That morning, the principal of our school came on the morning announcements. She shared an experience she had on the way home from school the day before. As she drove past the students walking home, she noticed many like me, with their heads down and feet moving as quickly as they could. She told us to “look up.” Because we were in such a hurry to get home, we were missing the view along the way. She mentioned the beautiful spring skies filled with singing birds and blossoming trees that we had been missing.
At this moment, I realized she was right! I had never once looked around me and appreciated the beautiful path I got to walk up and down every day. After that day, I would remind myself to slow down and “look up.” This same principle should be applied to all young men as they work towards their Eagle Scout Award.
Enjoying the Journey
While supporting young men through their journey to an Eagle, It is important to remember that the best part of the trail to an Eagle is the journey, not the destination. Eagle Scout awards are designed to help young men learn and grow. It is not something to finish as quickly as possible. It is not just a box to check off.
With that in mind, it is important to remember that your son does NOT need to complete his Eagle before the age of 14. Although the LDS church ended their affiliation with venturing and varsity programs, it does not mean that boys are encouraged to complete their Eagle by the age of 14.
Elder Holland spoke concerning this issue. He reminded listeners that LDS boys can still identify with a troop. They can continue to work on their Eagle until they are eighteen with full support from the Church. The Utah National Parks Council also made a similar statement. They said, “young men who desire to continue to work toward the rank of Eagle Scout or Queen Scout should be encouraged and supported in their efforts and should be properly registered as Scouts.”
There is nowhere in the Church or Council statements that encourage boys to complete an Eagle by age 14. It is important to experience the journey to an Eagle. The Council still provides many resources, programs, and facilities that are geared toward helping LDS leaders “Be with [ the youth], connect them to heaven, and let them lead.”
The Council looks forward to providing Scout programs to all interested youth. This includes those age 14 and older who want to continue participating or are on the trail to Eagle. Of those who earn an Eagle in our council, 93 percent complete the requirements at age 14 or older. 67 percent also attain the Eagle rank after age 16. Taking the necessary time to complete these requirements helps young men appreciate the journey. They also better retain the information and skills they are learning. You can read more on the Council’s position here.
So, help your young men enjoy the journey on the trail to an Eagle. Remind your young men to “look up” and slow down. In the end, the purpose of all this hard work is to connect boys to heaven. Let the journey to an Eagle be the path that takes them there.
Author: Madison Austin | Marketing Associate, Utah National Parks Council