Getting to the Eagle Scout rank is the pinnacle of scouting in Scouts BSA. It’s not just another badge; it’s the highest rank you can achieve. Eagle is earned after the rank of Life. ”Once an Eagle, always an Eagle”. A young woman or man who finishes his or her Scouting career at 18 years of age as a Life Scout will say “I WAS a Life Scout.” But a young woman or man who attains the rank of Eagle Scout can proudly declare “I AM an Eagle Scout” even after he or she reaches the age of 18.
The road to Eagle is no cakewalk. It requires meeting specific criteria, including earning 21 merit badges, leading a service project, and demonstrating leadership skills. Each requirement is designed to equip scouts with practical skills and ethical foundations.
Many people recognize the value of reaching this rank. Universities, employers, and even military branches give special consideration to Eagle Scouts. It’s more than a line on a resume; it’s a testament to a person’s capabilities and character.
So, whether you’re already on your way or considering the climb, read on to get the nitty-gritty on becoming an Eagle Scout. Find helps for specific Eagle Scout requirements below.
Answers and Helps
Eagle Scout Rank Requirements
Eagle Court of Honor
Your son or daughter has earned the rank of Eagle and you’d like to help plan a meaningful Court of Honor. If you have not attended many of these events, this can be a challenge. Where do you start? This book will point you in the right direction.
Get the Eagle Court of Honor Book.
Maybe your troop has a way it has always been done, but your new Eagle Scout would like to do something different. Perhaps you are looking for ideas to discover what direction your son or daughter envisions for this ceremony. This book by Mark Ray is full of resources and tips for planning this special event. It has been newly updated in 2019 for Scouts BSA.
The Eagle Court of Honor Book
Learn how to plan an Eagle Court of Honor
Help with Answers for Eagle Scout Rank Requirements
Find specific helps for some of the Eagle Scout rank requirements listed below. Some of these resources will just give the answers. Others will link to useful resources.
Requirement 1: Activity
Be active in your troop for at least six months as a Life Scout.
Requirement 1 Helps and Answers
The requirement to be “active in your troop for at least six months as a Life Scout” comes with several layers according to the Guide to Advancement. Let’s break it down.
First, you need to be registered in the unit for at least six months. It’s not just about paying fees; you should also consider yourself a member of that unit. Essentially, you have to identify with the troop and see yourself as a part of it.
Second, you have to be in “good standing.” That means you shouldn’t have been dismissed for disciplinary reasons. Your standing within your local council and the Boy Scouts of America at large should be sound.
Third, you need to meet the troop’s “reasonable expectations” for being active. This is a flexible term, and what’s considered reasonable can differ from troop to troop. The Guide to Advancement clarifies that these expectations shouldn’t be so high as to be unattainable for most Scouts. If you don’t meet these expectations due to involvement in other positive activities or due to legitimate constraints, you can still be considered active.
This brings us to an alternative for the third point: if you haven’t met the troop’s activity expectations but have been engaged in other positive endeavors that contribute to your growth in character, citizenship, or leadership, you may still qualify as “active.” Essentially, the board of review can look at your overall growth, both inside and outside of Scouting, when determining your active status.
In sum, the concept of being “active” isn’t strictly about attendance; it’s more nuanced, encompassing your holistic development and involvement in multiple facets of life. So, to fulfill this requirement, make sure you are registered, in good standing, and either meeting your troop’s expectations or engaged in other constructive activities that contribute to your personal growth.
Requirement 2: Oath and Law
As a Life Scout, demonstrate Scout Spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Tell how you have done your duty to God, how you have lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law in your everyday life, and how your understanding of the Scout Oath and Scout Law will guide your life in the future. List on your Eagle Scout Rank Application the names of individuals who know you personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf, including parents/guardians, religious (if not affiliated with an organized religion, then the parent or guardian provides this reference), educational, employer (if employed), and two other references.
Requirement 2 Helps and Answers
For requirement 2, the focus is on demonstrating Scout Spirit through daily life, in line with the Scout Oath and Law. Here are some tips to tackle this part effectively:
- Daily Application: Think about real-life examples where you’ve applied the Scout Oath and Law. It could be helping a neighbor, being honest in a tough situation, or taking a leadership role in a group project at school. Concrete examples will make your case stronger.
- Duty to God: This may involve regular religious practice, but it could also mean a personal sense of spirituality or ethics. Be prepared to discuss how this duty shapes your daily actions and choices.
