ON

SCOUT RANK ADVANCEMENT

(or a Parent's Guide to Eagle)


A Letter Given To The

PARENTS OF SCOUTS
IN TROOP 1164 OF
STERLING, VA

By

D. Calvin Andrus
15 February 1994


Dear Parents,

All Church Presidents since Joseph F. Smith have declared Boy Scouts to be the activity arm of the Aaronic Priesthood. In our most recent Stake Conference, President Sleight outlined the goals faithful Latter-Day Saint teenagers are expected to achieve. For the Young Women they are graduation from seminary and achievement of the Young Womanhood Recognition Award. For the Young Men they are graduation from seminary and achievement of Eagle Scout. Sociological surveys of church membership show that the achievement of Eagle Scout is highly correlated with the completion of successful missions and marriage in the Temple.

The trail to Eagle is difficult for both parent and child, but the maturation your boy gains is worth it. It requires the parents to be ACTIVE participants in their sons' lives, not passive observers on the sidelines or in the stands. It requires the parent to spend significant amounts of TIME and MONEY on their boys. It is a minimum three-year commitment on the part of the parents. Without the parent's commitment, the boy has little hope of achieving Eagle.

The Eagle is the result of the efforts of three unequal partners in this order: the boy, the parents, and the scout leader. The scout leader provides the scouting opportunities. The parents provide the motivation. The boy does the work. The parents sometimes must even motivate the scout leader. Over the last two years, the number of boys in the troop at any given time has varied between 13 and 17. For most of that time I have not had an assistant. There is no way I can give any individual boy the attention on scouting his parents can.

On the next page I outline the steps parents would ideally take to help their boys become Eagle. This outline may seem overwhelming, but taken one step at a time it is manageable. It assumes a three-year effort, but can be expanded beyond three years (if you want to drag it out). Just remember, however, that at age 14 the Church program no longer focuses on scout advancement and you will be on your own. Nevertheless, I am convince that if parents follow this outline, their boys will achieve Eagle.

Finally, if you are serious about helping your boy become Eagle, I suggest you spend 2 or 3 minutes looking over the display case where all our Troop's Eagles names are listed. You may want to call the parents of these Eagles and ask them what they did to help their boy become Eagle.


The following outline charts the ideal trail to Eagle from age 11 to age 14. In summary, your son should be a First Class Scout when he turns 12, a Life Scout when he turns 13, and an Eagle when he turns 14. While age 11, the scout must attend Blazer Camp, and attend Summer Camp in each of his next two years of Scouting. The Eagle project should be carried out during the summer and/or fall before your son turns 14. This outline takes the following form:

When your boy turns age . . .
You should do . . .

10 years and 10 months
  1. Buy a Boy Scout Handbook
  2. Prepare your son to pass the joining requirements on page 4
  3. Buy the Boy Scout Uniform with Troop numerals
  4. Confirm with the Cubmaster that your son's "Bridging Ceremony" from Webelos to Blazers will be held during your son's final Cub Pack Meeting

10 years and 11 months
  1. Make an appointment the Blazer Leader or Scoutmaster for a "Scoutmaster's Conference" to pass off the joining requirements
  2. Attend the "Bridging Ceremony" and make sure the Blazer Leader or Scoutmaster presents your son with his "Scout" badge at that time

11 years and 0 months
  1. Buy a 10-degree sleeping bag and ground cloth
  2. Buy and external frame back pack and mess kit
  3. Verify with the Troop Committee Chairman that your son is officially registered as a Scout
  4. Volunteer to be on the Scout Committee
  5. Faithfully take your son to the weekly Blazer meetings
  6. Go with your son to the other Scout activities, such as service projects, merit badge clinics, Courts of Honor, etc.

11 years and 3 months
  1. Verify with the Blazer Leader that your son has completed the requirements for Tenderfoot
  2. If so,
    1. Have your boy make an appointment with the Blazer Leader or Scoutmaster for a Scoutmaster Conference
    2. Have your boy call the Troop Committee Chairman for a Board of Review
    3. Call the Scoutmaster to find out when the next Court of Honor is scheduled
  3. If not,
    1. As the Blazer Leader how you can help your son complete the requirements
    2. If your son is lacking the 'campout' requirement, the boy's father or home teacher should take him on the next monthly scout troop campout

11 years and 6 months
  1. Verify with the Blazer Leader that your son has completed the requirements for Second Class
  2. If so, follow the guidelines above for Scoutmaster Conference, Board of Review, and Court of Honor
  3. If not, follow the guidelines above for getting your boy back on track

11 years and 10 months
  1. Verify with the Blazer Leader that your son has completed the requirements for First Class
  2. If so, follow the guidelines above for Scoutmaster Conference, Board of Review, and Court of Honor
  3. If not, follow the guidelines above for getting your boy back on track

