The Eagle Scout by itself means to be a great Scout. It means you have achieved Scouting’s toughest challenge of the advancement program. Scouting’s goal is to develop each and every Scout into three basic aims, physically fit, good Citizens and good personal character. The true meaning of an Eagle Scout is defined in what a Scout is. The quick answer is the twelve points of the Scout Law, a pretty easy and simple answer, but not the entire answer. An Eagle Scout is someone who shows character by his “actions”
Eagle Scouts have made their marks throughout history–from walking on the moon and working behind the desk in the Oval Office to running the bases in the major leagues. And while we’re proud to claim some truly great men in American history among our ranks, we’re even more proud that everyday Eagle Scouts become wonderful husbands, fathers, and citizens,” said Bob Mazzuca, former Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “This research validates for the world something we’ve known about Eagle Scouts for years. They lead. They vote. They donate. They volunteer. They work hard and achieve their goals. In short, Eagle Scouts are exceptional men.”
Eagle Scout Project Impact
While a Life Scout, an Eagle candidate must 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 Scouting.
Out of the more than 115 million boys who have passed through the Boy Scouts of America in the last 102 years, approximately two million have become Eagle Scouts, a 2% rate that has climbed to about 4% of all scouts in recent years. Some may have excelled in outdoor challenges and troop leadership, or while earning merit badges for oceanography and entrepreneurship. Yet all have been changed by the experience of what has been come to be called “the Ph.D. of Boyhood.” And these Eagles in turn have changed the face of American culture in ways both obvious and unexpected.
To earn the Eagle Scout rank, the highest advancement rank in Scouting, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills. Although many options are available to demonstrate proficiency in these areas, a number of specific skills are required to advance through the ranks to Eagle. To advance, a Boy Scout must pass specific tests that are organized by requirements and merit badges.
Merit badges signify the mastery of certain Scoutcraft skills, as well as helping boys increase their skill in an area of personal interest. Of the more than 100 merit badges available, 21 must be earned to qualify for Eagle Scout. Of this group, 13 badges are required, including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Cooking, Environmental Science, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Camping, and Family Life. In addition, a Scout has a choice between Emergency Preparedness and Lifesaving and a choice among Cycling, Hiking, and Swimming.
At each of his rank advancements, a Boy Scout takes part in a Scoutmaster conference. These conferences help the Scout to set goals for himself in line with his individual talents and abilities. At each conference, the Scoutmaster helps him evaluate how well he accomplished his present goal and then works with him in setting new goals.
Service and Responsibility
Beginning with the Star rank, and continuing through Life and Eagle, a Scout must demonstrate participation in increasingly more responsible service projects. At these levels, he also must demonstrate leadership skills by holding one or more specific youth positions of responsibility in his patrol and/or troop.
Steps in Advancement
Advancement, one of the eight methods by which the aims of Scouting are achieved, has four steps through each award level.
First, the Scout learns. Much of his learning comes from other boys in his patrol or troop and by active participation in troop program. His patrol activities are directed toward the skills he needs. Every troop hike, camping trip, or other activity offers potential learning experiences. A Scout learns to pitch a tent by pitching one, to use a compass by finding directions, and to cook a meal by having to prepare and eat it.
Second, the Scout is tested. The specific requirements determine the kind of testing. Verbal testing is sufficient in some instances. In other instances, a Scout must demonstrate his skills by doing.
Third, the Scout is reviewed. The purpose of the review is to ensure that all requirements for advancement have been met. This includes a check of the Scout’s attitude and practice of the ideals of Scouting, in addition to his Scoutcraft skills. The decision regarding whether a Scout has met the required standards to qualify for rank advancement begins with the troop and, for the Eagle Scout rank, is approved by the district, local council, and finally, the National Council.
Fourth, the Scout is recognized. The final step in advancement involves presentation of the badge, usually at a ceremony before the entire troop.
Boy Scouts With Disabilities
Boy Scouts with disabilities may qualify for the Eagle Scout rank. Each Scout must earn as many of the required merit badges as he can. He then submits an application for alternate merit badges. His BSA local council determines the alternate merit badges for him to earn.
National Eagle Scout Association
Founded in 1972, the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) maintains contact with Eagle Scouts to sustain their interest in Scouting. Any Eagle Scout may join the association. Applications for membership in NESA are available through your local council or by contacting the Eagle Scout Service at the national office.
Distinguished Eagle Scout Award
The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award was established in 1969 to acknowledge Eagle Scouts who have distinguished themselves in business, professions, and service to their country. Only Eagle Scouts who earned the Eagle Scout rank a minimum of 25 years previously are eligible for nomination. The award is given by the National Eagle Scout Service upon the recommendation of a committee of Distinguished Eagle Scouts.