earned on his way to the Eagle Rank. Which ones were the easiest to earn? The hardest? The most fun? Which ones did he enjoy the most? Which ones taught him the most? Why?

Holding a position of responsibility is a requirement that I like to talk to the Scout about. I not only like him to talk about the position he used for the Eagle Rank, but also discuss the other positions he has held during his tenure as a Scout. Which ones did he enjoy, or maybe not enjoy so much? What has he learned about leadership. Is it easy being a leader?

Of course, we also talk about his Eagle project. Projects seldom go as originally planned. It is interesting to hear about what did not go according to plan, and how the Scout was able to solve the problems that arose. Did he accomplish all his goals? I know the board of reviews will be covering this subject heavily so I try to prepare him during the conference.

My favorite portion of the conference is when the Scout looks back on his years in Scouting. I ask him what have been his favorite activities since joining the troop. What activities did he dislike? What are some of his best memories about Scouting? Who were the people who helped him the most during his years as a Scout? Is there anything he wished he would have done differently?

A scoutmaster needs to ask questions that are open ended, questions that require more then a simple “yes” or “no” answer. The goal is for the Scout to do most of the talking, not the scoutmaster.

As the conference comes to an end we take time to review his Eagle Project Workbook and get all the dates and information correct on his Eagle Application.

I enjoy the Eagle scoutmaster conference. It gives the Scout and myself a chance to really talk about what Scouting has meant to him. For the seventeen year old Scout it is probably the last time we will get to sit and chat about his last six years in Scouting. I just hope it will not be the last time we get to visit and chat. After all, he will soon be going off to college and begin a life on his own.

6 Responses to “The Eagle Scoutmaster Conference”

  1. lonestarscouter says:

    Great post Steve

  2. B C Justice says:

    What a good topic for a post!

    Most of our Eqagles do not leave the unit when they are 18, so we do a lot of talking about what the Scout will do with his Eagle skills in the future. After completing a proper Eagle project, they should feel comfortable tackling challenges.

    When we were younger, we were recruiting a lot of Scouts whose parents did not speak English. The B.S.A. was a few years away from the Hispanic Scouting division. This Eagle designed a committee training program for Hispanic leaders–from the ground up–and proceeded to train a group of 21 LDS adults, who were in charge of new 3 new troops. Those units survive to this day. He did this in 1995, a year after his Eagle Court of Honor. His name was Luis Gonzalez, and his story is on our site. In our unit, if the boy plans to leave as soon as he is Eagle, he will not become Eagle to start with. One does not EARN Eagle… one BECOMES Eagle.

    -B.C. Justice, Troop 1197

  3. Anonymous says:

    My son's scoutmaster conference was a disaster. After making four beautiful bookshelves and working on his write-up and project for over a year the scoutmaster told him he was not "eagle-worthy." The reasons given were that he did not demonstrate leadership in the troop meetings, but stood to the side and even sat doing his homework (true). That he argued with the eagle adviser about the references when he had forgotten about them (true). That he did not make 75% or more of all scout meetings and campouts (true- he made all but one meeting and no campouts).

    Are these things that really should prevent him from being an eagle scout after all of that work? The scoutmaster told him that he cannot give him eagle because it would be a bad example for the younger scouts. My son might be a little out of it, lazy, and tend to keep to himself, but he is a solid christian young man who has never been in trouble. He is also a senior who has lots of activities other than scouts. I think calling him unworthy and a bad example is a little extreme.

    He has three weeks before his 18th birthday and has asked what he can do to become "eagle worthy" in that amount of time. He has not received an answer.

    Advice? Should we appeal or will that cause worse problems? Is the scoutmaster in the right about the failure to be involved? Does failure to have "scout spirit" mean he is disqualified? Will my son fail to become eagle?


  4. J says:

    I can understand the unit leader's point of view, but not certain I would tow the same line. There are several scouts in my own unit that seldom come to the meetings or camp outs, but they are there for any fundraiser even though they will not benefit from their work. I balance this with what I know of their work/class/church schedules. If the Scoutmaster isn't willing to budge, I'd go to the Committee Chair and your DE in a hurry.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I'm a Scoutmaster in Virginia Beach, VA. If it comes to a point to tell a scout he is not "Eagle-worthy", he should already know it !!!
    The counseling should have been done long ago.
    You have to give a boy (repeat, boy) a chance to change his behavior, and become more … in your words …. "Eagle-worthy".
    So as not to punish this boy, he needs a "Pass" and everyone needs to learn from this; Including we leaders.
    YIS, Jim

  6. EP-SCOUTER says:

    I am an Asst. Scoutmaster for a Troop in Aurora Co. This lack of attendance has been a sticking point for a lot of troops. One Troop I was associated with the Scoutmasters son would rarely come to the meetings, never went on the campouts, his position of responsibility was Quartermaster, and after flags at the meeting they Scouts went into another room and this Scout would remove his Class A shirt. Never was there a Scout who did not deserve the rank of Eagle, but he got it. However the same troop found it proper to call another Scout journey to Eagle in question. A Scout who had been on the campouts, did leadership and helped the other Scouts in the troop attended the meetings, a liar. They stated he had got the merit badge counselors to sign off on his Eagle required badges without actually doing the work. One of the merit badges that were brought in to question was his Hiking MB. The Merit Badge Counselor for this badge was an Asst. Scoutmaster with in the Scouts Troop.

    So is this Scoutmaster trying to teach a life lesson or does he have another agenda. My son who is up for Eagle isn’t a fire-ball and it drives me nuts but you have to remember it is their Eagle not yours. Each Scout is different; some step up to the plate hit a homer while others just sit on the bench.

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