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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 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.


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.

Preparing For Winter Camp – Backyard Prep

Preparing For Winter Camp

Preparing for winter camp is one of the “scary” things a lot of scouts struggle with.  Today I wanted to share with you another winter camping preparation activity that we have done for years with our scouts shortly after the Wool Sock activity that I shared in another blog post.  We pick a Friday night in January, since the Klondike Derby is in February, to do a preparatory overnight camp in the Scoutmaster’s backyard.  This activity does a few things for the boys.

First, it provides them a safe and semi-comfortable environment to test out winter camping.  Since we are just in the backyard, it is very easy to give them access to and indoor warm facility if they freak out on their first experience, as we all know some boys do.  It is much better to have them have a problem now in this environment than up in the mountains.

Second, it provides them an easy way to learn a lesson if they didn’t bring the right equipment.  They can run home or call their parents to get what they forgot quickly.  When this happens, they won’t forget it on the “real” winter camp out in February.

Third, it helps them learn what happens on a winter camp when they play in the snow and get wet in a safe learning environment.  We have had scouts come to this camp, then have a snowball fight, get all wet, then find out they can’t stay warm and sleep like that. Instead of being in a dangerous situation, we have the house right there to get them in, and get them some dry clothes and warm them up.

When you have young scouts that are 11-12 years old that have not attended a winter camp yet, it helps to do some small preparatory activities to ease their way into winter camping like this.  As a scout leader you do not want to take scouts for the first time to a Klondike Derby without some kind of preparation.  If you do this and get all the way up in the mountains and find out that some of the scouts are not prepared or are struggling and want to go home, this makes it very difficult.

Lastly, this also has provided an opportunity for nervous parents that are hesitant to send their boy to winter camp to let go a little bit, knowing that they are just across the street.  Once they know their son can make it overnight and loved it, they are significantly more willing to let their son go to the Klondike Derby without worrying so much.



New Scout Requirements 2016 – What To Know

There are a few articles that I wanted to share and bring to your attention so you all know what is changing in the new scout requirements.

Scout Rank Changing:

scout requirementsARTICLE: Bryan On Scouting – BSA Blog – Scout, currently a joining badge, to become its own rank – Bryan Wendell


Other Rank Changes:

scout requirements

ARTICLE: The Boy Scout Blog – Things Are a Changin’—Transitioning to the 2016 Boy Scout Requirements – Pualani Graham

Two important things to remember about the new requirements are:

  1. Whatever rank you are working on now, you can continue that rank with the current requirements with your next rank changing to the new ones in 2016.
  2. In 2017 you will be required to only use the new requirements for all ranks. – District Eagle Project Tracking Tool

eagleprojecttracking is a district tool that we developed over a 5 year period in the Mt. Nebo District to track all eagle candidates coming in for their project approval through the board of review that all districts can use.  We also use it to communicate with all Eagle Coaches and District Advancement Committee members.  Check out the short demo video of what you can do with this tool.  There is also a more detailed video you can watch on

See what districts are saying about it:
I absolutely love using this tool!  The Eagle Project information is accessible to each Eagle Coach as well as all relevant documents and helps them track the young men they are working with.  I was able to sort the records and look at boys that are getting close to their 18th birthday and give them a phone call to motivate them.  I can’t imagine being the District Advancement Chair without this tool.  This will make your position so much more enjoyable.
        – DaLayn Bing (Mount Nebo District Advancement Chairman 2011-14)
I think this website tool is awesome and I wish all districts used it!  It helps keep track so no one gets lost in the cracks.
        – Debby Robert (Utah National Parks Council Eagle Secretary)

Please share this with anyone that you think would benefit from this tool!

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.

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