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Life to Eagle Seminar

The George Mason District offers a “Life to Eagle Seminar” twice per year. We hold one session on a Saturday during the spring. A second session is held on a Saturday during the fall. The seminars begin with a check-in from 12:30 to 1:00 and finish between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. Seminars are posted on the George Mason District website calendar.

Attending a seminar is a valuable experience for any Scout, parent or leader. It is useful for any Scout who thinks he may want to try reaching the Eagle summit. Think of the seminar as a digital or paper map. A prepared Scout wouldn’t set off into the forest or cross a mountain range without using a good map to plan the trip – locating sheltered camp sites, identifying sources of potable water, measuring the distances between campsites and estimating the elevations/terrain. The “Life to Eagle Seminar” will give you the same detailed look at the last portion of the Eagle trail. The seminar covers the key requirements a Life Scout must achieve including service in the Unit, living by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law, earning merit badges, serving in a leadership position, planning, developing and giving leadership to others in an approved Eagle project, and taking part in a unit leader conference. The Seminar also discusses the Board of Review and Court of Honor. Scouts that take the “Life to Eagle Seminar,” like Scouts who carefully prepare for a long hike in the woods, have a more positive experience as they climb the Eagle summit and are more likely to finish all the requirements with less stress.

The panel of recent Eagle Scouts is one element of the “Life to Eagle Seminar” that is hard to find anywhere else. Unit leaders or coaches can describe the requirements for a Scout and frequently have a strong understanding of the Scout Guide to Advancement. It may, however, have been several years (or decades) since they went they experienced Scouting as a youth and may have done so in other parts of the country or world. The panel of recent Eagles provides a frank discussion of their experiences – things they were glad they did, things they learned and things they would do differently if they had the chance to repeat the experience. It is your opportunity to get up to date advice from Scouts who walked that trail just a few months or even weeks before you. That is hard to top. The “Life to Eagle Seminar” is the only place you will hear multiple recent Eagles talk about their personal experience.

A parent will benefit from attending the seminar because it helps them understand the trail their son is traveling. If a parent knows the trail ahead, it will allow her or him to gauge when it is better to back off and let the Scout proceed on his own or when encouragement is helpful. Perhaps the biggest benefit of attending a seminar, from the parent’s perspective, is that it helps prepare the parent with knowledge about what NOT to worry about. I’ve had any number of anxious parents call because they thought their Scout was approaching something that truly wasn’t a deadline. There are deadlines in Scouting that are real and that one needs to pay attention to. The seminar will describe those in detail. Attending the seminar allows you to “be prepared” with knowledge about the points that are important and, by the same token, empowers you to understand the things you don’t need to worry about. The investment of a few hours on a Saturday afternoon will be paid back several times over if it means you don’t need to spend anxious days later down the trail stressing about something that isn’t really meaningful or, equally important, if it helps you focus your Scout on a deadline that is critical.
Scout leaders can benefit greatly from attending the Seminar. Scouting evolves constantly. It may have changed several times over (or more than that) in the years since you experienced the Eagle trail as a youth. Attending the seminar every couple of years, especially if you are an Eagle Coach or Scoutmaster, will prepare you to advise Scouts wisely and guide them along the Eagle trail well. The Seminar is one of the special opportunities, along with the University of Scouting, where you can get a crash course in the key elements of the last part of the Eagle trail. It also provides you an opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussion with the George Mason District Eagle Board. Trained, well informed leaders benefit everyone in Scouting.

If you have questions about the George Mason “Life to Eagle Seminar,” contact gm.advancement@gmail.com.

George Mason