November 2015 - I Want My Eagle

Eagle Board of Review – What To Expect


It is very common for a scout to get really nervous for his Eagle Board of Review.  I wanted to write a post today about what happens in that Board of Review to help ease this worry.  What happens in the Board is not a secret and there are ways to prepare for it.  After all, a scout is prepared, right?

My first piece of advice to a scout about to attend his Eagle Board of Review is to remember that you would not have this appointment if you were not ready.  By the time your Board of Review is scheduled, so many people have checked and double-checked your project paperwork before this point, you should trust that nothing is missing.  If you were missing anything, you would know that before this point.

The second thing to remember is that this is NOT a test!  It functions exactly as it is called: a review.  You participated in many of these Boards of Review before for all of your previous ranks.  This one is no different, except that it is run by the district rather than your unit committee.

The third thing to remember is that the district committee members running the review want you to succeed just as much as you want to succeed, if not more.

Relax and enjoy it.  In order to make it to this point, you have already done the work required to attain the rank of Eagle.

Now, let me tell you what typically happens in the Board of Review and provide you some resources to help you prepare for it.  Keep in mind, this agenda may vary by district.

  1. Before the scout comes into the room, the members of the district advancement committee will read through all the project paperwork and all of the letters of recommendation that were sent in by the candidate’s references.
  2. The Eagle candidate, his family, and scout leader will come into the room to meet the three district advancement committee members. Everyone is introduced to one another.
  3. The Eagle candidate may be asked to offer a word of prayer to start the Board.
  4. The scout leader will be asked to introduce the Eagle Candidate to the Eagle Board.  This is just a 1-2 minute introduction about the scout.
  5. Depending on the district committee, they may ask the Eagle candidate to recite the Scout Oath and Scout Law at this point, or they may do this after family members have been dismissed.  This recitation is the only thing you are really “tested” on during the Board, so make sure you have it learned and practiced.
  6. The family will be dismissed to wait outside until the Board of Review is complete.  The Unit Leader can stay if the Eagle candidate requests.
  7. The advancement committee members proceed to ask questions about a variety of things including the Eagle Project, leadership positions, scouting career, merit badges earned, camp-outs, and what you have learned in your scouting journey.  None of these should be a test but a review.  You will not be required to show them how to tie a knot, or prove that you did anything for a merit badge.  This questioning could last as few as 15 minutes or as long as 30 minutes.
  8. The Eagle Board will dismiss the Eagle candidate to wait outside while they deliberate and discuss the scout’s demonstrated leadership and completed requirements for the Eagle Rank.
  9. The committee members will invite the candidate back in with his family and scout leader and will inform him whether or not he has passed.  In the event that a scout does not pass (which is very rare*), the committee will tell him what he needs to do to complete requirements.  If he passed, they will sign the Eagle Application and congratulate him.
  10. The Board will then offer some instructions on how to hold a court of honor and when to go get the Eagle Award at the scout office. They may also give other words of advice.

The whole process should not last more than 30-45 minutes.  Then, for the best part: when your parents take you out for ice cream to celebrate! (Sorry parents.)

There are sample questions at the following website which are typically asked during the Board of Review.  Check it out: Preparing for Your Board of Review

*Out of the hundreds of Boards of Review of which I know only two scouts did not pass the final board and this was due to their providing false information on their paperwork.

NYLT – How Scout Camps Change Boys’ Lives


It’s been my privilege to participate as an adult staff member of a Boy Scouts of America National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) camp.  Here, in the Mt. Nebo District, we call it Timberline.  I have witnessed how this camp changes boys’ lives in one short week.  Here’s an experience of which I was part to illustrate this point.

Let me tell you about one of our participants back in 2014.  His name was Josh.  Josh arrived to camp on Monday morning and you could tell he did not want to be there.  He was very quiet and nervous.  This is normal for a lot of boys coming to this camp so we didn’t think much of it at the time.  The week at Timberline is designed to get boys out of their comfort zones and put them in a situation where they make new friends and learn to work in a team.  As the week and activities went on, I noticed that he was hanging behind his patrol and avoiding participating in the discussions or team building games.


