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Eagle Scout 101: A Parent Guide

Everything Parents Need to Know About Their Boy Scout's Path to Eagle

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The Eagle award is Boy Scouts' highest honor and the culmination of years of dedication and work. It can help bring a young teenager to manhood, instill in him some of the finest principles upon which Boy Scouting is based - and drive parents to new heights of frustration and distraction along the way. Ideally, Boy Scouts is a boy-driven enterprise and the path to Eagle is one your son completes on his own. In reality, troop leadership is critically important and most parents are involved in the path to Eagle in at least an advisory capacity. So here's everything you need to know about the process.

1. Parents' FAQ About the Eagle Scout Path

Photo by Jackie Burrell
Some wits says that on the back - or backside - of every Eagle Scout are the footprints of his parents. It's a joke, but there's some truth there. Parents play a vital role as advisors, cheerleaders ... and endless naggers. So here's a quick primer and answers to parents' most frequently asked questions about the path to Eagle.

2. An Eagle Scout Timeline

Courtesy of Paul Pasieczny, Stock.Xchng Photos
An Eagle Scout applicant must amass 21 or more merit badges, create and complete an Eagle project, write essays, request recommendations, compile an application binder and undergo an Eagle board of review. Here's what to do and when.

3. The 12 Badges Required for Eagle

Photo by Jackie Burrell
Boy Scouts is all about camping, hiking and adventure, but it's also about acquiring the skills to not only survive in the wilderness, but to contribute to society as a whole. Eagle Scouts must complete a minimum of 21 merit badges, including 12 in these specific areas.

4. 11 Insider Tips on Completing Eagle-Required Badges

Photo by Jackie Burrell
In the world of Boy Scouts, merit badges can be adventures, but they also direct a course of study. That said, some Eagle-required badges are considerably more fun than others. Some can be done in a matter of days, while others take three months, minimum. And some are best done at Boy Scout camp, not at home. So here are 11 insider tips on how to get those 12 Eagle-required badges done in a timely fashion, without driving either the Eagle applicant or his parents crazy.

5. Eagle Scout Project Tips

Photo by Jackie Burrell
The national scout organization publishes formal Eagle Scout application materials and project guidelines, but every troop and council has its own, unwritten preferences that can sink or support potential projects. Here are tips to get you started.

6. 16 Sample Eagle Projects

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images
From schoolyard construction and trailheads to bicycle rodeos, here's a list of 16 sample Eagle projects, which have been approved by various troops and councils across the nation.

7. The Eagle Scout Binder

Photo by Jackie Burrell
The very word "binder" sounds so homeroom-ish, but the Eagle binder *is* the application. It contains everything needed to advance to the Eagle Board of Review, from resumes and project spreadsheets to letters of recommendation and the all-important approval forms. Here's what needs to go in there.

8. Planning an Eagle Court Ceremony

Photo by Jackie Burrell

Here's everything you need to know to plan an Eagle Court ceremony, from booking the venue to scripting the ceremony, making a shadowbox and getting letters of congratulation from presidents, U.S. senators and other dignitaries. This handy planning tool shows you how to divide the tasks among your Eagle parents, and even includes a sample script for the ceremony.

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