Trail to Eagle
A Guide for Life Scouts
This booklet is designed to help Life Scouts make the big jump from Life to Eagle. The original idea for it came from Troop 641 BSA of Aurora, Colorado. The booklet is one of those "why didn't I think of that" ideas that we were glad to receive permission to use and modify to fit our troop program.
Who to Call?
[See the actual booklet for the phone numbers of the Scoutmaster, Troop Eagle Service Project Coordinator, Troop Eagle Board of Review Chairman, District Eagle Chairman, and the Council Scout Service Center.]
Some Eagle Statistics
Roughly one boy in every 172 earns Eagle (0.6%). Yet over 15% of all US astronauts are Eagle Scouts. So are 10% of the cadets at both West Point and the Air Force Academy.
"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles."—Isaiah 40:31
"Now I see the secret of making the best persons, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth."—Walt Whitman
Eagle Scout is the most significant honor a boy can earn, in or out of Scouting. It marks him for life! An Eagle is an achiever who will always do great things. An Eagle is a leader who will always be ahead of the group. Society will always expect much from an Eagle—and he will deliver.
He soars high for all to see. His vision is clear and sharp. His bearing is majestic. His direction is certain and his flight swift and sure. Such is the eagle, our nation's symbol. Such is the Eagle, our nation's future.
Eagle Scouts who enlist in the US Air Force start out one rank higher than others who enlist (and with about $100 more pay each month).
The trail to Eagle Scout requires tremendous commitment to stay on a long and sometime rough path. As a Life Scout, you are just one step away from youth's most significant accomplishment and honor. But that's a big step, and only 56% of our Life Scouts complete Eagle.
Happily, the choice is yours. And you probably have actively involved parents (few Scouts make it to Life, let alone Eagle, without this support).
You can advance at whatever rate you want, but remember that all Eagle requirements except the Board of Review must be finished before your 18th birthday.
You are close to the top of a high mountain climbed by fewer than one out of every 172 boys, and less than 3% of all Scouts (and only 18% of Troop 97 Scouts).
Eagle Scouts are valued in our society, because they have proven that they can achieve a long-term goal despite many obstacles. This will help on college admission and on job applications.
This pamphlet will provide you and your parents with key information to help you make the final steps to Eagle.
The trail to Eagle is rugged, but the part most people put off until last is one of the easier sections of the trail.
You can make your last few steps to Eagle go smoother if you do a little homework along the way. This is the Paper Trail. Collect, write, and keep the following records up to date—
The Eagle Scout service project is different from other service projects you have done because you are now the leader. The Eagle project must meet three criteria—
So here's what you need to do to successfully complete the Eagle Scout Service Project—
After you have completed all merit badges, fulfilled the minimum six months as a leader, and completed your Eagle Scout service project, phone the Scoutmaster to arrange a Scoutmaster Conference. Only the Scoutmaster does Eagle conferences.
Get an Eagle Scout application from the Board of Review Chairman. Make a photocopy to do your work on, and do not fill out the final application until after the Scoutmaster Conference.
The Scoutmaster will help you fill out the application at the Scoutmaster Conference.
You'll need the dates for every merit badge (the Scoutmaster can provide these if your records come up short).
You will need the names of those you want to write letters of recommendation for you (see next column).
The Scoutmaster will help you on application requirement 6 (ambitions/life purpose, positions of leadership and honors & awards).
After the Scoutmaster Conference, fill out the final application, sign it, and take it to the Committee Chairman and Scoutmaster for their signatures. The Scoutmaster (or you) will then mail the application to the Longs Peak Council office in Greeley, where they will check all information and dates. If everything is OK, they will send the form back to the District Eagle Chairman. If anything is not OK, they will send it back to the Scoutmaster for correction.
Phone the Council office after about a week to verify if your application has been sent to the District Eagle Chairman. When it has, phone the troop Board of Review Chairman to alert him to set up your Eagle Board of Review.
The Eagle Board of Review will want five or six letters of recommendation for you. You need to select the recommenders, give them the letter of recommendation form (get this from the Board of Review), and give them a firm deadline to return the letters (about a week after the Scoutmaster Conference would be good). Either have them send the letters directly to our troop Eagle Board of Review Chairman, or collect them yourself in sealed envelopes and give them to him.
The letters should show how you have lived like an Eagle Scout in all phases of your life (home, school, church, etc). You will need recommendations from—
After all requirements are complete, after the Scoutmaster Conference, after you have completed the paperwork, and after the Longs Peak Council has approved the application, you should call the troop Eagle Board of Review Chairman to inform him. He will arrange the date and place for the Eagle Board of Review, in consultation with the District Eagle Chairman, our troop Board members, and you.
The Eagle Board of Review will include two or three troop review members familiar to you, and it will include one or more district Review members. The District Eagle Chairman will chair the review.
The Board will ask you about your project, leadership, and how becoming an Eagle affects and changes you. This is typically the easiest review you will have (though you should make sure to review the Scout Law and Promise). The Board members will enjoy seeing the fruits of several years of Scouting in you. The Eagle Board of Review is not so much a test as it is a celebration of the completion of your long, challenging, and successful journey toward Eagle.
The Eagle Court of Honor is special, and it is separate from our regular Courts of Honor. The Eagle and his family are responsible for all aspects of the ceremony—
Typical Eagle Court of Honor Program
This is a simple and fairly typical program. You can get more elaborate, add music or a special touch unique to the Eagle. You may design the ceremony any way you wish, and you do not have to follow this program. At some point, the troop always presents the Eagle with a plaque from the troop ("Special Presentation"). And there are several items the Eagle receives (card, certificate, etc) that can be presented by brothers & sisters or other family members if desired.
It's nice to have a printed program (your responsibility). Print the date/location/title on the front cover, with biographical information and the program inside. You could also include a summary of the Eagle service project, poem, interesting statistics, etc.
It is always interesting to have photos and other Scouting memorabilia on display.
Eagle Scout Court of Honor
for William E. Trooper
And now, may the Great Master of all Scouts be with us 'till we meet again, and may all trails lead to Him.—Scoutmaster's Benediction
Refreshments following the ceremony.