Let me say that one of the AWESOME things about Timberline is that it is completely run by youth staff members who have been trained by the adult staff for more than six months, all in preparation for this one week of camp.  Each patrol has two Troop Guides (youth staff) who help and guide each patrol.  The Troop Guides tried everything they could to get Josh to participate, but he resisted every attempt.  Things continued on this way for three days.  Josh began acting like a bully, causing fights in his patrol and with other patrols.  But, we were committed to each member at camp.  The boys didn’t give up on Josh.  They continued to try and to regroup and try again.  Josh seemed unaffected by their efforts. Then, on Thursday all of it changed….

The main activity on Thursday is called The Outpost.  Each patrol goes out to camp alone as a patrol. They conduct a spiritual devotional that night at camp.  This activity usually marks a turning point for most patrols. I participated in the devotional with Josh’s patrol that night.  We all sat in a circle around their camp and the patrol leader asked everyone to say what Timberline (NYLT) meant to them for the devotional.

When it was Josh’s turn, there was a long moment of silence.  We didn’t know what would happen.  The young patrol leader, not knowing what to do, just waited.  Sometimes silence is the best thing and after a few moments, Josh started.  He shared with the patrol his family struggles, how he was living with his grandma and how his parents had drug problems and how he never really had any friends.  He shared how he had been loving Timberline and how his patrol were all his friends.  Wow!  What a change!  No one in the patrol had any idea, but they were so glad they continued to follow the principles of inclusion and patience.  It was an awesome bonding moment for everyone.

After that experience, Josh was a different boy.  For the rest of the week, he was happy and laughing, and put his arm around the other boys and talked with them.  He was fully participating!

On the final day of Timberline, when the parents came to pick them up, we had one final gathering and flag ceremony.  The last thing we do is go around, the adult and youth staff together, to shake each participant’s hand.  As we came around to Josh’s patrol, they were all crying and sad that the week was over.  They didn’t want to go home!  They didn’t want it to end.  We staff members could not hold back our tears either.

Those are the kind of experiences that make Scouting awesome!  I wouldn’t trade these moments for anything.

Filling Out Your Eagle Application Correctly – Part 2

headerIn our continued effort to make the Eagle Application more understandable and seem less threatening, we move on to the second page of the application. Today’s post will explain these further sections and how to fill them out correctly and painlessly.

First, Requirement #4 (as seen below in picture):  This requirements surprises many scouts and parents.  In fact, we’ve dedicated an entire blog post to explalin all about this requirement.  (See “Which Leadership Positions Count Towards Scout Rank Advancement“)  The most important thing to remember here is that the required 6 months of leadership will not begin to accrue until AFTER your Life Rank Board of Review date.


Requirement #7 is very commonly overlooked.  Most scouts and parents read the first sentence and think, “Oh, this is the board of review.  I will do that at the end.”  Be very careful to read the whole requirement closely.  My oldest son and I fell into this very trap when he was finishing up his Eagle Scout paperwork.  The remainder of the requirement reads: “In preparation for your board of review, prepare and attach to your Eagle Scout Rank Application a statement of your ambitions and life purpose and a listing of positions held in your religious institution, school, camp, community, or other organizations, during which you demonstrated leadership skills. Include honors and awards received during this service.”  In other words, each Eagle Scout candidate needs to write an essay discussing what he wants to do with his life.  This should be 1-2 pages double spaced.  Along with this essay, a list of all leadership positions and awards should be listed on another page.  If this is enough to scare you off because you don’t like writing essays, just remember, it will likely be the easiest essay you will ever write; it is all about yourself.

The last part of the application is about getting signatures.  The Eagle Scout candidate, Scout Leader, and Unit Committee Chairman all must sign.

That’s it!  You’re done with the Eagle Scout Rank Application.  The rest will be filled out during and after your Board of Review.

I hope this information has helped answer any questions you may have had about this form, and clarified any ambiguities. It was a very frustrating and puzzling process for me as a parent to go through with my first son (even with the help of a great Eagle Coach).

Feel free to comment below if you have further questions or let us know how this helped you. is a tool that districts can use to make tracking approvals and board of review a snap. Check it out in this post: District Eagle Project Approvals with

Filling Out Your Eagle Application Correctly – Part 1

headerThe main purpose of this post is to help scouts, scout parents, and scout leaders better understand the Eagle Application Form and how to fill it out correctly.  As an Eagle Coach I was asked most frequently about the Eagle Application Form.  Scouts and parents were often confused and I want to demystify this process and make it easier.

