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Question about Eagle Scout Application

missypiemissypie Posts: 16,783Registered User Senior Member
edited October 2011 in Parent Cafe
My son has completed his Eagle Proejct write up and is about done with his application. We're both kind of baffled by the requirement of writing a Life Ambition Statement. Here is what the application form says:

"Attach to this applicaiton 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."

What a convoluted requirement! So does the kid say what he wants to do when he grows up, what kind of life he wants to have, that his purpose in life is To Enjoy God and Serve Him Forever (from the Presbyterian Book of Order), then list all his leadership positions and awards?

Am I misunderstanding this?

How long should the Life Ambition Statement be?

He has Asperger's Syndrome and has few, if any, leadership positions (other than those required for rank advancement in scouts.) I know that we've had mentally challenged kids make Eagle in the past, and I doubt that they had any leadership positions, so lack of them must not be fatal, right?

Please don't say "Ask the Scoutmaster." He is remarkably un-helpful.
Post edited by missypie on
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Replies to: Question about Eagle Scout Application

  • HuntHunt Posts: 21,619Registered User Senior Member
    Here, it has been a sort of "what I want to do when I grow up" statement. A couple of paragraphs with general aspirational statements have been enough. Tip: make sure that he includes that he wants to be involved in Scouting as an adult (assuming that's true).
  • Youdon'tsayYoudon'tsay Posts: 16,026Registered User Senior Member
    I Googled some info because my son is starting work on his Eagle. Here's what I found that sounds good. These are two different sources, but I think the idea is to treat it like you're applying for a job, listing accomplishments and goals.

    Statement of Ambition and Life Purpose


    This is the first part of requirement No. 6 in the application. This is a write-up (at least one page) in original and 3 copies, of what you plan to do with your life. What interests you, what you might want to study, what professions you may wish to pursue, what hobbies you think will follow you, etc.

    AND

    Eagle Scout Requirement 6: 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. Take part in a Scoutmaster conference with your unit leader.



    Let's look at this single requirement in the two parts it really is. First, your statement. This is very straight forward, and an excellent opportunity for you to tell members of your board of review what you do outside Scouting. The statement will reveal who you have become in several ways. Scouts who have been successful in Scouting will find it has spread to other areas of their life. This is especially true of Eagle candidates, since you have actually developed character which demonstrates the Scout Oath and Law in everything you do.

    Don't be shy about bragging! List it all! Most Scouts don't consider this well enough to remember all the things they do. And it is key to something that will help you all your life - that being establishing a good self-esteem, which, by the way, is to do good things and remember what you did!

    List all the various awards and honors you've achieved along the way. These may be a medal, plaque, or certificate, but could also be a different type of honor. For example, a letter from a principal or volunteer organization recognizing your contributions. Or maybe a letter from an elected official thanking you for being their assistant (like a Page) for a season. Maybe it's a newspaper article mentioning you. If it made you feel honored, it counts!
  • missypiemissypie Posts: 16,783Registered User Senior Member
    Good info. Thanks.
  • Lafalum84Lafalum84 Posts: 7,533Registered User Senior Member
    This thread inspired me to go find DS's Eagle book in his room. I remember when I saw that he had to write a Life Ambition Statement, I secretly wondered how big of a shovel he was gonna need! I mean, this is a 17 year old kid - how does he know what his Life Ambition is?

    His "My Life Ambitions" page is one page long. It starts with 4 paragraphs he wrote about his life ambitions: First paragraph "short term" goals, including "to finish high school and go on to a four-year college...." In the 2nd paragraph he listed some colleges he was considering attending, what he thought he'd major in, and that he planned to work hard and learn as much as he could. 3rd paragraph he discussed types of careers that interested him, as well as hobbies he hoped to pursue as an adult, and that he would like to get married and raise children. 4th paragraph stated that his life's purpose was to "always use the gifts God has given to me to be as good a person as I can be and to help others as much as I can..." and expressed a desire to make the world a better place in his own way.

    After that he listed his honors and leadership positions outside of Scouts in a bullet-point format. He didn't have many, as he is a quiet kid. He listed Honor Roll, National Honor Society, 1st chair trumpet, Youth Basketball referee, and helping out at an annual church fair.

    DH and I had to sit on an Eagle Board of review for another scout from another troop the night that DS had his review. Frankly, this kid really didn't deserve to get Eagle. It was obvious his dad had done most of the work on the project, and in the parent letter all the dad wrote was how proud he would be to have his son join his older son and himself as an Eagle Scout - not one word about what the son had done to earn the honor. But the kid was inducted anyway. Our Scoutmaster has a reputation for being one of the most difficult in the area, and he wouldn't send anyone to a Board of Review unless he was sure they would pass. He said in all his 20 years in Scouts, he'd only had one kid be turned down, and that was because the kid had a really bad attitude and back-talked the review board. Other troops clearly did not have as high of standards as our troop, but all the kids passed their board. If your son has Aspergers, I would think the boards will be impressed that he has overcome extra challenges to meet his Eagle requirements.

    Good luck!
  • curiousercuriouser Posts: 1,324Registered User Senior Member
    S is an Eagle and I recall his Life Ambition statement as being a one page long essay which commented on what scouts has taught him and how he planned to incorporate that into his life in the future....
    what those kinds of traits and skills could contribute as a college student and as an adult in society. It was an aspirational type of essay that
    he actually "borrowed" from for some of his college application essays.

