Steps from Life to Eagle
The Boy Scouts of America Guide to Advancement details the requirements for each step from Life rank to Eagle rank. The process involved the Scout, the Troop leadership, the District, and the Council. There are steps – such as approval of projects and fundraising plans, and conducting Board of Reviews, which each local Council is required to establish local procedures.
This resource outlines the steps for the final climb from the Life rank to the pinnacle rank in the Scouts BSA program, Eagle. Some of the steps are sequential, while other steps began early in the Scout’s advancement journey and contribute to meeting the Eagle rank requirements.
Earn a total of 21 merit badges (10 more than Life rank).
The merit badges must include:
Citizenship in the Community
Citizenship in the Nation
Citizenship in Society
Citizenship in the World
Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving
Environmental Science or Sustainability
Swimming or Hiking or Cycling
… and 7 additional merit badges of your choice
While meeting with Life to Eagle mentor is not required step in the rank advancement process, it can be helpful. As an experienced adult leader, or perhaps an 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. A Life to Eagle mentor is different from an Eagle project coach. This person can guide you in all of the steps from Life to Eagle, while your project coach might offer expertise and advice for planning and executing your specific project.
Each Eagle candidate should select, or be assigned, a project coach. The 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
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.
- Once you have prepared the project proposal, the first signature required is that of the beneficiary. By obtaining this approval, you are establishing a contract for what you will deliver. You should alert the beneficiary to the possibility that you will get additional guidance as you seek other approvals, and you will return to discuss it further if any substantive changes are called for. When the project is complete, you will return to the beneficiary to review whether you delivered what was agreed, and to get a signature confirming the project is done.
- The second approval signature you will seek is that of your Scoutmaster. The Scoutmaster will ask you to give an overview of your project scope and plan, and also to explain why you have chosen to serve the beneficiary in this way. A good understanding of your beneficiary’s work and needs is essential to delivering a meaningful project.
- Your Troop Committee Chair is the next stop. Again, you’ll share highlights of your proposed project scope and plan, and discuss how to ensure that your project will meet the five tests of a suitable Eagle project.
- The last stop is your district Eagle coordinator. When this final approval is obtained, you may begin execution of the project. Any substantive changes in the project scope and deliverables after this approval must be brought back for further discussion and acceptance.
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 approved proposal.
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.
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, the parents or relatives, the unit or its chartered organization, fundraising of $500 or more, or donation of any materials or services, must be approval 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 by 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 may not 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, 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:
- Complete the project report section of your Eagle Project Workbook. You will submit it as part of your Eagle rank application package.
- Report the hours of service completed by you and others as part of your project planning and implementation.
- Obtain final signatures from the project beneficiary representative and your Scoutmaster 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.
- 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. After the application and attachments have been completed, reviewed, and certified by the candidate, the Scoutmaster, and the Troop committee, the binder is submitted to the Crossroads of America Council office. The Council Eagle processor will review dates, ranks, signatures, and other details to ensure candidacy requirements have been met, and will forward the binder to the District Eagle Advancement Chairperson.
– 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 often 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 should 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 and certification by your Scoutmaster.
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.
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 Ideals of Scouting and the Eagle board of review. BSA requires councils to establish local procedures for Eagle boards of review. In the Crossroads of America council, boards of review are conducted by each district.
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 to 40 minutes.
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 Sherrill 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
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:
Extensions of time to complete requirements for Eagle rank are extremely rare. They can only be granted when – through no fault or choice of the individual, and in a way that could not have been foreseen – a new issue has arisen that interrupted the progress of a Scout who was otherwise active, in good standing, and on a path to successfully complete requirements on time. In addition, once an unforeseen circumstance arose, the Scout must have exhausted options for resolving the situation in time to complete requirements. For instance, for a Scout who has successfully progressed to Life rank, being unfamiliar with the Eagle rank requirements, becoming busy with other activities, experiencing a false start on an Eagle service project, coping with a long-term physical, mental, or social challenge, or other issues that could have either been anticipated or resolved, would not qualify a Scout for an extension of time to complete requirements.
Steps in the Eagle extension request process:
- 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 (entered through Scoutbook) 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. An explanation must be provided of specifically how the new circumstance 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 email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Your request will be reviewed and you will receive a response (or a request for more information) 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 youth 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, any school, or your community. The project must benefit an organization other than Boy Scouts of America. Through this requirement, Scouts practice what they have learned and gain valuable project management and leadership experience.
You must use the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, No. 512-927, in meeting this requirement. A project proposal must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your unit leader and unit committee, and the district before you start.
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.
- 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 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 Scout 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.
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.
As with all Scouting activities, two registered adults over 21 must be present at each work session.
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.
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.