By Michelle Carpenter
Jun 06, 2017

Eagle Scout Rank: Why Those Pesky Reference Letters are Important

Your best buddies know you. Mama grew up with you. Your faithful scoutmaster helped you lead. But, your board of review members for your Eagle may not know how you personally conduct your life.

For that reason, reference letters can be a good way for members to verify that you live by the Scout Oath and Law.

A Scout’s Role in Getting References

What is your responsibility, as a potential Eagle, in getting that information to the board? 

  1. Provide references on your Eagle Scout Rank application. Do this by providing names and contact information. References meet Requirement 2. 
  2. According to Advancement News, here’s a way to simplify the process: “The Scout may
    assist with delivering an addressed envelope and instructions, or perhaps a form to complete, to the listed references, but that is the limit of his participation. “

The Board’s Role in Getting References

From that point on, don’t worry about it! If the board is unable to contact references, they must go forward. Your application cannot be denied or postponed because reference letters aren’t in. Also, no reference letter can’t be deemed as a negative reference. 

Responses are confidential, so you won’t know how people respond.  Advancement News indicates that no waiver of this confidentiality is allowed, and a council cannot provide this option. 

“Once a board of review has been held, or an appeal process conducted, reference responses shall be returned to the council, where they will be destroyed,” states Advancement News

This allows your references to be honest and candid.

(Don’t worry though! They know and love you. They recognize just how awesome you are.) 

Reference Letters are important because they help the board know more about you. However, it’s not an end-of-the-world-we-all-die-apocalypse if the board doesn’t receive yours.

Do your part, and everything will be just fine. 



Author: Michelle Carpenter | Marketing Associate, Utah National Parks Council

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One thought on “Eagle Scout Rank: Why Those Pesky Reference Letters are Important

  1. AvatarDick Davis

    I personally have a hard time with this philosophy. If you apply for a job without references there is a good chance that you won’t get the position. I have hired a lot of people in my career and if the references could not be contacted then no job.

    Many of the “Eagle Scout” candidates are 17 plus years old and are really close to that 18 “I’m an adult” age. The Eagle Scout Candidates should be responsible for getting references into the Eagle Board of Review. To put names on the application and then have the attitude “It ain’t my problem” is selling the Eagle Scout Rank short. I am from Illinois and I would like to hear from others.


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