If you are a Boy Scout—or about to become one—and you are interested in earning the Eagle Scout rank, this information is for you! The Eagle Scout rank is the highest a Boy Scout can earn, but is also a very special rank. As you advance through Scout ranks, you will be recognized for what you accomplish. But the Eagle Rank is different, because it is more a measure of the kind of person you've become, not merely what activities you've completed.
An Eagle Scout is an Eagle Scout, no matter where you earn the rank. But, each Council, District, and Troop have differences in expectations and interpretation of BSA national policy regarding Eagle Scout rank requirements. This guide outlines what the National Capital Area Council, Old Dominion District, and Troop 4673 expects of you, and it will help you to have the best possible experience achieving the rank of Eagle.
There are seven separate requirements you must complete, the last of which is a service project of significant value to the community. You may begin working on your service project anytime after you earn Life, regardless of the number of merit badges that you have earned, but you must complete all requirements before you reach your 18th birthday (your Scoutmaster Conference must normally occur before your 18th birthday and your Board of Review normally no later than three months after your 18th birthday).
Follow the instructions in the Eagle Scout Procedures Guide carefully. This guide will assist you in completing the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook (512-927, 2011 Printing) and Eagle Application Form (58-728A, 2011 Edition). The Workbook and Application are available as a fillable Adobe Acrobat files. The verson date can be found on the bottom left hand side of the Workbook and Application). Be sure you have the correct versions! Before you begin writing anything, make several blank copies of the packet and of the Eagle Rank Application. Pencil in all your entries on the copies first and only when you are satisfied with your work, fill out the original forms in pen or on-line. It usually takes three to four attempts to get the Eagle Rank Application filled in correctly. While all the necessary steps are outlined in the packet, but please do not begin without first reading this guide completely!
Finally, when you are ready to begin planning your project, the Troop will assign an Eagle Advisor to you. This is a resource! (one of the best leadership traits you can ever develop is to know and use the resources available to you). Another resource is your Scoutmaster. Always feel free to ask the Scoutmaster or an Assistant Scoutmaster when you have questions or need help.
Planning for Success
Getting started seems to be easy for some, difficult for others. Either way, it is your desire, not that of your parents or unit leaders, that will be the driving force to a fun and rewarding pursuit. But even with great desire, you may not be successful (or have a good time, which you should) if you don't plan properly.
After you determine what your project will be, you must set a timetable and milestones for getting things accomplished. Make up a calendar and plan out important dates and actions that you need to do. This is your schedule. Use it as a reminder to yourself of key dates for when certain things must be completed. A calendar will keep you on track, help make sure first things get done first, and in general will make your life much easier. If you don't do this, you may find yourself overwhelmed at the eleventh hour with more things to do than you can possibly complete in the time remaining.
Also, document your actions along the way and don't rely on memory. This demonstrates maturity and leadership, and will help (a lot!) when you compile your information and submit your application.
To many, achieving Eagle Rank seems an overwhelming task. In reality, there are only seven requirements. If you plan ahead and are systematic in your approach, nothing can stop you. Please pay extra attention to this information now to avoid bitter disappointment later.
Six months is the minimum time you must serve as a Life Scout before applying to become an Eagle Scout. While this may seem as easy as falling off a log, you should note the operative part of the requirement, which is to be active. This goes beyond just being registered. It means that you are an active, contributing member of the Troop or Crew at the time you submit your Eagle application. You must be present at a majority of Troop or Crew meetings, campouts, and special activities. If you are not a participating member, leader, and example in your troop or crew, the Scoutmaster cannot sign off this requirement.
So what do you do if life has you running a hundred miles an hour? Talk to the Scoutmaster. Find out what he sees as acceptable level of attendance and performance. If necessary, use those leadership skills you've developed to negotiate a workable arrangement.
Wow. Where have you heard this before? You've recited the Scout oath (Promise) and the Law so many times you know them by heart. The words probably come easily to you, but do you know what these words truly mean? The Scout Oath and Scout Law are not just words to be recited at Scout meetings. They are not just to be obeyed while wearing your uniform. The spirit of Scouting that they represent are every bit as important when you are at home, school, church, and in the community.
The Scout Oath begins with the words, "On my honor." Your honor is your word. By giving your word you are promising to be of good character and to keep your reputation untarnished. Be trustworthy in all you say and do. Extend friendship to all you meet. Be tolerant of others, regardless of differences, and celebrate the great diversity that enriches our nation and the world. Express reverence in accordance with your beliefs. Offer a helping hand to others in need—with no expectation of reward—because it is the right and proper thing to do.
These standards are very high. In the past, your Scoutmaster may have overlooked those small slip-ups like the time you came to the Troop meeting without a uniform, or argued with another Scout about the weekend duty roster, or came to a campout unprepared. These were the mistakes of youth. By now, however, doing good turns is a regular part of your daily life. By now "Be Prepared" describes your efforts to make the most of educational opportunities, getting along with others, and taking part in outdoor activities. By now the Scout Oath and Scout law are guidelines by which you direct your actions in your family, school, church, and nation. Living these high standards always a personal choice and something only you can fully measure, but it is the standard and expectation of an Eagle Scout.
All merit badge work must be completed prior to reaching your 18th birthday. Imagine how it must feel when a Scout realizes he turns 18 in two months and he needs Family Life or Personal Management, which require at least three months to complete? Don't put yourself in that position! If you still have hard merit badges to complete, lay out a plan to get the toughest done first (and in time), and plan the fun ones for last.
- 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, instructor, webmaster, or outdoor ethics guide.
