Eagle Hysteria


Only five percent of the boys who join the Boy Scouts of America will ever become an Eagle.  My nephew, the EMT and firefighter is one of them. I can easily state that families with young men like that are extremely proud of them.

There is a young man in Utah who has Downs Syndrome.  He is a Boy Scout.  He wants to be an Eagle Scout.  Apparently there was a serious mix-up when it came to his badges and qualifications for Eagle.  His father has made a huge deal about it, and has filed a law suit against the Boy Scouts for not giving his son his Eagle Status.  I have a nephew who is an Eagle.  NOTHING is given.  It is earned.  From what I remember, it isn’t easy, either. If you read the article about the child, and his father, a person is left with the opinion that the Scouts treat boys with special needs like dirt.  Nothing is farther from the truth.

“…The son of Bill and Maggie Hodgson was among the Iowa troop’s founding members. His mother said it was unique in that all the troop members had special needs. Therefore, each boy worked on merit badges to the best of his abilities, and modifications were made as necessary on a case-by-case basis.

Before the family moved to California in October 2013, Hodgson had reached the level of Life Scout and completed his Eagle project, which was to build two round picnic tables for St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, which his family attended in Iowa. Church officials suggested the project since they wanted a place for people in the neighborhood to gather while drinking free lemonade and visiting on summer weekends. The program was part of the church’s community outreach.

The problem with the story, which is making the rounds with all the usual conservative outlets, is that the implication is the BSA does not make accommodation for special needs boys, which is not trueThere are far too many young men with Downs, who have made Life Scout and Eagle not to realize something might be wrong with the story out of Utah.
Something isn’t quite kosher with this story.  One of the problems I see is the fact that the child is fairly low-functioning. As much as I think a child who has Downs should be given every opportunity, there comes a time when enough is enough.  If only 5% of boys in the scouts ever achieve Eagle, why should it be handed out to someone, just because their parents insist they have it?  You don’t allow every person in the Navy and Marines, who want it, to become SEALS.  Compassion is one thing.  But – when does compassion become unfair for those who have the drive and ability to sacrifice and earn something – on their own?
I do enjoy hypocrisy.  Because the Boy Scouts have become a favorite topic for conservatives, they’ve jumped all over this story.  Had it been something different, they would be pointing out the same thing I am. But – they hate the Boy Scouts because they are ‘liberal’ ergo, they’re an excellent target for ridicule.  Sad, really.