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Eagle Letters of Recommendation is NOT a requirement. Time to clear this up.

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Why arent letters of recommendation stated being a requirement for the Eagle rank? They are not listed in the Rank requirements and the letters themselves are not a requirement. This is been a point of contention for years.


Specifically the Eagle Scout Rank Application states, List the names of individuals who know you personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf. Thus youre indicating a list of references not providing actual letters.


Doing a search of scouter.com showed over 600 occurrences of this topic. Obviously there is disconnect. What can be done to add this as a real requirement?


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They may not be required, but they are strongly recommended. It makes the EBOR go much smoother if we have them, so any SM worth his salt will work with the candidate to make sure they are in. From The 12 Steps From Life To Eagle (ACP&P):


When the completed application is received at the council service center, its contents will be verified and the references contacted. The council advancement committee or its designee contacts the person listed as a reference on the Eagle Scout Rank Application either by letter, form, or telephone checklist. The council determines the method or methods to be used. The candidate should have contacted those individuals listed as references before including their names on the application. If desired by the council, the candidate may be asked to deliver a blank reference form and envelope to the listed references. The candidates should not be involved personally in transmitting any correspondence between persons listed as references and the council service center. If the initial reference letter or form is not returned to the council in a timely manner, the council advancement committee must make direct contact with the references listed on the Eagle Scout Rank Application on its own, by follow-up letter, phone contact, or other methods as it chooses. The candidate shall not be required to make a follow-up contact with the references or submit other reference names. A Scout cannot have a board of review denied or postponed because the council office or council advancement committee does not receive the reference letter forms he delivered.


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I think we need to make a distinction. As brent points out, the Eagle Application requests the scout to list references on their application form, these people may be asked to provide reference letters and then what Brent has is followed.


Some Councils go beyond this process and ask for three letters of reference beyond those asked for on the Eagle Application and you can guess how this viewed, adding to the requirments and all.


So, if you are talking about letters of reference from those listed on the Eagle Application, it can be done. If you are talking about letters of reference from people other than what is listed on the Eagle application? Can't be done, well shouldnt, not supposed to be

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The requirement for the Scout is to provide names. Period. If the Unit/District wants to request letters, that's up to them. But I do NOT think they can hold up an EBOR decision if the named individuals fail/refuse to submit them. That is not within the Scout's (or the Unit's) control, and is fodder for an Appeal.

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Two Scouts are ready for Eagle.


SM of Scout A turns in his application, along with letters of reference, on second Monday of the month. Council approves on Friday, Scout has his EBOR on Sunday (we conduct district EBORs the second Sunday of the month).


SM of Scout B turns in his application, with just the names of references. Council has to contact references, with their choice of doing so by mail. The earliest he will have his EBOR is by the second Sunday of the next month, at least 4 weeks later.


If timing isn't important, I guess he can just turn in the names. If he wants to be helpful, he will do his best to get those letters in early. No need to play legal games with the requirements.

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We've gone over what the black-letter policy says many times -- 600 times apparently. The problem is that councils just don't follow the policy.


Our council requires the Eagle candidate to solicit, collect and submit four letters at the time his application is submitted. Without the letters attached, the Scout Center staff will refuse to accept the application. Of course they provide no rejection letter, course of appeals or even a receipt showing that the Scout attempted to submit the application which could be important if a Scout is up against his 18th birthday.


No Scout is going to risk his Eagle to create an appeal situation. As a generalization, most Scouts and Scouters have a "let's follow the rules and all get along attitude" and don't want to rock the boat. Consequently clear policy violations are tolerated for years until the wrong kid gets his tail caught in the door and files an appeal.


If the people charged with enforcing the policy don't follow it, what do we do?

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scoutldr is correct Brent, besides if a EBOR can not determine the readiness of a teen to become an Eagle from interviewing him then I would seriously question the quality and competency of that board. How will three letters from people you don't even know help you determine something you should be able decide for yourself after talking to the candidate?


In all my years in scouting and all the EBOR's I have sat on there was not one time the board ever used the reference letters to determine the teens eligibility for Eagle, and that is the way it is supposed to be done. Character, leadership, and scout spirit can be easily recognized during the interview process without the need of letters from sources unknown.