Some parts of the form are very straight forward, so I will not cover those.  Instead we will look more closely at the sections for which I fielded the most questions.

First, on the front page a scout is asked to provide the dates for when he became a Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and Venture Scout (shown in the picture below).  This form does not necessarily need to be filled out by the scout/parents.  These dates must be reported correctly.  There are two options to insure that your dates are accurate.  (1) Call your local council office to learn the exact dates and fill them in yourself.  Or (2) leave the squares blank and have your District Advancement Chairman get them from the council and fill them in when your application is turned in.  The dates from the First Class and Star ranks must be the same as when your council has them recorded.  It is extremely important that you do not guess on these.  If you are in doubt, find out or leave them blank for now.


The second, and by far the most confusing, part of the application is requirement #2 (as seen below this paragraph).  There are a few gotchas with this one.  Sometimes it requires multiple explanations to understand.  Think of this part as a list of references, like a job application. Fill out all information.  Your board will need a way to contact each one.  The easier it is for board members to get a hold of your references, the smoother the process will be.  If your religious leader or educational reference is your dad, put your mother’s name in the Parent/Guardian line (and vice versa).  The educational reference can be a teacher, coach, or principal; or any other adult educational person who will give a good reference.  The Employer reference DOES NOT need to be provided if you are not currently employed.  (Past employers do not need to be listed, only current employers.)  The “Two other references” can be anyone who will give a good reference AND who are not a relative OR current scout leader.  This portion is meant to compile a diverse list of references.  The most important thing to remember when choosing references, is to pick familiar people who will speak well of you.  These persons will either be contacted by your district board or they will need to write a letter of recommendation for you.


Third, requirement #3 (as seen below this paragraph) is tricky because the dates in this section must be exactly the same as what the council has recorded.  Obtain a Unit Member Advancement printout from your unit advancement chairman before filling in this section.  Pay special attention to numbers 7, 8 & 10 as a scout must choose one of the listed merit badges to fulfill the requirement. Cross out the names of the merit badges not completed (or, if more than one has been earned, use the first chronologically earned in that group). When a scout earns more than one of those required merit badges (in the instance of 7, 8 & 10), all but the first one earned must still be crossed out. The extra earned merit badge will be used towards the Eagle Rank as an elective (merit badges 14-21).  But, only one will count in the required slot.  Lastly, use the first chronologically earned merit badges to fill in the remaining electives.  There are two reasons for this.  (1) All dates will be checked to make sure the right number of merit badges were earned for each rank according to each date of rank advancement; and (2) for eagle palms, the merit badges earned after being awarded the rank of eagle must also be correct chronologically.


We’ll take a closer look at the second page of the Eagle Application in the next blog post.  Thanks for reading and please comment with your questions or to let us know if this was helpful. Also, please subscribe to our newsletter and receive automatic updates. is a tool that districts can use to make tracking approvals and board of review a snap.  Check it out in this post: District Eagle Project Approvals with


During the years when I served as an Eagle Coach and District Project Approval Chairman in the Mount Nebo District, the most common question I was asked was, “How do I pick an eagle project?” or “How can I know if the project I want to do will be approved?”

This answer can be found in the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook.  My response was always the same: “The first thing that you AND your parent(s) should do, is read the workbook completely.  Once you have done this, we’ll talk again and pick a project you want to do.”

As an Eagle Coach, I made a practice of reading the entire workbook 3-4 times per year just to refresh my memory.  This also helped me know when to approve a project or suggest that more work was needed to qualify.  I cannot over emphasize the importance of this course of action for scouts, parents, and leaders.

The Workbook states: “Before completing any of the four forms, read with your parent or guardian, the ‘Message to Scouts and Parents or Guardians‘ on pages 5 and 6. If your project is worthy and meets Eagle Scout requirement 5 as written, the message will help you successfully present your proposal through the approval process.”  Reading these two pages is the minimum a scout and parent(s) should do; but, you ought to read the whole thing.  The workbook is the definitive source and filled with good information regarding what kind of projects will be approved.

