Eagle Scout Class of 2015, by the numbers

If you were to put the 2015 Eagle Scout class inside Yankee Stadium, you’d still have more than 4,000 Eagle Scouts without seats.

That gives you some idea how large the 2015 Eagle Scout class is — 54,366 members strong, representing an increase of 4.9 percent over 2014.

This was the fourth-biggest Eagle Scout class in history, trailing only 2012, 2010 and 2013.

First, please help me congratulate each and every one of those remarkable young men. To my fellow Eagle Scouts I say this: You’ve achieved greatness, but your journey has only just begun.

OK, now it’s time to do a deep dive into the 2015 Eagle Scout class. This week we’ll look at the numbers behind the number: total number of service project hours Eagle Scouts recorded, the average age of 2015’s Eagle Scouts, state-by-state Eagle rankings and much more.

Before continuing, let’s give a round of applause to the BSA’s Mike Lo Vecchio, who provides me with these numbers each year. This is one of my favorite posts to write each year, so let’s do this. 

How many young men became Eagle Scouts in 2015?

Exactly 54,366 young men became Eagle Scouts in 2015, which amounts to 6.57 percent of eligible Scouts. (Eligible Scouts is defined as registered Boy Scouts or male Venturers who are under 18).

The total is a 4.9 percent increase over last year’s Eagle Scout count (51,820) but 7.3 percent less than the all-time high of 58,659 in 2012. That year’s count was inflated as Scouts hurried to finish requirements in time for the 100th anniversary of the Eagle Scout award. (And get the 2012 Eagle Scout patch only given to guys who earned Eagle that year.)

Let’s stop and reflect on the 54,366 number. It’s remarkable to think that 54,366 new Eagle Scouts have entered society to make this world a better place. And to realize that 54,366 Eagle Scout service projects were finished, each leaving behind a positive impact on the Scout’s communities.

Speaking of service …

How many service hours did the 2015 Eagle Scout Class record while working on Eagle projects?

Young men who earned Eagle in 2015 combined to record 8,503,337 hours of service on Eagle projects.

That’s an average of 156.4 hours of service per Eagle project.

With the value of volunteer time at $23.07 an hour, that means Eagle Scouts and the volunteers they led contributed — drumroll, please — more than $196 million worth of time working on these projects.

Which region had the most Eagle Scouts in 2015?

Congrats to the Western Region! You boasted an impressive 18,317 Eagle Scouts last year.

Here’s how the other regions fared:

Western 18,317
Southern 14,484
Central 10,913
Northeast 10,652

How many young men have become Eagle Scouts in past years?

Lots. As in millions. For the year-by-year look, go here.

Which state had the most Eagle Scouts in 2015?

See the state-by-state rankings here.

What was the average age of 2015 Eagle Scouts?

See the average age here.

What councils had the most Eagle Scouts in 2015?

Take these council rankings below with a big pinch of salt. Councils with more Scouts will, of course, have more young men earning the Eagle Scout award.

The number before the council name is the council number, which is used for record-keeping.

