Path to Eagle

last revised 11/12/2021

The Troop 28 Tips — Journey from Life to Eagle Scout & Eagle Service Project tip sheet is a great place for every new Life scout to start. We also recommend that scouts working on Eagle rank export a PDF Eagle application from Scoutbook (see below for details and instructions).

If you are a newer scout and are not yet sure if you are interested in becoming an Eagle scout, you may wish to review some of the Eagle planning resources below to help keep your options open. Some badges are easier to complete than others, so a little advanced planning (or extra thought when choosing from available merit badge programs) help make Eagle rank achievable with a little hard work and determination.

The troop’s Eagle resources are current as of the date above. For the most current, authoritative information on Eagle rank requirements including the latest Eagle Project Workbook, please refer to the BSA’s Guide to Advancement. For information about the Eagle process, deadlines, and contact information, please check out the NEIC Eagle resource page or ask a Troop 28 Eagle Coach.

Trail to Eagle Workshops

updated May 18, 2021

If you are just starting your Eagle journey, a good place to start is by attending a Trail to Eagle Workshop. Some councils call their programs “Life to Eagle” or “Path to Eagle.” While many families figure out much of this material on their own, or by asking the Troop Eagle Counselor, many councils provide these workshops to help jumpstart the process.

Important! If you attend a program offered by a Council other than your home council (Northeast Illinois Council), make sure you consult the troop’s Eagle Scout Mentor and/or the Council’s staff to make sure you understand Council-specific requirements for how and when they want material submitted. The requirements should be the same across Councils, but the process and expectations may vary.

Here are two options for Trail to Eagle programs:

  • Garden State Council‘s free Zoom webinars have been announced through December 2021.
  • Three Fires Council his historically offered their Life to Eagle program as a workshop during their annual Merit Badge University. During the pandemic, they have also offered this program virtually. They have since made their program available virtually, which you can watch, below:
Eagle Rank Requirements

The Eagle Rank requirements include completing certain merit badges, actively participating in a Scouts BSA troop, and completing an Eagle Service Project.

The Eagle service project is the capstone achievement on the path to Eagle. While a Life Scout, scouts must plan, develop, and lead others in a service project that will help a school, a religious institution, nonprofit, or other beneficiary organization in our community. The project idea must be approved by the organization that will benefit from the effort, the Scoutmaster, the troop committee, and the district before you start. You should use the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook (see below for details on the “Eagle Scout Workbook”) in planning and meeting this requirement.

Scouts have until their 18th birthday to advance through all the ranks and complete the Eagle rank requirements. Newer scouts may be unsure of whether they are interested in pursuing Eagle, or even in advancement. However, many scouts who stick with scouting for a few years find that they have already completed many of the requirements just by participating and completing merit badges on their own or during summer camps.

Advancement/Eagle Merit Badge Planner

You can use this handy Eagle Merit Badge Planner to start thinking about which merit badges you might want to start on, and how to fit them into your busy schedule!  It’s helpful to think through the challenges of each of the badges so you can plan them around your school/extracurricular/summer schedules. Some of the Eagle-required badges have requirements that cannot be done through sheer determination (e.g., you can’t make 12 weeks go any faster, and you can’t just go on a BSA camping trip that involves canoeing or biking on your own). So a little advanced planning goes a long way.

If you are not sure which Eagle-required badges to tackle first, here are some resources to help you decide:

Also, keep in mind, if you heave earned additional merit badges beyond those required for Eagle rank (either electives or additional Eagles), you can earn an Eagle Palm for every five additional badges earned. If they are completed prior to your Eagle Board of Review, you can earn a Palm(s) at the same time as the Eagle rank for every additional five badges without an additional three months of active participation.

Exporting the Eagle Scout Application from Scoutbook

For your application, we recommend you export the Eagle Scout Application from Scoutbook (click here for more details and information). First, the Scoutbook PDF will be prepopulated with key data including the scout’s name, address, BSA ID number, rank advancement dates, and merit badges. This will save you a lot of copying and researching, and will also be legible!

Second, Troop 28 uses Scoutbook to record scouts’ official advancement history. Even if you decide to complete your record by hand, you should print out a draft application and compare the Scoutbook records to any paper records you may have. In general, if the dates in Scoutbook are a few days or weeks after your paper records, but they don’t impact your advancement (i.e., if Scoutbook shows a merit badge earned after Star or Life rank Board of Review), it probably does not warrant correcting. If you find any discrepancies, please alert the Advancement Chair and provide any available documentation (signed handbook, blue card, camp record, and/or email from scoutmaster or merit badge counselor) so it can be corrected before you submit your application.

To download the Eagle Application from Scoutbook:

  1. The Scout or parent should log into Scoutbook. Parents should be able to log in with their Scouting.org credentials (or can reset them as needed). If parents do not have Scouting.org accounts, or if they are logged in but cannot see their scout, they should contact the Advancement Chair.If scouts do not have access to Scoutbook, their parents first need to log in to Scoutbook. Then from the main menu (My Dashboard), select My Family / Scout’s Name > Edit Profile Invite Scout to Connect. They scout must have access to a different email from the parent. Troop administrators cannot grant access to scouts; this can only be done by the parents.
  2. To export the application, from the main menu (My Dashboard) select My Family / Scout’s Name ReportsEagle Application.  See the Scoutbook help file for more details and instructions.
  3. Once downloaded, you can correct or add any missing information into the fillable PDF.
Eagle Scout Application FAQs

Who should write the Eagle recommendation letters?

A scout needs to submit 4-6 recommendation letters along with the Eagle application. The first three or four should come from a parent or guardian, a pastor or other leader from the scout’s religion*, a teacher or other person involved in the scout’s education, and (if employed), the scout’s employer. Additionally, a scout may submit up to two additional recommendation letters which may come from any adults, including the scout’s Scoutmaster.  It is a best practice to submit names of six recommenders, even if not all six do not end up submitting recommendations.

For more information on recommenders or suggested content for recommendation letters, please see the ScoutSmarts.

*Note: If your family does not participate in organized religion, a second parent may write a letter addressing the scout’s spiritual side.  Please see this Scouter.com forum for some discussion on this subject.

Eagle Project Workbook and Resources

Use the resources below to help you on your path to Eagle!

*Note: Do not attempt to open the Eagle Project workbook in a browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, etc.) or in programs such as Nuance PDF Converter. The workbook was created in Adobe LiveCycle, which must be saved to your computer and opened with Adobe Reader 9 or later. This enables the user to take advantage of the enhancements of expandable text boxes and importing images. If you try to open it in a web browser or Preview.app, it will display the message “To view the full contents of this document, you need a later version of the PDF viewer.  Follow the instructions for PC or Mac to download the file to your computer, then Adobe Reader first, and then open the PDF from within Adobe Reader.

Eagle Project Ideas

ScoutSmarts has published a list of suggestions for planning an Eagle Scout Project.

Eagle Scout projects may involve construction or conservation, but there are literally thousands of projects that involve neither. Just remember to pick a project and organization that interest you! If you are looking for inspiration, here are some suggestions:

As you approach your completion date, please check out our Congratulations! You’re (almost) an Eagle!….Now What?  page for tips on planning an Eagle Court of Honor, scholarships, and more.

If you are waiting on your Board of Review, keep in mind that BSA updated their requirements for Eagle Palms in 2017.  For every 5 merit badges you have completed (in addition to those required for Eagle) by the date of your Eagle Board or Review, you can receive an Eagle Palm at the same time as your Eagle rank (you don’t have to wait an additional six months). So if you have 4, you might want to get another one done in advance!