Trail To Eagle

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Congratulations on reaching this point in your Scouting career.  Just getting to this point takes a lot of work, and the Eagle advancement process will be no different.  It will take motivation, commitment, and hard work.  It’s not called an “achievement” for nothing.  But the fact that you’ve made it this far means you’ve earned the right to take the final steps and achieve what only 2% of all Scouts achieve.  The purpose of this document is to describe the Eagle advancement process and detail the next steps you should take.  This document summarizes and supplements the document links below in step 5.  It does not replace them.  You must still review each document.

Eagle Rank Requirements

Many Scouts reach the rank of Life Scout and immediately want to start working on their project.  But there are more requirements for the Eagle rank than just executing a project and it is in your best interest to focus on the other requirements before starting on your project.  You will be much more prepared for your project if the majority of the other requirements are finished first and you’re ready to give it your full attention.  You’re also going to utilize much of what you learn through the completion of your Eagle required merit badges, such as Personal Management and Communication.  That’s part of the reason they are “Eagle required”.  And finally, you don’t want to finish your project and then have to wait weeks or months before submitting your Eagle package to the Occoneechee Council office because you still have merit badges to complete.

The Requirements for the Eagle Rank are:

  • Be active in your troop for a period of at least six months after achieving the rank of Life Scout.
  • Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
  • Earn the remaining five Eagle required merit badges as well as five additional non-Eagle required merit badges for a total of 21 (or more).
  • Serve in a position of responsibility for six months after achieving the rank of Life Scout.
  • While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a Leadership Service Project approved by your Scoutmaster, Troop Committee, and the District Eagle Board of Review.
  • Complete the Eagle Scout rank application.
  • Identify six individuals who would be will to provide a recommendation on your behalf.
  • Participate in a Scoutmaster conference.
  • Appear before a District Eagle Board of Review (DEBOR)
  • Complete all these requirements BEFORE your 18th birthday (however, the DEBOR can take place after your 18th birthday provided the remaining requirements are complete and submitted to the council office BEFORE your 18th birthday).

What is the Process?

