Resources for the Trail to Eagle Scout
Getting Started: Life to Eagle
The following path has been outlined to ensure a smooth procedure for the Scout, the unit leadership, the local council, and the volunteers who are to conduct the Board of Review. Eagle candidates should share the process with their unit leaders so that they can fully understand the procedures that must be followed.
Items contained within indentions and italicized are Crossroads of America Council’s interpretation of the Boy Scouts of America policies. Most items are clarifications, but in some cases, the council is given the ability to set a council policy.
Earn a total of 21 merit badges (10 more than Life rank).
While a Life Scout, serve actively in the troop for six months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility:
Assistant Senior Patrol Leader
Senior Patrol Leader
Troop Guide of Advancement
Order of the Arrow Troop Representative
Outdoor Ethics Guide
While meeting with the Life to Eagle mentor is not a required step in the rank advancement process, it can be helpful. As an adult Eagle Scout, the Life to Eagle mentor can give some guidance for the overall process and provide insight into the lifelong impact of being an Eagle Scout.
One of the great honors for an Eagle Scout candidate is choosing a meaningful Eagle project. This project finder tool is not an ending point in finding the right project, but a starting point in generating ideas that a Scout can develop further into the right project for him/her. You will want a choose a project for an organization whose purpose you understand and want to serve. Your project must also meet the requirement to “plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project”. This means it cannot be a project you do by yourself or just with your family.
Your project doesn’t have to be unique, but it could be. Conversations with our troop Life to Eagle Mentor, your Scoutmaster, the Troop Committee Chair, and others will help you zero in on the right project for you.
You can check with your chartered organization or other community groups that may be aware of projects they would like for an Eagle candidate to take on. Talk to your Life to Eagle Mentor to learn about possible opportunities.
See below for more information on choosing an Eagle project.
Having a project coach for your Eagle project is not required, but it’s a great idea! A project coach can provide process or technical expertise to help you execute a success project and have a positive experience.
So how does a Scout select a project coach? This depends in part on what guidance the Scout wants and needs. The troop Life to Eagle mentor can direct you in finding an appropriate project coach.
– Do you want or need expertise in a subject area that is key to your project?
– a conservation area such as animal habitats or forestry?
– a trade skill such as welding or woodworking?
– familiarity with various grades and types of construction materials?
– knowledge of required permits or other approval hurdles to execute the project?
– What are the attributes of a good project coach?
– must be a registered BSA adult who has completed Youth Protection training
– must be familiar with the Eagle project workbook and requirements
– What type of input might a project coach offer?
– assessment of the project plan strengths and weaknesses
– thoughts on the fundraising process
– advice on health and safety issues
– networking help in finding resources
– review of the final project report
– cautions to develop contingency plans
– encouragement to make sound decisions for a positive outcome
– What would a project coach NOT do?
– approve, deny, direct, or dictate changes to a Scout’s project plan
– take over the Scout’s leadership and planning role
– replace the longer term ongoing role between the Scout and Scoutmaster
– contradict guidance from the beneficiary regarding what the organization needs
– reach outside the project scope to other areas of Life to Eagle advancement
– meet with a Scout without following Youth Protection rules
When the completed application is received at the council service center, its contents will be verified and the references contacted. The Scout shall have listed six references (five if no employer, and parent if no organized religious association). The council advancement committee, or its designee, contacts the references on the Eagle Scout Rank application by letter, form, or telephone checklist. (The council determines the method or methods to be used.) The candidate should have contacted those individuals listed as references before including their names on the application. If desired by the council, the candidate may be asked to deliver a blank reference form and envelopes to the listed references. The candidates should not be involved personally in transmitting any correspondence between persons listed as references and the council service center or advancement committee. If the initial reference letter or form is not returned to the council in a timely manner, the council advancement committee must make direct contact with the reference(s) listed on the Eagle Scout Rank application on its own, by follow-up letter, phone contact, or other methods as it chooses. The candidate shall not be required to make a follow-up contact with the reference or submit other reference names. A Scout cannot have a Board of Review denied or postponed because the council office or council advancement committee does not receive the reference letter forms they delivered.
In order to smoothly and uniformly evaluate references, the council has elected to have references fill out a council-wide Eagle Scout candidate reference form. Forms should be completed by the reference and returned directly to the council service center. The district advancement committee is responsible for reviewing these references. If no references are received, the district advancement committee should contact the references listed prior to the Scout’s Board of Review to attempt to solicit information on the Scout’s character. If possible, the reference form should be completed by telephone so that it can be shared with the balance of the committee.
