Q & A

questionsDo you have a question about an Eagle Scout Service Project or earning Eagle Scout rank?  There is probably another Scout from around the country who has the same question, so let’s share!  You can email your question to me at CoachHunt@EagleCoach.org, and I will do my best to reply personally.   Selected emails will be posted here.

Now, let’s get to some recent questions:

Q:    Are the hours counted that a Scout put towards completing the final project report and rank application? [My son] recorded those hours on a spreadsheet but didn’t count them in his Eagle Scout total.  Great website – my son consulted it quite a bit during this year.

KD from East Carolina Council September 7, 2016

A:   Your son should include ALL the hours that he spends on the actual project – finishing the report, writing thank you letters (a Scout is courteous), assembling photos or exhibits etc.  He should NOT include his time on the Eagle rank application – that is not part of the project.


Q:   Does a Scout have to have his Eagle Scout Court of Honor before he can wear his Eagle patch or medal?

RF from Suffolk County Council February 14, 2016

A:   The Eagle Court of Honor is ceremonial in nature, and does not reflect when a Scout officially becomes an Eagle.  A Scout may wear his new rank after successfully completing his Eagle Board of Review AND receiving approval of his Council and BSA National.  When the paperwork arrives back from BSA National, it is official, and the Scout may wear his new rank.  (The date on the Eagle certificate, however, is backdated to his Eagle Scout Board of Review.)


Q:   I’m an eagle coach too, and was wondering if you’d had any experience commenting directly on the PDF?  I’ve got more and more scouts that want to email the PDF back and forth.

 I use “track changes” and comments/markups on Google Docs and in Preview all the time at work (I’m a professor), but don’t use Adobe Reader much.  When on paper, I use pink sticky-notes (and have the scout move them from the “old” paper to the “new one” then I remove them when I’m happy with the improvement.  Same thing with “comments” in word or google docs.  But can’t quite get a good workflow for the Adobe PDF.  Ideas?

KN from Alamo Council  August 17, 2015

A:   I am fairly “old-school” and use a red pen to mark up the Scout’s PDF, which I have him email to me.  I print out only the section being evaluated, make my notes in red pen, scan it and email it back.  The scan is my record of what changes I requested.  If the changes are minor, I may also just respond with an email, listing the changes that I want to see.

If what I am reading is far off track, it usually means that the Scout has missed key concepts, and in that case I will usually insist on a physical meeting to review his work and get him going on the right path.


Q:  We are an established and highly successful search and rescue team in need of agility-type stations for our dogs. We are willing and able to supervise an enterprising prospective Eagle Scout who might be interested in our project. These stations would be used to help train our dogs for any search situations regarding footing other than solid ground or water. Tunnels, A-frames, jumps, teeter-totters, etc. would be welcome station ideas.

We are located in E. Tennessee. Can you help us find a prospective scout who might be interested in earning his Eagle Scout badge by helping us get the stations we need for training?    VF from Smoky Mountain Council – August 17, 2015

A:   Probably the best way to find an Eagle Scout candidate is to talk your local Boy Scout Council office.  Either talk with the Scout Executive, or the Council Advancement Chairperson.  They might send you the next lower level, called a District. Your exact location will dictate what District you are in.  In that case, you will want to talk to the District Advancement Chairperson.

Eagle Scout service projects can only be done for not-for-profit organizations, so if you are a for-profit organization, Eagle Scout candidates will not be able to complete a project with you.  Good luck!


Q:  The Quartermaster Project for Sea Scouts is equivalent to the Eagle Scout Project. Officially, the requirements are the same.   However, our Sea Scouts would often like to do a project that is related to the nautical/maritime emphasis of the Sea Scout program.  There is very little information on line offering suggestions for these types of projects.  Do you have any suggestions for nautical/maritime projects that would be appropriate for a Quartermaster (or Eagle Scout) project?    MF from Orange County Council – June 20, 2015

A:   I have to say that this is a question I have never seen before!  As you probably know, the Eagle/Quartermaster project has to be done for a not-for-profit group, school, house of worship, or community organization, and it cannot benefit your Ship or Sea Scouts in general.

I once had a Scout build a dagger-board rack and a hiking bench (to practicing hiking on a sailboat) for a local YMCA that runs sailing courses.  In our area, we have a not-for-profit sailing school, so a suitable project on their grounds would be acceptable.  Perhaps there is a marine environmental group that needs help with a project, or a community that needs help with a beach erosion project.  Many of my Scouts build enclosures for animals (bat houses, kestrel falcon boxes, a duck house and a goat pen to name a few.)  I’m not sure if there is a maritime equivalent for sea turtles or other seafaring birds or creatures, but it might be worth exploring.