  1. Login to Scoutbook and review the complete merit badges and make sure it agrees with what you believe you have completed.
  2. Schedule a meeting with the Scoutmaster to discuss your troop activity level and positions of responsibility.  He takes these requirements very seriously and will be the person who has to sign off on them.
  3. If you haven’t at least started all your outstanding merit badges, do so now.
  4. When you have completed all of your outstanding merit badges (or are at least very close to completing them), contact Mr. Davis to start discussing your leadership service project.  He or another trained advisor will be your Eagle Advisor throughout the Eagle advancement process.  The role of the Eagle Advisor is to guide you as you complete your requirements and your leadership project plan.  He will be the initial approver of your project plan before it is submitted for approval to your Scoutmaster and the Unit Committee.  He will also support you in your DEBOR project and final reviews.
  5. Download copies of each of the following documents and read each one before meeting with your Eagle Advisor.  Each provides critical information regarding the process and requirements.
  6. After the initial meeting with your Eagle Advisor, you should start working on a project idea with your sponsor.  The project must benefit your church, school, other non-profit organization, or the community at large.  Contrary to what some believe, there is no specific requirement regarding the length or size of your project.  The only requirement is that it is large enough in scope to allow you to demonstrate leadership while providing a service to your sponsor or the community.  Use the documents you downloaded previously as a reference.  Don’t begin writing it up until the idea has been approved by your sponsor and Eagle Advisor.  You must also start a work log at this time and begin documenting any and all time spent on your project from this point forward.  This log is required as part of the project plan that will be submitted to the DEBOR.
  7. After your project idea is approved, you’re ready to start writing up your project plan.  While the BSA requires that the project be submitted using the workbook form referenced above (a fillable PDF document), I’ve found that most Scouts produce more organized work by starting with an outline in a word processor and then pasting the content into the workbook form when complete.  The PDF form doesn’t make it easy to work that way.  The form also does not allow you to insert tables, diagrams, or pictures.  These will become attachments to your workbook.  There is a sample project plan outline available here that you may use.  Keep in mind that this is only a sample outline.  You don’t have to use it and may find that it doesn’t suit your project.  Make sure your project plan includes “before” pictures.  Also, do not start working on your project yet.  You must have DEBOR approval before starting any work other than the project plan itself.
  8. As you are writing your project plan, don’t forget that your role in this process is the project leader.  For example, don’t include statements such as “I will be building picnic tables for my church”.  Your job is not to build picnic tables.  Your job is to demonstrate leadership by managing the process and the resources.  A better way to state this would be “I will be leading the design and construction of picnic tables for my church”.  Also avoid the use of words such as “about, almost, approximately, roughly, etc.”  Your project plan must supply all details and decisions necessary to execute the project.
  9. As you are working on the project, don’t try to complete the entire project plan before having it reviewed by your Eagle Advisor.  It’s in your best interest to make this an iterative process and have each section reviewed as you complete it.
  10. You will have to have your project plan approved by the Scoutmaster and the Troop Committee chair (as well as your sponsor) before submitting it to the DEBOR, and they rely on your Eagle Advisor to make sure the project plan is ready before they will review it.  When you submit your project to the Scoutmaster for approval, he will expect to see a copy just as you intend to turn it in.  You should have your sponsor’s signature prior to submitting to the Scoutmaster.
  11. Once the scoutmaster is satisfied with your project, he will sign it and notify the Troop Committee chair to arrange a project review.  You will need to supply them with three copies of your project plan.  Bring your master copy with you for reference and to receive their signature.  You should approach this just as you would the actual DEBOR and present yourself in full Class A uniform.  Upon their approval, they will sign your project and it will be ready for submission to the DEBOR.
  12. The DEBOR project submission must be printed, unbound (no staples or report covers), unfolded, and submitted in a full size brown envelope.  The deadline for submission to the DEBOR is the 25th of each month.  Project plans submitted by the deadline will be scheduled for review on the second Wednesday of the following month.  ***IMPORTANT***  NEVER submit your original project plan to anyone.  The original should remain in your possession throughout this process.  But make sure the copy you submit includes a copy of the signatures page and approval letters.
  13. Once your project is submitted to the DEBOR, start working on your references.  The reference requirements are detailed in the documents you already downloaded.  Give each of your references a copy of the reference request form along with a stamped envelope addressed to the Occoneechee Council office.  The references MUST be delivered directly to the council office and not to you.  References given to you and forwarded to the Council office will not be accepted.  The Council office also accepts emailed reference letters.
  14. At this time, you should also start completing your rank application (black ink only).  Use the dates provided in your advancement report, even if they differ from dates shown on your blue cards or merit badge cards.  Complete the application through step 4 only at this time.  Use the fillable PDF form or a black pen only.
  15. The DEBOR will contact you the weekend before the date of your project review to schedule your review.  They will have already reviewed your project and if they have any concerns, they will tell you at that time.  The actual project review is short (scheduled for 20 minutes).  Make sure you show up in FULL class A uniform and with your original project write-up, your safety contact card(s), and master signature page.
  16. After your project is approved and signed by the DEBOR, it’s time to execute it.  Keep good notes throughout the process as you are required to document any and all deviations from your project plan, your actual materials, and your actual man hours for all volunteers (including yourself).
  17. After the project is complete, you’ll write up your final project submission.  Do not change anything in your project written before the project approval signatures page.  Your final write-up must include:
    • Any and all changes or deviations from your project plan, regardless of how insignificant.  Include an explanation of the reason for each change.
    • A table of all actual costs.  Don’t forget sales tax and refreshments.  They are also project costs.
    • A table of actual man hours for all volunteers along with the work logs from each work day.
    • A total of all hours you have spent planning and executing your project.
    • “After” pictures of your completed project.
    • A signed sponsor approval and acceptance letter on letterhead.  If your sponsor is a school, the letter must be signed by the principal.
    • Finally, I recommend a brief overall summary on how the process went.  You will be asked each of these questions in your final review, so give them serious thought now and include them as part of your project write-up.
      • How did this project allow you to demonstrate leadership?
      • Give examples of how you directed the project rather than doing the work yourself.
      • How did your sponsor benefit from your project?
      • How well did you estimate your resources (costs and labor)?
      • What did you learn in this process?  What would you do differently?
  18. Your Eagle Advisor will review this before submitting to Mr. Simerly.  Follow the same process as with your project plan.  You should obtain your sponsor’s signature before submitting to Mr. Simerly.
  19. Complete your Eagle Rank Application through step 6.
  20. Complete the second part of requirement 6 of the Eagle Rank Application – the statement of ambitions and life purpose.  Your Eagle Advisor should review this as well before submitting to Mr. Simerly.
  21. When everything is complete, contact Mr. Simerly to schedule your final Scoutmaster Conference.  Allocate approximately three hours for this SMC.  He will need a copy of your final project write-up, sponsor approval and acceptance letter, life purpose statement, and completed Eagle rank application.  He will sign your final project as well as your Eagle Rank Application.
  22. Contact Mr. David Wagner (our Unit Committee Chair) to obtain his signature on your Eagle Rank Application.
  23. Submit your final project write-up (not the original), sponsor approval and acceptance letter (not the original), life purpose statement, and Eagle rank application (make a copy for yourself and submit the original) to the DEBOR by the same deadline detailed above.  As with your project review, you will not be contacted by them until the Sunday evening prior to the second Wednesday of the following month.
  24. Print a copy of the Crosswinds District Eagle Project Registration Form and complete it along with a picture of your completed project.
  25. Show up for your final DEBOR in FULL class A.  Bring your original project write-up with signatures, original sponsor approval and acceptance letter, a copy of the Eagle application, your life purpose statement, and the completed project registration form with a picture.  You should probably bring your parents with you as well.  Your final review will last approximately 45 minutes and you will receive the DEBOR’s decision that night.