As an Eagle Scout myself, I can say with confidence that advancing from Life to Eagle will be a much more complex task than any of the ranks you’ve climbed before! In order to advance to Eagle, you’ll need to compile an Eagle Scout binder and submit an Eagle Scout Application. So, what’s an Eagle Scout binder?
What’s an Eagle Scout Binder? An Eagle Scout binder is a common way of compiling and organizing all of the required documents needed for your Eagle Scout Application. It often includes your merit badge blue cards, Eagle project info, and documentation of your Scouting journey. Although useful, creating an Eagle binder is not an official BSA requirement.
PS. This article is based on the experiences and research of Eagle Scout, Kevin A and Cole 🙂
In this article, I’m going to be explaining the ins and outs of creating your very own Eagle Scout binder. Plus, I’ll also dive into ways you can use the binder to prepare for your Eagle Board of Review! (BTW, If you’re looking for a binder to use, I’d suggest purchasing a 1.5″ Avery Binder, which is the current industry leader due to its interior pockets and ring durability.)
While it’s not officially required to create your own Eagle binder, I’d highly recommend it for a few reasons:
- Being Prepared: If any documents are lost while submitting your Eagle Rank Application, having an organized Eagle binder can save you from a ton of stress and headaches.
- College/Scholarship Apps: When listing your Eagle rank on applications for colleges and scholarships, having an Eagle binder that documents your Scouting journey can help you to more easily write a winning application.
- Your Own Memories: Even today, I still have my own Eagle binder and am able to look back fondly on my Scouting memories, through it. Scouts keep their Eagle binders for life! 🙂
However, even though binders are the most common way of collecting and organizing one’s Scouting information, you can use other methods if you’d like! I’ve heard of scouts using accordion file organizers, or simply keeping all of their documents in separate folders and storing these folders together.
If any questions or concerns pop-up in your head as you read this article, please contact your unit leader or your council first. I don’t recommend using this guide as your “true north,” as every troop is slightly different. While I’ll be going over general tips and guidelines from my own experience as an Eagle Scout, your troop or council may have different expectations.
I encourage you to also take a look at the official Eagle Scout Rank Application Process from Scouts BSA. Sections 126.96.36.199 – 188.8.131.52 discuss exactly what you’ll be needing for your application, as well as what channels your application goes through in order to get approval.
Alright! Now that you know the importance of creating an Eagle Scout binder, I’m going to be teaching you exactly how I created mine. Remember, your Eagle binder is entirely your own, so feel free to add more or fewer sections, if you’d like. With all that being said, let’s get into it!
Section 1: Your Eagle Scout Application
Of course you’ll have to include your Eagle Scout application! You may think it’s funny that I have to mention this, but you’d be surprised. Coming from personal experience, you get so involved with putting your binder together that the actual application itself seems to be in the back of your mind
When I applied for my Eagle Scout rank, I labeled sections of the binder according to each requirement and kept my binder at my side during every Scouting meeting. Whenever I finished a document or learned something new, I’d immediately add it to my Eagle binder. This helped me to ensure that nothing slipped through the cracks.
An Eagle Scout’s Pro Tip: When completing my Eagle Rank Application, I initially filled it out in pencil, double-checked everything, and then copied it onto a new application with a pen. Having made quite a few errors in my first draft, I’m thankful I took the time to get things right the second time around!
After carrying your Eagle Rank Application around in your binder for a few months, you’ll probably finally have filled it out completely. As I mentioned earlier, double check your info! Make sure you get all of the required signatures, have the correct dates, and complete each field neatly before submitting it.
Section 2: Your Merit Badge Blue Cards
In order to become an Eagle Scout, you’ll need to have earned 13 Eagle-required merit badges and 8 other merit badges, for a total of at least 21 merit badges. Keep those merit badge blue cards handy, because you might need to show proof that you’ve completed these challenging tasks!
Note that some councils don’t have you submit your blue cards, while others do. I’ve even heard of councils that have stopped using blue hards, entirely! Please check with your own council to see what’s required.
