- Eagle Scout (Boy Scouts of America)
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the
Boy Scouts of America(BSA). Those who attain this rank are called an "Eagle Scout" or "Eagle". Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 1.7 million young men.cite web |url=http://www.scouting.org/Media/FactSheets/02-516.aspx |title=Eagle Scouts |work=BSA Fact Sheet |publisher=Boy Scouts of America |accessdate=2006-11-13] The title of Eagle Scout is held for life, thus giving rise to the phrase "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle".
Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating
Scout Spirit, service, and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Eagle Scouts are presented with a medaland a badgethat visibly recognizes the accomplishments of the Scout. Additional recognition can be earned through Eagle Palms, awarded for completing additional tenure, leadership, and merit badge requirements.
award2=Eagle Scout medal as published in the "Handbook for Boys" (1911)The BSA's highest award was originally conceived of as the "Wolf Scout", as shown in the June 1911 Official Handbook for Boys. The August 1911 handbook subsequently changed this to "Eagle Scout". The
medalillustrated in the handbook was a profile of an eagle in flight, but was changed to the current design before any were issued. In their original conceptions, Life Scout, Star Scout (Life preceded Star until 1924) and Eagle Scout were not ranks, but part of the merit badge system that recognized Scouts who had earned a specified number of merit badges. Eagle Scout was awarded to any First Class Scout who had earned 21 merit badges. [cite book |last=BSA Editorial Board |year=1911 |title=The Official Handbook for Boys |publisher=Doubleday, Page and Company |location=Garden City, NY |id=] Consequently, eight of the first nine Eagle Scouts did not earn the ranks of Life or Star.cite web |last=Peterson |first=Robert |year=2002 |url=http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0211/d-wwas.html |title=Evolution of the Eagle Scout Award |work=Scouting Magazine |publisher=Boy Scouts of America |accessdate=2006-05-22]
The first Eagle Scout medal was awarded in 1912 to
Arthur Rose Eldred, a 17-year-old member of Troop 1 of Rockville Centre, Long Island, New York. Eldred was notified that he was to be awarded the rank of Eagle Scout in a letter from Chief Scout Executive James West, dated August 21, 1912. The design of the Eagle Scout medal had not been finalized by the National Council, so the medal was not awarded until Labor Day, September 2, 1912. Eldred was the first of three generations of Eagle Scouts; his son and grandson hold the rank as well. [cite web |year=2006 |url=http://www.eaglescout.org/history/first_eagle.html |title=The BSA’s First Eagle Scout: Arthur Rose Eldred |work=Eagle Scout Resource Center |accessdate=2006-03-06] [cite journal |author=Ray, Mark |title=Eagle Scout Heritage Celebration Brings History to Life |journal=Eagletter|year=Winter 2005 |volume=Vol:31 |issue=No:3 |pages=pp: 8–9] Since then, more than 1.7 million Scouts have earned the rank. In 1982, 13-year-old Alexander Holsinger, of Normal, Illinois, was recognized as the one-millionth Eagle Scout. [cite web |last=Reagan |first=Ronald |year=1982-09-14 |url=http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/print.php?pid=42967 |title=Remarks by Telephone to Eagle Scout Award Recipient Alexander M. Holsinger |work=The American Presidency Project |publisher=americanpresidency.org |accessdate=2006-10-17]
A total of 1,835,410 Scouts have earned Eagle Scout as of the end of 2005; out of 83,486,083 Scouts since 1911, this is about 2 percent of the Boy Scouting membership. [cite web |url=http://marketing.scouting.org/resources/factsheets/02-179.pdf |title=Facts About Scouting |publisher=Boy Scouts of America |accessdate=2007-05-29] In 2005, 49,895 Eagle Scout awards were presented, about 5 percent of the 2005 membership. [cite web |year=2006|url=http://listserv.tcu.edu/cgi-bin/wa.exe?A2=ind0606&L=scouts-l&P=37735 |title=Calculating the % of Scouts who earn the Eagle rank|publisher=Scouts-L Archive |accessdate=2006-11-10] There are four known Nobel Prize laureates who are Eagle Scouts:
Dudley R. Herschbach, Peter Agre, Robert Coleman Richardson, and Frederick Reines.