- Varsity Scout team. Captain, co-captain, program manager, squad leader, team secretary, Order of the Arrow team representative, librarian, historian, quartermaster, chaplain aide, instructor, den chief, webmaster, or outdoor ethics guide. Venturing crew/Sea Scout ship. President, vice president, secretary, treasurer, den chief, quartermaster, historian, guide, boatswain, boatswain's mate, yeoman, purser, storekeeper, or webmaster.
- Lone Scout. Leadership responsibility in your school, religious organization, club, or elsewhere in your community.
The wording "serve actively" and "position of responsibility" implies much more than just sewing on a patch and showing up for meetings. You must be actively demonstrate leadership by fulfilling the duties and responsibilities of the position you hold, and actively participating in the majority of Troop meetings, campouts, and special activities—including the Patrol Leaders Council (if appropriate).
This leadership role in the Troop includes setting the example as discussed for requirement one. The Troop expects Life Scouts to be an example to others. A Life Scout should wear his complete uniform, including neckerchief, to all Scout meetings and functions. He should willing take on additional responsibilities when asked, and he should execute the duties of the office he holds to the best of his abilities. This is a demonstration of your maturity, self-discipline, ability to take personal responsibility, and lead other Scouts; all-important aspects of your present rank. There's an old saying that sums this up well; "What you do speaks so loudly that I can't hear what you say (i.e., "Actions speak louder than words")." In other words, you shouldn't have to explain to anyone that you are providing proper leadership; show by your example. If good leadership and personal responsibility are not shown, you will be challenged by your Scoutmaster to strive to improve in this area. The growth experience and life lessons involved are too important not to be learned and demonstrated.
If it is not currently possible for you to be elected to an office (for example, the Troop's elections won't be held for a while), talk to the Scoutmaster. He may have a position that can be assigned or a special project which you can give leadership to.
In an ideal world, each Life Scout would have an opportunity to serve as Senior Patrol Leader (SPL). However, due to the large number of Life Scouts in the Troop, you simply may not have that chance. It is, however, expected that each Life Scout approaching Eagle Scout rank have the ability to be SPL and you may be asked to stand in on occasion in that role. If a Scout is not able to step in and be Senior Patrol Leader, he is not ready for the rank of Eagle Scout. Think about it.
Ah, now we're getting somewhere. Let's break it down a bit. First, the project is to be done while you are a Life Scout. This means that if you are still a Star Scout, focus on your merit badges, and don't put yourself in the position of having to explain why you worked on the project prematurely. It is okay to look ahead and identify opportunities that might become available after your Life Scout Board of Review. However, do not begin planning or executing your project prior to achieving Life rank.
Next, "Give leadership to others." This doesn't mean delegate to Mom, Dad or someone else the task of getting the job done. It means take an active participating leadership role in directing, managing, and supervising the activities and efforts of those who volunteer to help you complete the project; adults and Scouts alike.
Next, note that the service project is to be "helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community," which means you need to be discerning while selecting a project. You are looking for a project to do for an organization that is non-profit; meaning they provide services to the community at large for purposes other than making a profit. No projects are allowed for profit-making organization.
Next are the approvals. There are no shortcuts so plan accordingly. You must have the approval of the organization benefiting from the effort, the approval of your Scoutmaster, the approval of the Troop Committee, and the approval of Council or District Advancement Chairperson—in that order—before you start. Approval of the Troop Committee requires a formal presentation of your project proposal so you'll need to speak to the Troop Committee Secretary about placing time for your presentation on the agenda of the monthly Committee meeting. Don't back yourself into a time crunch. Plan at least five to six weeks to get all the approvals complete!
There are no minimum required hours or size for an Eagle service project. The project should, however, be of significant magnitude to be special and should represent your best possible effort. Also, the amount of time spent by you in planning your project and actual carrying it out should be sufficient to demonstrate your leadership to others. You may note some differences in the scope of effort expected by older Scouts compared to younger ones. That is often a reflection of the fact that an older Scout is more capable and larger, more complex, projects are needed to truly stretch their abilities.
The following "do's" and "don'ts" encapsulate the key aspects of project selection:
- Consult with the adult leadership in your Troop while selecting a project
- Choose a project you will be proud of for the rest of your life
- Select a project that will truly stretch your abilities
- Start documenting from day one (you will use this information for your final report)
- Keep a calendar of important dates and actions that you need to do
- Keep a log of notes regarding your project, including names of people you work with
- Keep a log of the hours you put into your project
- Complete all project work prior to your 18th birthday
- Involve Mom or Dad (remember, this is your project; it is a demonstration of your creativity, planning ability, and leadership)
- Work on your project (other than preliminary planning) prior to getting ALL approvals
- Select projects for the Boy Scouts of America, including Troop or Council property
- Select any project that another Scout is already using for his Eagle project (only one Scout can receive credit)
- Select projects involving only routine labor normally done by volunteers
- Select a project benefiting a profit-making organizations. For example: painting the clubhouse for a home-owners association, installing curb reflectors in a store's parking lot, or doing landscaping for a local business
Below are some ideas from past Eagle Scout projects gleaned from the Internet. Remember, a project does not have to be an original idea, but it must stretch your abilities, demonstrate your leadership, and represent your very best effort.
- Youth Protection and Identification Program. "I provided parents and children with information to prevent abductions. I also provided a place for parents to fingerprint and video tape their child in case they ever need to file a missing child report."
- Community Bicycle Registration: "The number of bicycle thefts in our area were rising, so I worked with the Police to develop a card file where people could register their bikes. For three Saturdays we put on a bike safety and registration fair."
