Astronauts like Neil Armstrong.
Film directors like Steven Spielberg.
Presidents like Gerald Ford.

These guys are Eagle Scouts, just like me. So? Nothing. That's it. Just a similar achievement.

Being an Eagle Scout used to be a big deal. The whole town celebrated the advancement of a scout to the highest rank in the entire Boy Scouts organization. The scout became part of a higher brotherhood among Boy Scouts. A huge ceremony took place each time a scout became an Eagle Scout. At such a meeting all of the scout's friends, family, fellow scouts, scoutmasters from over the years, and the higher officials in the local scout organizations would all come together (most likely in a church basement) and recognize the scout as something special.

I told my mom that if she announced my Eagle rank in the newspaper that I would hurt her.

Why? Boy Scouts are nothing but made fun of anymore. Sure, the ranks impress adults over the age of 35, but everyone else makes fun of you. It's like being part of a dork club. It's embarrassing, and I could never figure out why. Never. I had mountains of stress finishing the requirements of the Eagle rank, and because I cared so much what other people thought, I was embarrassed.

People ask me why I complain so much.

I literally spent hours planning my service project. The service project is the last BIG thing in finishing the Eagle requirements (which for me doubled as finishing scouts, which was what I wanted to do long before). The service project consists of a project that you plan and lead that does something positive for the community, school, or church, and the total number of hours that it has to fill is 6 or more. You are to lead a group of other scouts through the project to complete your planned goal. Examples of service projects I worked on for other scouts were laying bark on nature trails, planting trees at the golf course, filling sand bags during a bad Missouri drought, or putting up new signs in a campground. Good things.

Anyways, all this work, at least for me (my service project was a joke that I care not to talk about anyway), did not pay off. I was not recognized by the town. I chose not to be, mostly because it would flag the beginning of what I knew would be the harshest onslaught of harrassment I would ever have to receive in the horrible waste pit that was Taylorville.

I was stupid.

I am an Eagle Scout. Other Eagle Scouts like me have received awards, scholarships, and other forms of recognition for doing the same things I have. In fact, I bet that I did more for my Eagle than Steven Spielberg, Neil Armstrong, or Gerald Ford did for theirs. The requirements have increased over the years, and are much harder to fulfill than in the past.

I am an Eagle Scout. I can declare it to people and not lie. That is what it has gotten me. I can surprise new friends with it involuntarily because it will come up in conversation. I realize how stupid I was to be embarrassed of it in the past.

I am an Eagle Scout. I spent ten years in the basement of a church, in the forests of Illinois and Missouri, in the back yard of said church, and in the parks of my hometown. What do I have to show for it? A packet. In the packet is the actual Eagle badge (patch), the Eagle Scout medal, a certificate that says I'm important, and a small booklet of things they want to sell me and my family because I worked so hard to get there. Yes, ten paragraphs and I finally get to my point...

What is left in this world when of all things holy, all things sacred, all things loved, when the National Eagle Scout Association tries to sell you things for achieving the highest recognized rank in the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America? Has capitalism and greed permeated every last drop of what was once pure in this country? Is anything not for sale? Can anything escape its own potential for profit?

You know what?
I am an Eagle Scout.
I say fuck the National Eagle Scout Association.

Anyone want to buy my official Eagle Scout badge for $5?

Ok, everyone has taken this the wrong way and I am now swimming in criticism. Let me add one note that should balance what I've said a bit more: the local politics that surround the Boy Scouts in each town make what you get out of it. When I started scouting, I had wonderful leaders and great fun all around. The deterioration of my local troop didn't just happen among the scouts themselves. The reason so many were quitting was that they had other high school things to do and that the leaders were leaving and shitty leaders were replacing them.

I put in a lot. I got out a lot. But that's not what this node is about. If you want to know what I learned from scouts, I can tell you. Here: What I learned in Boy Scouts. I'm talking solely about the Eagle rank here and the things surrounding it for me. This is my own selfish venting.

Everything's different for everyone.

Man, I never go back to a node and put replies up. argh.

TaintedTex: This was not a personal attack. You obviously had a different experience than me in scouts and that's fine. Calm down...

And if your job is the only reason you care about being an Eagle Scout, um, then I don't know...

Friendly, courteous, and kind indeed! And I never had respect for quitters.

Deborah909: Mom and dad pushed, kicked, prodded, and shoved me into finishing. There's no interesting story behind it; just a lot of yelling in my house and a bit of crying here and there.

That is all.