It is also stated in the Workbook: “Eagle Scout projects must be evaluated primarily on impact—the extent of benefit to the religious institution, school, or community, and on the leadership provided by the candidate. There must also be evidence of planning and development.

Quite simply:

  1. The scout must show that he is planning this project himself.
  2. The scout must show that he is developing the project himself.
  3. The scout must show leadership himself.

There are a few other requirements enumerated in the workbook which must be followed (such as doing projects for a non-profit organization), but those three items above are the basics.  Let’s look at each of them in more detail.


If a scout approaches an organization and asks if there is an Eagle project he can do, and if the organization has a planned project for him or tells the scout that he only needs to provide labor or other prescribed assistance, this will not be a valid eagle project.  The scout must be the one to plan out the project (even with an organization’s help).


Should a scout choose a project that is his parents’ idea, for example, and proceed to follow his parents’ direction, simply performing the work; this would not satisfy the developing requirement of an Eagle project.  There is nothing wrong in getting ideas from parents and/or others, but each scout must build on it and make the project his own.  The workbook also specifies that it should not be routine labor.  Routine labor does not provide an opportunity for the scout to develop any part of the project.


In past experience, I’ve seen scout after scout get a project approved, then be afraid to get other people involved. The scout then proceeds to complete all the work on his own.  It is important to remember that the project is not the important thing.  It is the growth process and the experience the scout will gain in exercising leadership and learning how to be a leader.  In order to show leadership, a scout needs to get others from the community involved. He should not perform all the work.  He should direct and lead the project, not just do it himself.

It is asked in the workbook: What Is Meant by “Give Leadership to Others …?”
“Others” means at least two people besides the Scout. Helpers may be involved through scouting or otherwise, and of any age appropriate for the work. Councils, districts, and units shall not establish requirements for the number of people led, or their make-up, or for time worked on a project. Most importantly, an Eagle candidate must exhibit leadership.

In conclusion, there is no set number of hours required for an Eagle project. I have seen projects range between 70 – 1,800 hours.  Pick a project of which you will feel proud; one that will challenge you; and one that will show the Eagle Board that you intend to plan, develop, and show leadership, and it will be approved.

How Scouts, Scout Parents, and Scout Leaders can ensure Leadership Time Counts Towards Ranks


While serving as an eagle coach for the Utah National Parks Council for over 5 years, one issue reoccurred when an eagle candidate filled out his eagle application form; he either didn’t know what leadership positions he’d held or he wanted to use a position that was not a BSA leadership position.  It always came a a big surprise, and not a good one, when he learned that one or more of his past positions could not count as BSA leadership time.

The approved BSA Leadership positions are listed on the eagle application form, but I will explain in more detail how this works; so that forms can be filled out correctly and Scouts, parents, and leaders can proactively make this a better situation.

Here are the official positions that fulfill the eagle leadership requirements:

Boy Scout troop (Usually 11-14 years old)
Patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader, Venture patrol leader, troop guide, Order of the Arrow troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, instructor, webmaster, or Leave No Trace trainer.
Varsity Scout team (Usually 14-16 years old)
Captain, co-captain, program manager, squad leader, team secretary, Order of the Arrow team representative, librarian, historian, quartermaster, chaplain aide, instructor, den chief, webmaster, or Leave No Trace trainer.
Venturing crew/ship (Usually 16-18 years old)
President, vice president, secretary, treasurer, quartermaster, historian, den chief, guide, boatswain, boatswain’s mate, yeoman, purser, storekeeper, webmaster, or Leave No Trace trainer.

How the requirements work for each rank with the leadership position:

The ranks of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class do not require any time serving in leadership positions. This is not a requirement for these early ranks.

As soon as a Scout earns his First Class Rank, he is required to serve for 4 months worth of leadership service AFTER he attains that rank.  The passing of a Board of Review is what signifies the date a scout officially earns that rank.  Most scouts up to First Class are 11 or 12, so they would be in a TROOP.  Therefore the positions listed above in the Boy Scout Troop are the positions that he will need to earn his Star Rank.  If a scout is older when he earns the First Class Rank and he is registered in the Varsity Scout Team, then the positions under that section are required to fulfill this leadership service; same rule applies if he is of age and registered in the Venturing Crew and earns his First Class Rank.