As you are working on a project proposal, visit as frequently as needed with those in your support network — your beneficiary, the troop Life to Eagle Mentor, your Scoutmaster, the Troop Committee Chair, and others who can offer suggestions, resources, guidance, and questions to help you think through what you will do. Some of these adults have experience with many Eagle projects and can help you select a meaningful project and calibrate the project scope to be a suitable challenge that you can successfully complete.
Note that the Eagle Project Workbook advises you do not have to seek the first three approvals in a specific order. However, the recommended sequence for a smooth approval process is listed below. Each of these approval steps involves a discussion, not just a quick signature. Be prepared to talk about your project, listen to constructive input, and take notes.
|When your project and other requirements for your Eagle rank have been signed off by your Scoutmaster and you sit for an Eagle board of review, you will not be challenged about whether your project scope is appropriate and sufficient, as long as you have delivered what is described in your proposal and approved.|
Eagle Scout Service Project Fundraising (excerpted from the Crossroads of America council website)
In the current version of the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, No. 512-927, Scouts raising money
for their service project must submit the Eagle Scout Service Project Fundraising Application found in the
workbook for approval by the council. The completed application should be sent to the local council
service center and the application will be routed to the appropriate district executive for review.
Note about fundraising for Eagle Scout Service Projects – the service project may not be a fundraiser. In
other words, the candidate may not stage an effort that primarily collects money, even if it is for a
worthy charity. Fundraising is permitted only for securing materials and otherwise facilitating a project.
And unless it involves contributions only from the beneficiary, or from the candidate, his parents or
relatives, his unit or its chartered organization, or from parents or members in his unit, it must be
approved by the local council.
The Scout must make it clear to all donors or event participants that the money is being raised on behalf
of the project beneficiary, which will retain leftover funds. Should any donors want documentation of a
gift, this must be provided through the project beneficiary, not the Boy Scouts of America. Once
collected, money raised must be turned over for deposit to an account of the beneficiary or the
candidate’s unit, until needed for the project. If the unit receives the funds, it must release them to the
beneficiary once expenses have been paid.
For additional detail see “Procedures and Limitations on Eagle Scout Service Project Fundraising,” found
in the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, No. 512-927.
You cannot begin executing your Eagle project — ordering supplies, scheduling work days, and so on — until you have received approval of the project proposal from the district.
Once you’ve gotten that last approval signature, you may begin immediately.
As you complete the project, you will want to consider contingencies for weather and other factors. You’ll need to be vigilant of safety considerations and seek expert advice in any area where you’re not sure of the requirements. Your Eagle project workbook will help guide you through the project execution steps. An Eagle Project Coach can be a helpful resource as well.
Check in periodically with the beneficiary, the troop Life to Eagle Mentor, your Eagle Project Coach if you have one, and your Scoutmaster. Understand that they are all part of your support network and stand ready to support your efforts if you invite them to help.
Once your project has been installed or delivered, you’ve reached a key milestone but the work is not done. These are the important remaining steps:
|1.||Complete the project report section of your Eagle Project Workbook. You will submit it as part of your Eagle rank application package.|
|2.||Report the hours of service completed by you and others as part of your project planning and implementation.|
|3.||Obtain a final signature from the project beneficiary representative indicating their agreement that the project objectives have been met. Keep in mind that, even if your beneficiary is in agreement, a substantive change in your project scope must be reviewed by those who originally approved the project to ensure that it is still acceptable for meeting the requirements for your Eagle rank.|
|4.||Attach to your report all the supporting documentation associated with the project. This includes photos, receipts, letters, thank you notes, news articles, and any other related items.|
An Eagle candidate must prepare a binder summarizing his/her Scouting activities that have culminated in his/her candidacy
for this highest rank. The binder should be completely assembled and ready for review
before scheduling a Scoutmaster Conference. After a successful Scoutmaster Conference, the binder is submitted by the Scout to
the Crossroads of America council office. The council Eagle processor will review dates, ranks, signatures, references and other details to
ensure candidacy requirements have been met, and forward the binder to the district Eagle advancement
– current BSA rank application form
– statement of ambition and life purpose
– listing of positions, honors and awards
– service project workbook
– letter granting extension of time to earn Eagle rank (if applicable)
Reference forms and letters are to be sent directly to the council service center, not via the candidate.
