Achieving Eagle Scout Rank

Eagle Scout is the highest rank a youth can achieve in the Scouting program. Since it was first awarded to Arthur Eldred in 1912, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than two million young men, including Troop 385’s Assistant Scoutmaster Steve Morris and Bath Pack 3385’s Cubmaster John Heckel. Famous Eagle Scouts include Neil Armstrong, Gerald Ford, Steven Spielberg, JW Marriott, and Mike Roe.  Roughly 2% of registered Scouts have achieved the Eagle rank over the past 100 years.  Thus it is a very distinct honor to be an Eagle, and this honor carries with it the obligation to set a positive example for other Scouts, and to become the leaders in life that they have demonstrated themselves to be in Scouting.  The Eagle award is a state of being… You are an Eagle Scout for life… you receive it as a boy, but you earn it every day for the rest of your life as a man.

The list of required merit badges for Eagle rank has changed over the years (30 different badges have been on the list over the past 100 years)… From 1915-1952 Bird Study was a required merit badge for the Eagle rank.  First Aid is the only merit badge that every single Eagle Scout has earned since 1912.  The Eagle Scout leadership service project became a requirement for Eagle in 1965.

The Eagle Rank requirements must be completed by a Scout before their 18th birthday – most Scouts earn it when they are 17 years old.   The web site is an excellent resource for Life Scouts that are pursuing the Eagle rank, but please remember that is an unofficial source of guidance, and doesn’t necessarily represent official BSA policy.  Also, the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) provides a number of online resources to assist Scouts in earning the Eagle rank.  The Eagle Scout Rank Application (No. 58-728) is available online by clicking here .  The application must be printed and filled out by hand, then reviewed by the Troop 385 Committee, and then submitted to the Old Portage District Advancement Committee.  When you are ready to start working on your Eagle requirements, complete the Great Trail Council Eagle Packet form by clicking here , and you will receive the Great Trail Council Eagle Packet back in the mail containing important materials to help you get started on your path towards Eagle.

Requirement #1 – Be Active In Your Troop

Eagle requirement #1 states that a Scout must “be active in your troop, team, crew, or ship for a period of at least six months after you have achieved the rank of Life Scout.”  According to official BSA policy, a Scout is considered to be active in his unit if:

  1. He is registered in his unit (registration fees are current).
  2. He has not been dismissed from his unit for disciplinary reasons.
  3. He is engaged by his unit leadership on a regular basis (Scoutmaster conference, informs the Scout of upcoming unit activities, through personal contact, and so on).

The Scout is not required to attend any certain percentage of activities or outings.  However, unit leaders must ensure that he is fulfilling the obligations of his assigned leadership position.  If he is not, then they should remove the Scout from that position.

Troop 385 leaders understand that high school boys have a lot of activities competing for their time including school, sports, clubs, and competing social activities.  Idealistically, we would like to see our Eagle candidates make an effort to regularly attend weekly meetings and monthly camping trips throughout the year.   This is how the next generation of boy leadership is developed.  Also, Eagle candidates that have been active in the troop and developed personal relationships with most of their fellow Scouts are much more likely to get the support they need from the Scouts when they come calling for help on their Eagle Service Project.

Requirement #2 – Living By The Principles Of The Scout Oath And Law

Requirement #2 states that a Scout must “demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life.”  You will also be asked to provide a list the names of individuals who know you personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf, including parents/guardians, religious, educational, and employer references.  You will need six references if you have an employer, and five references if you do not.  The Great Trail Council requires all references to fill out a confidential Eagle Candidate Personal Evaluation form as a testament to your character and integrity.  You can download the evaluation form and give it to your character references by clicking here .  The Scout is responsible for sending out letters of recommendation to each reference, including the blank evaluation form and a self addressed envelope to the Troop 385 Committee Chairperson.  The evaluation forms are confidential (the Scout will never see them), and will only be read by the members of the Eagle Board of Review.

Requirement #3 – Merit Badges

Requirement #3 states that a Scout must “earn a total of 21 merit badges (10 more than you already have), including the following:”
First Aid
Citizenship in the Community
Citizenship in the Nation
Citizenship in the World
Personal Fitness
Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving
Environmental Science
Personal Management
Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling
Family Life

Requirement #4 – Leadership Position In Troop

Requirement #4 states “while a Life Scout, serve actively for a period of six months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility: Patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader, troop guide, Order of the Arrow troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, instructor, Webmaster, or Leave No Trace Trainer.”  Please note that time spent in any of these leadership roles BEFORE achieving Life Scout rank does not count towards this Eagle requirement.