- Built a Playground: "There is a home for orphans in our neighborhood. I organized a construction project and built a playground in their backyard for the kids."
- Pond Clean-Up: "My town has a neat park where the kids play in the ponds. The ponds were really dirty and had a lot of garbage in them, so I arranged a pond cleanup project. We hauled all of the trash out and planted grass and bushes to stop the erosion."
- Tiger Shelter at Wildlife Preserve: "The tiger shelters at a local animal preserve were falling apart, so I organized a project to rebuild the shelters over the cages!"
- Homeless Shelter Concert: "I play in a rock band. To help stock the shelves of the homeless shelter, I organized a concert where the admission price was a can of food."
- Bicycle Racks for Baseball Complex: "The grass was torn up at our baseball diamond because kids kept dumping their bikes on the ground. I got a construction company to donate the materials, and built a cement bike rack on the edge of the field."
- Picnic Tables for Park: "I built new picnic tables for the park's pavilions."
- Vacant Lot Cleanup: "I organized my troop to clean all the debris and garbage from a vacant lot in our neighborhood."
- Eyeglass Drive: "I collected reading glasses from local stores and hospitals for three months, and then sent them with a doctor who goes to Mexico. He gave them to people who could not afford to buy glasses for themselves."
- Eyeglass Drive: "I put together an eyeglass donation drive involving both the Troop and the local junior high. We also collected 450 pair of used eyeglasses from area churches on behalf of the Lions Club who gave them to the needy."
- Hearing Aid Drive: "I heard about the eyeglass drive, where Scouts collect eyeglasses from local stores and hospitals, and send them to third world countries. I decided to try it with hearing aids."
- Cemetery Directory: "I catalogued all of the gravestones in our city cemetery. Then I worked with the troop to put together a cemetery kiosk where visitors could look at a large map and find the graves they wanted to visit."
- Repainted Bleachers: "Our baseball park was in pretty sad shape, so my project was to strip the old paint away and then repaint four sets of bleachers and the four team dugouts."
- Recycling Drive: "I live in a city where there is a lot of trash in the streets. After the 4th of July Parade I organized my troop and some neighborhood groups to clean up all the trash along the parade route. We sorted it for recycling."
- Restore Storage Shed at Neighborhood Park: "The shed at our neighborhood park had been ignored for a long time. I got our troop and neighborhood together to repair it."
- Toy Drive: "For Christmas, I organized a toy drive with a thrift store in town. All the toys were donated to foster homes and orphanages."
- Flag Pole: "Our school's flagpole was really old, so I got a company to donate the cement and pole for a new one. My troop helped put it in."
- Cut Down Trees for Firewood: "There was an old orchard in my neighborhood. I organized my Troop to go and cut down the dead trees, and we delivered the wood to widows for firewood."
- Flood Sand Bags: "In spring the river near our town flooded. I organized groups to fill sand bags to protect the buildings along the river."
- Area Trail Maintenance: "A public trail was in need of some improvements so I organized my Troop and we put in two grade-level steps to prevent erosion. We also cleaned the trail and leveled it in places."
Some successful projects:
- Expanded the "Toys-For-Tots" program by constructing collection boxes for area Schools and Scouting units for collection of toys throughout city, and not just the area mall.
- Planted a row of windbreak/shade pine trees along length of church property and provided initial watering until trees were established.
- Built a "Big Toy" for pre-schoolers. The copied a design at another church, cut and sanded 250 pieces of wood, and spent two full days building the "Big Toy."
- Sanded, repaired, and repainted a torpedo and a deck gun at the Battleship Texas site in Houston.
- Built large shelving units in an Interfaith Ministries food pantry.
- Built a boat dock at a park, which the Pack used for WEBELOS overnight campouts and the Troop used for the Canoeing Merit Badge.
- Working with Sam Houston National Forest, built bat boxes. The boxes were built over a period of several days and on a weekend campout to the national forest, the Troop placed all the boxes.
- Built trash receptacles for the local nature center and installed them.
- Built benches in the rest areas along a nature trail.
- Upgraded existing hiking trails at a county park.
- Recruited volunteers from the Troop and high school service clubs (including getting formal permission through high school channels), and managed their work at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.
- Cleaned and repaired headstones in an old community cemetery.
- Build a walking trail around a lake in a local county park (the full trail was actually two separate Eagle projects).
- Constructed and installed a guide rope and Braille signs for a boardwalk at a local nature center.
- Cleaned and repainted the parking lot for a large local church.
- Organized a day-long cleanup of a recreational trail at a nearby state park. The trail had fallen into disrepair and was no longer useful for its intended purposes (equestrian) because of heavy underbrush, fallen trees across trail, etc.
- Installation of a basketball goal and 1/2 court marking at a nearby church parking lot as a recreational project for the church and community youth.
- Placed a large concrete sidewalk at a church. Required trenching and leveling the site as well as setting forms and pouring the concrete.
- Built a volleyball court for our church.
- Built cages for the Humane Society.
- Painted the interior of a two-story local church Sunday school building.
- Moved the shelving, supplies, stock, and books from a stockroom in a 500 pupil elementary school to a new storage building.
- Painted house numbers on the curb for each house in a 700 home development.
- Built newspaper recycling boxes for an elementary school.
- Built camp chuck boxes for a Girl Scout Troop.
- Repaired and painted the playground at a church. Landscaped the church grounds, including shrubs, ground cover, and edging.
- Repaired fencing and outdoor facilities at a church sponsored nursing home and organized a social function for the residents.
- Built a foot bridge in Arlington City Park.
- Repaired a church sign and re-landscaped around it.