Items NOT required:
– merit badge blue cards
– rank certificate cards
– unit records or individual history reports
– other certificates, photos, documents
The notebook will be available at the candidate’s board of review, and if successful, will be returned to the candidate after the review. Following the approval of the Scout’s rank application by national BSA, the Scout will be notified via email that he/she has successfully earned the rank. The Eagle certificate and card will be available to be picked up at the council office.
Your Scoutmaster conference is the last step in your Eagle advancement process in the troop. It must be completed BEFORE you turn age 18.
In preparation for the conference, you will have completed the required merit badges, troop leadership, Eagle project, and all other requirements. Your Eagle candidate application and notebook should be assembled and ready for review.
This does not mean that you can’t approach your Scoutmaster for a discussion at any time. It’s not unusual to have several conversations before the final one where your rank requirements, project, and application are signed off. You can also approach the Life to Eagle Mentor or Troop Committee Chair during this time to get a better understanding of requirements, candidate notebook contents, and other details of the process.
Your conference is more than just a check of the paperwork. You should be prepared to talk about your journey to this point in Scouting, skills you have learned through your rank progression, your goals, and how to prepare for the board of review. Reaching this point is a culmination of years of work and experience. You will have grown from learning Scouting skills to doing Scouting activities to being a Scout for life. It’s a time to be well prepared and to celebrate.
A number of organizations and schools offer scholarships for Eagle Scouts. Because the available awards and application processes change often, Scouts are encouraged to conduct an internet search for scholarships.
Our local council offers two scholarships each year. The applications can be found here:
- Confirm that you meet the 3 tests for a time extension. (See page 2 of the form for an explanation of the 3 tests.)
- Confirm that the Scout’s advancement record with the council is completely up to date. Previous ranks and all merit badges required for Eagle must already be reported as complete, or must be referenced in the extension request with the reason more time is needed.
- Submit the form along with required documentation.
- Note that a letter providing details on how each of the three tests were met is REQUIRED. Simply referencing the COVID pandemic is not adequate. An explanation must be provided of how specifically the pandemic prevented on-time completion of requirements.
- If a health related reason is given, a statement from a medical professional is required.
- All statements and letters must be dated and signed.
- Provide the Scout’s name and email address, and the parent’s name and email address.
- Send the completed request form and attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org and gro.asbsdaorssorc@norrams.
- Your request will be reviewed and you will receive a response within ten business days.
Eagle Scout Service Projects
Service to others is an important part of the Scout Oath— “…to help other people at all times.” Each year tens of thousands of young adults strive to achieve the coveted Eagle Scout rank by applying character, citizenship, and Scouting values in their daily lives. One of the rank requirements is to plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, school, or community. Through this requirement, Scouts practice what they have learned and gain valuable project management and leadership experience.
Using the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, the candidate must select their Eagle service project and have the project concept approved by their unit leader, their unit committee, and the benefactor of the project, and reviewed and approved by the council or district advancement committee.
There are thousands of possible Eagle Scout projects. Some involve building things, and others do not. There have been all kinds, such as making birdhouses for an arboretum, conducting bicycle safety rodeos, constructing park picnic tables or benches, upgrading hiking trails, planting trees, conducting blood drives, and on and on. Other than the general limitations noted below, there are no specific requirements for project scope or for how many hours worked, and there is no requirement that a project have lasting value. What is most important is the impact or benefit the project will provide to an organization. In choosing a project, it is important to remember the Scout must lead the project, not a parent/guardian or leader. Visit our community service page for ideas of organizations who could benefit from an Eagle Scout project.
- Fundraising is permitted only for facilitating a project. Efforts that primarily collect money, even for worthy charities, are not permitted.
- Routine labor, like a service a Scout may provide as part of their daily life such as mowing or weeding a church lawn, is not normally appropriate. However, if a project scale and impact are sufficient to require planning and leadership, then it may be considered.
- Projects are not to be of a commercial nature or for a business, though some aspects of a business operation provided as a service, such as a community park, may qualify.
- The Scout is not responsible for any maintenance of a project once it is completed.
- If the project requires building permits, etc., the Scouts needs to identify these in the planning process by speaking with the project beneficiary. However, the organization is responsible for all permitting. This is not a duty for the Scout.
- The project beneficiary must sign any contract.
- If digging is involved, the project beneficiary is responsible for locating, marking and protecting underground utilities as necessary.