    I think that this essay is only a piece of the total package...
    The project itself and documentation of it, along with the Review Board interviews probably account for more.

    I wouldn't worry about having the perfect statement--just one that reflects how he feels about what it all means to him.
  • HuntHunt Posts: 21,619Registered User Senior Member
    It is probably something the members of the Board of Review will ask him about, so he should think about how he will expand on it if they ask him questions. The vast majority of Eagle Boards are very positive and friendly, so unless there is some problem with his record, he should have a good experience.
  • missypiemissypie Posts: 16,783Registered User Senior Member
    Thanks so much, everyone. Troop leadership could care less if he has Asperger's. One of his friends in the troop (still a first class at the age of 17 1/2) has Asperger's but is more severe. For years, his dad had to come along on all camp outs to prevent the other boys from teasing and bullying him. (Adult troop leadership had a "boys will be boys" attitude.) The "new guard" (parents of the younger scouts) is a lot more with it, helpful and senstive...wouldn't you know it....just as we are leaving. I have every confidence that the current scoutmaster will delay and delay my son until everything is perfect in his eyes. It's been such a struggle and I am SO pushing my son to get it done!
  • HuntHunt Posts: 21,619Registered User Senior Member
    It is my observation that once the project and all the other other requirements are done, ALL Scouts have to be pushed to get the application paperwork done.
  • missypiemissypie Posts: 16,783Registered User Senior Member
    What's the saying? On the back of every Eagle Scout, you will find his mother's footprint.
  • WashDadWashDad Posts: 2,695Registered User Member
    Well, in our family it was my Vibram-soled bootprint, but you have it pretty close. The trick is to make sure that you use just the boot, but don't do the work.

    As for the statement of life purpose, it's not a huge deal. Just make sure junior puts in some positive-aspiration stuff the Eagle board can chat with him about. Unless your son pulls a knife on the board or suddenly turns really stupid, the Board of Review is pleasant rite of passage, not an ordeal. I can still get tears in my eyes thinking of how the board members shook my hand and told me that we had raised a fine young man.
  • missypiemissypie Posts: 16,783Registered User Senior Member
    I sure hope you're right, WashDad! The Council guy my that my son and I went to talk to made it sound like the Inquisition; he emphasized that that the outcome was not always positive. Hope he was just trying to scare my son into doing a good job. I truly believe that if you are an adult with a shred of humanity or sense of humor, our Council does not permit you to take a leadership role. Pity the boy who has to look to these guys as their male role models.
  • HuntHunt Posts: 21,619Registered User Senior Member
    It is most likely that if he has fulfilled all the requirements for Eagle Scout (project, merit badges, positions of responsibility, etc.) that he will pass his Board of Review with no problem as long as he is polite and answers their questions as best he can. If (and this is a remote if) he "fails" for some vague or bogus reason, he can appeal to National, and they will almost always overrule the Board unless there is something serious. (And by serious, I mean something like a criminal record, or the boy stating to the Board that he is an atheist.)
  • WashDadWashDad Posts: 2,695Registered User Member
    missypie wrote:
    I truly believe that if you are an adult with a shred of humanity or sense of humor, our Council does not permit you to take a leadership role. Pity the boy who has to look to these guys as their male role models.

    I am very sorry you are running into this at the District or Council level. Our first troop turned into "the Troop of Judgment and the Law" so we switched troops. WashDadJr went from the Scout Who Couldn't Shoot Straight to the Wonder Scout. The only change was going from harsh, critical, sardonic, smug adult leaders to a troop where the leaders think that Scouting (and childhood) is about learning to be a responsible adult. At this stage you can't do much about it, but remember that there are usually Board members who aren't Scouters from the Council.

    In our Council it's traditional for the Scout to suggest a couple of Board members who are not involved in Scouting. It's not unusual for a favorite teacher or youth pastor to sit in, as Eagle Boards are the only ones where non-Scouting members of the community are not only welcome, but encouraged. Good luck to your son!
  • missypiemissypie Posts: 16,783Registered User Senior Member
    My son started with the troop becaase his best friend from Elem school went to that church and joined that troop. Two other guys their age from their school also joined there. For about the first year and a half I was in a fog with respect to advancement. He didn't get any blue cards; I didn't ask and the troop didn't encourage. I finally woke up and educated myself.

    The troop's position has been that you get your merit badges at Merit Badge College and summer camp. They play dodgeball at troop meetings.

    Why didn't we leave? Since my son has Asperger's, he has difficulty making friends. We didn't want him to leave a place where he had buddies he had known since kindergarten. The one guy who went to that church quit after a year or two, but his other kindergarten buddies are still in the troop and they helped with his Eagle Project! It was touching.

    The new guard of parents is horrified that there are 17 year old scouts in the troop whe have never missed a campout or troop meeting, yet only have a first class rank. I predict that next year there will be a BIG shift in power (for the better) in the troop.
  • Youdon'tsayYoudon'tsay Posts: 16,026Registered User Senior Member
    Oh, Hunt, a million thanks for the hint to not mention atheism! Seriously.

    I'm excited because things are coming together for my son and his project. There is a chance he'll actually get done this summer!

    I stay out of the whole Scout thing in our family -- which is why it's not done by now. :) But I guess I should educate myself about at least the process. I have managed to save programs and napkins from other ceremonies/parties and kept a mental inventory of what I'll have to do to throw the party. Aren't I supposed to get the president to send him a letter or something?????
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