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:
- 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.
- Parents and scouts don’t realize that the time of leadership must be served AFTER each rank is earned, not simultaneously.
- 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.