Eagle Scout may be earned by a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout who has been a Life Scout for at least six months, earns a minimum of 21 merit badges, demonstrates Scout Spirit, and demonstrates leadership in the troop, team, crew or ship. He must plan, develop and lead a service project— the "Eagle Project" —that demonstrates both leadership and a commitment to duty. He must then take part in a Scoutmaster conference. After all requirements are met, he must complete an Eagle Scout board of review. He can complete the board of review after his 18th birthday as long as all other requirements are completed before his 18th birthday. [cite web |url=http://usscouts.org/advance/boyscout/bsrank7.html |title=Eagle Rank Requirements |publisher=U.S. Scouting Service Project|accessdate=2006-05-17] Venturers and Sea Scouts who attained First Class as a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout in a troop or team may continue working toward the Star, Life and Eagle Scout ranks, as well as Eagle Palms, while registered as a Venturer or Sea Scout up to their 18th birthday. Scouts with a permanent mental or physical disability may use alternate requirements based on abilities, if approved by the council. Eagle Scout may be awarded posthumously, if and only if all requirements except the board of review are completed before death. A board of review may be held and the award presented to the Scout's family. The
Spirit of the Eagle Awardis an honorary posthumous special recognition for any registered youth member who has died in an accident or through illness.
Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project
The Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project is the opportunity for a Scout to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of his community. This is the culmination of the Eagle Scout candidate's leadership training and requires a significant effort. [cite web |url=http://www.nesa.org/trail/manual.html |title=Eagle Scout Service Project How-to Manual |work=Trail to Eagle |publisher=National Eagle Scout Association |accessdate=2006-11-28] The project must benefit an organization other than the BSA, but it cannot be performed for an individual or a business, cannot be solely a fund-raising project, and cannot be a commercial effort.
Eagle Scout requirements have evolved since the award was conceived. A requirement to earn 11 specific merit badges was added in 1914, which underwent minor changes in 1915. [cite web |year=2003 |url=http://www.troop97.net/bsaeagle.htm |title=Eagle Scout Requirements: A Comparison of the BSA's Eagle Requirements since 1911 |publisher=Troop 97 |accessdate=2006-03-20] The Life–Star order was reversed in 1924, apparently because the five-pointed star of the Star Scout insignia could be associated with the five merit badges required to earn the rank immediately following First Class Scout. In 1927, Eagle Scout began the transition from being a super merit badge to a rank. As a result, the first requirements for tenure were created and Scouts were required to be an active First Class Scout for one year. The initial requirements for what became the service project appeared with a requirement to show satisfactory service and the number of required merit badges increased to 12. In 1936, the ranks of Star and Life became mandatory, and the number of required merit badges rose to 13. It was at this time that Eagle Scout became a full-fledged rank. In 1952, age limits were set so that adults could no longer earn Eagle Scout and the service project requirement was slightly expanded to "do your best to help in your home, school, church or synagogue, and community." In 1958, the number of required merit badges increased again to 16 of the 21 total merit badges needed to obtain Eagle, along with the first requirements for service and leadership.
When the Exploring program was introduced in 1959, Explorers could earn Eagle Scout using requirements specific to the Exploring program. [cite web |url=http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Falls/8826/expleaglereq.html |title=Exploring Requirements for Eagle |accessdate=2007-06-19 |author=Michael R Brown |publisher=] Explorers who were also registered as assistant Scoutmasters in a troop could work on Eagle and Eagle Palms until age 21. [cite web |last=Walton |first=Mike |year=1996 |url=http://listserv.tcu.edu/cgi-bin/wa.exe?A2=ind9602&L=scouts-l&P=94893 |title=When Eagle Age Limit Was Imposed |work=Scouts-L Archive |accessdate=2006-03-07] These options were discontinued in 1972 with the Improved Scouting Program, and Explorers could use the standard Eagle requirements only through age 18. [cite book |title=Exploring |origorigyear=1958 |publisher=Boy Scouts of America]
In 1965, the requirements for the service project and specific troop leadership were defined, and the number of required merit badges returned to 11. The Eagle Scout candidate was required to plan, develop, and carry out a leadership service project. Minor changes were made to the required merit badge list in 1970. In 1972, the Improved Scouting Program increased to 24 the number of merit badges needed to obtain Eagle, while reducing the list of required merit badges to ten, eliminating badges that required swimming and outdoor skills—both of which were later reinstated, and adding the requirement to show leadership during the service project. In 1978, the number of merit badges needed for Eagle was lowered to the original 21, and the number of required merit badges was set at 11 (this was changed to 12 in 1993).