- Built a janitor closet in the church Fellowship Hall.
- Built storage cabinets in Sunday School rooms.
- Re-roofed and painted gazebo at church.
- Repaired a local troubled youth facility, inside and out, including woodwork, painting, carpeting
- Collected children's books and toys and setup a play area at a public hospital neighborhood clinic.
- Painted a mural on the wall of his Synagogue depicting Jewish life.
- Conducted a program for kindergarten children about dangers of abduction and fingerprinted them for their parents.
- Modified the storage building at our church. Added double doors for tractor access, shelves, and permanent window.
- Built a nature trail and erosion dams in a city park.
- Rebuilt and greatly improved a patio at a local troubled youth home.
Initial Eagle Project Write Up
So now you've selected a project. Let's pull out that notebook now. Record all events in your notebook when they happen and keep as accurate a set of notes as possible. When you call or visit some one to discuss your project, write that in your notebook. Make a separate section to record what you buy, what is donated, and any moneys that you receive. In another section, record when you do the various parts of your project, who helped, and how much time each of the volunteers spent on the project. Make a section to list materials, tools, and equipment you need and use.
Get a current copy of the Life to Eagle Packet, which includes the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, from the Council office, the Troop Advancement Chairperson, or your Eagle Project Coordinator to use in preparing your plan. This is the official booklet that is submitted to the district for approval. Read everything in it before beginning to write up your plan.
It's time, now, to begin the detailed planning and initial write-up, which will be submitted to the District for approval. Remember, the requirement is that you must plan, organize, and direct a project of significant value. This is your opportunity to demonstrate leadership qualities. You are expected to be in charge of this project and the project should be a reflection of you, your goals and your abilities.
The project plan may be typed on a typewriter or computer, or may be hand-written. You may also use one of the electronic versions available on the Internet. Regardless, it must be very neat. Check you grammar, punctuation, and spelling carefully. Nothing makes a worse impression than handing in work that has not been proofread! The plan should tell someone else everything they would need to know to carry out your project without you present. You should include the following information as shown in the workbook. Hint: Make an outline with the following headings, then work your way through each area and discuss each topic as it relates to your project. Leave out the headings which do not apply to your project.
Remember, you cannot begin actual work on the project until the district approves it, but there is a lot of planning to be done before you get that far. Usually, it takes several months to locate a project. Many Life Scouts spend three, four, or more months selecting the right project.
Describe the Project You Plan to do. Briefly (approximately one to two paragraphs) describe the project. Address this section as though you were telling a friend what you were going to do. Think of this as an executive summary of the overall project. The details will be covered later.
The Group that Will Benefit from the Project. Name the group or organization who will benefit from your project. You should have the full mailing address and telephone number.
My Project will be of Benefit to the Group Because: State how your project will benefit the Group or Organization. Remember, the project cannot benefit the Boy Scouts (except in the most indirect way). Do not describe the project again, but focus on how it will be of the benefit to the group you seek to serve. You should also work with an official of the group in planning the project (see the section below for some hints on working with an agency). Discuss your coordination with the group, which is benefiting from your project. List your meetings with the group, to include dates, whether you met in person or talked on the phone, who you spoke with, and exactly what they agreed to provide to you and what you agreed to do for them. If possible, ask for a letter (or E-mail) from the agency authorizing you to conduct your project and confirm your discussions. Do not get into a position of saying, "I talked to some lady a few weeks ago." Whenever you call the agency again, be able to ask for your contact by name.
Finances are of particular interest. Be sure both you and the agency understand all financial obligations, and preferably stated in writing. Are they going to underwrite (fund) your project or pay a set dollar amount toward your expenses? No one will try to purposefully cheat you, but a misunderstanding can create hard feelings or cost you more than you had planned. Write it down.
Another area where you should ensure complete understanding is in the materials to be provided. When an agency says they will provide building materials, make sure you both understand exactly what is to be provided (see the materials section below). Find out if the agency will deliver the materials to your work site or if you must pick them up. If you are going to have to go get materials, find out exactly where (i.e., address) and the name and phone number of the person you need to talk to when you get there. Do you need to call ahead and setup an appointment to pick up the materials? Dealing with government agencies can be particularly frustrating if you do not ensure all details are understood by both parties. Making assumptions is dangerous!
This Concept was Discussed with My Unit Leader. Yup. You guessed it. Record the date you discussed this with the Scoutmaster. Good idea to get his initials here too (these guys usually have bad memories!).
The Project Concept was Discussed with the Following Representative of the Group that will Benefit from the Project. Be sure to record the name, position within the agency (e.g., Personnel Director, Community Relations Coordinator, etc.), and phone number of your point of contact. Use proper titles (e.g., Mr., Mrs., Dr., Chief, etc.) when referring to adults.
This is the heart of the project plan and the area which will require the most work. The plan should include all details needed by someone else to carry out the project as though you were not around. The plan will include the sections discussed below, if appropriate. All sections are not applicable to all projects, so may be omitted if not needed. Since there is limited space in the workbook, you may attach extra pages with the details. You may prefer to write or type the plan on separate pages and then cut and paste them into the proper section of the workbook after your advisor has helped you get it into the final form.
Present Condition. Describe the current condition or situation that you are going to change. Do not repeat the benefit of the project, but focus on creating a word picture of how things are now. This is a good place to include pictures (either photographs or drawings) of the project area. Remember, the District Advancement Committee does not know what your church or school or park looks like so they cannot understand why your project is important unless you show and tell them.
