“Getting Started Checklist” for the Eagle Service Project

eagle-scout-service-project-checklistGetting started with an Eagle Scout Service Project is a daunting task.  I have tried to make it a little easier with a “Getting Started” checklist.  The checklist has the very first things you should do to launch your service project.  Just start at the top of list, complete the item and check it off!  You can download the checklist from the “Downloads” tab, or here.

As I note in the checklist, different Councils have somewhat different requirements.  So as part of getting started, please access your local Council instructions.

Speaking of which, this is not one of those situations in life where “if all else fails, read the instructions.”  The Eagle Scout Service Project is a complicated affair.  You (and your parents or guardians ) should review the instructions before you begin.

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

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Ideas for Eagle Projects

Eagle-coyotes-484-220x115Okay, why do I have a photograph of a coyote in a blog for Eagle Scout candidates?  Because this coyote was the beneficiary of an Eagle Scout project to build shelters for coyotes!  (I am sure that all coyotes would love to have a place to rest after chasing roadrunners.)

You can read about this and other great Eagle Project ideas at ScoutingNewsroom.org.  It is a great source for Eagle Project ideas.  To go directly to Eagle Projects, use this link: http://scoutingnewsroom.org/?s=eagle+project.

Let’s see … we have hiking trails, meditation paths, dog beds, ga-ga pits (?), college campus renovation, a seed library, an anti-bullying project, cemetery restoration, creating prosthetic hands with a 3-D printer, a fire-pit, a walking track, a learning garden, providing needy kids with bicycles, replacing a walkway, a Blues-A-Tron invention (?), a dog agility park, and a bee-nesting project.  And many more.  A great illustration that there are potential Eagle Projects everywhere!

I have NEVER had an Eagle candidate fail because he could not find a project.  So don’t get discouraged, get creative!

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

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Your Eagle Project Does Not Have to Be Permanent

Ross-and-greyhoundsBryan Wendell in a recent post in “Bryan on Scouting”, wrote, “Nowhere in the rules does it require the beneficiary of an Eagle project to be human.”

He goes on to describe a greyhound rescue Eagle Service project:  “Ross R. of Circle Ten Council’s Plano, Texas-based Troop 1000, organized an adoption event and raised awareness in his community about retired racing greyhounds. He also held a collection drive for dog toys, treats and towels for the dogs in foster care at this nonprofit corporation that has assisted 2,700 greyhounds to date.”

This beautiful Eagle Service Project also illustrates that your project does NOT have be something permanent.  This is not to take away from the many thousands of benches, bridges, sheds, and animal shelters that have been built over the years!  But the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project is designed to allow an Eagle candidate to “plan, develop, and give leadership in a service project,” and that can be done in many ways.  Here are some examples of non-construction projects that have been approved:

•  Raised money to buy duffle bags for foster children and filled them with blankets, flashlights and stuffed animals.

Ran food drives, organized the pantry and reached out to families who could use assistance

•  Collected books and distributed them to children in need

•  Built awareness of autism by designing a program for participants to experience challenges that some people with autism face

•  Ran a donation drive, and then separated, organized, catalogued, packed and shipped donations to recipients

•  Created a program to collect worn out American flags with collection boxes, and then disposed of them properly in a flag-burning ceremony, allowing people to burn a flag in someone’s memory

•  Ran a community collection drive for personal items to send to our service men and women overseas.

•  Assembled volunteer musicians, rehearsed, used Scouts as ushers, and held a band concert to raise food for a food pantry (or for concerts at local VA Hospitals or nursing homes)

•  Organized knitters and quilters to make blankets for the neonatal intensive care unit at a local hospital

The opportunities are limitless.  Just look for people (or animals) that need to be helped.  They are all around us!

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

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Revised Eagle Application Checklist

Eagle-Scout-Rank-Application-ChecklistThe EagleCoach checklist for your Eagle Scout application has been extensively revised for 2016.  Once you have completed your Eagle Scout Service project, merit badges, leadership and other requirements, you are ready to prepare your Eagle Scout application.

The Eagle Scout application is a very detailed document, but the EagleCoach checklist will walk you through the process.  Simply print out this checklist and follow the directions, step-by-step.  The only caution is that the details may vary for different Councils, so please check your Council website for full information.  If this checklist conflicts with requirements from your Council, please follow their instructions!