1 591 Utah National Parks 2,373
2 590 Great Salt Lake 1,979
3 589 Trapper Trails 1,559
4 10   Grand Canyon 1,455
5 82   National Capital Area 1,420
6 576 Sam Houston Area 1,090
7 571 Circle Ten 947
8 307 Heart of America 854
9 250 Northern Star 797
10 92   Atlanta Area 696
11 39   Orange County 691
12 107 Grand Teton 642
13 312 Greater St. Louis Area 610
14 492 Cascade Pacific 587
15 662 Longhorn 567
16 47   Golden Empire 554
17 33   Greater Los Angeles Area 538
18 220 Baltimore Area 528
19 421 Occoneechee 523
20 61   Denver Area 493
21 272 Great Lakes 470
22 49   San Diego – Imperial 440
23 45   California Inland Empire 432
24 609 Chief Seattle 427
25 106 Ore – Ida 415
26 83   Central Florida 408
27 127 Three Fires 399
28 160 Crossroads of America 398
29 328 Las Vegas Area 394
30 333 Northern New Jersey 390
31 564 Capitol Area 385
32 55   Santa Clara County 382
33 527 Laurel Highlands 376
34 1     Greater Alabama 374
35 358 Patriots’ Path 374
36 23   Mount Diablo – Silverado 372
37 560 Middle Tennessee 370
38 438 Dan Beard 362
39 583 Alamo Area 354
40 66   Connecticut Rivers 353
41 525 Cradle of Liberty 348
42 205 Lincoln Heritage 341
43 441 Simon Kenton 333
44 326 Mid – America 325
45 602 Heart of Virginia 313
46 101 Northeast Georgia 306
47 777 Washington Crossing 306
48 456 Pathway to Adventure 290
49 546 Narragansett 287
50 635 Bay – Lakes 285
51 227 The Spirit of Adventure 284
52 404 Suffolk County 283
53 51 Western Los Angeles Area 275
54 70   Old North State 275
55 72   Connecticut Yankee 271
56 86   Gulf Ridge 270
57 544 New Birth of Freedom 260
58 397 Seneca Waterways 259
59 87   North Florida 257
60 612 Pacific Harbors 252
61 782 Water and Woods FSC 248
62 611 Inland Northwest 246
63 415 Mecklenburg County 243
64 420 Piedmont 238
65 781 President Gerald R. Ford FSC 237
66 502 Minsi Trails 230
67 690 Burlington County 230
68 783 Southern Shores FSC 225
69 60   Pikes Peak 224
70 129 Northeast Illinois 224
71 62   Longs Peak 218
72 104 Aloha 213
73 596 Tidewater 213
74 84   South Florida 206
75 249 Old Colony 205
76 558 Chickasaw 204
77 480 Last Frontier 202
78 347 Monmouth 201
79 386 Theodore Roosevelt 198
80 81   Del – Mar – Va 193
81 177 Mid – Iowa 191
82 374 Hudson Valley 191
83 330 Daniel Webster 189
84 606 Mount Baker 186
85 660 Blackhawk Area 186
86 426 East Carolina 185
87 539 Chester County 184
88 412 Great Southwest 183
89 599 Blue Ridge Mountains 183
90 433 Great Trail 180
91 557 Great Smokey Mountain 180
92 388 Westchester – Putnam 177
93 95   Flint River 176
94 551 Blue Ridge 176
95 315 Montana 172
96 488 Indian Nations 169
97 595 Colonial Virginia 169
98 28   San Francisco Bay Area 168
99 85   Gulf Stream 168
100 380 Greater Niagara Frontier 168
101 661 Puerto Rico 166
102 329 Nevada Area 164
103 31   Pacific Skyline 163
104 604 Blue Mountain 163
105 11   Catalina 158
106 306 Ozark Trails 155
107 528 Hawk Mountain 155
108 364 Twin Rivers 152
109 57   Ventura County 151
110 427 Old Hickory 151
111 111 Snake River 150
112 204 Blue Grass 146
113 651 Potawatomi Area 146
114 114 Lewis and Clark 145
115 429 Northern Lights 145
116 620 Glacier’s Edge 145
117 636 Three Harbors 143
118 802 Transatlantic 143
119 444 Miami Valley 142
120 553 Indian Waters 142
121 416 Central North Carolina 138
122 653 Great Rivers 138
123 574 Bay Area 136
124 440 Greater Cleveland 134
125 640 Greater New York Councils 133
126 244 Knox Trail 132
127 436 Buckeye 132
128 198 Quivira 130
129 27   Sequoia 125
130 463 Great Western Reserve 125
131 450 Heart of Ohio 124
132 59   Greater Yosemite 122
133 218 Pine Tree 122