Eagle service projects often require fundraising. Donations of any money, materials, or services must be pre-approved by the BSA unless provided by the project beneficiary; by the Scout, their parents, or relatives; or by their troop or its chartered organization. The Scout must make it clear to donors or fundraising event participants that the money is being raised on the project beneficiary’s behalf, and that the beneficiary will retain any leftover funds. If receipts are needed, the project beneficiary must provide them. If the organization is not allowed to retain leftover funds, another charity should be designated to receive them or be turned over to the Scout’s troop.
To meet the requirement to “give leadership to others,” the Scout must be given every opportunity to suceed independentely without direct supervision. The Scout’s troop must provide adults to assist or keep an eye on things, and the project beneficiary should also have someone available. The Scout, however, must provide the leadership necessary for project completion without adult interference.
Through the proposal and planning process, the Scout will identify potential hazards and risks and outline strategies to prevent and handle injuries or emergencies. Scouts as minors, however, cannot be held responsible for safety. Adults must accept this responsibility. Property owners, for example, are responsible for issues and hazards related to their property or employees and any other individuals or circumstances they would normally be responsible for controlling.
Eagle Scout Board of Review
The Board of Review that will convene after you have completed the Eagle Scout requirements will include at least one advancement representative from your district or council. The board will review your full Scouting experience – what you have done, where you have gone, and what you have learned. Board members will be interested in hearing your future Scouting plans. Most of all, they will want to explore how the spirit of Scouting has become a part of your daily life.
– BSA Handbook
The Board of Review for an Eagle Candidate is composed of a minimum of three members and a maximum of six members, 21 years of age or older. These members do not have to be registered in Scouting, but they must have an understanding of the importance and purpose of the Eagle Board of Review. At least one district or council advancement representative shall be a member of the Eagle Board of Review, when conducted at the unit level, and may serve as chairman if so requested by the unit.
Because of the importance of the Eagle Scout Award, a unanimous decision must be reached as to the Scout’s qualifications. If a unanimous decision is not reached, a new review may be convened at the request of the applicant, the unit leader, or the unit committee. The review should take approximately 30 minutes.
– BSA Advancement Committee Guide, Policies and Procedures
Eagle Scout Court of Honor
Eagle Scout Courts of Honor are fully developed celebrations recognizing Scouts who have attained Scouting’s highest rank. They often feature a variety of very special ceremonies commensurate with the high honor being bestowed upon outstanding young adults.
When ordering a cake for your Scout’s Court of Honor, the bakery will request a trademark release to use any trademarks of the Boy Scouts of America (Eagle Scout emblem, Fleur de Lis, etc.). Please contact Gina Strati by email or by phone at (317) 813-7065. You will be asked for:
- Name and address of the bakery
- Number of cakes being ordered
- Requested images for the cake
- Who will be picking up the cake
- Date cake will be picked up
Eagle Scout Recognition & Awards
There are several awards and recognition items available to Eagle Scouts. See below for more information.
Many troops request Eagle Scout congratulatory letters from elected officials. Requests for letters of congratulations may take several months to be received. Elected Official Letter Request
Local Media Release
Crossroads of America Council will write and pitch a news release to the Scout’s local print media announcing the recent Eagle Scout rank. The council cannot guarantee the publishing date of the announcement. Eagle Scout Local Media Request
National Eagle Scout Association Membership
The National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) is an impressive group of adults, many of whom are now in positions of responsibility and prominence in industry, government, military, business and education. All new Eagle Scouts are invited to join NESA at a reduced rate. The special $20 membership fee is good for all Eagle Scouts within six months of their board of review date.
The Crossroads of America Council has a NESA Chapter, as well. Follow Crossroads of America Council NESA on Facebook for more information.
American Legion Eagle Scout Scholarship
The America Legion provides four scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 to Eagle Scouts for their educational pursuits.
Hampden-Sydney College Citizen-Leader Scholarships
Hampden-Sydney College provides scholarships up to $20,000 to Eagle Scouts who attend their college in Virginia.
National Eagle Scout Association Scholarships
The National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) offers more than 150 scholarships to Eagle Scouts through various Eagle Scout scholarship funds. These scholarships vary in size from $1,000 to $50,000.
National Jewish Committee on Scouting
Eagle Scouts of the Jewish faith, who are seniors in high school, can apply for three $1,000 Eagle Scout scholarships.
National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution
This $8,000 scholarship is open to all Eagle Scouts who are currently registered in an active unit and have not reached their nineteenth birthday during the year of application. Runner-up scholarships are available.
Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) Scout of the Year Award
This award provides public recognition to Eagle Scouts who have succeeded in their Scouting careers, as well as the community, and provides scholarship funds to support furthering the Scout’s education.