Palms represent additional advancement for a young man who has stayed active in his unit. A Palm is awarded when the Scout has been active in the unit for at least three months since attaining Eagle (or a previous Palm); has demonstrated Scout Spirit, leadership and ability; has earned five additional merit badges beyond those required for Eagle or the last Palm; and has taken part in a conference with his unit leader.
The insignia is a small metallic palm frond pin that is worn on the ribbon of the Eagle Scout medal or the Eagle Scout square knot. The Palms are awarded in three colors:
bronze, representing five merit badges; gold, representing ten merit badges; and silver, representing fifteen merit badges. For each Palm awarded for five additional merit badges beyond the first bronze, gold, and silver recognitions, Palms are worn in combinations which require the smallest number of patches to reflect the total number of Palms earned. For instance, a Scout who has earned eight Palms would wear two silver Palms and a gold Palm. [cite web |url=http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php?title=Eagle_Palms |title=Eagle Palms |accessdate=2008-04-20 |work=Merit Badge Research Center |publisher=] The order of bronze, gold and silver follows heraldic traditions borrowed from the U.S. military. [cite web |url=http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/ROTCMiscNGB/Silver%20and%20Gold%20Insignia.htm |title=Use of Silver and Gold Officer Insignia of Rank |accessdate=2006-11-15 |work=The Institute of Heraldry |publisher=United States Army]
Insignia and apparel
The Eagle Scout badge is worn on the left shirt pocket by youth. [cite web |year=2000 |url=http://scouting.org/filestore/pdf/34283.pdf |title=Boy Scout/Varsity Scout Uniform Inspection Sheet, Item #34283 |publisher=Boy Scouts of America |accessdate=2006-03-06] Adult leaders who earned the rank of Eagle Scout as a youth may wear the square knot on their uniform above the left shirt pocket.cite book |year=2005 |title=Insignia Guide 2005 |publisher=Boy Scouts of America |id=#33066E] The Eagle Scout medal is worn on the left shirt pocket flap of the uniform. It is usually only worn on ceremonial occasions, and can be worn by both youth and adults while wearing the badge or square knot.
The Eagle Scout Award Kit currently includes the Eagle Scout medal, the Eagle Scout badge, a mother's pin, a father's pin and an Eagle Mentor pin. A variety of caps, belt buckles, pins, tie tacs, neckerchiefs and slides, bolo ties, rings, jackets, t-shirts and other items are also available for purchase. [cite web |url=http://scoutstuff.org/BSASupply/SearchPage.aspx?page=LIST&free_text%7C=eagle |title=ScoutStuff.org |publisher=Boy Scouts of America |accessdate=2006-03-04] Official Eagle Scout insignia is controlled by BSA Supply and requires verification by presentation of an Eagle Scout card or other means before it can be purchased.
History of the medal
Since its introduction, the Eagle Scout badge has undergone several design changes. Scouting historians have classified these badges into eight different designs, with several minor variations within each type.
The cloth badge was introduced for Eagle Scouts attending the 1924
World Scout Jamboreein Denmarkwith a design based on the hat pin. The Eagle Scout merit badge was sewn onto the top of the merit badge sash that was also created for the jamboree. The design is quite similar to the current badge. As with other patches of the time, the rank badges were embroidered onto rolls of fabric and then cut. The edges were folded under before sewing the badge onto the sash. Initially produced on tan cloth, it was later switched to olive for the Boy Scout uniform and white and blue to match the various Sea Scout uniforms. In 1933, "BSA" was removed from all of the Eagle Scout insignia, including the badge.cite web |last=Murray |first=Craig |url=http://www.sageventure.com/eagle/ |title=The Eagle Badge |work=Boy Scout Badge History |accessdate=2006-06-19] The text "Eagle Scout" and "Boy Scouts of America" was added to the border, and "Be Prepared" was added to the scroll. These badges were embroidered with silk thread, switching to cotton in 1940.
