Scout Leader Helps Archives - I Want My Eagle

Finishing Your Eagle Paperwork Is NOT The Hardest Part!

Finishing Your Eagle Paperwork Is NOT The Hardest Part!

Over the years of working with Eagle Scout candidates, I have seen many times where finishing the paperwork scares them more than anything.  Because of this, there have been quite a few that have earned all their merit badges, served all their leadership time, and finished their project, then they freeze and don’t want to finish that paperwork and turn it in.  Don’t let this happen to you!

The myth I want to bust today is that the paperwork is hard to finish.  If you are this same point, this is the easiest part to complete, compared to what you have done already.  I wrote another post that covers all the paperwork you need to turn in  here: What Paperwork Needs To Be Turned In For Eagle Rank.

Today I wanted to talk about the last section of the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook called The Report.  For some reason, this is the number one thing that most scouts do not want to fill out.

This section should only take any candidate one hour to fill out or less!  Most scouts take much less time than that.  This should be the most fun part also, since it is just reporting on how your project went.  You are done with the project!  You should feel excited at this point!  I worked with three candidates that that were at this point in their progress and waited over one year to just finish this part.  Don’t let that happen to you.

All you have to report in this section are the following:

  1. Date you started and ended
  2. Description of the project and the impact it had
  3. What went well and what did not
  4. What changes you made during the project
  5. What was challenging
  6. How did you demonstrate leadership, challenges, rewards and what you learned being the leader
  7. Did you have shortages or overages in materials that you planned
  8. Hours spent on project by you and others
  9. How you paid for the project and how you got the money
  10. Pictures
  11. Signatures

If you look at this list carefully, it is all the same information that was already collected throughout the Eagle Project process. It is just a matter of gathering it and putting the information in the form.

I hope by reading this you realize that it is not worth stalling and putting this off.  Just get it done and turn it in.  You will be grateful for the rest of your life that you did!

Planning Out Your Eagle Project

Planning Out Your Eagle Project

Planning out your eagle project is one of the things that most kids struggle with.  This is always a subject they are terrified of.  The unknown scares them just as much as it does adults.  They don’t know how to go about planning their project.  They don’t know at the beginning of a project what it is going to take to complete the project.  It seems so huge and overwhelming to them, they don’t want to even start.  We all have these types of moments in our lives.

Overcoming this and just starting the process is all it takes to conquer this fear.  This is why only 4-5% of registered scouts attain the rank of Eagle also, because they let the fear stop them!

Let me help alleviate your fears a little bit.  Everyone has these fears when they decide to work on an Eagle project.  You are not alone and it isn’t as bad as your mind makes you think it is.  There are helps!  Ask any Eagle Scout, most will say, that once they started, they realized it wasn’t as bad as they thought.

Your first help: Find an Eagle Coach in your district.  This is one of the things, as a parent, I didn’t know when my oldest boy wanted to work on his Eagle.  I thought we were on our own.  I found out that there are trained adults to help you with all the paperwork and steps and to “coach” you through it.  Yes, BSA knows that scouts and parents need help through the process so they train adults to do just that.  Take advantage of this!

Second, The Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook has a section that walks you through planing out all the details of your project.  This Workbook is broken up into 3 sections: The Proposal, The Plan, and The Report.  I wrote a post named How To Prepare For An Eagle Project Approval on the The Proposal section you should read.  The Plan section of the workbook is a very good step-by-step guide to planning out your Eagle project.  As an Eagle Coach I always had scouts take the time to fill this out after they got their project approved, before they started the actual work.

This section walks them through thinking out and planning all aspects of their project like:

  • Who it will benefit and why
  • Present condition or situation
  • Project phases (helps them think through steps)
  • Work process
  • Reminds them to take before pictures
  • Permits and permissions
  • What materials and supplies they will need
  • What tools will be used
  • Expenses they will incur and if they need to raise funds
  • How to give leadership
  • Logistics (when, where, how to get people there, feeding helpers, etc)
  • Communication plan
  • How to train your helpers
  • Safety for your helpers
  • Contingency plans in case your plan doesn’t work

In conclusion, do not let these two resources go unused!  They are there to help you succeed.  Remember, you are not alone in being scared to embark on this goal of an Eagle Project.  Everyone feels scared and overwhelmed.  Plan it out using the discussed resources and you will conquer it.

Remember the answer to the question “How do you eat and elephant?” – One bite at a time.