If some of your merit badges weren’t properly filed, a blue card is your only way of confirming that you’ve actually completed your required badge! That’s why it’s so important to keep these cards organized and easily accessible. I personally used trading card holders (Amazon referral link) to store my blue cards within my Eagle Binder, and I still have them there to this day! 🙂
Remember, there is no other form of proof that is acceptable to show that you’ve completed a merit badge, besides the sections of your blue card shown in the photo above. If you’ve lost or misplaced this section of your blue card, contact your unit leader or council ASAP so that it can be replaced.
If you’re verifying your completion of a merit badge, it may also be acceptable (depending on your council) to submit photocopies of your blue cards instead of the original blue cards. I would recommend going with this option if it’s allowed, as if your application is somehow lost in the mail, you won’t lose the original copy.
An Eagle Scout’s Pro Tip: Keep your blue cards organized and protected with clear plastic card holder sheets. These can be easily added as pages to your binder, and will greatly decrease the number of loose papers you’ll need to keep track of!
Section 3: Your Eagle Scout Project And Related Documents
You’ll also want to include a section about your Eagle Scout service project in your Eagle binder. I’d recommend making a copy of your Eagle project workbook to include, as well as any sign-in sheets, photos, and supporting documents you might have collected.
Binders are a great way of storing a ton of documents in a compact and organized way. In most cases, you’ll be able to easily fit all of your Eagle project documentation in your binder. However, at a minimum, you’ll want to include the 3 main components of your Eagle project:
- Your Eagle Scout Service Project Proposal
- Your Eagle Scout Project Final Plan
- Eagle Scout Service Project Final Report
Before filing your documents away in your binder, make sure you’ve thoroughly filled out your answers in each part of the workbook, and that you’ve obtained all of the required signatures. You already should’ve completed this when working through your Eagle Scout Project, but if you haven’t, make sure you get it done!
Also, I’d highly encourage you to include in your binder other aspects of your Eagle Project, such as pictures, drafts, and proposals you presented to your unit committee. Although these additions are not required, they can paint a more concrete picture of what your project was, and help you to remember this amazing achievement years into the future! 🙂
Section 4: Your Other Miscellaneous Documents
“In preparation for your board of review, prepare and attach to your Eagle Scout Rank Application a statement of your ambitions and life purpose and a listing of positions held in your religious institution, school, camp, community, or other organizations, during which you demonstrated leadership skills. Include honors and awards received during this service.”BSA Eagle Scout Requirement 7 Prerequisite
According to the Eagle Rank requirement above, you’ll need to submit a statement of ambitions and life purpose, as well as a document that lists all of your awards, positions, and honors within and outside of Scouting. Your Eagle binder is a great place to house these documents! First, let’s begin by going over your Eagle Scout personal statement.
Your Eagle Statement of Ambitions and Life Purpose
When crafting your statement of ambitions and life purpose, I’d encourage you to write about any goals you have, currently. There’s a high chance that your plans might change, so this is something you’ll likely enjoy looking back on in the future!
One way to approach this statement is to outline your academic, professional, and personal goals you plan to accomplish within the next five years. Here are a few example questions to consider when writing your Eagle Scout personal statement:
- Do you have plans of going to college? What do you hope to do there?
- What are some skills or talents you have that could lead to a career?
- Do you have any personal interests or hobbies that you hope to continue to work on?
- What is your vision for your ideal life? How would you positively impact others?
Answering these types of questions will give you a fuller picture of you’re life’s vision for the future! I’d also recommend including how you plan to incorporate the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan while working towards your goals. For more info on creating an Eagle Statement of Ambitions and Life Purpose, see my article here. 🙂
Your Awards, Positions of Responsibility, and Honors
The Eagle application section covering your awards, positions of responsibility, and honors is your opportunity to list some of the highlights of your life! You can include academic awards, positions on teams, positions in leadership, or anything in between. Here are some things that I listed:
- Your High School and Middle School GPA
- Awards received for earning a good GPA
- Clubs I’ve been a part of in High School and Middle School
- Extracurricular Activities such as sports, playing in a band, academic summer camps
- Awards received in Extracurricular Activities
- Volunteer involvement at my church, local museum, and local library
- Employment (if applicable)
I listed these items in a resume format, noting down how long I did each activity and when I received the award that I’d listed. Feel free to use the same type of format, or come up with your own way of presenting your background. For more info, check out my article on the resume format, as well as ways to list your Eagle rank on your resume!