Written / Printed Information. If you are going to use handouts, posters, letters, or other written materials as part of your project, include a copy of those in the plan. These should be included as attachments to the workbook. These attachments should have a Figure Number and Title (e.g., "Figure 6, Sample handout to the troop") and be referenced in the appropriate section of the text.
Plans / Drawings / Designs. If your project is to build something, you will need detail plans or drawings. These are like blue prints and should show all dimensions, paint schemes, floor plans, layouts, or other detail that can be drawn. Plans or drawings are usually done on graph paper which has guidelines, but blank paper is acceptable as long are you are neat. Photographs may also be of value here for some projects. If you have made a design (e.g., emblem, logo, etc.) include it in this section. All plans, drawings, or figures should be labeled with a Figure Number and a Title (e.g., "Figure 1, Playground looking east"). Refer to them in the appropriate sections of the text.
Step-by-step instructions. In addition to the schedule which shows the dates when you think tasks will be worked, you will also need detailed instructions. These instructions should read like a recipe in a cookbook. These tell the workers exactly what to do. Include a list of every task you can think of, what order they will be done, and who will do them. Include the clean-up of the work site in your plan.
Materials. Materials are those things which become part of the finished product. Examples are lumber, paint, nails, concrete, etc. This is truly a shopping list, so include material specifications (exact size, quality, brand, finish, etc.), number of each item, and cost. Don't just say "lumber," you need to describe exactly what pieces of lumber. If items are to be donated, state so. This section is best presented in the form of a separate list or table attached to extra pages in the workbook. Tables should include a Table Number and Title (e.g., "Table 1, Materials and Supplies") and be referred to in the appropriate section of the text.
Supplies. Supplies are those expendable things which do not become part of the finished product, but that are used to complete it. Examples of supplies are sandpaper, trash bags, posters, gasoline, pens, markers, paper, paint rollers, drop cloths, etc. Provide a list of all supplies you will need and where you will get them. Since supplies cannot normally be reused, you need to either buy them or have them donated. You cannot "borrow" something which you cannot return. You may choose to combine the materials and supplies into one list; but label it as such.
Tools. Tools are those items used to aid in making the work easier, or even make it possible to do at all. Tools are not used up and should be saved and used again and again. Examples of tools are hammers, shovels, tractors, or saws. Provide a list of all tools required to work the project; don't take for granted that required equipment will just appear when you need it. Be very specific (e.g., number of hammers, type of shovels, type / size of paint brushes, etc.). Tell how those tools will be obtained. If you must purchase tools, include them in the financial plan. You should be able to borrow most tools from the people who are working on the project or from someone else. Try not to spend much money on tools since they are expensive but not part of the finished product. If you must buy tools, discuss what is going to be done with them after your project is complete. Are you going to keep them, give them to the troop or other organization, or maybe to the organization who is funding the project?
Financial plan. Every project will cost something and you need to discuss those costs in your plan. Provide a list of all materials, tools, supplies, etc., with a cost of each. This information may be part of your list of materials/supplies. If items are loaned or donated, state so. Remember to include any fees (e.g., city dump fees) in your cost estimate. Once you have determined how much the project is going to cost, you must find the money to pay for it. You may consider several sources for funding, including the organization for which you are doing the project, donations from others, from your allowance, or any other legitimate source. While your project MAY NOT BE A FUNDRAISER, you may conduct fundraising activities, if necessary, to finance the supplies and materials needed for your project. Obtaining the funds to do the project is your responsibility; don't assume that someone will cover cost until you have asked them.
A major part in any project, whether for Scouts, church, community, or a business, is funding. If you cannot come up with all the money you need, look at reducing the cost to get within your budget. You may even find that the project is too expensive and you will have to choose another one. After the source of your funding is established, you should also consider how the money is to be handled. As money is brought in from fundraising activities, where will it be held for safe keeping? Exactly how will supplies and materials be paid for?
It is strongly suggested that you do not put your parents or yourself in the position of holding any substantial amount of money. Discuss this issue with the organization which is providing financial support. Consider letting the sponsoring organization's treasure manage the funds. Your troop treasure may also be willing to help. Whatever you decide, ensure you have a complete paper trail for all financial transactions and include a summary in your final report.
One last financial point to consider—since your project must benefit a not-for-profit organization, determine if the organization has an exemption from state sales taxes. If so, find out how to take advantage of this savings before you go to buy your materials. This may help you stay within your budget. If they are not tax exempt, then don't forget to include the sales tax in your budget plan.
Helpers / Workers. Discuss who will be doing the work. You do not need to state names at this point (which you most likely will not know yet), just an estimate of the number of people you judge necessary to complete the project, what organization they are part of, and what special skills will be required.
For example, are you going to need a carpenter? Make a list of potential volunteer helpers (with their phone numbers) as it will help you recall these volunteers later when the project gets underway.
Describe how you are going to organize the workers to get the work done efficiently. Will they be divided into teams, for example, and if so, who will lead each team? What tasks will each team be responsible for? How will you use adult leaders? Also, discuss how you will ensure the safety of the workers.
A good leader recognizes that it is often important to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty with the lot of 'em. And while you will probably find yourself involved in the physical labor, a large portion of the work should be done by others whose efforts you lead and direct.
A Further Word about Mom and Dad. The question which always arises, "How, much can my Mom and Dad help?" The answer is very little, I'm afraid. They should not be making phone calls on your behalf, sending out letters, tapping out E-mails. They may drive you to appointments you schedule, guide you, mentor you, and support you, but the project and the work must be yours. The Eagle Project is so much more than the "final check" in the box necessary to make Eagle Rank; it is the culmination of all your years of Scouting experience. It is not only the measure of what you have become, but a true indication of what kind of man you will be as you enter society on your own. What kind of man will you be if you take credit for the work someone else did?