For the ranks of Star, Life and Eagle, the leadership requirements work the same way, but require six months of leadership instead of four.  A requirement to earn the Life Rank, after a scout reaches the Rank of Star, is to have six months of leadership experience AFTER earning the Star Rank (after the Board of Review date).  The scout must serve these months holding a position appropriate for his age and according to his registered group’s approved list of positions (as listed above).

The Eagle Rank also requires six months of leadership experience AFTER the scout has attained his Life Rank.  This one is the most critical since it will be listed on the Eagle Application that is sent in to the National BSA office for review before the Rank of Eagle is awarded.

Three common mistakes that are made during this process:

  1. Religious institutions sponsoring the unit, record the scout’s religious leadership position.  This is very common in LDS units.  Sometimes the Deacon’s Quorum President is the Senior Patrol Leader but they don’t make that known or tell the scout that he should function in two positions.
  2. Parents and scouts don’t realize that the time of leadership must be served AFTER each rank is earned, not simultaneously.
  3. The scout leader is not trained enough to know that as soon as each scout advances through each rank or group, they need to be given leadership responsibilities.

In conclusion, scouts, scout parents, and scout leaders should be informed to know what the next step is at any point in the process. This will avoid time wasted and the scout will have a great experience and learn to be a better leader throughout the process.  It is best, as a scout nears the end of his work toward the rank of eagle, that there not be any surprises or heartbreaks as his eagle application form is filled out and submitted.

The best way to optimize a scout’s experience working on a merit badge

If each scout follows the following steps when working on a merit badge and filling out the blue card, it will facilitate a better experience and provide him with the help he needs to start, continue, and finish merit badges.


As a long time merit badge counselor and former scoutmaster, I have seen many boys get excited to earn merit badges, only to lose steam and quit because it becomes too hard and daunting for them.  I learned that a little guidance, including a slight change to the usual process, will greatly help to motivate a scout to stick with it.
The first drain to any scout’s enthusiasm is not knowing how to start.  A scout must know where to go and who to call to get help and direction.  If a scout gets to a merit badge requirement for the merit badge that is confusing and doesn’t have a counselor to readily call for guidance, he often stops working on it.  Guiding the scout and being there to help him with any questions and encouragement is a part of this process that is most neglected.
The following step by step process will facilitate a better relationship between scout and merit badge counselor, helping the scout learn the material and enjoy it at the same time.
  1. The scout expresses an interest in a earning a specific merit badge.  If he doesn’t think to ask his scout leader for a blue card, the leaders should offer one.  A scout will soon learn this step and ask as part of the process.
  2. The scoutmaster encourages and assists the scout in filling out as much information as he can on the blue card right then (including the merit badge, counselor’s name, etc.).
  3. The scoutmaster can sign his name in two required places before work is even started on the requirements (one on the front part of the blue card, another on the back).
  4. The scoutmaster looks up possible merit badge counselors for the chosen merit badge and fills out name and contact information. (This information may be available online or provided in a list depending upon how your local district/council publishes it.)
  5. The scout takes the card and calls the counselor to introduce himself and explain that he wants to work on this merit badge.
  6. The counselor takes this opportunity to tell the scout any information he needs to know before beginning work on requirements and gives any needed guidance.  A follow up appointment to meet with the scout for coaching can be set.
  7. The scout proceeds to work on the merit badge requirements.
  8. Since the scout has this interaction with the counselor, he’ll feel more inclined to call and ask for help at anytime.  This also encourages adult interaction with the scout which is one of the goals of BSA in having scouts work with merit badge counselors.
  9. When the Scout is finished with any requirements he should call or meet with the counselor and get those signed off along the way.
  10. When the scout completes all the requirements, he calls the merit badge counselor to set up a meeting to pass off his work. The scout should always bring someone with him so the meeting is not a one on one with the counselor.
  11. The counselor verifies all requirements are fulfilled, signs the blue card in two places (both on the back of the blue card), retaining the counselor’s portion for his/her records and returning the two remaining parts of the card to the scout.
  12. The Scout tears off the applicant’s portion and keeps that for his records.
  13. The Scout turns in the last section titled Application for Merit Badge to his unit advancement chairman for proper recording and award presentation in the next Court of Honor.
I have seen it happen more often where the scout skips the first seven steps and starts on step 8. This sets him up for failure from the beginning. Without support from his scoutmaster (who doesn’t even know he is working on a merit badge) and without a counselor to guide him through the requirements, even if a scout does complete the work, many times the scout won’t know how to find a counselor to verify and pass off his work.  Additionally, the unit advancement chair is often given all three parts of the blue card. Should the scout encounter an issue with the recording of his merit badge work, without his signed portion of the blue card to prove completion, he is out of luck and may need to re-earn the merit badge again.  This is very discouraging to a scout.
What can you do in your unit to implement these steps?  How can implementing these steps help your scouts?