- Reflect on Future Guidance: Don’t just talk about the past or present; think about how the Scout Oath and Law will guide you in future endeavors. Maybe it’s a code you’ll stick to in college, or ethical guidelines you’ll adhere to in a future job.
- Gather References: Choose people who know you well and can vouch for your character. These shouldn’t just be people who will say good things about you; they should be able to provide specific examples of your actions that reflect the Scout Oath and Law.
- Diverse References: Make sure your references come from different aspects of your life—religious leaders, teachers, employers, etc. This provides a well-rounded view of who you are.
- Documentation: Consider keeping a log or journal detailing instances where you’ve lived by the Scout Oath and Law. This will not only help you in discussions with your troop leaders but also in preparing your Eagle Scout Rank Application.
To sum it up, Requirement 2 is all about showing consistency between your Scouting ideals and your daily actions. Choose references who can attest to this and be ready to provide real-world examples of your Scout Spirit in action.
What does Scout Spirit mean, and how can a Scout show it? For Eagle Scout Requirement 2, Scout Spirit involves living out the Scout Oath and Law every day. To excel in this area, think about moments when you’ve displayed attributes such as integrity, compassion, and dependability. Read more about the meaning of Scout Spirit.
The 12 points of the Scout Law serve as guidelines for ethical and moral behavior. They are Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. Each point has its own nuanced meaning. Understanding these points helps Scouts build a well-rounded character, influencing how they interact with others and navigate challenges. These principles are not just rules but lifelong values that guide decision-making and relationships. See the 12 points of the Scout Law and an extended explanation of what they mean.
Requirement 3: Merit Badges
Requirement 3 Helps and Answers
- Plan Ahead: The 21-badge requirement takes time, especially for badges like Personal Management that have longer timelines. Start early.
- Dual-Purpose Badges: Consider merit badges that align with other interests or requirements.
- Use Resources: Leverage troop meetings, merit badge workshops, and summer camps as opportunities to earn badges. Counselors and senior scouts can offer guidance.
- Category Choices: For categories with options, choose based on your skills and interests. If you’re good at swimming but not hiking, go for Swimming.
- Track Progress: Keep a record of badges earned, tasks completed, and pending items. A checklist can be a lifesaver.
- Review Required Badges: Ensure you’ve got the mandatory 14 badges covered. Missing even one can hold up your Eagle Scout application.
Remember, the aim isn’t just to collect badges but to acquire skills and knowledge that are integral to becoming an Eagle Scout.
With over 130 merit badges available, you have flexibility in meeting Eagle Scout requirement 3, which mandates 21 badges, including 14 core ones. Start earning any badge early; you don’t need rank advancement to be eligible. Use the seven elective badges to explore interests or build complementary skills. Strategy is key: align your elective choices with core badges for a well-rounded experience. Choose electives you enjoy to keep motivation high. The array of merit badges allows you to tailor your path to Eagle Scout, making it both instructive and engaging.
If your child aims to earn all merit badges, that’s ambitious but achievable. A list can help with planning, but let the Scout take the lead. Parental guidance is fine, but the goal is for them to manage this endeavor. It helps build the leadership and planning skills that scouting aims to cultivate.
Requirement 4: Leadership
While a Life Scout, serve actively in your troop for six months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility:
Scout troop. 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 outdoor ethics guide.
Venturing crew/Sea Scout ship. President, vice president, secretary, treasurer, quartermaster, historian, den chief, guide, boatswain, boatswain’s mate, yeoman, purser, storekeeper, chaplain aide, outdoor ethics guide, crew leader, media specialist, specialist or webmaster.
Lone Scout. Leadership responsibility in your school, religious organization, club, or elsewhere in your community
Requirement 4 Helps and Answers
A Scouts BSA Troop is run by its youth leaders. See the list of Scouts BSA youth leadership positions here. When applying for a position, consider:
- Match Role to Skill: Look at the available positions and think about where you can best contribute. If you’re organized, consider quartermaster; if tech-savvy, webmaster might be a good fit.
- Consult Leadership: Talk to the current troop leaders to get a better idea of what each role entails and requires. Their insight can help you choose wisely.
- Start Early: Don’t wait until the last minute to assume a position of responsibility. You’ll need time to truly make an impact and fulfill the requirement.
- Be Active: Simply holding a title isn’t enough. Make sure you’re actively participating and leading in your chosen role. Attendance and engagement are key.
