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Path to Eagle

These details are not present anywhere, neither coherently, nor concisely. I have written this to alleviate the frustration I had while in your position. Good Luck!
-Alexander Dewing, December 2011, Eagle #115


Procedure from Life to Eagle


Requirements (The following except #7 must be completed before one’s 18th birthday):

  1. Be active in your troop, team, crew, or ship for a period of at least six months after you have achieved the rank of Life Scout.
  2. Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life. List the names of individuals who know you personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf, including parents/guardians, religious, educational, and employer references.
  3. Earn a total of 21 merit badges (10 more than you already have), including the following:
    First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Personal Fitness, Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving, Environmental Science, Personal Management, Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling, Camping, Family Life
  4. While a Life Scout, serve actively for a period of six months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility: 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 Leave No Trace Trainer.
  5. While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project should benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.) The project plan must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your Scoutmaster and troop committee, and the council or district before you start. You must use the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook, BSA publication No. 512-927, in meeting this requirement.
  6. Take part in a Scoutmaster conference.
  7. Successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.

Procedure:


Day 0: After Your Life Board of Review.
Congratulations on reaching the rank of Life Scout. Persevere for a bit longer and you will achieve Scouting’s highest rank.
You should first make a plan for getting your final 10 merit badges. Merit badges are not all too difficult as a whole, especially if you already have a Counselor. They are created for 14 year-olds, so even if you are not particularly industrious (and therefore don’t need this guide), you will be quite prepared to tackle these badges. Remember, PERSEVERANCE!
There are a few methods for getting these. I will write them in order of my suggestion.
  1. Summer Camp. This experience is invaluable. Not only is it great fun, but it is by far the easiest way to get badges. I was only able to go to camp once before attaining Eagle, though I got 7 merit badges, one third of the total 21, all in a week with adequate preparation.
    1. Once you decide to go to summer camp, you should plan which badges to do before going. Many have prerequisites (that are not long nor difficult), but they need to be completed or you won’t get your badge, rather you will get a “partial,” with some of a merit badge’s requirements signed off, but not all.
    2. Your plan should be designed around how you can fit in the most badges that you want/need to do. Aim to get eagle required badges in your schedule, particularly Lifesaving (or Emergency Prep), Swimming (if you choose this one), First Aid. these are more difficult to get outside of camp. Remember, you will also get one or two easy ones (if you haven’t already) that don’t take up a time slot, eg tuesday evening for an hour: fingerprinting in particular. Other easy ones that might take 3 days of 5 are Rowing, and any of the Handicraft badges (metalworking, woodworking, basketry, leatherworking, etc). For handicraft, if you work quickly, you can get two badges in one time slot over five days. Remember also not to fill every second with badges. Leave some time for fun. 7 badges in a week does not leave much time for fun. I would not recommend being that industrious.
    3. Get the merit badge booklet and do the prerequisites before going! In the packet that shows times for the badges (distributed via email or by the SPL), locations and prerequisites are shown. Books can be borrowed from someone who has already done the badge, or purchased. They are only a few dollars but the Council Store is a fair distance away.
    4. Additionally, Summer Camp will likely have an “Eagle’s Nest” where computers, air conditioning, and Counselors are available for the mostly-written required-Merit Badges. If you come fully prepared for a badge, you can get an indefinite number of these done in your free time. Note: the badges with 90 days lead-time will not be able to be done unless you come 90 days after Summer Camp to complete them...not usually possible as camp never lasts for 90 days.
    5. Go to summer camp and get the badges!
  2. Merit Badge Fairs: There is usually one or two each year. These are easy for the same reason as with Summer Camp: the program is arranged and the counselors are there and available. Methodology is quite similar as with Summer Camp (above), however, I recommend completing as much of the badge as you can in the Merit Badge Workbook (google for them) before going. You might not have time to fill it all out when you are there. Some counselors will teach the material and then literally give you time to fill out the workbook and sign it off when you’re done.
  3. With Counselors in town: One of the most difficult parts of getting these badges is getting hold of a Counselor that actually calls back. We have a few Counselors in town that are excellent (fair but thorough), and care about the Troop. As of the writing of this document the ones I know are (eagle required are bold):
          Mr Durenberger (
    Communications, Citizenship in the Nation, Theater),
          Mr Whitney (American Business,Climbing,
    Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Sports),
          Mr Best (Backpacking,
    Camping, Cycling, Hiking, Orienteering),
          Mrs Vyff (
    Environmental Science, Graphic Arts),
          Mr Eveleth (Small Boat Sailing)
    You can look these names up in the ML Phone Directory.
  4. Call a random counselor. This method did not work well for me, particularly during the summer. Sometimes, I would call a dozen counselors and not get a single reply. Despite, this might be your only method to get a few badges. The SPL and Scoutmaster will have a copy of the master Merit Badge Counselor list. Ask them for a name and phone number (and get a few just to be safe), or better yet, try to get the whole list. Call the person, leave a message if necessary. Call again two days later...follow standards of decency, but don’t be too hesitant. People very often do not get messages intended for them. Emails, if you happen to have one, are far better. Unfortunately, neither the Troop nor the Council have an email address list.
    When you do get in touch, ask them if you need to meet/chat on the phone first before beginning. Then get to work!
  5. Twiddle your thumbs and hope that the badges materialize. I do not recommend this method.


