There’s a lot of concern and sometimes confusion as a young man moves to fill out an Eagle Scout Rank Application. We hope this short post offers some guidance.
The application itself must be submitted for verification before an Eagle Scout board of review may be convened. Filling out the two-page form should be easy—if accurate and complete records are available.
The required information should be available through your unit’s Scoutbook Web-based application or through the Internet Advancement portal of ScoutNET, BSA’s older electronic record keeping system. However, in either system, records are dependent upon how well each crew, team, and troop routinely report advancement—information can be recorded and reported in different ways, which leads to fragmented records.
Traditionally, advancement was reported and manually archived through a Unit Advancement Report. With the advent of Internet Advancement and troop management software programs like ScoutBook, the proliferation of places where advancement info might be kept can create challenges.
The Scout might have requirements signed-off in his Boy Scout Handbook; the unit will have its own hard copy or electronic records; the council might have copies of advancement reports; information is contained in Internet Advancement and now ScoutBook. Unfortunately, these multiple sources are not automatically synced with each other.
Sections of the Eagle application that require specific completion dates, such as boards of review and merit badge completions, might not be found if the Internet Advancement coordinator in your units have neither entered correct dates nor been careful about the dates entered.
At that point proof of completion may be needed, but this documentation may not always be available. The candidate’s Boy Scout Handbook may have been lost or damaged; troop records may have been corrupted or are otherwise inaccessible; a key unit leader who could verify information is unavailable; or the Scout does not have his merit badge blue card or rank advancement pocket certificate.
If proof is not available, the Scout may have to re-do certain requirements or merit badges. If timing is close to his 18th birthday, he may not be able to “make-up” these deficiencies in time to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
What can a Scout and his parents do to avoid some of these pitfalls?
- Be sure that all advancement is documented in the youth’s Boy Scout Handbook.
- Retain the youth’s portion of Applications for Merit Badge (blue cards). Signed and dated by the merit badge counselor, these serve as proof of a merit badge completion, even if they were not entered in ScoutBook or through Internet Advancement.
- Retain rank advancement pocket certificates, which show completion dates for each rank.
- To help eliminate last-minute surprises, meet early and often with the unit advancement coordinator to review current progress and discuss any work remaining for the next rank.
- Originals of documents referenced above could be kept in a safe manner for easy retrieval.
These few simple steps will help ensure that completing the Eagle Scout Rank Application will be simple and easy.
Author: Boy Scouts of America |Advancement News