What Is an Eagle Scout?

Nov 1, 2022

Each year, bright, capable, and goal-oriented ten-year-olds all over the US join a geographical council of the Scouting America and ascend through many of its 13 total ranks, from Bobcat to Star or Life Scout. Yet only about 2% of all Scouts attain the Eagle Scout rank, which is the highest level possible in the organization. In Scouting, the Eagle symbolizes strength of character and extensive Scouting knowledge as well as leadership and respect for one’s community and country. Here’s what becoming an Eagle Scout is all about.

Benefits of Becoming an Eagle Scout

When an individual becomes an Eagle Scout, they and their family receive formal public recognition for the Scout’s journey and achievements with the Scouting America. Eagle Scouts enjoy the following traditional distinctions (which may vary somewhat by council):

  • Recognition at a special Eagle Court of Honor celebration in front of peers, troop, family, mentors, and distinguished guests
  • The prestigious Eagle Scout Award, which is the Eagle Scout Badge; Eagle Scout mothers receive a pin, and fathers receive a tie tack
  • Honoring their mother, grandmother/s, and sister/s with a red rose presented by the Eagle Scout’s troop
  • A plaque with their name on it placed in the Eagle display case
  • A large white feather to add to their troop’s Native American headdress (in compliance with new BSA rules regarding respect for Native American customs and artifacts)
  • Other types of formal recognition from local, state, and federal officials

Famous Eagle Scouts

Many Eagle Scouts go on to become highly successful and even famous in their careers. The most accomplished who have served their communities well may additionally receive the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (DEBSA) as adults. Just a few national figures who became Eagle Scouts in their youth include:

  • Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, the first and second astronauts to walk on the moon respectively
  • Guion Bluford, the first African American man in space
  • Philo T. Farnsworth, the man who invented modern television
  • William Moerner, a physicist who was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize in chemistry
  • Paul Siple, an Antarctic explorer
  • Thomas Cech, a chemist who was awarded the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize in chemistry
  • Lee Berger, a paleoanthropologist and National Geographic explorer

How To Become an Eagle Scout

This rank is typically reached in the age range of 15-18 years old. In order to become an Eagle Scout, a Scout must complete the following achievements:

  • Meet certain requirements in the areas of leadership, service, and outdoor skills
  • Advance through each of the lower Scout ranks
  • Earn at least 21 of 136 possible merit badges
  • Earn a total of 13 badges specifically in the areas of First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communication, Cooking, Personal Fitness, Personal Management, Camping, and Family Life, all of which count toward the 21 badges required
  • Complete other requirements and subsets of requirements as indicated by their regional council

Become an Eagle Scout With BSA Laurel Highlands Council

Becoming an Eagle Scout is a great honor for any Scout as well as for their family, troop, council, and the Scouting America as a whole. If you live in the western parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, or West Virginia, enrolling your child in the Scouting America Laurel Highlands Council is an excellent way for them to grow and become distinguished leaders. Join us for our Eagle Scout Recognition Dinner on Tuesday, November 22, 2022.

Scouting’s programs and outdoor adventures give young people the opportunity to try new things, provide service to others, build self-confidence, and develop leadership skills. These experiences not only help Scouts while they are young, but help them grow into exceptional men and women that respect their family, community, religion, country and themselves.

The Scouting America Laurel Highlands Council serves youth members and volunteer adult leaders throughout Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland, and parts of West Virginia. We aim to beneficially involve every eligible child and their family in the fun and adventure of our programs. We provide extraordinary youth development programs that develop and strengthen the values of the Scout Oath and Law. 

So what are you waiting for? Join now!



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