Badges completed/queued/planned, you can begin work on your Eagle Scout Project. This is the part where documentation is particularly missing.

Day 0: After Your Life Board of Review and planning for your merit badges.
Begin to keep track of all the hours you spend on the project, from thinking about your idea, to writing emails....planning counts. Keep all your papers in a 3-ring binder. Do not punch them; rather use plastic sheet protectors or just keep them in a folder for the meantime. Merit Badge Blue Cards should be kept in the plastic protectors for trading cards; they fit perfectly.
Download the “Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook” (google for the newest one). I recommend the .DOC format so you can easily fill in all the details in your word processor so it looks clean when printed and submitted. Fill out the rudimentary data (name, scoutmaster etc.)
Think of an idea for a project. Think of organizations that you participate in, problems you saw around town, particularly outdoors, messy areas...anything. Remember, if the project seems HUGE before starting, it will be MASSIVE and have HUGE problems/delays. Be realistic, but not minimalistic in your choice.

Day 0: After Your Life Board of Review and planning for your merit badges and tentatively choosing your project.
Your first signature will be from your Scoutmaster, but I recommend speaking to the representative of the organization that this project will benefit first. Discuss a general plan; see if they are on board. If not, revise the idea with them; if it isn’t going to work, think of a new idea.
If they are on board, write the “Project Description” and “How the project will benefit said organization” in your workbook and meet with your Scoutmaster, revising as necessary.
When all changes have been reconciled between the representative and the Scoutmaster, write the “Project Details” section and add the “Before Pictures.”
Be sure to address the following (From the council website):

3:   List the different tasks to be performed and when and where will they be done. Be specific, and answer the following questions:
a. What tasks need to be performed (be specific)?
b. How many workers will be required for each task?
c. What is the estimated number of hours required for each task?
d. Are any special skills required by the workers?
e. How will the work be organized & scheduled?
4:   List the materials and tools required.   Be specific.  The following questions are among the ones that should be addressed in the plan:
a. For materials – what, why, quantity & cost?
b. For tools – what, type/size, when during project, quantity & when needed?
c. Will item be loaned, donated or purchased?
d. If purchased, how much will it cost, where will it be purchased, and what is the source of funds for purchase the item?
e. How will the work be organized & scheduled?
Be specific enough that if the list was handed to another scout, that scout would be able to assemble the necessary materials and tools.
5:   Other details that should be addressed include:
a. What safety hazards might be faced, and how will the safety of those carrying out the project be ensured?
b. Graphs, sketches, pictures, tables that help demonstrate the plan or planning required, or that help show the work that will be done.
c. “Before” photos to use with “after” photos in your final report to illustrate the project.
d. Are there any permits, or other legal requirements that must be met?
e. What quantities of materials and tools will be required? What are the materials and tools?
6:  Make any graphs, sketches, pictures, tables, etc. which will help describe the planning you've done to get ready to carry out your project. Before and after photos will be helpful in your final report.“

If you are willing to take a risk that your proposal won’t need to be revised, you can gain the first three signatures (below) before meeting with your advisor. This was more or less how the Troop used to operate. The only problem is that you might have to reacquire your signatures if your proposal has to be adjusted when meeting with your advisor.

