The Rank of Eagle Scout was birthed in the Boy Scout Manual 100 years ago this year, and is the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank to be achieved. Since the first Boy Scout, Arthur Eldred of New York, earned this nation’s first Eagle Scout Award in August of 1912, two million young men have achieved that same goal. About four percent of Boy Scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout, and most do this at age 17.
Some of the more notable Eagle Scouts are President Gerald Ford; Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton; explorer Steve Fossett; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates Sr.; MLB all-star Shane Victorino and NASA’s Don Pettit, Expedition 30/31 flight engineer, who currently works aboard the International Space Station.
To achieve this rank they must progress through the ranks in the following order:
• Tenderfoot • Second Class • First Class • Star • Life • Eagle.
Earn 21 merit badges, including:
• First Aid• Citizenship in the Community• Citizenship in the Nation• Citizenship in the World• Communications• Environmental Science• Personal Fitness• Camping• Family Life• Personal Management• Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving• Cycling, Hiking, or Swimming;
They must also serve six months in a troop leadership position.
Plan, develop, and give leadership to a special “Eagle Scout Service Project” that would be a service to the community.
Take part in a Scoutmaster conference and successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
*Boy Scouts with disabilities may qualify for the Eagle Scout rank by fulfilling alternative requirements as determined by their council.
It is said that being an Eagle Scout is not only a rank or a merit badge but a state of mind that once achieved follows throughout one’s life. Scouts must demonstrate their understanding of leadership, service, character, personal fitness, and outdoor skills at multiple levels. The Eagle Scout Service Project alone is a memorable climax to a Boy Scout’s move up the ladder. It uses skills learned, and gives the Boy Scout a place to practice them. It also teaches new skills in its process; reflecting in self-discovery, and new confidence learned. The Eagle Scout badge has become widely recognized as a mark of distinction both within and outside of Scouting.
In an independent study conducted by Baylor University, Merit Beyond the Badge, found that Eagle Scouts are more likely than men who have never been in Scouting to: Have higher levels of planning and preparation skills, be goal-oriented, and network with others; be in a leadership position at their place of employment or local community; report having closer relationships with family and friends; volunteer for religious and nonreligious organizations; donate money to charitable groups; and work with others to improve their neighborhoods.
“Eagle Scouts have made their marks throughout history—from walking on the moon and working behind the desk in the Oval Office to running the bases in the major leagues. And while we’re proud to claim some truly great men in American history among our ranks, we’re even more proud that everyday Eagle Scouts become wonderful husbands, fathers, and citizens,” said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “This research validates for the world something we’ve known about Eagle Scouts for years. They lead. They vote. They donate. They volunteer. They work hard and achieve their goals. In short, Eagle Scouts are exceptional men.”
A Boy Scout that achieves the Eagle Scout’s Roll of Honor are forever in a special class and can be a part of the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) founded in 1972. The NESA’s goal is to maintain contact with Eagle Scouts and to sustain their interest in Scouting. Those who can join are Eagle Scouts in good standing. See the NESA web page for more information at www.nesa.org.
Read Eagle Scout -NASA Astronaut Don Pettit’s “Letters to Earth” blog at blogs.nasa.gov/cm/newui/blog/viewpostlist.jsp?blogname=letters