Life is all about the choices we make. Many projects will started but fewer still will be successfully concluded. Your Mom and Dad may become frustrated by the maddeningly slow and ponderous pace with which you complete this effort, but help them resist the urge—no matter how great—to step in and take measures to keep your Project on pace. As adults, it is easy for us to see the life-long value of being and Eagle Scout, but to you—with all the competing priorities and demands on your time—that vision may not be so clear. Let them offer encouragement to keep the effort moving forward but keep their hands clear of the actual work. In the end, the project and the choice to complete it must be yours.
Adult Supervision. Boy Scout policy requires at least two adult leaders be present at all times during any Scouting activity. At least one of them must have "Youth Protection" certification. It is your responsibility to ensure that this policy is followed. Don't assume that the right people will just "be there"—arrange, in advance, for them to be there. You should state how you will ensure this in your plan. Without the proper adult supervision, you will not be able to work your project.
Work Site. Where will the work be done? If you are going to build something, are you going to build it at the location where it will be used or somewhere else then moved? Remember, you must get permission to use any work site from the responsible person/owner. If the location where you are going to work requires special facilities or tools, state so. Think about how the unpredictable English weather will affect your work site.
Safety. Safety is an important consideration. List precautions that will be taken and any safety concerns that might be involved with the project. Remember that all BSA polices found in the Guide to Safe Scouting are in effect. This limits Scouts in the use of some power tools. A First Aid Kit, readily available drinking water, scheduled breaks, ventilation when painting, and personal protective equipment (like safety glasses) are some of the normal particulars to document.
Transportation. Moving people, materials, supplies, tools to/from a work site will most likely be required. Discuss what needs to be moved, what vehicles you will need, where you will get those vehicles, and who will drive. BSA policy places limitations on drivers under 21 years old; ensure you are aware of these limits and work within them. Remember that all passengers must be seated with a seat belt on whenever a vehicle is in motion. NO ONE, child or adult, should ever ride in the bed of a moving truck under any circumstance! All of this is your responsibility.
Schedule. A good schedule is a necessity for any successful plan. It shows when everything is done and in what order each step happens. You must make your best estimate of how long tasks will take and in what order they will be done. Your schedule may be in the form of a Gantt Chart (bar chart), a calendar with tasks entered on the appropriate days, or just a list of tasks and the date when they will be done. Include project planning and approval on your schedule. Include how many volunteer hours each step will require. No project follows the planned schedule exactly, but is helps make things happen logically. When you complete your project and do the final write-up, you will discuss how well the project followed the planned schedule and why you think it deviated from it.
Approval Signatures for Project Plan. As stated earlier, there are several approvals required for your project along the way. The first is the verbal approval from your Scoutmaster or project advisor that your idea will qualify as a valid project. You need this before spending much time writing up the detail plan. After your advisor has helped you get the written plan in order and ready to submit, you will then need several signatures in the Eagle Service Project Workbook. A responsible representative from the organization you are doing the project for is the first signature required. Be sure to include the name, position within the agency, and phone number of your point of contact. It is also a good idea to attach a letter from the organization or agency authorizing you to conduct your project. The Scoutmaster signs next, followed by the Troop Committee Chairperson after you've a formal presentation of your project proposal to the Troop Committee. Speak to the Troop Committee Secretary about placing time for your presentation on the agenda of the monthly Committee meeting. Don't back yourself into a time crunch. The project is now ready to present to Council or the District Advancement Committee for approval. Plan at least five to six weeks to get all the approvals complete! Trying to rush the approval process is a sign of poor planning. Note: you should keep a Xerox copy of the project, exactly as is presented to the various committees, in case it is lost during the approval cycle. This usually requires about two or more weeks. You may be asked to revise or change parts of the plan and to resubmit for approval, which could add several more weeks.
Carrying Out the Project
Documenting During the Project. You can never keep too much information while you are doing your project. Use a notebook or folder to collect papers so they will be available to you. It's better to have more than you need at the end. That's why we have recycling. You can dispose of everything you don't need/want after you have compiled all your information at the end of your journey. While the project is underway, especially keep information you'll need for your final report like:
- Diagrams and drawings
- Tables, Charts, and Diagrams
- Time Logs—list the hours you spent planning beforehand and actually supervising people. List the people and the dates and hours they spent working on every aspect of your project.
- Materials Required. Note any material shortages or excesses.
- Tools and Equipment Used
- Expenses, Money Received / Earned, Goods and Services Purchased
- Changes or modifications to the original plan and an explanation for why
- Photographs (TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOGRAPHS)
- Also, try to remember to keep complete notes of your progress. You'd be amazed at how much you'll forget.
You may wish to arrange to have a contact person from the sponsor to monitor the progress of the project. For more complex projects, you may also locate a technically knowledgeable person to guide and instruct you as you work on your project.
The Final Write Up After the actual work on the project is completed, you are ready for the last phase of your project—the final report. Why? As with any project, it is important to review what was done and see what lessons were learned as well as provide a historic record of events. This is the section where you describe what actually happened as you carried out the plan. Refer to the notes you made while carrying out the project. Describe, now, how the project was actually accomplished, any problems that you encountered, any changes or deviations made from your project approval form. Discuss budget, funding, volunteer hours involved, materials used, tools and equipment. With the benefit of hindsight, discuss what you might have done differently. The report should also indicate how the sponsor, the people involved, and you all benefited from the project. A good report is usually three to five pages, plus supporting tables, lists, pictures, etc.