134 550 Coastal Carolina 122
135 18   Quapaw Area 121
136 88   Southwest Florida 118
137 460 Erie Shores 115
138 610 Great Alaska 115
139 512 Westmoreland – Fayette 114
140 156 Buffalo Trace 113
141 425 Cape Fear 112
142 138 W. D. Boyce 111
143 211 Istrouma Area 111
144 549 Palmetto 110
145 145 Hoosier Trails 108
146 341 Jersey Shore 107
147 524 Pennsylvania Dutch 107
148 303 Andrew Jackson 104
149 414 Daniel Boone 104
150 585 East Texas Area 104
151 713 Sequoyah 104
152 733 Sioux 104
153 165 La Salle 103
154 598 Shenandoah Area 103
155 449 Black Swamp Area 101
156 617 Buckskin 101
157 16   Westark Area 99
158 172 Hawkeye Area 99
159 763 Stonewall Jackson Area 98
160 93   Georgia – Carolina 97
161 491 Crater Lake 95
162 577 South Texas 95
163 501 Northeastern Pennsylvania 93
164 697 Oregon Trail 93
165 373 Longhouse 91
166 803 Far East 90
167 311 Pony Express 89
168 573 Yucca 88
169 773 Gulf Coast 88
170 32   Long Beach Area 86
171 304 Pine Burr 86
172 99   Coastal ( Empire) Georgia 85
173 133 Illowa 85
174 324 Cornhusker 85
175 559 West Tennessee Area 83
176 424 Tuscarora 81
177 614 Grand Columbia 81
178 214 Southeast Louisiana 80
179 157 Anthony Wayne Area 79
180 592 Green Mountain 79
181 702 Rainbow 79
182 173 Winnebago 78
183 230 Nashua Valley 77
184 234 Western Massachusetts 77
185 500 Moraine Trails 77
186 89   West Central Florida 76
187 96   Central Georgia 76
188 254 Mohegan 76
189 627 Samoset 76
190 532 French Creek 75
191 299 Gamehaven 74
192 41   Redwood Empire 70
193 368 Baden – Powell 70
194 556 Cherokee Area 69
195 533 Susquehanna 68
196 578 Three Rivers 68
197 221 Mason – Dixon 67
198 225 Annawon 67
199 30   Southern Sierra 66
200 53   Los Padres 66
201 58   Verdugo Hills 66
202 286 Voyageurs Area 66
203 375 Five Rivers 66
204 748 Yocona Area 66
205 664 Suwannee River Area 63
206 212 Evangeline Area 62
207 439 Tecumseh 61
208 91   Chattahoochee 59
209 4     Mobile Area 58
210 64   Western Colorado 58
211 144 Abraham Lincoln 56
212 296 Central Minnesota 56
213 400 Revolutionary Trails 56
214 376 Iroquois Trail 55
215 775 Rio Grande 55
216 197 Jayhawk Area 54
217 322 Overland Trails 54
218 474 Cimarron 54
219 638 Central Wyoming 53
220 497 Juniata Valley 51
221 618 Allohak 51
222 98   Alapaha Area 50
223 192 Coronado Area 50
224 35   Marin 49
225 283 Twin Valley 48
226 624 Gateway Area 48
227 162 Sagamore 47
228 216 Katahdin Area 47
229 562 Golden Spread 47
230 382 Allegheny Highlands 46
231 552 Pee Dee Area 46
232 637 Chippewa Valley 45
233 213 Louisiana Purchase 44
234 5     Tukabatchee Area 43
235 694 South Plains 43
236 117 Prairielands 42
237 561 Texas Trails 42
238 121 Lincoln Trails 40
239 141 Mississippi Valley 39
240 584 Caddo Area 39
241 3     Alabama – Florida 38
242 467 Muskingum Valley 38
243 6     Black Warrior 37
244 587 Northwest Texas 37
245 695 Black Hills Area 36
246 509 Bucktail 35
247 100 Northwest Georgia 34
248 178 Northeast Iowa 34
249 215 Norwela 32
250 63   Rocky Mountain 31
251 741 Texas Southwest 30
252 405 Rip Van Winkle 29
253 567 Buffalo Trail 29
254 619 Ohio River Valley 29
255 469 Cherokee Area 28
256 691 Pushmataha Area 28
257 102 Maui County 26
258 393 Otschodela 26
259 22   Alameda 25
260 504 Columbia – Montour 25
261 468 Arbuckle Area 24
262 615 Mountaineer Area 24
263 69   Housatonic 23
264 209 Calcasieu Area 22
265 13   De Soto Area 21
266 42   Piedmont 21
267 413 Conquistador 21
268 800 Direct Service 20
269 302 Choctaw Area 19
270 580 NeTseO Trails 19
271 696 Midnight Sun 17
272 67   Greenwich 16
273 224 Cape Cod and Islands 16
274 194 Santa Fe Trail 13
275 538 Chief Cornplanter 8


