Resources for the Trail to Eagle Scout
Getting Started: Life to Eagle
The following 12 steps have 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 these steps 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.
In order to advance to the rank of Eagle, while a Life Scout, a candidate must complete all the requirements of active tenure; Scout spirit; any remaining merit badges; positions of responsibilty; planning, developing, and providing leadership to others in a service project; and the Scoutmaster conference.
Using the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook (512-927), 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. This workbook must be used in meeting this requirement.
When reviewing the project for approval, the unit and district advancement committee is responsible for ensuring that the described project will allow the Eagle Scout candidate to demonstrate the proper level of leadership. If there is any concern about leadership, it should be expressed and resolved before the project is approved rather than at the Eagle Board of Review (if the project does not significantly change).
It is imperative that all requirement for the Eagle Scout rank except the Board of Review be completed prior to the candidate’s 18th birthday. When all requirements except the Board of Review for the rank of Eagle, including the leadership service project and Scoutmaster Conference, have been completed, the Eagle Scout Rank Application (512-728) must be completed and sent to the council service center promptly. Youth members with disabilities should meet with their unit leader regarding time extensions.
All requirements except for the Eagle Board of Reviewe must be completed prior to the Scout’s 18th birthday. This includes the Scoutmaster Conference for the Eagle Scout rank. The Scout has up to three months to schedule and complete the Eagle Board of Review with the district. Boards of Review conducted between three and six months after the candidates 18th birthday must be pre-approved 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 local council service center. Please see the current printing of the advancement committee’s policies and procedures manual for more information on extensions.
The application should be signed by the unit leader at the proper place. The unit committee reviews and approves the record of the Eagle candidate before the application is submitted to the local council. If a unit leader or unit commitee fails to sign or otherwise approve an application, the Eagle candidate may still be granted a Board of Review. The failure of a unit leader or unit committee to sign an application may be considered by the Board of Review in determining the qualification of the Eagle candidate.
The requirement for advancement is that the Scout participated in a Scoutmaster Conference, not that he “passes” the conference. When advancement is going to be deferred, the Scout should not come to the Scoutmaster Conference thinking that everything is OK and then be surprised that their advancement is deferred. They should have had plenty of warning and guidance prior to the Scoutmaster Conference.
The Eagle Scout Leadership Project Workbook, properly filled out, must be submitted with the application.
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.
After the contents of an application have been verified and appropriately signed, the application, Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook, and references will be returned from the council service center to the chairman of the Eagle Board of Review so that a Board of Review may be scheduled. Under no circumstances should a Board of Review be scheduled until the application is returned to the chairman of the Eagle Board of Review. Reference checks that are forwarded with the application are confidential, and their contents are not to be disclosed to any person who is not a member of the Board of Review.
Please allow the council service center at least 10 working days to process and approve an Eagle Scout application and workbook for a Board of Review. Any references that are contained with the Eagle Project workbook or application are confidential and should NOT be read by or given to any person that is not sitting as a reviewer on the Eagle Board of Review. It is imperative that the references or any accompanying letters are NOT given to the Eagle Scout candidate, their parents/guardians, or Scoutmasters.
The Board of Review for an Eagle candidate is composed of at least three, but no more than six members. One members serves as chairman. Unit leaders, assistant unit leaders, relatives, or guardians may not serve as members of a Scout’s Board of Review. The Board of Review members should convene at least 30 minutes before the candidate appears in order to review the application, reference checks, and leadership service project report. At least one district or council advancement representative must be a member of the Eagle Board of Review if the Board of Review is conducted on a unit level. A council or district may designate more than one person to serve as a member of the Eagle Board of Review when requested to do so by the unit. It is not required that these persons be members of the advancement committee; however, they must have an understanding of the importance of the Eagle Board of Review.
The members of the Board of Review should not be familiar with the candidate. They may have passing knowledge of them, but should not be a close friend, teacher, mentor, religious advisor, or a person of a similar stature.
The candidate’s unit leader introduces them to the members of the Board of Review. The unit leader may remain in the room, but does not participate in the Board of Review. The unit leader may be called on to clarify a point in question. In no case should a relative or guardian of the candidate attend the review, even as a unit leader. There is no set of questions that an Eagle candidate should be asked. However, the board should be assured of the candidate’s participation in the program. This is the highest award a Scout may achieve and, consequently, a thorough discussion of their successes and experiences in Scouting should be considered. After the review, the candidate and their unit leader leave the room while the board members discuss the acceptability of the candidate as an Eagle Scout. The decision must be unanimous. If the candidate meets the requirements, they are asked to return and are informed that they will receive the board’s recommendation for the Eagle Scout rank. If the candidate does not meet the requirements, they are asked to return and told the reasons for their failure to qualify. A discussion should be held with them as to how they may meet the requirements within a given period. Should the applicant disagree with the decision, the appeal procedures should be explained to them. A follow-up letter must be sent to the Scout confirming the agreements reached on the action(s) necessary for the advancement. If the Scout chooses to appeal, the board should provide the name and address of the person he is to contact. (See “Appealing a Decision” in Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures No. 33088.)
If a Scout does not pass their Eagle Board of Review and decides to appeal the decision, the Scout, their unit leader or their parents/guardians may appeal by sending a letter to the Council Advancement Advisor at the Golden-Burke Scout Center, 7125 Fall Creek Road North, Indianapolis, IN 46256.
Immediately after the Board of Review and after the application has been appropriately signed, the application, the service project workbook, references, and a properly completed advancement report are returned to the council service center.
Again, it is imperative that the Scout does NOT recieve a copy of the references that were provided to the board. They are to be sent back to the council service center.
When the application arrives at the council service center, the Scout Executive signs it to certify that the proper procedure has been followed and that the Board of Review has recommended the candidate for the Eagle Scout rank. This workbook and references are retained by the council. The workbook may be returned to the Scout after council approval.
One of the Eagle Scout Rank applications is forwarded to the National Eagle Scout Service.
The National Eagle Scout Service screens the application to ascertain information such as proper signature, positions of responsibility, tenure between ranks, and age of the candidate. Any item not meeting national standards will cause the application to be returned for more information. If the application is in order, the Scout is then certified as an Eagle Scout by the Eagle Scout Service of behalf of the National Council. Notice of approval is given by sending the Eagle Scout certificate to the local council. The date used on the certificate will be the date of the Board of Review. The Eagle Award must not be sold or give to any unit until after the certificate is received by the council service center. The Eagle Scout Court of Honor should not be scheduled until the local council receives the Eagle Scout rank credentials.
The council will contact the Eagle Scout’s Scoutmaster via postcard to notify him/her that the Scout has been approved for the Eagle Rank. The Eagle Project workbook and application will be returned to the Scoutmaster when he/she comes to pick up the Eagle Scout certificate. The references will be destroyed by the council to ensure the confidentiality that was promised to the references when they completed the form. If a Scout or their family desire a copy of the reference or a letter, they should contact the reference directly for a copy.
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 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 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.
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.