Boy Scouts of America, Alamo Area Council
A boy attaining the Eagle Scout rank has always carried with it a special significance, not only in Scouting, but also as he enters higher education, business or industry, and community service.
The award is a performance-based achievement whose standards have been well maintained over the years. Not every boy who joins a Boy Scout troop earns the Eagle Scout rank; only about 2.5 percent of all Boy Scouts do so. More than one million Boy Scouts have earned the rank since 1911.
Nevertheless, the goals of Scouting - citizenship training, character development, and personal fitness - remain important for all Scouts, whether or not they attain the Eagle Scout rank. For more information about Eagle Scouts, contact the Alamo Area Council's Eagle Scout Team at EagleScouts@AlamoAreaBSA.org. Or visit the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) at www.NESA.org.
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 skill. While there are many options available to demonstrate proficiency in these areas, a number of specific skills are required to advance through the ranks of - Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. To advance, a Boy Scout must pass specific tests, which are organized by requirement fullfillment and merit badges.
Merit badges signify the mastery of certain Scoutcraft skills, as well as serving to increase skill in an area of personal interest. Of the more than 100 merit badges available, twenty-one must be earned to qualify for Eagle Scout. Of this group, thirteen badges are required, including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Cooking, Personal Management, Camping, Family Life, and Personal Fitness. In addition, a Scout has a choice between Cycling, Hiking or Swimming, Environmental Science or Sustanability, and Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving.
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 programs. 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 others, 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; this process may take as long as 4 to 6 weeks after a successful Eagle Scout Board of Review.
Fourth, the Scout is recognized.
The final step in advancement involves presentation of the badge, usually at a ceremony before the entire troop. When scheduling an Eagle Scout presentation ceremony (Court of Honor), the 4 to 6 week approval process should be anticipated.
Boys 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 will determine 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 the Eagle Scout Service at the national office, or by this link to National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) application (PDF).
The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award was established in 1969 to acknowledge Eagle Scouts who have distinguished themselves in business, a profession, and in 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.