You will most likely require some advice from your project advisor before you are ready to turn the project in for final signatures. Consult with him often as you are completing the report. The following suggested outline works well in most cases. Once you and your advisor are happy with the result, it is time to get the final approval signatures.
Suggested Final Project Report Outline. As you write your report, emphasize your Leadership, your Planning, your Organization of project details, and your project direction (instruction and direction of project volunteers). Try to include strong statements, such as "I said," "I decided," "I think." In the following suggested outline, the recommended total length of sections 1, 2, and 3 should be about 3 to 5 pages.
Introduction. Tell what your project is, what you intended to accomplish, why you selected this particular project. Tell who your sponsor is and how your project benefits the sponsor. Mention the sponsor representative, and if you had someone guiding and instructing you technically, mention that person.
Project implementation. Describe the planning stages of your project, who you met with, any special problems in planning that you had to resolve, any special concerns such as safety. Discuss what you did to prepare for your project, such as presentations to sponsoring organizations, raising funds, getting donations of material and equipment, preparing posters and handouts, what you did to get people to volunteer.
Discuss the actual work required to accomplish your project. Was the project completed according to your original plans, or did you have to revise and change some of the steps? Were you able to keep everyone busy, were there any special problems keeping everything under control and running smoothly? Were the volunteers friendly, or did they complain and fool around? Generally, the best way to write this section is to simply say, "This is what we did on the first day," "This is what we did on the second day," etc. Leading people is a difficult skill and you most likely learned something about this. The final reviewers want to read about what you learned about leading people.
Conclusions, Thoughts, Ideas. This section summarizes your efforts and how the project affected you and the people you worked with. Tell whether the project was successful, did it met the goals outlined in your project approval form? Tell about any unexpected problems and what you might do differently if you were to do this project again. What did you learn from doing the project? How has the project helped you and your sponsor? Finally, take some time to acknowledge and thank anyone special, the people that gave you that extra bit of support. Acknowledge your sponsor, the person who guided you as a mentor, the people and organizations that donated money and material, your friends who volunteered their time.
Tables, Charts, Diagrams. Provide an appendix with the following documents and any other documents that you think would help the Board of Review evaluate your efforts. Time Log—list the people that worked on your project, when and how long they worked. Tools and Equipment Expenses, Money Received, Goods and Services Diagrams and drawings Photographs—hopefully, you took many photographs during each phase of the project. A photo of you presenting the finished product to the organization for whom you did the work help show off the value of the project. Of course, the photographs should be labeled.
Approvals for Completed Project. Only a couple of signatures are required on your final report, the most important of which is yours. If you are proud of your effort and pleased with the write-up, then sign it on the last page. You also need the signature of your Scoutmaster or project advisor. The representative of the institution benefiting from your project must also sign your workbook after you complete the work. While these are the only signatures required in order to submit it, the project's final approval will come during your Eagle Board of Review.
The Eagle Scout Rank Application
Compiling your information and submitting your application. You're almost there. With your final write up in hand, you must now draft your Eagle Scout Rank Application. Your application and the information you submit along with it says a lot about the kind of person you are. You have one shot at making a great impression! This will also be good practice for you, since being able to present yourself in written form is an important life skill. Use the information here to help you put you materials together for both your Scoutmaster's Conference and Board of Review.
Completing your application. First and foremost, use a current version of the application (2008 version—the date can be found on the bottom left hand side of the form) and BE NEAT. The quality of your applications is, like everything else, a reflection of you.
Also, check with your unit leader. They might want you to make a copy of your application and fill that out, while saving the original for when they meet with you. The top part of the front page is easy. Just make sure you use the actual board of review dates for the dates your achieved First Class Scout and Life Scout ranks. Check resources like your Scout Handbook, your troop Advancement Chairperson, TroopTrack, etc., to verify dates.
Requirement 1. As above, use the date of your Life Scout Board of Review.
Requirement 2. If you are of Eagle quality, this area is not difficult; simply list people who know you well. Try to get a varied selection—meaning, don't list four teachers, rather select people from different areas of your life. If you do not have an employer, it is permissible to put a line through that title and use the space to list another reference. Since a Scout is reverent, you should have a religious reference. If you have been home-schooled and don't have an "Educational" line consider other educational sources such as music teachers, sports coach, etc. List someone who has a major role in one of your educational pursuits. You can offer each use of the sample. Letter of Recommendation found at this link. These letters are confidential and should be mailed to your Eagle Scout Coordinator. In theory, they should be presented to your Eagle Board in the sealed envelopes in which they arrived; you should never see these.
Requirement 3. Before you fill out this section of your application, save yourself and the people at the Council Office a lot of headaches by doing the following:
List the merit badges you ACTUALLY used for Star and Life ranks, as well as the rest needed for Eagle. Ask the unit Advancement Chairperson to consult your record in Troopmaster. Use these dates. Some Scouts exclude those easy merit badges they earned earlier in their scouting careers (like Basketry and Woodcarving), and instead list on their Eagle Scout application the merit badges they are most proud of (like Wilderness Survival and Longhorn Steer Roping—just kidding about that last one). Please don't do this. The Council office checks all the dates you list on your application to ensure you are eligible to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. If you list alternate merit badges and dates, it may appear as though you did not have enough merit badges to earn your earlier ranks (Star Scout and Life Scout, per your Board of Review dates), and your application could be rejected. In that case you'll enjoy the pleasure of correcting your Eagle Scout application and resubmitting it.