Otherwise, you should email the “District Advancement Committee Chair” (see http://advancement.ppbsa.org/trailtoeagle.htm#chairs or google) We are in the Fishawack District. You are asking to be assigned an advisor, or formally, a “Council or District Advancement Committee Member”
With your newly assigned advisor, meet and discuss. If you wrote in every point above and can field his questions, you might only need to meet once for as little time as an hour. On the other hand, you might have a few back and forths with revisions. Once you have an acceptable result, you may proceed to get your signatures.

Now you need signatures in the following order:
  1. Representative of the Beneficiary Organization: make sure they understand their part and you know and respect everything they have asked for
  2. Scoutmaster: Assuming you have reconciled most differences up to now, this should be a formality
  3. “Unit Committee Member:” For Troop 41, this means Committee Chair (Mr Abate as of Dec 2011). Email him your proposal and discuss accordingly. He will most likely send the proposal out to the Troop Committee to solicit ideas from everyone. To the responses, include the good ideas, think seriously about why you do not want to include the others. A follow up email to each is a good idea; people don’t like to think they are ignored.
  4. Your advisor. Have him sign it.


Day 1: You had a sleepless night completing the steps above. Take a day off.
Day 2: You are refreshed and ready to become and Eagle Scout.
You may now begin your project.
As for volunteers, ask at scout meetings, follow up by phone/email/facebook the day before, send a Troop email (Mr. Reilly sends it out, just send your message to him). Remember, food makes the world go round and especially makes scouts work! Offer snacks/meals, but they cannot be donated by your family if they ‘appear’ on your expense list.

Note: each following paragraph can (and should) be completed done simultaneously for quickest results.

1: When you finish, finish writing your Workbook and print out the new pages. You will need the signature of the beneficiary’s representative. It is also a good idea to ask the rep to write and sign a brief letter that says that you have completed the project satisfactorily, showing leadership etc. Next, you need a signature from the Scoutmaster for the completion of the project (though this can be combined with your Scoutmaster Conference particularly if your project is the last requirement you are working on, but it is a far better idea to do it separately).

2: You will need 3 or 4 letters of recommendation. I recommend choosing some of the following people: high school guidance counselor, priest, representative from the organization that your project was for, close family friend, etc. Give these people plenty of time to write your recommendations. You (Mr watrous) need(s) the letters BEFORE you can schedule your Board of Review. Ask them kindly and ask them to include the following points:
This letter of recommendation should be based upon your personal
interaction with the Eagle Scout candidate and should take into consideration your observance of how he exemplifies the points listed below in the Scout Oath and the Scout Law
Also note, the letters should be sent directly to Mr Watrous (as of Dec 2011) who will head your Board of Review. Warn him that they are coming. The letters should not be given to you, but it isn’t a disaster if they are.

3: Download the “Eagle Scout Rank Application” (google for it). Fill out what you can. Contact the Troop Record Keeper (Mr Chan as of Dec 2011) and ask for your advancement history. Make sure all dates match what you have (on your blue cards, in your scout book etc.) Include the printout in your Eagle Scout binder that you have been compiling.

4: You need to attach a sheet of your “Goals and Aspirations” to your Eagle Scout Rank Application. That is only a paragraph or two. Place this in your binder

5: You need to “attach to 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” This is effectively a resume; you probably have one prepared. Place this in your binder.

*****For your binder, borrow a copy from a previous Eagle Scout; duplicate the format; no need to reinvent the wheel

Upon completing 1,3,4,5 in the section above and having completed your other requirements (notably 6 months of leadership and tenure) you may schedule your scoutmaster conference. This is not dissimilar to Conferences from previous ranks.

Once you have completed your Scoutmaster Conference, contact the Troop Committee Chair to obtain his approval for your eagle scout binder.

Now, you need to bring your binder to Council headquarters to be approved. They might do it while you wait, they might need you to come back in a day or two. Call ahead or be prepared to confirm which will be your fate.

Once your Letters of Recommendation have arrived at their destination, you may schedule your Board of Review. This involves contacting your advisor to get a selection of prospective dates. These you pass on to Mr Watrous who will assemble your Board of Review.

For the board of review, think about what Scouting means to you, what you have learned, what have been your troubles, what you could improve, what have been your favorite parts etc. Don’t stress out, they’re not out to fail you.

Congratulations Eagle! (or at least Life Scout on finishing reading this document)
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