12 years and 0 months
  1. Make sure your son asks the Bishop to fill out the "On My Honor" award application during the Priesthood Advancement interview. (Note: because this award is designed to be self-initiated, the Bishop will not fill it out unless asked to do so.) This is a two-year award, which the Bishop can sign-off during the 13th year annual interview--if filled out during the 12th year interview
  2. Buy your son an inexpensive 2-man tent
  3. Buy the book Boy Scout Requirements which lists the requirements for all the merit badges
  4. Begin work immediately on an easy merit badge of your son's choice, such as Reading, Art, Music, or Pets
    1. Get the Scoutmaster to sign a blue merit badge card and give you the name of the counselor
    2. Have your son call the merit badge counselor to make a preliminary appointment to find out the counselor's expectations
    3. Prepare your son to pass of the requirements
    4. Have your son call the merit badge counselor to make an appointment to pass off the requirements
    5. After the counselor has signed the card and removed his third, have your son return the remaining two-thirds to the Scoutmaster, who signs the card again and keeps his third for the committee chairman. The remaining one-third must be kept in a safe place, because it must be presented at the Eagle Board of Review (still at least two years into the future)
    6. Note: The boy must complete 21 merit badges over the next 18 months or so. Assuming he earns 10 badges over the two summer camps (which is optimistic) the boy needs to complete the remaining 11 badges at a rate of about one every 6 to 8 weeks.
  5. Make sure your son attends Troop Meeting every week
  6. Make sure your son goes on all the campouts -- he needs twenty for the camping merit badge, which is required for Eagle
  7. Volunteer to go on some campouts yourself. You wouldn't believe what I (and you can) learn about your sons as we talk around the campfire
  8. After the First Class Board of Review, make sure the Scoutmaster assigns your son a position of leadership in the Troop. One requirement for the next rank (Star) is that your son be in a position of leadership for at least four months while a First Class Scout
  9. After the First Class Board of Review, make sure your son gets approval from the Scoutmaster and then completes six hours of service during the next four months

12 years and 5 months
  1. Verify with the Scoutmaster that your son has completed the requirements for Star
  2. If so, follow the guidelines above for Scoutmaster Conference, Board of Review, and Court of Honor
  3. If not, follow the guidelines above for getting your boy back on track
  4. After the Star Board of Review, make sure the Scoutmaster assigns your son a position of leadership in the Troop. One requirement for the next rank (Life) is that your son be in a position of leadership for at least six months while a Star Scout
  5. After the Star Board of Review, make sure your son gets approval from the Scoutmaster and then completes six hours of service during the next six months

12 years and 11 months
  1. Verify with the Scoutmaster that your son has completed the requirements for Life
  2. If so, follow the guidelines above for Scoutmaster Conference, Board of Review, and Court of Honor
  3. If not, follow the guidelines above for getting your boy back on track
  4. After the Life Board of Review, make sure the Scoutmaster assigns your son a position of leadership in the Troop. One requirement for the next rank (Eagle) is that your son be in a position of leadership for at least six months while a Life Scout
  5. After the Life Board of Review, make sure your son gets the "Life to Eagle" packet from the Scoutmaster. Review it with your son. Brainstorm with your son ideas for an Eagle project

13 years and 0 months
  1. Schedule an interview for your son with the Bishop. Make sure your son asks the Bishop to complete the "On My Honor" application from during your boy's interview

13 years and 4 months
  1. By now your son should have completed the draft of his project plan
  2. Make sure that during this month your son gets the follow four signatures on his Eagle Project Plan in the "Life to Eagle" packet: Organizational Representative, Scoutmaster, Troop Committee Chairman, and District Eagle Chairman

13 years and 8 months
  1. Make sure your son has completed all of his 21 merit badges by now
  2. Make sure your son has completed his Eagle Project by now
  3. Have your son write up his Eagle Project Report and Eagle Application Essay. You must edit them
  4. Once the "Life to Eagle" Packet and the Eagle Application are complete, have your son schedule a Scoutmaster's conference to review th Packet, Application, and Essay
  5. After the Scoutmaster's Conference, your son must meet with the Troop Committee Chairman to review the Packet, Application, and Essay
  6. After the Committee Chairman review, your son must meet with the District Eagle chairman to review the Packet, Application, and Essay
  7. After the District Eagle Chairman has reviewed the materials, ask the Troop Committee Chairman to schedule the Board of Review with the District Eagle Chairman

13 years and 9 months
  1. Attend the Eagle Board of Review with your son
  2. After successful completion of the Board of Review, plan and execute the Court of Honor. Coordinate it with the Troop Committee chairman and Scoutmaster. Allow at least two months after the Board of Review for the Eagle Badge to come from Texas.

13 years and 11 months
  1. Put on your son's Eagle Court of Honor
  2. Celebrate! It was a long hard journey, but if you ask any Eagle Scout, he will tell you it was worth it

14 years and 0 months
  1. Schedule the annual interview with the Bishop
  2. Make sure your son gets involved with the Varsity Scouts

Final Comment: It is a rare family that will meet this ideal--although two boys in our Troop have actually completed the Eagle ahead of this ideal schedule. I recommend you replace the suggested 'age' milestones with milestones you can live with. The work is the same, it will just be paced to your speed. Good Luck. Let me know if you have questions. THANKS!


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