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Be A Last-Two-Miles Coach

Likely you have met a Scouter who laments or often regrets they didn’t achieve Eagle Scout. Sometimes the cause is bad luck, like moving and being unable to connect with another troop or other life disruptions. There is another story you hear of getting stuck at the end. They got to Life and simply didn’t finish. Now they wish it had been different.

Some people decide that the youth didn’t finish their Eagle because of immaturity or being distracted. Are these the main reasons? Or is it something else?

When I was training for a marathon, the coaches said most people quit two miles from the finish line. I found that hard to believe – until I was two miles from the finish line.

Our coaches came out over those last two miles to encourage, pace and push us to keep going, reminding us how great it would feel to cross the finish line.

That last-two-mile support made a huge difference to the success of us weary marathoners.

This isn’t the only example I can give of failing at the end of a long project. When I was provost for a small graduate school, one of the challenges was getting students to complete their dissertations.

“ABD” people, meaning “all but dissertation,” carry around the regret of not getting the degree as well as having to live with investing 4 or 5 years and thousands of dollars without achieving a diploma.

More than half of the students ultimately were “ABD”! Does this sound similar to the “ABE” (all but Eagle) we have in Scouting?

Whether we are discussing marathons, graduate school or the Eagle Award, it is easier than you expect to get stuck short of the culminating achievements that come at the end of an exceptionally long project. It is no wonder that many people run out of energy at the end.

If this happens to adults in graduate school and marathons, think about the challenge of a Scout in high school undertaking a full-scale project at a very busy time in their life. They are at the end of a long experience that might have started in Kindergarten.

The Eagle Project may be the most complicated project they have ever done. It requires resource management, finance management, volunteer supervision and many decisions. The Scout program has prepared them, but this is still a difficult task.

Project management is difficult and takes practice. Yes, the Scouts need to do the work, but I believe it is equally important to keep in mind that those Scouts need appropriate guidance, support and encouragement.

I hope you are convinced Scouts need support not because they are immature or lazy but because they are at the end of a long endeavor facing a difficult project. If you wonder what you should do to appropriately support those aspiring Eagle Award Scouts, you can take a class! Sign-up for the Eagle Scout Project Coaching Training Wednesday, February 10th and learn how to be a great last-two-miles coach.

Article by Betsy Eubanks

Directly register for the Eagle Scout Project Coach Training course here: https://www.montanabsa.org/sbs-live-remote-class-registration/

Or find out about other Screen-Boosted Scouting opportunities and training here: https://www.montanabsa.org/leading-scouts/leader-training/montana-council-screen-boosted-scouting/