  1. It would be interesting to know the PERCENTAGE of Eagles earned in each council. Then follow up with gathering some “best practice” information for the rest of us.

    Perhaps readers here can share some success stories….

    • I agree, a percentage of those who earn Eagle vs. total Boy Scout Youth served would make a better comparison. For example, for Maine, it reports that 122 youth achieved Eagle in Pine Tree Council and 47 did so in Katahdin Area Council. However, Katahdin Area is more rural and serves a smaller population. How much smaller? My district in PTC has roughly the same number of scout units as all of KAC. As such, by percentages, KAC might actually rank HIGHER than PTC.

    • The proper goal of Scouting is to develop Scouts who are First Class, and not the rank! I mean Scouts of First Class character. That some earn the Eagle is commendable, but it is NOT an indicator of “best practice”. If there are some who think so, they are delusional!

    • Not sure the best way to do it, but the percentage of scouts to make eagle over the last 10(?) years over the number of scouts enrolled in the past 10 years (vice active and eligible) may be a better metric for the accomplishment. Many do not complete the journey, making the achievement, all that much more impressive.

  2. I have said all along that it is easier to get the Eagle award than 30 years ago, merit badge fairs, and other things have made it easier. I would like to see the pecentage of eagles compared to total scout numbers through the years

    • Percentages (with extensive discussion) are here: http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2015/03/30/what-percentage-of-boy-scouts-become-eagle-scouts/

      There were MB fairs 30 years ago. (Got the patch to prove it!)
      The projects involve more paperwork than ever before. However some argue that the structure streamlines the process.
      There is now an added pedagogy requirement for Life scouts.
      There is a P-R requirement (invite a scout) for First Class that wasn’t there thirty years ago.
      Cooking was added to the required list last year.

      So the award requirements are about the same, if not a little “harder”.

      I generally chalk it up to more eagles (adult and youth) are around to encourage boys who previously might have thought the award was beyond them.

      But, I am also very concerned that we are not reaching out enough to boys who would never achieve Eagle. I’ve heard scouters say “If you’re not advancing what’s the point?” and boys take that to heart. They tell their buddies “Scouts is no fun, because they’re all about the bling.” Then those boys never join. 🙁 It’s a trend we must reverse.

      • Personally I think when all is said and done, it is a LOT harder now to earn Eagle than in the past. And that was before the additional requirements that have been added for Scout through 1st Class this year.

    • I got my eagle 30 years ago, it was not easier. Seeing what my son did to get his, he worked harder and did more than I did IMO. I would say you cannot make this comparison, different times.

      • Using your same comparison then how can we compare todays Eagles with those of 30 years ago. Different times? As a Scoutmaster for over 35 years I always felt it was more important as to what you learned along the way to getting that eagle than getting it.

        • I worked very hard on my Eagle. I recall times when I finished my school work and then, fairly soon afterward, within the same day or evening, would choose to work on merit badges. I feel I worked just as long and hard as any scout does today. Plus we had to get more badges (24) than today and there weren’t any University of Scouting mass opportunities to get badges in just one day. We had to also go to camp for some badges, like the aquatic ones, instead of fulfilling the requirements by using a local indoor pool. It’s no wonder more scouts are able to also earn most, if not all, of the merit badges they offer today.

      • I agree with you summerlinj. Got my Eagle 40 years ago, and my son got his last year. He had to work a lot harder at it than I did. And all that paperwork for his Project was nuts! Like you said, these are different times. You can’t compare them.

    • In 1982 the one millionth Eagle Scout was awarded. In 2009 the second millionth Eagle Scout was awarded. It took 72 years to reach one million Eagle Scouts, but only 27 to reach the second million, and we do NOT have a generation of over-achievers out there, NOR more Scouts. As you stated, with merit badge fairs and summer camp give-a-way programs, group merit badges within troops, etc, it’s far, far easier today than 30 years ago, and totally inconceivable 56 years ago when I attained Eagle.

      Fifteen years ago my district averaged between 25-30 Eagle Scouts a year. Now, with less troops and less Scouts, my district averages between 35-40 Eagle Scouts a year; I/3 more with less Scouts. This changed coincided with the offering of Trail to Eagle Programs at our summer camps, where now all required merit badges are offered. Now the lazy and unmotivated are led by the hand and spoon fed through the requirements.

      • Bob Carson, I could not disagree with you more! I believe that the same standard is held in most councils for earning a merit badge, as it was 56 years ago for you, or 50 years ago for me, when we became Eagle Scouts. We do stress that the standard to earn a merit badge in our council is to ask the scout to do exactly what is required in the requirements as stated in the merit badge book. NO MORE and NO LESS. If a scout earns the badge as an individual, or in a small group, or in a summer camp class session, it is no easier than back when we earned it. I conduct a spring break Eagle Camp and we recruit counselors to meet with the scouts and we hold the requirements in the merit badge book as the standard to earn the badge. No easy badges. It is just that we are offering these scouts more and more opportunities to meet with counselors and also at summer camp, offering more choices in merit badges for the scouts. We recruit enthusiastic counselors who motivate the scouts to achieve. I also believe that more emphasis is placed on encouraging young scouts to achieve First Class, and thus getting more scouts onto the Trail to Eagle sooner.

        • A lot has changed in Scouting over the last 50 years. ‘back in the day’ it was the desire and motivation of the individual to advance that drove the youth to obtain the Rank of Eagle. Nowadays we teach to the test. We build programs around the advancement, instead of simply providing opportunities. We have countless ‘merit badge fairs’ that do nothing more than award merit badges for a half day’s lecture, or a summer camp program that delivers 12 vital merit badges, like fingerprinting, or art, or what have you is you pay the fees for a week’s stay. The emphasis is on the march to Eagle, and if you don’t make it you’ve simply failed to show up.

