How to Assemble an Eagle Scout Binder
“Binder” sounds so inconsequential, but when your child is halfway through his Eagle Scout application, the Eagle binder becomes everything. Divided into four parts, it includes the formal application, personal data, letters of recommendation, and a section for the Eagle project report. Here’s what needs to go inside.
1. The Eagle Application
The first section of the binder is devoted to the formal Boy Scouts of America Eagle Rank Application, which includes:
- A list of references, with contact information;
- The 21 badges and dates earned;
- Leadership positions;
- A list of all the required documents;
- And signatures of approval from the applicant, his scoutmaster, unit committee chair, council official, Eagle board of review; and scout executive.
2. Eagle Scout Personal Data Sheet
The second section opens with the Eagle applicant’s personal information. This sheet of paper should include:
- Academic history – schools attended and school activities, including leadership;
- Religious record – church or temple membership or a “no affiliation” statement.
- Extracurricular activities – athletics, music, etc.
- Scouting record – A listing of Cub Scout and Boy Scout involvement, including years, leadership positions, awards, community service projects, camporee involvement, summer camp and any High Adventure trek participation. This is where that master list you’ve been keeping comes in handy. Otherwise, you and your son will never remember when he received his Arrow of Light, for example, or attended Camp Whatever.
3. Advancement Record
Include a copy of your troop’s advancement record, which should include all advancement dates (i.e., when your scout became a Tenderfoot) and merit badge information, including dates each were earned.
4. Essay: Life Purpose & Ambition
- This required personal statement focuses on the scout’s history in scouting, his family, his influences and his passions. It should end with a statement about what the future holds.
- If your scout does not have a priest, rabbi or other spiritual advisor who will be writing a recommendation, he should add a second essay about his religious or spiritual beliefs and moral compass.
5. Letters of Recommendation
The letter from the scout’s parents go into this section, along with – eventually – the five letters of recommendation from teachers and other adults. The letters are sent directly to the troop leadership, who will insert them here later on.
6. The Eagle Project Report
Start by filling in the Eagle Scout project workbook, including a project description that includes exactly what your son plans to do, details on the program that benefits from the project, and the dates when it was first discussed with troop leadership and with the benefiting organization. In addition it should include:
- A description of the various phases of the project;
- Materials required;
- Funding plans;
- A brief description of who will work on the project;
- A potential hazard assessment;
- And a brief description of the difference the project will make for the beneficiaries.
- Signatures of approval from the benefiting organization, scoutmaster, committee chair, and council.
7. Show and Tell
- Photos: If a picture is worth a thousand words, make sure to include at least 10,000 words’ worth. Take plenty of before-, during- and after-photos to illustrate the Eagle project.
- Research data: Your son should include copies of any research he did while undertaking the project, whether it was construction plans or pricing data. Include copies of any expense receipts too. Clear plastic binder sleeves are a good way to organize this entire section, by the way.
8. Project Timeline Breakdown
Your scout should include a spreadsheet that breaks down all the hours spent on the project by date, task, participants and man hours. An Excel spreadsheet works especially well for this. The project breakdown is required for the Eagle binder, but the fellow Scouts who participate in the project can use those hours to satisfy their community service hours requirements as well, so your son should make sure a copy of the spreadsheet goes to his troop’s advancement chairman too.
Complete the binder by adding a short essay summarizing the project, explaining how it all turned out, expressing gratitude to those who helped, and describing the project’s impact. The conclusion needs three signatures – the scout’s, the scoutmaster and a representative from the group that benefited from the project.