Requirement #5 – The Eagle Leadership Service Project

The most significant Eagle Scout requirement is the Leadership Service Project.  Requirement #5 states “while a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community.”  The project idea must be approved by our Scoutmaster, our Troop Committee, and by Old Portage District Advancement Committee before you start.  If you are searching for project ideas, a great place to start is by talking to leaders at your church, school, or community… most of them are familiar with Eagle Service Projects and may already have very specific project ideas in mind.  You will also find many great ideas by doing a Google search on “Eagle Scout Service Projects”.

Please see Mr. Ulinski if you are planning to start this requirement, so that a Troop 385 “Eagle Adviser” can be assigned to you for guidance on how to get started (likely to be either Donna Axson or Beth Gerberich).  Here is the general process that Troop 385 follows for completing the Eagle Leadership Service Project:

  1. Come up with an Eagle Leadership Service Project idea  –  Discuss the idea with the Scoutmaster and Troop 385 Eagle Adviser to get an initial perspective on if the idea is an acceptable Eagle Project.  Then discuss the idea with the benefiting organization (benefactor) to confirm that they would value and appreciate the project.  This can also be done in reverse order, talking with the benefactor first to solicit ideas they may have.
  2. Think through what is going to be required to complete this project, and whether you have the skills, resources, and time to complete it.  It is important to remember that this must be a project to gives you the opportunity to lead others in the course of completing the project – this is why it is called a “leadership” service project.
  3. Start using the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook (No. 18-927) to put into writing the project description and how it benefits the organization. Make sure you have discussed (again) with the Scoutmaster and the benefactor’s representative what your project entails. Notate the dates of these discussions.  You are now up to page 6 of the workbook.  This workbook can be downloaded from the Internet by clicking here , to be printed and completed by hand, or you can get this in DOC or RTF format to be completed on a computer.
  4. Get all the nitty gritty details of your project figured out and notated in your workbook.  This should be detailed and clearly written enough that another person could recreate your project just by reading through all the details/data laid out.
  5. Procure signatures in the workbook from our Scoutmaster, Troop Committee (must be at least 3 Committee members), and benefactor.  Then seek signature from the Old Portage District Advancement Counselor (likely Paul Tople).   You are now up to pages 7 – 9 in the workbook.
  6. Now that the Scout is ready to work on his project, the assigned District Advancement counselor should be kept informed of what the Scout is doing and when.  The role of the District Advancement Counselor is to ascertain that the project is executed according to BSA guidelines.
  7. When the project is complete, the District Advancement Counselor will sign off that the project was properly completed on the Eagle Application.  This comes after the 3rd section of the workbook is written up in detail – documenting the hours, materials, and changes in the project. The Counselor should visit the totally completed project for approval.  The Scoutmaster and benefactor are required to sign in the workbook that the project was planned developed and completed by the Scout, so they need to see the end project too.  You have now completed pages 10 -13 in the workbook.
  8. Congratulations!  You have completed requirement #5.

Requirement #6 – Scoutmaster Conference

Requirement #6 states that a Scout must “take part in a Scoutmaster conference.”  This should happen after requirements 1-5 above have been completed by the Scout.  The Scout should have already completed six Scoutmaster Conferences in order to get to the Life rank, so this requirement should be very familiar to the Scout.

Requirement #7 – Eagle Board of Review

Requirement #7 states that a Scout must “successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.”  The Eagle board of review is a bit different from other boards of review because it is the last major step for an Eagle Scout candidate.  All his efforts peak at the Eagle board of review. It’s akin to a job interview, but it allows the panel to determine whether the candidate is worthy of the recognition. The interview focuses on the Eagle candidate’s attitude and his acceptance of Scouting’s ideals.  Once an Eagle candidate has fulfilled all requirements of tenure, Scout spirit, merit badges, positions of responsibility, the leadership service project, and the Scoutmaster conference, arrangements must be made for the Eagle board of review to take place within the following 90 days.  Because of the importance of the Eagle Scout Award, a unanimous decision must be reached when voting on the Scout’s qualifications at the Board of Review.  If the board cannot reach a unanimous decision, the applicant, his unit leader, or the unit committee may request a new review.

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