- Document Your Service: Keep a record of what you do in your role, challenges you face, and how you resolve them. This will be helpful when you’re reviewing your progress or presenting for your Eagle Scout Board of Review.
Assistant patrol leader and Bugler are not recognized positions of responsibility for fulfilling Eagle Scout Requirement 4. This means that serving in these roles won’t count toward the six months of active service needed. It’s crucial to choose a role that’s explicitly listed in the requirement, like senior patrol leader or quartermaster, to ensure you’re meeting all the criteria. Double-check the approved list before committing to any position to avoid any misunderstandings or delays in your progress toward Eagle Scout rank.
Requirement 5: Leadership Service Project
Requirement 5 Helps and Answers
- Start Early: Don’t wait until the last minute to plan your project. Earlier planning gives you time to handle any roadblocks.
- Choose Wisely: The project should benefit a non-Scouting organization. Make sure it’s something you’re genuinely interested in to keep your motivation up.
- Get Approvals: Before you start, get all required approvals. This includes the benefiting organization, your Scoutmaster, the unit committee, and the council or district.
- Use the Workbook: The Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook is your guide for planning and documenting your project. Stick to it.
- Documentation: Keep records of all meetings, expenditures, and work hours. It’s easier to compile reports when the information is fresh.
Note: Refer to the Guide to Advancement for more comprehensive guidelines.
Requirement 6: Scoutmaster Conference
While a Life Scout, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.
Requirement 6 Helps and Answers
- Prepare Ahead: Know the topics likely to be discussed. This usually involves your progress, plans for your Eagle Scout project, and your understanding of Scouting principles.
- Be Honest: This isn’t a test; it’s a discussion. Speak openly about your experiences, challenges, and what you’ve learned.
- Listen: Your Scoutmaster has experience and can offer valuable advice. Take notes if you think it’ll help you remember key points.
- Ask Questions: If you have any concerns or need clarification on Scout expectations or your upcoming project, this is the time to ask.
- Follow Up: If action items come out of the conference, make sure to follow through and perhaps update your Scoutmaster on your progress later on.
The Scoutmaster Conference is a conversation between the Scoutmaster and Scout, held in a location visible to others for safety. The purpose isn’t to retest Scout skills but to engage in meaningful dialogue. It uses the Scouting method of adult association to offer the Scout valuable interaction with a positive adult role model. Topics often range from how the Scout has lived the Scout Law recently to their experiences in the troop and personal life. It’s a two-way discussion, not an interrogation, providing an opportunity to relate Scouting values to everyday experiences.
In the context of Requirement 5, it’s crucial to understand that your Scoutmaster can’t alter the project criteria set by the Boy Scouts of America. They can guide you and offer feedback, but they can’t make your project easier or harder by changing what’s required. You must adhere strictly to the guidelines set out in the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook and get the necessary approvals from the benefiting organization, your unit committee, and the council or district. Any deviation from the official requirements can jeopardize the acceptance of your project. Stick to the rules, and you’ll be on solid ground.
Requirement 7: Board of Review
In preparation for your board of review, prepare and attach to your Eagle Scout Rank Application a statement of your ambitions and life purpose and a listing of positions held in your religious institution, school, camp, community, or other organizations, during which you demonstrated leadership skills. Include honors and awards received during this service.
Requirement 7 Helps and Answers
- Get the Application: Download a copy of the Eagle Scout Rank Application
- Start Early: Don’t wait until the last minute to draft your ambitions and life purpose statement. Give yourself time to reflect and edit.
- Be Specific: Clearly outline your career and personal goals. Generalities can make your statement less impactful.
- Show, Don’t Tell: Use specific examples of leadership roles and how they shaped your skills and perspectives. This adds credibility to your statement.
- Honors and Awards: Make sure to list any honors or awards you received, as they can serve as proof of your skills and dedication.
- Review and Edit: Have someone you trust read over your application and statement. Fresh eyes can offer valuable feedback.
According to official guidelines, parents shouldn’t be present during an Eagle Board of Review (BOR). However, some local troops may have their own practices, which might include questioning parents. If this is the case for your son, it would be a good idea to consult local troop leadership for specifics. Questions could focus on the scout’s commitment and experiences. Keep in mind, the main objective of the BOR is to assess the scout’s qualifications for the Eagle rank, not to involve parents’ opinions. It’s best to clarify any local variations in procedure and to keep the spotlight on the scout’s achievements.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Eagle Scout Rank Requirements