What To Pack For a Winter Overnight Camp

What To Pack For a Winter Overnight Camp

I have written about this subject once before but wanted to also give an actionable packing list you can use to prepare for a winter camp in addition.  Check out the other post I wrote about Preparing for Winter Camp – Backyard Prep

One  of the most important things to remember about going on an overnight winter camp is staying dry.  There are redundant things on this list for that purpose.  If a scout brings more than one of everything, he will not regret being prepared just in case.  I have heard quite a few scouts say that they hate winter camping and I was right there with them until I became more prepared and it was a MUCH better experience.

John Wayne (yes, it is his real name), our scoutmaster, is a master at this and I have learned quite a bit from him on this subject and actually enjoyed my last couple of winter camps.  The most helpful thing I learned from him was to bring a clean pair of wool socks and put them on right before getting into bed. If you wear them all day, then go to bed with them, they have body sweat and oils in them and they are cold.

Here is a list of what I tell my scouts to take:

___ Tent
___ Tarp to put under tent
___ Two sleeping bags (layers are important)
___ Pillow
___ Water bottle (Yes, drinking water while at camp is very important for warmth)
___ 2 pair of socks
___ 1 pair of wool socks (put on clean when going to bed – dry)
___ 2 pair of pants (this way you have a dry pair for the next day)
___ 2 shirts
___ Thermal underwear (put on dry before bed)
___ Boots (possibly two sets)
___ Coat
___ Gloves
___ Jacket for under the coat
___ Beanie hat
___ Toilet paper
___ Flashlight
___ Knife
___ Compass
___ Medications
___ Basic first aid kit
___ Sunscreen (yes, for snow reflection – more boys get burned at winter camp than summer)
___ Camp chair
___ Sun glasses
___ Thick sleeping pad (to keep you off the frozen ground – 3-4 inch thick foam pad is good)
___ Tent light
___ Mess kit
___ Reading material
___ Camera
___ Hand warmers (If boys use these make sure they don’t put them right against their skin at night)
___ Snacks (Don’t store in tent at night)

What Paperwork Needs To Be Turned In For Eagle Rank

What Paperwork Needs To Be Turned In For Eagle Rank

Through the years of being an Eagle Coach here in my district, we developed a checklist of how to put together all the paperwork required for the Eagle Scout Rank.  I wanted to share this with you so you will know how to put things together before you turn it all in to your district.

Each district may have slightly different procedures but the list I will give you covers all the Eagle Rank requirements that need to be completed.

Let me give you a couple of pointers before I give you the list:

First, quite a number of scouts love putting their Eagle Rank paperwork in plastic sheet protectors to make it look nice.  This is a worthy thought but we have found that it makes it very difficult for those that are reviewing it for a number of reasons.  There are signatures required.  Every time you or others need to get a signature, the papers have to be pulled out then put back in.  Also, depending on the size of your council, the Eagle Secretary (the one who gets all of the Eagle Rank paperwork for the whole council), may have hundreds of sets of paperwork that need to be reviewed.  Each one needs to have some of the paperwork taken out and faxed to the BSA national office.  This makes it extremely difficult for them.  I recommend not using the plastic sheet protectors.

Second, three-ring binders are very thick.  Here in Utah National Parks Council, we literally have hundreds of sets of Eagle paperwork stacked up for the council to approve.  When they are put in thick three-ring binders, it takes up quite a bit of space.  I recommend putting your paperwork in a thin, three hole report folder.  It takes up much less space.

Here is the list of things you will need to turn in.  (Please consult your home district advancement chairman to clarify if needed)

  1. Eagle Rank Application (See previous posts (Filling Out Your Eagle Application Correctly – Part 1 and Filling Out Your Eagle Application Correctly – Part 2 for more details)
  2. Member Unit Advancement Summary – Your Unit Advancement Chairman needs to login to Scoutnet and print this off for you
  3. Statement of Ambitions and Life Purpose – Essay of what you want to do with your life and awards you have received.  (See previous posts Don’t Forget – Most Commonly Skipped Eagle Requirement and Filling Out Your Eagle Application Correctly – Part 2 for more details)
  4. Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook  (See previous posts How To Prepare For An Eagle Project Approval that talks about the first section of this workbook)
  5. Any other district or council form that may need to be filled out for tracking purposes.