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I'm amazed that you can judge up to 7 years of a young man's life in just a 30 minute interview. More power to you.


For the rest of us, I find the letters very useful. They help to see how the young man is viewed outside of Scouting, from different perspectives. I conducted an EBOR last night and we had letters from his religious leader and high school band director, which were very revealing. The information provided in the letters helps us to ask more meaningful questions than just "What was your favorite merit badge."


In our council, we do require the letters. We feel they are important.

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On the application.


"The board of review will expect to see a letter from each person whose name is listed on your application."


From the Atlanta Area Council Life to Eagle Guidebook.


Edited to add - they can submit more if they wish. We require the 5 listed, with the employer being on optional 6th. They can't use the employer instead of one of the other 5.(This message has been edited by BrentAllen)

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I guess I am one of the SMs who is not worth their salt....

Yes, this is one topic that does seem to come back around every few months. I have decided to respond to this one.

In my district, eagle candidates are not required to obtain letters of reference. As many have pointed out before, the Eagle Application is very clear (copied directly from Requirement 2): "Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life. List the names of individuals who know you personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf." (underlining added for emphasis). If letters were required for the Eagle application, then I would think it would be explicitly spelled out, like Requirement 6 (copied directly from the Eagle App): "...Attach to this 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." (underlining added for emphasis).

To be honest, I do not know if the district which we are affliated with follows up with these references. However, it is made clear to the Eagle candidate that this part of the form needs to be filled out in full. One of my recent Eagle candidates took the extra step, and had reference letters with his Eagle application at his EBOR. I told him that he went the extra mile, as the requirements do not explicitly say that refenence letters need to be obtained by the scout.

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Are you saying the candidate collected the letters and brought them to his EBOR himself?


If letters aren't included, the council should be contacting the references listed. This process is made much easier if the candidate requests the letters and they are included with the application.

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Brent I am quite amazed you are so dependent on those letters from people you know nothing about, this indicates to me you real have trouble determining a persons character and integrity, what a surprise. For the record our EBOR's are not 30 minutes, unlike your council apparently, we do not set time limits when determining awarding the Eagle.

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In 28 years as SM I never HAD to have the Eagle Reference letters. I have stood at the Registrars elbow as she verified the Application and they aren't on her checklist, our District Eagle Review people do not require them at the Board of Review.

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In some areas this is far from being cleared up.


At our Scouting University over the weekend I had the chance to sit in on a Life to Eagle program for adult leaders (no scouts were present).


This was being run by the DAC from my district and a DAC from another District in our council.


Both of these districts follow the same procedure for letters of recommendation

1) Scout supplies names and contact info on Eagle App.

2) Scout sends form letter to reference requesting letter.

3) The scout must periodically check with the Eagle Clerk at the council office to see if all the reference letters have been sent in. If not, the Scout must contact the person to see why they have not sent in a reference letter.

4) A Scout may have to supply an alternate reference if they can not get the person to send it in.

5) The Eagle Clerk at the council office will not contact the DAC until all reference letters are in.

6) All reference letters must be in by the day before a scouts 18th birthday.


After this was presented I said that this was not what is on the Eagle Application.


Here is the response I got:


There is some controversy in the council about the procedure for letters of reference. However, This is the way we (meaning both DAC) are interpreting the procedure and this is how it is staying.


It was not allowed to be discussed further.


As a note earlier in the day, while discussing my sons eagle project, I was told that our council has a new CAC as the old one has been AWOL for some time (a couple of years).


One of the items the new CAC has been asked to tackle is the lack of consistency between Districts in the whole Eagle process not just letter of recommendations but mainly concerning Eagle projects.


There has been a case where an Eagle project was turned down in one district and different Scout presented the same project, for the same CO, and it was accepted by another district.

It was turned down by the first district just because someone on the Eagle project review committee didnt like the CO (and yes they are a 501c3 non-profit).


I was told that the person selected as our new CAC is a strick "by the book person" so well see what happens in the next few months


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