The Trail to Eagle Scout
The Significance of Eagle Scout
The fact that a boy is an Eagle Scout has always carried with it a special significance, not only in Scouting but also as he enters higher education, business or industry, and community service. The award is a performance - based achievement whose standards have been well-maintained over the years. Not every boy who joins a Boy Scout troop earns the Eagle Scout rank; only about 5 percent of all Boy Scouts do so. This represents more than 1.7 million Boy Scouts who have earned the rank since 1912. Nevertheless, the goals of Scouting—citizenship training, character development, and personal fitness—remain important for all Scouts, whether or not they attain the Eagle Scout rank.
To earn the Eagle Scout rank, the highest advancement rank in Scouting, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills. Although many options are available to demonstrate proficiency in these areas, a number of specific skills are required to advance through the ranks—Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. To advance, a Boy Scout must pass specific tests that are organized by requirements and merit badges.
Eagle Rank Requirements
- 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.
- Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life. 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.
- Earn a total of 21 merit badges (10 more than you already have), including the following:
a. First Aid
l. Family Life
You must choose only one merit badge listed in items g and h and jj. If you have earned more than one of the badges listed in items g and h and j, choose one and list the remaining badges to make your total of 21.
- While a Life Scout, serve actively for a period of six months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility:
Boy 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, or instructor.
Varsity Scout team: Captain, co-captain, program manager, squad leader, team secretary, Order of the Arrow team representative, librarian, quartermaster, chaplain aide, instructor, or den chief.
Venturing crew/ship: President, vice president, secretary, treasurer, boatswain, boatswain's mate, yeoman, purser, or storekeeper.
- 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 should benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.) The project plan must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your Scoutmaster and troop committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook, BSA publication No. 18-927, in meeting this requirement.
- Take part in a Scoutmaster conference.
- Successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
Merit Badges (see above)
Merit badges signify the mastery of certain Scoutcraft skills, as well as helping boys increase their skill in an area of personal interest. Of the over 100 merit badges available, 21 must be earned to qualify for Eagle Scout. Of this group, 13 badges are required, including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Camping, Cooking, and Family Life. In addition, a Scout has a choice between Emergency Preparedness and Lifesaving and a choice among Cycling, Hiking, and Swimming and a choice among Environmental Science and Sustainability.
At each of his rank advancements, a Boy Scout takes part in a Scoutmaster conference. These conferences help the Scout to set goals for himself in line with his individual talents and abilities. At each conference, the Scoutmaster helps him evaluate how well he accomplished his present goal and then works with him in setting new goals.
Service and Responsibility
Beginning with the Star rank, and continuing through Life and Eagle, a Scout must demonstrate participation in increasingly more responsible service projects. At these levels, he also must demonstrate leadership skills by holding one or more specific youth positions of responsibility in his troop.
Steps in Advancement
Advancement, one of the eight methods by which the aims of Scouting are achieved, has four steps through each award level.
- The Scout learns. Much of his learning comes from other boys in his patrol or troop and by active participation in troop program. His patrol activities are directed toward the skills he needs. Every troop hike, camping trip, or other activity offers potential learning experiences. A Scout learns to pitch a tent by pitching one, to use a compass by finding directions, and to cook a meal by having to prepare and eat it.
- The Scout is tested. The specific requirements determine the kind of testing. Verbal testing is sufficient in some instances. In other instances, a Scout must demonstrate his skills by doing.
- The Scout is reviewed. The purpose of the review is to ensure that all requirements for advancement have been met. This includes a check of the Scout's attitude and practice of the ideals of Scouting, in addition to his Scoutcraft skills. The decision regarding whether a Scout has met the required standards to qualify for rank advancement begins with the troop and, for the Eagle Scout rank, is approved by the district, local council, and finally, the National Council.
- The Scout is recognized. The final step in advancement involves presentation of the badge, usually at a ceremony before the entire troop.
Boy Scouts With Disabilities
Boy Scouts with disabilities may qualify for the Eagle Scout rank. The Scout must earn as many of the required merit badges as he can. He then submits an application for alternate merit badges. His BSA local council determines the alternate merit badges for him to earn.
National Eagle Scout Association
Founded in 1972, the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) maintains contact with Eagle Scouts to sustain their interest in Scouting. Any Eagle Scout may join the association. Applications for membership in NESA are available through your local council, on the BSA Web page (www.scouting.org), or by contacting the Eagle Scout Service at the national office.
Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award was established in 1969 to acknowledge Eagle Scouts who have distinguished themselves in business, professions, and service to their country. Only Eagle Scouts who earned the Eagle Scout rank a minimum of 25 years previously are eligible for nomination. The award is given by the National Eagle Scout Service upon the recommendation of a committee of Distinguished Eagle Scouts.
A Sample of Famous Eagle Scouts
Olympian, former world record holder, triple jump and long jump
Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr.
Former secretary of the treasury and former United States senator, Texas
Former United States senator, New Jersey
Milton A. Caniff
William C. DeVries, M.D.
Surgeon and educator
Transplanted first artificial heart
Former Speaker of the House and
Former United States representative, Washington
Dr. Robert M. Gates
Former Director, CIA
Former President, Texas A&M University
Current President of BSA
The Honorable Gerald R. Ford
38th president of the United States
J. Stephen Fossett
First to circumnavigate the Earth solo in a balloon
Academy Award-winning film editor
Center, Orlando Magic, National Basketball Association
James A. Lovell Jr.
Apollo astronaut and business executive
The Honorable Richard G. Lugar
United States Senator, Indiana
J. Willard Marriott Jr.
Chairman of the board and president, Marriott Corporation
Former United States Senator, Georgia
H. Ross Perot
Founder, Electronic Data Systems Corporation and The Perot Group
Donald H. Rumsfeld
Former Secretary of Defense
Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Former Secretary of Veterans' Affairs
Eagle Scout Forms
For permission to use BSA logos for cakes, please use the form found here and return to John Simpson for final approval and signatures to allow bakeries permission to use the logos.
The National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) provides a number of online resources to assist Scouts in earning the Eagle rank — including an electronic version of the Eagle Scout Rank Application and the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook — via their website.
AGE REQUIREMENT ELIGIBILITY. Merit badges, badges of rank, and Eagle Palms may be earned by a registered Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Venturer. He may earn these awards until his 18th birthday. Any Venturer who achieved the First Class rank as a Boy Scout in a troop or Varsity Scout in a team may continue working for the Star, Life, and Eagle Scout ranks and Eagle Palms while registered as a Venturer up to his 18th birthday. Scouts and Venturers who have completed all requirements prior to their 18th birthday may be reviewed within three months after that date with no explanation. Boards of review conducted between three and six months after the candidate's 18th birthday must be preapproved by the local council. A statement by an adult explaining the reason for the delay must be attached to the Eagle Scout Rank Application when it is submitted to the Eagle Scout Services at either of the local Council offices. The Boy Scout Division at the national office must be contacted for procedures to follow if a board of review is to be conducted more than six months after a candidate's 18th birthday.
If you have a permanent physical or mental disability, you may become an Eagle Scout by qualifying for as many required merit badges as you can and qualifying for alternative merit badges for the rest. If you seek to become an Eagle Scout under this procedure, you must submit a special application to your local council service center. Your application must be approved by your council advancement committee before you can work on alternative merit badges.
A Scout or Venturer with a disability may work toward rank advancement after he is 18 years of age. See Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures, No. 33088 for details.