My Memories of Lord Baden-Powell

My Memories of Lord Baden-Powell

My name is Rowland and I’m a friend of Jason’s.  I really like what Jason is doing with his blog on and the thoughts on scouting he shares each week.  I asked him if I could contribute a post on his blog and he graciously allowed me to share my memories of Lord Baden-Powell.

No, I’m not 100 years old, and I don’t have memories based on a personal acquaintance with the father of scouting.  Several years ago I had the opportunity to attend Wood Badge training for adult scout leaders and my memories are based on an evening fireside where an actor portraying Lord Baden-Powell talked about the life of this great leader and the principles on which he built the scouting movement.

My Memories of Lord Baden-Powell

What impressed me the most is that the scouting program has strong roots in religious principles.  No matter what religion you are, you will find that the tenets of scouting reflect the tenets of many different religions the world over.  Consider his words, as referenced on the Boy Scouts of America web page:

“The Scout, in his promise, undertakes to do his duty to his king and country only in the second place; his first duty is to God. It is with this idea before us and recognizing that God is the one Father of us all, that we Scouts count ourselves a brotherhood despite the difference among us of country, creed, or class. We realize that in addition to the interests of our particular country, there is a higher mission before us, namely the promotion of the Kingdom of God; That is, the rule of Peace and Goodwill on earth. In the Scouts each form of religion is respected and its active practice encouraged and through the spread of our brotherhood in all countries, we have the opportunity in developing the spirit of mutual good will and understanding.

“There is no religious “side” of the movement. The whole of it is based on religion, that is, on the realization and service of God.

“Let us, therefore, in training our Scouts, keep the higher aims in the forefront, not let ourselves get too absorbed in the steps. Don’t let the technical outweigh the moral. Field efficiency, back woodsmanship, camping, hiking, Good Turns, jamboree comradeship are all means, not the end. The end is CHARACTER with a purpose.

“Our objective in the Scouting movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God’s Kingdom on earth by including among youth the spirit and the daily practice in their lives of unselfish goodwill and cooperation.”

What better summary than this of the goal of the scouting program in the lives of our young men!  I’m grateful for the influence religious principles have on the scouting program and instilling character into scouts.

How To Run an AWESOME Flag Ceremony

How To Run an AWESOME Flag Ceremony

Participating in a flag ceremony is one of the first requirements scouts have to do when earning their ranks.  I think this is one of the most important requirements.  Scouts should learn respect for their country and flag at an early age.  I love it when I attend any event where they hold a flag ceremony!  I lived outside the United States for 2 years in Chile when I was younger and gained a profound respect for our country.  Our flag represents our country, and I get emotional just thinking about it seeing our country’s flag.

I remember on the plane ride home from Chile, the flight crew announced over the intercom that we were starting our decent into Miami Florida and welcoming us to the United States of America.  I started crying right there in the plane just thinking about how grateful I was to be back in MY country!

To this day, every time I attend a scouting event that has a flag ceremony, I have the same feelings.  When a scout troop performs the flag ceremony with distinction, and you know that they have worked hard and practiced it, it enhances the audience’s experience and emotions for the country and flag.  We have all been to a scouting event where it is very obvious that it was thrown together at the last second and mistakes are made.  This is better than not having one, but proper respect for the flag demands that we do better.

At my oldest son’s Eagle Court of Honor, we asked the 11 year-old scouts to do the ceremony.  We emphasized that we wanted it done very well and practiced.  They did AWESOME!  They put in the time and practice and we had lots of comments from attendees that it was very well done.  The scout who was calling, did not read from a paper.  He had memorized it.  The boys marched in unison with their feet synchronized and they put the flag on the correct side of the stage.  Everything was done as well as it could be.

I hope that anyone reading this blog – scout, parent, or leader, will be inspired to do the same and create an AWESOME experience for their audience on all flag ceremonies they are involved in.

Below is the text of the flag ceremony I have used with our scouts, for your reference:


Colorguard, Attention!
Will the audience please rise?
Colorguard advance!
Audience salute!
(Wait for colorguard to reach the front American Flag on left of audience view)
Please repeat the Pledge of Allegiance with me
(Repeat Pledge)
Colorguard, post the colors!
Colorguard, dismissed
The audience may be seated


Colorguard advance
Will the audience please rise?
Colorguard, retrieve the colors (not retire)
Audience salute!
(Wait until flags leave the area)
The audience may be seated

How To Write The Eagle Statement of Ambitions

How To Write The Eagle Statement of Ambitions

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post Don’t Forget – Most Commonly Skipped Eagle Requirement, which talked a bit about how to write the Eagle Statement of Ambitions.  I want to expound on that requirement a little bit today.

