The lady at the scout office was aggravated and insulted. I was confused and frustrated. How dare I suggest that on 'E-Trail to Eagle' my son's merit badges were all in there, all his advancements from Tenderfoot to Life Scout... complete! "E-Trail to Eagle is NOT an official scout website" she screamed into the phone. Then she managed to compose herself and apologize for her ruddiness.
You know when someone loves something. I mean really really loves it then it's offensive when they encounter another human who does not study it and give it the proper understanding it deserves. Welcome to the situation wherein you need to work with a scouting enthusiast.
In the past week I have had to deal with 6 of them. It's an interesting road trip met with many detours and dangerous curves ahead.
My second son had met (albeit just barely) all the requirements to earn his eagle scout award, and just needed a couple signatures from them. Now the scouters can smell a 'just barely' scout a mile away, and they don't appreciate the stench. Where as I was just pleased he still wanted his eagle and was semi-willing to do the work to get there, the enthusiast just saw him as the weakest link in their eagle chain of command.
I won't even go into the problems he ran into getting signatures from merit badge leaders. There were hurdles that he put there for himself and I don't like to rag on my own kids on the blog (at least I'm trying to repent of that). But just know that it had been a bumpy stress-inducing road to get us through the last month to get to the point where we needed to enter the scouting enthusiast lion's den. So we were already a bit frazzled.
Then came the day that my husband mistakenly decided to pick up the phone to call the book approval lady. I realize she has an official title but I'm too inexperienced to know it. And I am not ashamed of that fact either. See the apple doesn't fall far from the tree now does it? The first book approver could not be reached via email or phone. We just figured he was out of town. Middle Boy had been the one trying to reach him. We sorta did things hand in hand here. I'd make my son call people (which he hated) and when he'd done his emotional quota for the day, one of his parents would step in and do a step for him on his behalf. Like a good secretary would do for one's lazy boss. Sorta. On that day when T made the call, our son was actually out hunting down an elusive signature for a last minute blue card. Here's how the call went...
"Hi are you available to look over my son's eagle application and book this week so that he can make the board of review this Friday?"
.... silience.... "May I ask why it is that your son is not making this call for himself?" ...Sigh
"Well he should be, but he couldn't get through to the first guy and now he's out getting a signature, could you just let us know if you are the right person to call and we'll have him call you when he gets home or he'll get no supper tonight." (Just kidding).
By the time we got to see the book lady face to face, her radar was on high and she was hip to us slackers. It made no difference whatsoever that we fawned over her dog who looked just like ours and had the same name! She didn't care to see a photo.
She looked over his book like it smelled bad. She took out things it didn't need and flung them on the table like they were radioactive. She wondered why in world he had trouble on the computer with spacing the dates correctly (a problem no one had ever had before us). We didn't need both the white and blue cards. No extra photos besides the eagle project related ones. Our essay was too warm and fuzzy. Where was our list of accomplishments?! No letters of recommendation in hand seemed to be the biggest no no. Although when I pointed out to her that the website clearly stated that all the scout needed to do was provide names and information for people who could recommend you she acted like I was crazy. We looked it up later- guess what? Not crazy.
So we left her house signatureless, with our tails between our legs feeling like all was lost. No board of review for us. Leaving for college in 3 weeks and another board didn't meet until after our departure. Christmas break would not work because, she informed us as we were about to leave, "the board doesn't meet over the holidays." Too bad for us. Unless we wanted to foot the bill for a 500.00 plane ticket home just to meet with a board. That seemed crazy. Surely there had to be another way.
Well we found that other way... Oh yes, we found it alright. When you tell us no, we just figure well... we'll see about that.
To be continued