Wow. That's certainly a negative reaction. Let another Eagle Scout add to this node, if I may....
Yes, scouts get made fun of. You look stupid in that beige outfit, with that stupid looking neckerchief and the slider thing that holds it in place. It doesn't matter if you're Miles Davis... there's no way to look cool in a Scout uniform. And when you go on a Klondike Derby, or a Jamboree, there are a hundred-and-one born losers trying to light fires with flint and steel, and they all get mad when someone uses a fat bottle of Rossinol, because it's not the "scoutly way".
But you get out of it what you put into it. I could have fucked around and taken Basketry at Scout camp, and I could have bullshitted my way through the requirements for Citizenship In The World (believe me, it's not hard to do). My friends and I didn't sleep in tents and practice whittling and sing Kumbaya. We signed up for stuff like Wilderness Survival, built our own shelters, learned lifesaving and first aid and water rescues and cool shit like that. And when it came time for the tedious crap, like soaping pots and taking part in Scoutmaster reviews, we were so jacked up we didn't care. We treated it like the fucking marine corps, and I learned a ton of stuff that I still use today.
And people respect that. Lots of people I met in college were impressed that I was an Eagle Scout. Sure, you get the snide comments here and there, but for the most part, people realize it's a pain in the ass to do it, and they respect that. I singlehandedly got into Colby College because I was an Eagle Scout (even though I didn't go there). I have no doubt of that. But if there's one criticism I have of the rank, and of the people who respect it, and of one of Sarcasmo's comments above, it's this...
The Eagle Scout rank is ridiculously fucking easy to obtain.
The biggest problem with it is the tenure you need. I'm guessing it's around three years now (they keep changing the requirements). They've simplified the merit badge requirements to the point where you can complete most of them simply by dropping $3.50 for the merit badge book, memorizing some of the stuff in there, and writing down the rest. The only badges of even minimal difficulty are Personal Management, because it takes 90 days;Environmental Science, because it requires you to run a series of experiments; Communications, because you have to give a speech; and Camping, because you have to camp at least 20 nights (although you have eight years to do it).
The other hard part, some would say, is the service project. Basically, what you need to do is find a project that needs to be done - if you live in the suburbs, just go down to Town Hall and start asking around, or try the Police and Fire Departments. Then you write up a proposal, submit it, and then, well, welcome to the world of delegation. Get a bunch of volunteers, tell them what to do, and voila. My project was cleaning up the Minuteman Bike Trail in Arlington. I finished it over four weekends, and that was it. My friend repainted every fire hydrant in town. Took him two weeks. End of story.
That's the only sad thing. And I think they've done that because fewer and fewer people want to join Scouting. They'd rather watch TV or play video games than learn life skills (and don't give this crap about not enough time... outside of camping trips, Scouting takes up not more than two hours a week).
So what do I have to show for it? Well, I've got a patch, and a plaque, and an attractive desk pen set, all of which are in a box in my attic. Anything else? Well, yeah, I know how to save a life, survive in the wilderness, hunt for food if need be, uncapsize a canoe, find my way out of the woods, start a fire at least fifteen different ways, and a host of other shit that would just take too long to list here.
I certainly didn't need any fucking parade from my town. And I certainly didn't let comments from some juvenile, hometown-hero lifetime-zero embarrass me.