The production of badges and emblems changed in 1956 to the rolled edge now in current use, thus eliminating the various colored backgrounds. The outside oval was then changed to red. With the introduction of the Improved Scouting Program in 1972 came an overhaul of many badges and emblems. The new stylized Eagle Scout badge with no text was a major change that proved to be unpopular. It appears that some Scouters commissioned reproductions of the 1956 badge for issue in place of the 1972 version. In 1975 the badge design partially reverted to the 1956 version. 1985 saw a reversion to the 1956 issue with some minor differences. The border and the eagle were done in silver metalized thread and the "Be Prepared" text was in blue. In 1986 the metalized eagle changed back to standard thread due to problems with wearing and the scroll and text were enlarged. The metalized border was changed to standard thread in 1989. Later variants increased the thread count of the white stripe to eliminate the visible background.
award2=Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and knot
award4=Eagle Scout NESA life membership knotEagle Scout hat pins were produced from 1921 through 1958 with several variations. [cite web |last=Murray |first=Craig |url=http://www.sageventure.com/eagle/ |title=Eagle Scout Miniature Badge Pin |work=Boy Scout Badge History |accessdate=2006-05-24] Eagle Scouts who earned additional merit badges were recognized using Eagle Palms, introduced in 1927. Adults who had earned Eagle Scout began to be recognized in 1934 with a red, white and blue ribbon bar. In 1940, a small eagle pin was added to the bar. Ribbon bars were replaced by embroidered square knot patches in 1947. [cite web |last=Crowl |first=George |url=http://www.sageventure.com/history/knothist/IllustratedHistoryofKnotEvolutionPart1.pdf |title=Illustrated History of BSA Square Knot Evolution |accessdate=2006-03-24] Over the years, the knot was produced with various background colors to match the different uniforms. Although the Venturing and Sea Scout programs use different uniform shirts, the current knot is available only with a tan background that matches the Boy Scout uniform. [cite web |last=Murray |first=Craig |url=http://www.sageventure.com/eagle/ |title=Eagle Square Knot |work=Boy Scout Badge History |accessdate=2006-05-24] When the
Distinguished Eagle Scout Award(DESA) was created in 1969, a gold-colored eagle device was introduced for wear on the Eagle Scout square knot. The Law Enforcement Exploringprogram introduced a ribbon bar to recognize Eagle Scout and the Gold Award of the Girl Scouts of the USAin 1995. [cite web |url=http://www.learning-for-life.org/exploring/lawenforcement/awards/profaward.html |title=Law Enforcement Proficiency Awards |accessdate=2007-06-18 |publisher=Learning for Life] The Eagle Scout Mentor pin was introduced in early 2004 in a gold-colored version. In early 2006 it was changed to a silver-colored antique finish to match the mother and father pins but in 2007 was changed back to gold-colored. In 2008, NESA introduced a knot recognizing those Eagle Scouts who were life members of NESA; it uses the standard knot emblem with a silver border.
From 1912 to 1943 the BSA issued an index-sized card with information about the Eagle Scout. Wallet-size cards were introduced in 1944 and switched to a plastic credit card style in 1991. Certificates suitable for framing were first issued in 1944. As the honorary president of the BSA, the signature of the
President of the United Statesappeared on all certificates except from late 1999 to 2002. [cite web |last=Bresnahan |first=David M. |year=2000 |url=http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=13204 |title=Eagle Scouts drop Clinton signature |work=WorldNetDaily |accessdate=2006-06-14] Replacement of a card or certificate can be made by application through the National Eagle Scout Association(NESA).
