I was looking over the Court of Honor program during the ceremony and noticed the dates listed for each rank Anthony had achieved. The list confirmed something I have noted for a long time: the lower ranks come easy; the higher ranks are progressively harder and take much longer. This is partly because the lower are mostly about developing basic Scout skills, which we use all the time in the conduct of the program. But also, the drive to collect merit badges and do service projects and take responsibility in the Troop begins to chug and sputter when faced with increasing school work, athletic opportunities, early job experiences, and, well . . . girls.
Here are the intervals between each of the ranks on Anthony's ascent toward Eagle.
Joining to Scout: 1 monthIt took Anthony 43 months to get to Life and another 45 months to reach Eagle. But he made it. So many don't. When I was a boy, only 2% or so of boys reached Eagle. The percentage is up to somewhere close to 4% nowadays, but still, it's a long, hard climb.
Scout to Tenderfoot: 3 months
Tenderfoot to Second Class: 3 months
Second Class to First Class: 7 monthsAt this point, all is on track. We say that a boy should shoot for becoming First Class within about a year; Anthony made it in 14 months.First Class to Star: 16 months
Star to Life: 13 monthsOnce a boy reaches Life, he usually has all the fun merit badges he needs. He has to slog through the tougher required ones, doubling his total to reach the end. Plus, there is the Eagle Service Project: the equivalent of doing a dissertation. So, Life rank is the ABD of Scouting.Life to Eagle: 45 months.
I finished my Eagle in September, 1970. I was a month shy of my 17th birthday. So, I had a whole year to wear my Eagle badge on my boy uniform and take a victory lap of sorts. That was a long time ago, but I still remember what it meant to me. Congratulations to all our Eagles in Troop and Crew 119, to their parents, and to their leaders. Well done!