I have served as an District Eagle Coach and have sat on hundreds of boards of review and read the Statements of Ambition for those Eagle candidates over the years.  I can honestly say that all of them are very different.  This is one of the funnest things for board members to read and it gives them insight to what kind of scout and person the candidate is.  It is very obvious that some candidates have spent the minimum amount of time writing and thinking about what they put in that statement.  Some are very thoughtful.

I remember one in particular had a statement that said he wanted to be the President of the United States.  I thought, wow!  What a bold statement from a 17 year-old.  When he came in for the review, we asked him about it. He was very serious and we found out that he had plans to make that happen.

You should think of your board of review like a job interview.  You are trying to show the board that you are the right candidate for the job, which is attaining the rank of Eagle.

Your Statement of Ambitions should be a minimum of two pages. The first page should be a double-spaced typed letter of what you want to do with the rest of your life.  This should be really easy for scouts to write.  I think of the movie “A Christmas Story,” when Ralphie is in school and his teacher tells them they need to write a theme.  They all moan!  Then when she tells them the topic, “What I Want For Christmas,” they all get very excited and want to do the assignment.  Scouts should feel the same way about this “theme.”

I have seen scouts write as little as 2 sentences or as much as 3 pages.  It should be 1-2 pages.  Also, you should use the spell checker on your computer and have your mom, dad, or scout leader proofread it to polish it up to look good before it is turned in with your paperwork.

This first page is where most scouts stop. That is only half of the requirement.  It also says to include a list of any leadership positions you have held over your scouting time in anything.  This includes school, band, church, work, anywhere!

Also, you need to include any awards you received while serving in these leadership roles.  If you earned your Duty to God at church, list it.  If you won high honors in your band at school, list it.  Basically this is a “brag sheet” of all your accomplishments while you were a leader.  Most scouts either forget to add this or don’t feel comfortable bragging about themselves.

In the real world when people are interviewing for jobs, they present a resume to potential employers to show off their skills and list all the great things that they know and have done.  This distinguishes them from all the other job candidates and proves they have the necessary skills to be there and do the job.  An Eagle Board of Review is no different.  You are a candidate for the Eagle Rank at the time of your board.  Present yourself it the best possible light.

2016 Boy Scout Progress Tracker (New Requirements)


Here is the newly updated tracker with all the new 2016 requirements!

We have created an awesome tool that will help scouts more easily track their progress on scout ranks, will help scout parents know how to guide their boys with what to work on next, and for scout leaders to be more transparent with their scouts and parents with what requirements have been done and which still need to be completed.
The 2016 Boy Scout Progress Tracker is a simple PDF that you can download to quickly create a workbook that makes tracking scout progress a piece of cake.
It includes the very easy at a glance forms:
  • Tracking forms for all the relevant requirements on the journey to Eagle Scout.
  • Forms to make it easy to track time in leadership positions
  • Forms to track camping nights towards the required Camping merit badge
  • Form to track service hours toward all the ranks.
  • Easy way to track required and elective merit badges
  • It also includes a VERY easy to read advancement progress form so you can see quickly what requirements are completed and those that still remain incomplete.
Once completed by a scout, the 2016 Boy Scout Progress Tracker will make it extremely easy to fill out the Eagle Scout Rank Application and other paperwork when applying for Eagle Scout.
We have made it very simple and easy for anyone, whether you are a scout, parent, or leader to use this and track your scouting progress.  We have used this in our own unit and with our own boys for years and have had many other parents and scouts use it with great success earning their Eagle Scout Rank.
You can download it now on our website  Click the Products menu in the top right hand corner to see our download page or click HERE to get it now.
Scouts that are currently working on their Eagle Rank, will not need the new updated PDF so we wanted to provide both.

Need Help Tracking Scouting Progress?

Need Help Tracking Scouting Progress

Scouts, Scout parents, Scout leaders:
Does this scouting story sound familiar to you?