The revised checklist is now available on the Downloads page of this website.  Or you can click here:  Eagle Scout Application Checklist.

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

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New Eagle Scout Application for 2016

There is a new Eagle Scout application for 2016.  While it is very similar to past versions, the need for an essay to accompany the application is emphasized on the second page.  Court of HonorAll Eagle Scout applicants should use the new form, which can be downloaded from the Downloads tab, or here.

You can identify the new application by the “2016 Printing” in the lower right corner of the second page.

And speaking of new versions, if you are starting your Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, please use the link from the Downloads tab to download the very latest version.  If you have started an old one, you do not have to convert to a new version, but the form is updated and improved on a fairly regular basis, so there is no reason not to take advantage of that!

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

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Eagle Scout Application Checklist

2014 Eagle Scout Application Single page copyThe Eagle Scout Rank Application is a complicated affair, and along with the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, requires many signatures and supporting data.  I have coached many Scouts who tend to get bogged down with this final step to Eagle.

How do you make sure that you are submitting a correctly filled-out Eagle Scout Rank Application?  You can use a checklist, and I have prepared an EagleCoach checklist for your use.  Each Council has slightly different requirements for the paperwork, so please begin the process by checking your local Council website for specific instructions.  They may have their own checklist, and if they do, you should use that.

The EagleCoach checklist that you can use is now available on the Downloads page of this website.  Or you can click here:  Eagle Scout Application Checklist.

Please spend the hour or two required to fill out the application and workbook correctly.  You spent years climbing this high on the Eagle trail, and the summit is in sight.  It is worth the time to to make sure that your application is not rejected by your Council!

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

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Eagle Scout Class of 2014

2014-Eagle-Scout-class-size

Wow!  Last year 51,820 young men earned the rank of Eagle Scout.  Perhaps your name will be on the list for 2015, 2016 or beyond!

From Bryan on Scouting:  Seeing one young man finish the journey toward becoming an Eagle Scout is an awesome sight. Even if you’ve never met this new Eagle Scout, you know Scouting has prepared him to become a future leader, a quality husband and an all-around great guy.

Here are some quick facts about the 2014 Eagle Scout class:

Eagle Scout service project hours

Every 2014 Eagle Scout completed an Eagle Scout service project, and the combined number of hours put in for those selfless acts of service was 8,127,532 hours.

Value of Eagle project hours

If the estimated value of volunteer time is $22.55 per hour, that means Eagle Scouts and the volunteers they led provided $183.3 million worth of service to their communities.

The Eagle Scouts of 2014 say, “You’re welcome, America.”

Hours served per Eagle project

The average number of project hours per Eagle Scout last year was 156.84 hours.

That’s slightly down from the 2013 average of 164.44 hours per project.

From the BSA Newsroom:  Since the Eagle Scout rank was first awarded in 1912, more than 2 million young men have achieved the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank. A study conducted by Baylor University, Merit Beyond the Badge, found that Eagle Scouts are more likely than men who have never been in Scouting to:

  • Have higher levels of planning and preparation skills, be goal-oriented, and network with others.
  • Be in a leadership position at their place of employment or local community.
  • Report having closer relationships with family and friends.
  • Volunteer for religious and nonreligious organizations.
  • Donate money to charitable groups.
  • Work with others to improve their neighborhoods.

Nice work Class of 2014!

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

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Servant Leadership

Patrol LeaderI tell Scouts that the three most important things that they must demonstrate to their Eagle Board of Review are:

1.  Leadership

2.  Leadership

3.  Leadership

Why the emphasis on leadership?  Because the world hungers for capable and authentic leadership.  And because the skills that you are developing in Scouting, particularly leadership skills, will help you change the world.

But leadership is not just a title and the ability to tell people what to do.  Authentic leadership is called servant leadership.   What is servant leadership?  It is your choice to give rather than receive.  As a servant leader, your true role is helping the members of your team (patrol, troop) succeed.  The Scouts under your leadership will see that you care about their needs and that you are focused on their success.  When you have this respect, your will have earned both the title and role of leader, and Scouts will want to belong to your team.