On the Eagle Application, there are two sets of required merit badges from which you can choose to do one from each group (Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving; and Cycling or Hiking or Swimming; Environmental Science or Sustainability). Both Star and Life ranks allow you to use two from one group, like using Hiking and Swimming as two required merit badges on your Star rank. If you have done this, make sure you select one as the required merit badge (cross out badges not used in items #6 and #9 of the application) and list the other required merit badge as a non-required merit badge (in one of the spaces numbered 13-21).
The date earned for the merit badge is the actual day the merit badge counselor signed and dated your merit badge card. Do not use the date you received it at your Court of Honor. The Scoutmaster, Troop advancement chairman, or district advancement chairman can help you with dates if you do not have complete records.
Requirement 4. Make sure the date listed reflects at least six months of service since your Life Scout Board of Review.
Requirement 5. Input the project completion date. It should match the date your final report was submitted for approval. Also input project name and the total number of hours worked by everyone, including you.
Requirement 6. Input the date of your conference.
Requirement 7. Attach to this application a statement of your ambitions and life purpose and a listing of positions held in your religious institution, school, camp, community, or other organizations during which you demonstrated leadership skills. Include honors and awards received during this service. Take part in a Scoutmaster conference with your unit leader.
Let's look at this single requirement in the two parts it really is. First, your statement. This is very straight forward, and an excellent opportunity for you to tell members of your board of review what you do outside Scouting. The statement will reveal who you have become in several ways.
Scouts who have been successful in Scouting will find it has spread to other areas of their life. This is especially true of Eagle candidates, since you have actually developed character which demonstrates the Scout Oath and Law in everything you do. Don't be shy about bragging! List it all! Most Scouts don't consider this well enough to remember all the things they do. And it is key to something that will help you all your life—that being establishing a good self-esteem, which, by the way, is to do good things and remember what you did!
Also, list all the various awards and honors you've achieved along the way. These may be a medal, plaque, or certificate, but could also be a different type of honor. For example, a letter from a principal or volunteer organization recognizing your contributions. Or maybe a letter from a church official thanking you for being in the choir for a season. Maybe it's a newspaper article mentioning you. If it made you feel honored, it counts!
Now, let's organize all this. Prepare a 3-ring binder to collate and sort all the documentation for submittal. The following items should be placed in the binder;
- Complete Scouting record from Troopmaster
- Completed Eagle Application
- Merit Badge Cards in card holder or color copies of cards. (this makes verification at Council much easier)
- Space for your sealed Reference Letters
- Statement of Life Goals and Ambitions letter
- Eagle Project Workbook and all related information.
- Miscellaneous documents
- Some Scouts write a thank you letter to the Scoutmaster/ Troop Committee and include a copy.
Next is the Scoutmaster conference. We'll talk about this more in a moment. You should be prepared beyond your unit leader's expectations. Make sure you have completed all the requirements and have everything ready for him or her to review. You might want to talk to him/her ahead of time to see what is expected in the way of documentation when you have the conference (such as, are you expected to have everything completely written and ready to turn in). Remember, this conference must occur prior to your 18th birthday.
"Hey, I've done this before. That's easy! Or is? Yes, you've sat in this seat many times before, but this time will be a bit different. You've been through this drill before, but here, of course, it is far more significant. You are applying for the highest honor available from the Boy Scouts of America. You must have demonstrated that you can not only "talk the talk," but "walk the walk" as well. As we pointed out in an earlier section, the standards are very high; doing good turns is a regular part of your daily life; "Be Prepared" describes your efforts to make the most of educational opportunities, getting along with others, and taking part in outdoor activities; the Scout Oath and Scout law are guidelines by which you direct your actions in your family, school, church, and nation. These are the standards and what is expected of an Eagle Scout and this is what your Scoutmaster will be looking for. Expect this Conference to last about an hour and don't be surprised if more than one Scoutmaster sits in.
You need to schedule this Conference well in advance, selecting both a time and venue that is mutually agreeable to all. You should also be prepared beyond your unit leader's expectations. Make sure you have completed all the requirements and have everything ready for him or her to review. You might want to talk to him/her ahead of time to see what is expected in the way of documentation when you have the conference (such as, are you expected to have everything completely written and ready to turn in).
Now is a good time too, to consider asking for some of those neat letters from Presidents, senior politicians, and members of industry.
Remember too, this conference must occur prior to your Board of Review (which generally can be no later than three months after your 18th birthday (six months with Council approval), but confirm this with Council if you find yourself running out of time!
So, now you're ready for your Eagle Board of Review. Your Scoutmaster Conference probably gave you a good feel for what you can expect, but further preparation is still important. This board is one of the most important interviews you will ever have and every minute you spend in advance preparing for it will pay back dividends to you tenfold!
Below is the document one District compiled for Board of Review members. It is a compilation of BSA resources and experience. It should be very helpful to you in preparing for yours.
For starters, you had better know the Scout Oath and Law better than ever before in your life! Can you imagine getting stuck here? Wow! What an awful way to start you Board!
Also, be in COMPLETE AND CORRECT uniform. Get a uniform inspection sheet from your Scoutmaster or from the Troop Handbook on this website and square things away. Also, have your Scoutmaster inspect your uniform well before the Board. It's worth it...you're an Eagle candidate!
Okay. Now you're ready. So what can you expect from your Board and what sort of questions will the members ask? No way to tell, really. But one thing is for certain, the degree of confidence you demonstrate in the answers you provide, will determine if the Board touches superficially on the topic or delves more deeply to draw more detail from you. Take the time to read through the Guide to Eagle Boards of Review. The questions are written from the Board's perspective. Think through how you might answer each and "Be prepared!"