History first: My son began as a Tiger and just made Life last night at the age of 14 1/2. Although he did not advance ranks quickly to begin with, he did not care, he was having fun and working on MB's. He was appointed ASPL at the end of last school year. The SPL has missed over 35% of Troop meetings and over 50% of PLC meetings and attended 1 out of 5 nights of camping since they "took over." This has put my son in the position of acting SPL with virtually no leadership/guidance from the older boys. We have 4 other Life Scouts (SPL, 2 Guides, Historian) all who are there less than 65% of the time. My son has been acting SPL with a 12 year old acting as ASPL for over 6 months now (the only boys in a troop of 18 with "perfect attendance"). The failure of the older boys to attend meetings and outings is a completely seperate issue that we are trying to deal with also. Of the four "older" Life Scouts none reached that rank with more than the requisit number of MB's, and since advancement they have all completed thier EP, but have only earned one MB each in the past 4 - 6 months. They are all 15 1/2 to 16 yrs old. My son has worked hard and completed all ER MB's (last one the night of his SM & BoR) and has 13 electives also. He has decided on his Eagle Project and spoken to a representative of both the benefitting org and also an Eagle Project advisor already with a tenative idea. Although this was "strictly by the book" out of order, he was being prepared. If he is able to do this project it will require that the physical work begin as soon as the frost leaves, and he needed before pictures without 4' of snow cover. He has made it very clear in word and deed that he intends to stay ACTIVE in the Troop after he reaches Eagle. He is signed up for NYLT and CIT this summer and has been asked by Council (and agreed) to help organise the summer Cub Day Camp this year. He is registered to attend Jambo 2010, and wants to be a junior counselor at summer camp next year also. Got it, even if I was not his father I would be tooting this kids horn. My biggest struggle most of the time is not bragging him up. Now the real problem:
I have sat on many BoRs and have heard many times that "we need to slow him down". We have several ASMs and other committee members who do not want the boys to reach Eagle until after they are 17 so that they stay in the troop. The boys have come to know that they can come to me and I will help push the rest of the leaders and "run interference" for them. Both I and my son have made it very clear that his Eagle project is very time sensitive in regards to frost, etc. We have made it very clear that he is and will stay active in the troop. Last week he requested a SMC and was told no problem, they could do it during the meeting. Oh wait, the meeting rolled around and guess who wasn't there? The SPL. My son had to run the meeting and wait until the last 20 mins for his SMC. Not only did they have two new "transfers" (11 yr old Tenderfeet), 4 visiting Weeblos II, but they were working on "boring" camp preparations. After a full hour of PLC followed by 1.25 hours of trying to keep control of 10 bored 11 and 12 yr olds he finally got away for his SMC. He was unable to concentrate and give good concise answers so the SM stopped the conference and told him to come back "next week" . Due to other things being scheduled for last night he had to have his SMC at 5:30. He tried to arrange a BoR before the meeting (7:00) but for once none of the TC members showed up until 5 minutes of. Guess who did not show again? Guess who had to lead the meeting? To top it off they were working on the Engineering MB this week and he needed to be there to complete his project. He finally managed to get away from the Troop meeting at 8:05. At 9:10 they finally finished with the BoR. 1 hour and 5 minutes! One of the TC members (a friend) contacted me this morning and told me that the others commented afterwards that they were going to try to stall my sons Eagle project (which would put it off for a full year) so that he stays in the troop. The SM told one of the ASMs this between the SMC & BoR. Like I said, I usually can run interference for the boys, but this is my son. If the TC and SM are trying to hold him back, how do I run interference for him. I know that he will tell them to go fly a kite and I will walk with him.