What are some examples of what you could do in a patrol setting to foster team development through servant leadership?

1.  Have an awareness of what each Scout needs for the next rank, and remind them of events or opportunities to complete those requirements.

2.  Rotate chores fairly (and include yourself in the rotation) for trips and activities.

3.  Make sure your youngest Scouts are happy and comfortable on camping trips.  As an example, get their tents up first!

4.  Listen, listen, listen.  Every Scout needs to be heard.

5.  We all have different skills and temperaments.   Each member of your patrol has a gift.  It might be something like showmanship, specific Scout skills, organization, or empathy for others.  Wherever possible, put those skills to work.

6.  Take the time to ask each Scout privately what could be done to improve the patrol.

7.  Praise in public, criticize in private!

The following is from BSA “Leadership Skills for Troops:”

“In your lives today and in the future, you will have many opportunities to lead.  If you accept the role of servant leader, you’ll find that teams will seek you to lead them, your advice and opinion will be sought, and your team members will also grow and succeed.”

Yes, earning Eagle Scout rank is important, but even more important is bringing the leadership skills that you have developed in the process of earning Eagle rank to the rest of your adult life.

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

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Preparing for Your Eagle Scout Board of Review

Eagle Scout Board of ReviewYour Eagle Scout application has been submitted.  Now what?  After the paperwork has been processed, you will be notified, usually through your unit, that it is time for your Eagle Scout Board of Review.  You have had boards of review before, but this one will be different, and very special.

So let’s see if we can prepare you for this big event.  To set the scene, a board must have at least 3 members, and no more than six.  There must be a District representative on the Board.  Most Eagle Boards of Review are no less than 30 minutes, and sometimes as long as 60 minutes.

Re-testing is not part of an Eagle board.  (You should not be asked to tie a bowline knot!) As I open an Eagle Board of Review for my District, I ask the candidate to stand before the Board and recite the Scout Oath and Law, as well as the Outdoor Code.  Since you have probably been doing this every week for at least 4 years, I hope this will not be an issue!  The Board will be concerned with who you are, what you have learned from Scouting, and what you intend to give back.  Most questions are designed to make you think, and very few have “right” answers.

I tell the Scouts that I coach that the three most important things to demonstrate to their Board are:  (1) Leadership, (2) Leadership and (3) Leadership.  That is why a review of your Eagle Scout Service Project will take up a big chunk of the time in an Eagle Board.  The project will hopefully demonstrate to the Board your ability to conceptualize a project, plan it to the last detail, assemble the manpower, materials and money to make it happen, and report on the results.  But the Board will also want to know how you have demonstrated leadership in your troop and in your other activities.  How have you given back to others?  How do you live by the Scout Oath and Law?  How do you help the youngest Scouts?

My best advice:  Relax and take a deep breath whenever necessary.  Be yourself.  Take your time to think out answers.  Before submitting your Eagle Scout application, make your Eagle Scout Service Project workbook as complete as it possibly can be, with plenty of exhibits.

Every member of the Board WANTS to see you walk out of the room as an Eagle Scout.  (Your Eagle Scout certificate will be dated with the date of your Eagle Board of Review.)  Properly prepared, this should be a wonderful experience, and one that you will remember for the rest of your life.

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

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What’s Cooking?

Cooking Merit BadgeThe Cooking Merit Badge is now required for Eagle Scout advancement.  In a December 2013 announcement, however, BSA has stated that either the requirements for the old or the new Cooking merit badge may be started in earning this merit badge throughout 2014.  Then, on January 1, 2015, you may only begin the merit badge with the new Cooking requirements.

To emphasize, if you have already earned this merit badge, it will ALWAYS count toward your Eagle advancement.  You do NOT need to earn it again.  If you have not earned it, you may begin it with either set of requirements in 2014.  In 2015, you may only begin the merit badge with the new set of requirements.

Those new requirements have not been published yet.  Watch for them in early 2014.

“Oh, the possibilities!”

Coach Hunt

(Would you like to receive an email every time there is a new post at EagleCoach?  Just register in the left-hand column.  We promise your email will not be shared with anyone else.  Scouts honor!)