In my youth, I earned the Oceanography merit badge and loved it.  Perhaps this merit badge book might be a good start on other maritime project ideas.


Q:   I just became a Personal Fitness merit badge counselor after many frustrations with the current merit badge counselors in our troop/area. My son had to do his 12 weeks three times because of poor instructions. So here is my question. I have a scout I am taking on because he has had the same frustrations with the one of those counselors. She does not explain clearly about doing the measurements/check in every two weeks. So he has not done those. He is now almost to week eight. He has kept good records and has done each of those things at least once a week… He has already had to restart a second time because a family vacation where he took a week off. I’d really like to let him continue from where he is at and not start over again, but I can’t find any instructions from BSA on the matter.       AI from Yosemite Council – January 16, 2015

A:   Having worked with many Scouts on the Personal Fitness merit badge, I understand your frustration!  I have taken the position that I have a lot of latitude with these particular requirements.  For example, the requirement does not say that you must exercise every day.  It says you must keep a log, measure your results, and show improvement.

As a first step , I help the Scout complete Requirement 7 (design the fitness program).  If he participates in a sport, I always recommend that he start the merit badge when he starts his sports season – he can count all the training and games/meets in his log.  I also do the initial testing, and the post-program testing.  I ask the Scout to do the 2-week interval testing with his parents or a merit badge buddy.  I am not concerned with a week of vacation, or a period of illness, as long as I see regular exercise.

Having said all of this, the two most important lessons for boys to learn are:  (1) You can change your body and make it more fit, and (2) you want to be concerned about an exercise program for life, not just for 12-weeks.  That’s where my real emphasis is placed with the Scouts.


Q:   I have a question regarding Merit Badges proof. For the process of qualifying for the Eagle rank, how does a Scout prove which badges he has earned?       MC from Gulf Stream Council – January 16, 2015

A:   Ask the Advancement Chairperson in your troop to run a “Member Unit Advancement Summary” from the internet.  This is the official BSA record of all the awards earned by each Scout.  In our Council, this report is inserted into the Eagle Scout application packet instead of copies of blue cards.  The checklist that you attached from your Council, however, requests actual copies of the blue cards, so definitely comply with this.  Once the Eagle Scout application is reviewed by Council, further proof will not be necessary for the Eagle Board of Review.

When you fill out the Eagle Scout application, make sure that you use the dates from the “Member Unit Advancement Summary.”  These are the official dates.


Q:   Is there a requirement that other scouts must participate in my Eagle Scout project or can my volunteers be from just family, friends, etc.    Paul from Southern New Jersey Council – July 26, 2014

A:   There is no requirement that your volunteers be Scouts or Scout leaders.  This is a leadership project, however, so you must satisfactorily demonstrate to your Eagle Board of Review that you led others in the project.  So, for example, if you and your dad completed a project together, it would not qualify as an Eagle project.  The more people that you lead, the more easily you can demonstrate to your board that you showed leadership.


Q:   Since there are no signatures required for the final plan in the Eagle Project workbook, can I just start my project when I want?  Devon from Chief Seattle Council – April 26, 2014

A:   OK, so obviously you must have the four signatures from the proposal section.  While you don’t need any signatures for the final plan, it is a very good idea to have your Eagle Coach or District Representative review your final plan before you swing into action.  Why?  The final plan and and project report are going to be a major portion of your Eagle Scout Board of Review!  If it is complete, and well-documented, there will be very few questions.  A poorly done plan and report will invite a lot of questions and scrutiny.


Q:   I have a partial blue card from three years ago.  Is it still good?    Ryan from Theodore Roosevelt Council – October 2, 2013

A:   Merit Badge blue cards do not expire as long as you are a Boy Scout.  (Of course, when you reach age 18, you are no longer a Boy Scout.)  Your “partial” blue card is still valid.  So, talk to your Scoutmaster about connecting with a counselor, and finish it up!


Q:   I am working on my Eagle project, but my fundraising form was not approved prior to the project and has not been seen by anyone. What should I do?    JP from National Capital Area Council – September 15, 2013

A:   If you are planning any fundraising, you must have a fundraising application (page 17 of the Eagle Scout Service Project workbook) signed by your Council (or person designated by your Council) included in your project workbook for your Eagle Scout application and your Eagle Scout Board of Review.   The best action is to call your Eagle Coach or a member of your District Advancement Committee and explain the situation.  They will guide you on how to handle this.  Councils have some latitude on processing fundraising applications (for example, Councils are permitted to say that bake sales and car washes do not require approval.)  So you need to check locally to see how this should be handled.