Last night, several of our leaders and scouts participated in an inter-troop event. This event was hosted by Troop 777 of Montville, NJ and was designed to offer tips and advice to Life scouts who are working on becoming recognized as Eagle scouts.
The Eagle scout rank has seven essential requirements:
- Be active in your troop, team, crew, or ship for a period of at six months after you have achieved the rank of Life Scout
- Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life. List the names of individuals who know you personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf, including parents/guardians, religious, educational, and employer references
- Earn a total of 21 merit badges (10 more than you already have), including the following:
- First Aid
- Citizenship in the Community
- Citizenship in the Nation
- Citizenship in the World
- Personal Fitness
- Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving
- Environmental Science
- Personal Management
- Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling
- Family Life
- While a Life Scout, serve actively for a period of six months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility (see list in your Scout Handbook).
- While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project should benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.) The project plan must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your Scoutmaster and troop committee, and the council or district before you start
- Take part in a Scoutmaster conference
- Successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review
Our meeting last night was designed to focus attention on the Board of Review process and the types of questions that might be asked of the scout.
Most boards consist of three to six adults. In some cases these are people from the community or from the scouting organization at the district or council level. In some cases, the board may include adults who know the scout and would be able to provide insights into his character because of their past association.
The Eagle scout candidate brings information about their service project with them to the meeting so that the board can become familiar with the details of the project. The board will spend a fair amount of time asking questions about the project to better understand how the scout demonstrated leadership of other people and how he has matured while coping with unexpected problems, getting approvals, setting budgets and more.
Another area of questions will focus on the scout’s own contribution to his troop — How has he served other scouts? How has he taken responsibility for planning, training, or administering various aspects of the troop? What has he learned from these jobs and how has he seen his scouting experience benefit in other areas of his life (i.e. school, sports, hobbies, preparation for career or college, etc.)?
A third area of concentrated questions will focus on the scout’s attitude towards and acceptance of scouting’s ideals (i.e. Oath, Law, Motto, Slogan, Outdoor Code, etc.)
Finally, the board may ask a mix of questions about scouting program history, the candidate’s plans for his future, his understanding of the scouting program’s aims and methods, or any other area that helps form a clear impression of how the youth has participated actively in the program and supports the mission of the program.
In many ways, the board is not only reviewing the completeness of the candidate’s completion of various requirements, the board is trying to understand whether the candidate is making a commitment to maintain the ideals and mentality of an Eagle scout throughout his life. The candidate may or may not continue to embrace the ideals of the program, but it’s the hope that the candidate would see the values as helpful and strive to embody them in his daily life (and pass them to others by example).
Some of the example questions presented to the candidates last night included:
- The 1911 Scout Handbook describes the Eagle Scout as “…the all-round perfect scout”.
- Question: Do you think you deserve to be recognized in that fashion?
- If No, what do you think’s missing from your experience to qualify you to that standard?
- If Yes, do you feel that there’s nothing new to learn or master in the program?
- The 1911 Scout Handbook states that “…the final and chief test of the scout is the doing of a good turn to somebody every day, quietly and without boasting. This is the proof of the scout.”
- Question: If this is really the “final and chief test”, then let me ask you – what did you do as a good turn today, prior to this meeting?
- The Scout Motto is “BE PREPARED”.
- Question: What did you do to become prepared for tonight’s meeting?
- The Scout Oath is made up of three sections — Duty to God, Duty to Others and Duty to Self.
- Question 1: What do you see as your personal Duty to God and how do you strive to fulfill it?
- Question 2: As a young man, what do you feel is your Duty to Country and how do you strive to fulfill it?
- Question 3: What do you do to fulfill your Duty to Self — in terms of being physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight?
- One of the requirements for advancement in the program is to hold and actively serve in a Position of Responsibility for a designated time span.
- Question: What Position(s) of Responsibility have you held and what did you do to contribute to the troop’s success* during your tenure in that role? (*How did you “actively serve”?)
- One of the key requirements for advancement through the various ranks in scouting is to serve others through service projects.
- Question: What sorts of service projects have you participated in (besides your Eagle project)? What did you learn from those activities? How did those activities benefit the recipient?
- I’ve read through your Eagle Leadership/Service Project summary and have several questions I’d like to ask…
- Question: If I hadn’t had that available, how would you summarize your project to me in less than three minutes?
- Question: Thirty years from now, what would you still remember about the project as important, and how would you characterize the project to your children or other young men who are looking for ideas to launch their own project? What advice would you give them about their project?
- Question: What was the hardest part of your project? How did you deal with that or learn from that aspect of your project?
- Question: What was the most surprising moment in your project?
- Question: Do you think people will still be enjoying your project’s benefits 10 years from now?
There were many other great questions asked and answered during the event. Those questions can be found at many scouting support web sites by searching for “eagle scout board of review questions” at any popular search site on the internet. Gathering a better understanding of scouting ideals can come from blog sites like this one, troop meetings, the scouting handbook and other support sites on the internet.
Ultimately, the search isn’t for the “right answer” — it’s a search for “my own answer” — what do I really feel, think and believe I’ve accomplished by participating in the scouting program?
Troops 777 and 113 will be hosting additional practice sessions in a couple of months. If you’re interested to learn more about scouting, or to participate in a similar event, contact us through www.beascout.org or from the contact information found on this web site or the Troop 777 web site (www.trinitytroop777.org)