Since the time he was in the Webelos Den, Kaden has said he wants to earn his Eagle Scout Rank; but these days he’s busier in school and with an expanding social schedule, scouts has dropped out of his priorities. Besides, merit badges and camp-outs just don’t sound fun anymore. Mom doesn’t know how to figure out the Scout Handbook. The requirements, it seems, are changing each year and it’s hard enough to keep up with the daily to do’s. Kaden is a good kid. Because he’s been active with his friends in his scout troop as he’s grown up, and because he’s had good scout leaders, he was a Life Scout by the time he turned 14. But, Kaden eventually turns 18 before earning his Eagle rank. If only he and his mom knew that all he had to do was complete an Eagle Project and earn one more elective merit badge. If only they’d had a chart or an easy to follow list, he wouldn’t have missed out on this opportunity.

There are many reasons why only 4-5% of registered scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout. The requirements take work, yes, but that isn’t the main reason. The main reason is because to many parents, like Kaden’s, Boy Scout requirements are a mystery. They don’t know enough to encourage and guide their sons’ progress.

What if there were an easy to read, easy to keep record; one small folder which made the steps to Eagle Scout clear? What if there were a painless and foolproof system for parents and boys to keep up?

Scout leaders, what if there was an easy way for you to help your scouts and parents keep track of where they are and what they still have left to work on?  What if you could increase your percentage of Eagle Scout completion in your unit?

In the next blog post, I will introduce you to an awesome tool that we have created to help you do just that.

How To Prepare For An Eagle Project Approval

Eagle Project Approval

Many a scout thinks that meeting the Eagle Project Approval Board to present an eagle project and get it approved is the most daunting task on his way to the rank of Eagle Scout.  I want to dispel that myth and help scouts, scout leaders, and scout parents by making clear what needs to be done and what happens at that approval.  Knowing is more that half the battle.  When there is a large presentation on the horizon, for me, the more I know about my subject and the environment in which I will present, the less nervous I feel.

What needs to be filled out before you go:

The first thing you need to do is download the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook.  BE CERTAIN that you have the latest one!  This is very important.  This workbook changes at least once a year, sometimes more.  Click HERE for the current version.  You have to download this PDF to your hard drive and then open it to see the contents and to edit it.  You can type right into the PDF once this is done.

Secondly, read the entire workbook!  This is paramount!  This will answer any questions you have and give you the best direction.  This is where I find answers to almost every question asked of me about eagle projects.  When a scout signs the proposal as the eagle candidate, he is giving his word that he has read the entire workbook; and remember, a scout is honest.

This book is divided into three sections: The Proposal, The Final Plan, and The Report.  The Proposal section is the only section you need to fill out in order to have your project approved.  Also, the last page in The Final Plan section may need to be filled out before your approval meeting if you are doing a fundraiser outside of your unit’s area.

Fill out every part of The Proposal section, including the contact information page.  Get all signatures on the last page EXCEPT for the “Council or District Approval” signature.  This signature is obtained during your approval.  The scout should sign and date this page FIRST, then the others follow.  Call and set up an appointment to come in and present it for approval.

That is it!  It is not difficult if you are thorough.  You are writing your proposal and then presenting your proposal.  That’s it.  Once it is approved, then the details will be written up and the work can be done.

What happens in an Eagle Project Approval

An Eagle Project Approval only lasts 10-20 minutes.  You are there to present your idea, show the board that you have thought it through, and obtained the proper signatures for approval up to that point.  Parents or scout leaders can sit in with their scout during the project approval.  However, they should not do the talking.  The eagle candidate should be the one presenting and answering questions.

Here is how an approval is run generally.

  1. Introductions
  2. The Proposal section of the workbook is presented for the board members to look over.
  3. While they are viewing the workbook, the board member running the approval will ask the eagle candidate questions to further clarify.  The main question that will be asked is for the eagle candidate to tell the group all about their project idea.  The approval board looks for three things:  to insure the scout is the one planning the project, developing the project, and that the scout will have the opportunity to show leadership.  Be prepared to answer those types of questions.

For more detailed information about choosing a solid eagle project, read the How To Pick An Eagle Project That Will Be Approved blog post. Once the approval board determines that your plan is an approvable project, they will sign your approval and clear you to fill out The Final Plan section of the workbook. Then, you may start real work on your project.

If it is determined that your project does not qualify for approval, don’t worry.  They are there to help you be successful, not to judge you.  They will offer suggestions on possible changes or what you can add to turn your idea into a project that will qualify.

The purpose of an approval isn’t to put pressure on the scout or to discourage him from continuing.  It is to make sure that he will succeed.  The approval board is ensuring that the project will not be denied by national or the board of review at the end of the process.  It is common that scouts need to make slight adjustments or additions to their project idea in order to make it qualify, so don’t let that discourage you.