The culmination of the journey for any young scout in BSA is reaching the rank of Eagle Scout prior to reaching their 18th birthday. Unfortunately, only four percent (4%) of scouts ever attain this rank. Originally conceived as the Wolf Scout in June of 1911 when the rank was introduced. Two months later it was changed to Eagle Scout and has remained that to this day. The emblem of the eagle has changed as it was a profile of an eagle in flight but before anyone had been awarded the rank it was changed to what we see today. Just to show you how big the scouting movement has become, the 4% of scouts represents over 2.5 million youth scouts. Girls were added to the BSA much later and it was not until a year later in 2020 the first female Eagle Scouts were added to the BSA lineage.
The first scout to earn this prestigious award was Arthur Rose Eldred, a 17-year-old member of Troop 1, in Rockville Center, Long Island, New York, before the medal design had even been finalized in 1912. He was notified on August 21st, but has to wait until Labor Day, September 2, 1012 to receive it.
The trek to Eagle Scout is an arduous one that requires a great deal of effort on the young scout’s behalf. The prospective Eagle requires that they have completed 21 merit badges, 14 of which are mandatory for Eagle, and seven elective merit badges of choice by the scout. Other requirements show that the scout has demonstrated Scout Spirit t the highest and have served in various positions of leadership with in the troop.
Additionally, an Eagle Scout Service Project, or “Eagle Project,” must be developed and carried out by the prospect Eagle Scout. It is an opportunity for the scout to demonstrate the leadership skills learned and applied while serving in the various troop leadership positions. It must have community impact and not provide any BSA benefits. It can be to help or support any religious institution, any school, or a community entity. It is not to be a commercial enterprise or solely a fund-raising effort.
Before a project can move forward it must first be approved. The scout prepares a proposal. A proposal is an overview of what the project is about and what it will accomplish. To be acceptable a project must meet five tests:
1. It provides sufficient opportunity to meet the Eagle Scout service project requirement. You must show that planning, development, and leadership will take place; and how the three factors will benefit a religious institution, a school, or your community.
2. It appears to be feasible. You must show the project is realistic for you to carry out.
3. Safety issues will be addressed. You must show you have an understanding of what must be done to guard against injury, and what will be done if someone gets hurt.
4. Action steps for further detailed planning are included. You must make a list of the key steps you will take to make sure your plan will have enough details so it can be carried out successfully.
5. You are on the right track with a reasonable chance for a positive experience.
Once the project has been approved the scout can begin the planning in earnest and complete the project. The project is a big undertaking and the support of friends, family, and the troop is vital in getting it done. After all is said and done a project report will be submitted for final approval. If reasonable expectations have been met, the project should be approved.
The Eagle Scout Service Project is, no doubt, something that the scout will never forget.