If I could suggest a strategy for working through advancement, this is what I think would be the best arrangement for an LDS scout.
When a boy enters the program at age 11, he and his leaders should set the goal to complete all rank requirements for:
- Scout (10 requirements)
- Tenderfoot (15 requirements)
- Second Class (13 requirements)
- First Class (14 requirements)
This is possible through a variety of advancement plans EYO leaders have created through related experiences. If an LDS scout can earn these early ranks requirements by the time he turns 12, his focus can be on passing off requirements for:
- Star (4 required + 2 elective MBs, 6 hours of service, 4 months of leadership)
- Life (3 required + 2 elective MBs, 6 hours of service, 6 months of leadership, EDGE)
- Eagle prep (5 required + 5 elective, 6 months of leadership, Eagle project planning)
At age 14, all that should be left to do is complete the project to finally earn his:
- Eagle (project execution and completion)
Following this strategy would leave a bunch of “free time” for Varsity Scouts to focus on more outdoor high adventure activities and not have to worry about completing merit badges for rank advancement! In fact, they should be using all their merit badge skills while participating in their high adventure activities (or helping teach those skills to the younger scouts coming up)!
By age 16, a scout could work on whatever merit badges they want, if they wanted to earn:
- Eagle Palms (Bronze, Gold and Silver)
Between 16 and 18 is generally where a lot of distraction will come from a job, cars and girls. So it seems reasonable to accomplish the Eagle rank by 16 while they’re not yet completely drawn away by these other “fumes”. Actually, earning the Eagle rank could also be used as leverage before giving them the keys to the car!
Here’s a printer-friendly version of this advancement strategy I presented to my Troop Committee.
Does this sound like a reasonable approach? I think if all leaders are doing what they’re supposed to be doing for their given age group, this should be realistic to accomplish without a ton of pressure, don’t you think?