EAGLE SCOUT RANK OVERVIEW
The fact that a Scout is an Eagle Scout has always carried with it a special significance.
The award is a performance- based achievement whose standards have been well-maintained over the years. Not every youth who joins a Scouts BSA troop earns the Eagle Scout rank. This represents more than 2.25 million Scouts who have earned the rank since 1912.
Since Arthur Eldred became the first Eagle Scout in 1912, the rank has represented a milestone of accomplishment—perhaps without equal—that is recognized across the country and even the world. Scouts who have earned the Eagle Scout rank count it among their most treasured possessions. “Eagle Scout” is not just an award; it is a state of being. Those who earned it as youth continue to earn it every day as adults. That is why an Eagle Scout IS an Eagle Scout—not was.
Nevertheless, the goals of Scouting—the mission of the BSA, citizenship training, character development, and personal fitness—remain important for all Scouts, whether or not they attain the Eagle Scout rank.
Eagle Scout Overview
To earn the Eagle Scout rank, the highest advancement rank in Scouting, a Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills. Although many options are available to demonstrate proficiency in these areas, a number of specific skills are required to advance through the ranks—Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. To advance, a Scout must pass specific tests that are organized by requirements and merit badges.Merit Badges
Merit badges signify the mastery of certain Scoutcraft skills, as well as helping Scouts increase their skill in an area of personal interest. Of the 135 merit badges available, 21 must be earned to qualify for Eagle Scout.
Of this group, 13 badges are required, including First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communication, Cooking, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Camping, and Family Life. In addition, a Scout has a choice between Emergency Preparedness and Lifesaving, Cycling, Hiking, and Swimming, and Environmental Science and Sustainability.Service
While a Life Scout, a Scout plans, develops, and gives leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, school, or the community. In addition to providing service and fulfilling the part of the Scout Oath, “to help other people at all times,” one of the primary purposes of the Eagle Scout service project is to demonstrate or hone, or to learn and develop, leadership skills. Related to this are important lessons in project management and taking responsibility for a significant accomplishment.Famous Eagle Scouts
- Neil Armstrong, First man on the moon
- Stephen G. Breyer, Associate justice, United States Supreme Court
- Steve Fossett, World record holder, first person to circumnavigate Earth solo in a hot air balloon
- Bill Gates, Sr., CEO of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates
- James A. Lovell, Jr., Retired U.S. Navy officer, former astronaut
- The Honorable Richard G. Lugar United States senator, Indiana
- Willard Marriott Jr., Chairman and CEO, Marriott International
- Ross Perot, Founder of Perot Systems Corp., former presidential candidate
- Mike Rowe, Host of “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel
- William S. Sessions, Former federal judge, former director of the FBI
- Steven Spielberg, Academy Award-winning film director
- John Tesh, Recording artist and performer
- Togo D. West Jr., Former United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
National Eagle Scout Association
Founded in 1972, the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) maintains contact with Eagle Scouts to sustain their interest in Scouting. Any Eagle Scout may join the association. Applications for membership in NESA are available through your local council, on the BSA Web page (www.scouting.org), or by contacting the Eagle Scout Service at the national office. Cooking and Sustainability Merit Badges Added to Eagle-Required List
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the Cooking merit badge will be required in order to obtain the Eagle Scout rank. The Cooking merit badge has undergone a major revision. The changes to Cooking will first appear in a revised merit badge pamphlet that will be released early 2014. The new requirements then become effective Jan. 1, 2014, with the release of Boy Scout Requirements, No. 34765. (The process for implementing changes to merit badges is covered in the Guide to Advancement, topic 22.214.171.124, “What to Do When Requirements Change.”)
Scouts completing the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank after Jan. 1, 2014, must earn the Cooking merit badge under either the existing requirements or under the requirements as revised during 2013. Scouts are not required to earn the badge under the new requirements in order to qualify for Eagle. Scouts who already earned Cooking Merit Badge may purchase or be presented with the new, silver-bordered Cooking Merit Badge patch.
Scouts earning Cooking Merit Badge after Dec. 31, 2014 must use the new Cooking Merit Badge requirements.
Upon its release during the summer of 2013, the Sustainability merit badge has become available as an option with Environmental Science as an Eagle-required merit badge. Scouts may choose to earn Sustainability in place of the currently required Environmental Science. Scouts who have already earned Environmental Science may also earn Sustainability, but only one of the two merit badges would count as “Eagle-required.” The other, however, may count as one of the others necessary to reach the total of 21 required merit badges