How a hike to Wheeler Peak (Website Banner Picture) changed my and our son’s life forever.

There is a reason we picked the banner picture (above) to grace the top of the homepage. It is special to us. In July 2009, my son, JB (seated to my left), was 13 years old. Our unit scout leaders, along with the troop, decided to hold a week-long camp out instead of going to the typical BSA merit badge camp. Among other activities, we planned to summit Wheeler Peak in Nevada, a challenging hike to a peak that rises to 13,063 feet in elevation.

My son was a little nervous, and so he asked if I would volunteer to go as a parent leader with him. I came along with another adult, Joe Bowen (pictured bottom right in the white shirt), who also volunteered to come for extra adult supervision. Little did we know that this week was going to bring the three of us, and the whole troop, closer together, forming friendships that will last a lifetime.

Before I tell the story of our hike to the top of Wheeler Peak, I want to say that this story is a prime example of why I think scouts and leaders should plan hard things that stretch and challenge.  These experiences are what they remember when they grow up.  Scouting offers the infrastructure and design to lead boys through challenges that teach priceless values. These are the things that build character and remain long after scouting has faded. Over the years, I have conducted many Eagle Boards of Review and, without exception, the answer to a question I always ask, “What was your favorite thing you did during your scouting career?”, is always the hardest thing the scout achieved, like a 50-mile hike or a feat similar to this story.

This opportunity took deliberate planning.  We camped at 10,000 feet for a couple of days to acclimate our bodies to the altitude.  On the morning of our planned hike to the peak, we started before sunrise.  We had just over 4 miles to hike and about 3,063 feet elevation to climb.  We were prepared with enough water and snacks to make it.

Along the hike, JB soon became so scared and nervous that he started to drink his water too quickly.  He was out of water before we reached the half-way mark.  He was also walking slowly in the quiet hopes that the other boys would leave him behind and make it to the top; he would just turn around and go down with them.  He didn’t care about the summit.  It was too hard; too far out of his comfort zone; beyond anything he had attempted before.  I shared my water with him to keep him going and to help him avoid altitude sickness.

About two-thirds of the way up, he finally broke down and started crying.  A few of us stopped and tried to find out what scared him. We cautiously encouraged him and tried to discern what he wanted to do.  He was ready to quit a long time ago, and the further we got and the more cliff drop offs he saw, the more scared he got.

Joe Bowen was there and asked JB if he wanted to have a prayer with him.  JB finally calmed down enough to say yes and asked Joe to offer the prayer.  In the prayer, Joe asked God to bless him with the strength to conquer his fears and to make it up the mountain with the troop.

After the prayer, JB appeared much calmer, but remained undecided about reaching the summit.  He decided to continue.  As we got higher, within 500 feet in elevation from the top (which is still quite a way), he started doubting again.  We stopped and had a rest to allow him time to think about it.

Then, something happened that I will never forget.  A fellow scout from our troop came down the trail to meet us (as they were all up ahead).  He had a message for JB.  The advanced group had not yet reached the peak and they (on their own, a group of 12-13 year-old scouts), had decided together that they wanted JB to be the first one to reach the summit and that they wouldn’t go on without him.

When he heard what this scout told him, it was like a new life instantly overtook his body.  He jumped up and started hiking up the hill as fast as he could go.  I could barely keep up with him.  As he reached the group of boys, they let him pass, and then all got in line behind him as he lead them up the remaining trail to the peak.

As we reached the summit, there wasn’t a dry eye in the group.  He did it!  We did it! He overcame his fears with help from his friends and the troop made it together!  His confidence soared and he became a new person from that point on in his life.  Sometimes, I think we discount the influence scouts can have on one another and doubt the heights they can reach when given the opportunity.  Sometimes we don’t expect enough from our boys in this way.

