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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

EagleProjectTracking.com 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 EagleProjectTracking.com

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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. EagleProjectTracking.com 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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