After becoming an Eagle Scout
Eagle Scouts are expected to set an example for other Scouts and to become the leaders in life that they have demonstrated themselves to be in
Scouting. As such, they are disproportionately represented in the military, service academy graduates, major professions, business and politics. [cite web |year=2007 |url=http://usscouts.org/eagle/bottomline.asp |title=Scouting's Bottom Line |publisher=U.S. Scouting Service Project |accessdate=2007-11-01] cite book |last=Townley |first=Alvin |origdate=December 26, 2006 |url=http://www.thomasdunnebooks.com/TD_TitleDetail.aspx?ISBN=0312366531|title=Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts |publisher=St. Martin's Press|location=New York |pages=pp. 149-159|isbn=0-312-36653-1 |accessdate=2007-12-16] Eagle Scouts who enlist in the U.S. military may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements. [cite web |year=2005 |url=http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/shared/media/epubs/AFRSI36-2001.pdf |title=AFRS Instruction 36-2001, Recruiting Procedures for the Air Force |publisher=US Air Force |accessdate=2006-03-06] [cite web |year=2004 |url=http://www.usmc.mil/directiv.nsf/0/736601ce41b86edd85256649005020c0/$FILE/MCO%20P1100.72C%20W%20ERRATUM.pdf |title=Military Personnel Procurement Manual, Volume 2, Enlisted Procurement |publisher=US Marine Corps |accessdate=2006-03-06]
Eagle Scout is the only Boy Scout rank that is recognized on an adult Scouter's uniform, worn as an adult recognition of the youth award as a red, white, and blue striped square knot. Eagle Scouts can join the
National Eagle Scout Association(NESA), which serves as a fellowship and communications board for all Eagle Scouts.
NESA directly administers several Eagle Scout
scholarships. [cite web |url=http://www.nesa.org/scholarships/index.html |title=NESA Scholarships |publisher=National Eagle Scout Association|accessdate=2006-05-24] The American Legion, [cite web |url=http://www.legion.org/programs/youthprograms/scouting |title=American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year |publisher=American Legion |accessdate=2006-05-24] the National Jewish Committee on Scouting [cite web |url=http://www.jewishscouting.org/awards/eagle.html |title=Eagle Scout Scholarship Programs |publisher=National Jewish Committee on Scouting, BSA |accessdate=2006-05-24] and the Sons of the American Revolution[cite web |url=http://www.sar.org/youth/eagle.html |title=Arthur M. & Berdena King Eagle Scout Scholarship |publisher=Sons of the American Revolution |accessdate=2006-05-24] offer scholarships directed toward Eagle Scouts. Many colleges and universities, local businesses, churches and other organizations may offer similar scholarships.
Distinguished Eagle Scout Awardis given only to Eagle Scouts for distinguished service in their profession and the community for a period of at least 25 years after earning Eagle Scout. Only about 1 in 1000 of all Eagle Scouts have been so honored.
Some Eagle Scouts have returned their badges to protest what they see as the BSA's discriminatory policies. The anti-discrimination group
Scouting for Allclaimed to have received as many as one thousand letters from Eagle Scouts who have done so; the BSA later stated that fewer than one hundred Eagle Scout badges have been returned.cite web |last=Florio |first=Gwen |year=2000 |url=http://www.commondreams.org/headlines/071800-02.htm |title=Gay Boy Scouts Returning Prized Eagle Badges In Protest |work=Philadelphia Inquirer |accessdate=2007-02-11] [cite journal |title=In Support of Values |journal=Scouting Magazine |issue=March-April 2001 |url=http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0103/a-sval.html |accessdate=2007-08-07]
Highest awards in other programs
Eagle Scout is the highest award in the Boy Scouting program. The highest awards in other BSA membership divisions are: the Cub Scouting Arrow of Light, the Varsity Scouting Denali Award, the Venturing Silver Award, and the Sea Scouting Quartermaster Award. Other Scouting movements and many non-Scouting organizations have similar programs and awards.
Advancement and recognition in the Boy Scouts of America
*Eagle Scouts in popular culture
*History of merit badges
List of Scouts
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*cite web |url=http://www.nesa.org |title=National Eagle Scout Association |publisher=Boy Scouts of America |accessdate=2006-06-08
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