It was just a little under a year’s time following that camp out, when JB completed all of his merit badges, Eagle Project and other requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout. That hike was a pivotal point in his scouting success; he never looked back.  When we held his Eagle Court of Honor, I asked JB who he wanted to award his Eagle Mentor pin to. He replied that he wanted to give one to every single person who went on that hike.  There were 12 of them.  Those pins aren’t cheap!  It was worth it and an appropriate honor for a trust and victory earned together.

One of those pins went to Joe Bowen.  He grew up in the military his whole life and was a decorated Army veteran.  He wore that Eagle Mentor Pin on his suit coat every Sunday for years until the day he died of cancer.  His passing came suddenly while my son was out serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Joe told me during his final days that that Eagle Mentor Pin meant more to him than any honor he had received during his distinguished military career.  He treasured that pin and the experience behind it.

Joe’s wife has since sent that pin to my son while still serving his mission.

The experience we had on that mountain changed the lives of almost everyone there.  I have heard my son, JB, say that the hike to Wheeler Peak changed the way he thought of “hard” things and that if he could make it to the top of that mountain, then he could do anything.  Experiences like this are what scouting can provide for boys and men. It makes them better boys and better men.


Every year for the last three years, the Mt. Nebo District has doubled the number of boys who finish the process to become an Eagle Scout. Before 2011, the district kept track of all Eagle Project approvals on paper. Their records included the usual information: what the project was, who approved it and the scout’s information. The form then needed to travel from the approval committee to the council, where it was matched to the appropriate Eagle paperwork. It was a good system employed by many hard-working and well-meaning scout leaders. But, it was prone to human error and delay. The council knew it was losing many would-be-Eagles to logistics and frustration. They needed a better system.

At this time, Jason Petty began to run the approvals working under a Wood Badge Ticket to automate and digitize this system. It was the birth of an amazing resource. has evolved over the last three years to become an invaluable tool. The Nebo District relies on it to keep track of a number of things pertaining to eagle projects. Other districts introduced to the website and what it does are clamoring to use it.

The website tracks a scout when he calls to set up an appointment with the committee for his Eagle Project approval. If the scout has met with an eagle coach and has completed the proposal section, including all the required signatures to this point, then an appointment is scheduled. When an appointment is made, the scout and his coach are sent an email explaining the time and place of the approval as well as information about what needs to be ready for the approval.


At the appointment only a few notes are taken on the website. The committee can concentrate on the boy and his project knowing that with a few minor keystrokes the program will track the members of the approval committee and details of the interview. Each coach and scout receive an automated email once the project is approved, congratulating them and detailing the next step.


The website doesn’t stop there. It is useful for many different functions. All eagle coaches and advancement committee member information is stored within the site. This can be used to send out mass emails to everyone with information on when help is needed with boards and for training purposes and to keep everyone on the same page in the district. The list of coaches is easily distributable in PDF format by putting a link on the council website and it dynamically updates every time it is loaded. This feature relieves any need for a separate website to store up-to-date coach contact information.


Coaches use the website to track which boys they are currently working with and with whom they have ever worked. Emails may be sent to the scouts from the website too in order to facilitate communications.

Documents with important information that all coaches need to do their jobs are stored on the website also. Any document which the scout or the coach needs can be found here along with training documents so they can be reviewed regularly.


Coaches may choose which notification to subscribe to in the system. Subscription options range widely from receiving a specifically defined limit of notifications to receiving everything.

But perhaps the most appealing function for any advancement committee is the reports. There is a wide a number of reports built into the system such as: Coach Participation by area, Approvals by Month, Approvals and Boards by Area, scouts who have turned in packets, which scout is ready for his board of review, all completed boards of review by year, approvals by week, month and more.


Another nice feature is the automated messaging. Once a scout is marked in the system as ready for board of review, he will get an email stating that he has been marked as ready along with the address to a website with practice questions to prepare for his board.

The Mt. Nebo district has noticed a dramatic increase in boys finishing their eagle since using this tool because it is accessible from anywhere (web based). Because of this when new features are added, you instantly get them without having to upgrade.

Visit to sign up if you are interested in this.  It is only $10/month per district to use.