Bonus: Using Your Eagle Scout Binder To Prep For Your Final Board of Review
During your Eagle Scout Board of Review, you’ll be discussing the entirety of your Scouting career, which includes your experiences earning merit badges, your leadership experiences, your opinions on the values of Scouting, and your Eagle Project. To best prepare, you should consider your time in Scouting as a whole, beforehand.
Basically, what you put in your Eagle Scout Binder is what you’ll be talking about at your Eagle Scout Board of Review. This is why preparing an Eagle Scout Binder can be a great tool in helping you to prepare for your Eagle Scout Board of review.
As you build your binder, think about the experiences you’ve had through your time in Scouting. Below are a few questions relating to your final Eagle board, which will help you to think more critically as you create your binder:
The Scout Oath, Law, Slogan and Motto
- How did living by the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, and Motto help you to earn the awards and honors you’ve listed?
- How will you incorporate the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, and Motto in your future life goals?
- Have these aspects of Scouting helped you to choose a possible career path?
Your Leadership Experiences
- How did your leadership experiences within Scouting help you to become a better leader outside of Scouting?
- What were some obstacles you’ve had to overcome when leading in and outside of Scouting?
- How do you plan to continue to grow as a leader in the future?
Your Merit Badge Experiences
- Out of all of the merit badges you’ve listed, which ones were the most impactful for you?
- Are there any merit badges you wished you’d have earned?
- What skills did you learn, through merit badges, that you continue to use to this day?
Your Eagle Scout Project
- What was it like to plan your proposal, final plan, and report for your Eagle Scout Project? What aspects of it were difficult? What aspects of the process came naturally to you?
- If you had to work closely with the beneficiary to develop your proposal, final plan, and report, what was that experience like?
- What did your project beneficiary do that made it easier to work with them? What did they do that made it harder?
If you’re preparing for an Eagle board of review, these questions only begin to scratch the surface of things you’ll need to consider. I’d highly recommend checking out my Complete Guide to Preparing for an Eagle Board of Review. In it, you’ll learn the 4 keys to success, plus, I’ll also be providing some other useful Scouting questions for you to ponder!
Your Eagle Scout Binder is more than just what you need for your Eagle Scout rank application — it’s a useful tool that will help you prepare for your Eagle Board of Review. Even more importantly, your binder provides an awesome way to document your Scouting journey, for life!
Personally, I see my own Eagle Scout Binder as a testament to the effort I’ve put in to reach Eagle. In fact, I used my old Eagle Scout Binder in writing this article, and it brought back a flood of memories relating to my own Scouting journey! Taking the time to create an awesome Eagle Scout binder will be incredibly worthwhile. 🙂
If you still don’t have a durable, quality Eagle Scout binder, again I’d highly recommend choosing the 1.5″ Avery Binder on Amazon (Referral link). However, any binder is infinitely better than no binder! Even if you just have a leftover binder laying around the house, it’ll well worth your time to turn it into a home for your Eagle Scout paperwork and Scouting memories!
Several years down the line, I hope that you can look back on your Eagle Scout Binder and remind yourself of everything you’ve accomplished. Leading an entire project and going through this application process is a lot of work (believe me, I know), but you made it happen! Thanks for reading this far, and congrats on your upcoming Eagle Rank achievement. Until next time, be the best scout you can be!
If you liked this article, you might also want to check out my Guide to Your Eagle Rank Scoutmaster Conferences. In it, I’ll give you a ton of other deep questions to consider, as well as some tips for getting the most out of your Scouting journey!