        • Vic wrote “I believe that the same standard is held in most councils for earning a merit badge, as it was 56 years ago for you, or 50 years ago for me, when we became Eagle Scouts.” I’m not sure what you’re talking about. If you move from one MB counselor to a different one in the same district, you can see how different counselors hold scouts to different standards. Sometimes boys will find that Mr. Smith is lax, and they’ll all work with him to earn a particular MB. If you mean that boys seek out the easiest MB counselor to work with today as they did 50 years ago, then I guess I would agree with you. Human nature doesn’t change.

      • Bob,

        Ben Franklin once said that a half truth makes the best lie. I won’t say you are lying because you sound like a scouter of good character, so I only say that a half truth is leading you to an honorable belief in an inaccurate statement.

        Yes, it’s uncommon for scouts to walk over alone to a merit badge counselor’s house once a week to sit down and work on an Eagle Required MB, like you did 60 years ago and I did 45 years ago. It’s not the same world and we don’t need to go into that here. Merit badge classes are necessary facilitators not evils. So are Merit Badge Colleges.

        That terrible Trail to Eagle Program at Summer Camp? It got the older boy to camp when he was likely bored with everything else, for one more trip with the troop, and he likely provided leadership to younger scouts and helped with an OA Callout to boot. Hopefully the camp had a stringent prereq. list.

        Yes, every camp has a giveaway merit badge of Fingerprinting, or Chess or something else on a rotating basis. I don’t think that badge was the difference in making anyone Eagle, except it gave a little pride that burned into the desire to go the distance.

        And going the distance in the journey of scouting is what is really important right? It sure wasn’t about whether the scout really completed requirement x on citizenship in the galaxy was it? It was really about living the scout oath and law, demonstrating leadership, leading a community project, being introduced to a bunch of subjects through merit badges, and most importantly….drum roll please… going against everything in popular culture, putting on a uniform to the derision of peers, standing up for scouting and taking an oath that still gives me goosebumps every time I asked to stand as an Eagle with a scout taking the charge.

        Bob, thanks for your service. I hope you temper your opinion. It’s wrong.

        • Yoam- in #591, the council advancement committee has taken over all advancement in all our camps. At three of the resident camps we no longer offer traditional MB classes but instead offer a selection of ‘tracks’ twice a week-they consist of activities, hard tasks, moving around, tactile experiences…and also some MB advancement thrown in. Only MBs that actually can be earned at camp are used and NO gimme MBs….it was a rousing success last summer!

        • Citizenship in the galaxy! That’s a good one! It would have been cool to have been able to really get that merit badge. He. He.

      • I would say there are better leaders in the Scouts if you are getting more to Eagle. I also would say if you feel your son is being spoon fed. Take the spoon away. Make sure he does the work! In 2 1/2 years my son earned his badges. Because his SINGLE mother taught him what she knew. We worked together on the said requirements. He went to 2 summer camps and earned 10 badges. The rest were done with him by my side. I have loved watching my son grow as he learned new things. He will have a total of his 13 Eagle Required, and another 20 badges done when he is 18! I am a very proud MOM!

      • Mr. Carlson,

        Getting my Eagle Scout a few years ago was by far the most challenging experience of my entire life. Regardless of how you obtain a merit badge or a rank, it still requires a great deal of work on the Scout’s part. I understand that there are some “lazy” merit badge counselors that don’t really care. I’ve encountered them, but not many of them (maybe two or three at the most). Most of my merit badge counselors pushed me to do the best work that I could do, and I feel that I am a better person because of it.

        Rank advancement is also a challenge for today’s youth, as it was when you were a Boy Scout. (Who knows, the veteran Scouters of 56 years ago may have felt that your version of the Scouting program was easy. I’m not saying that it was, but it’s a possibility.) I’m not denying the fact that some Scouts are treated more easily than others, but you shouldn’t over-generalize and say that we were all “spoon fed through the requirements.” And regardless of how long it takes a person to earn their Eagle, or how “easy” the Scout had it, some amount of work has to take place in order to get it. That’s the reason Eagle Scouts (and all Scouts in general) are still highly respected individuals.

        You have to think about the material that today’s Boy Scouts are presented with. Even the new merit badges are becoming more and more challenging, such as Animation.

        But the biggest challenge that today’s Eagle Scouts face is the Eagle Scout Service Project, which is the greatest test of an aspiring Eagle Scout’s knowledge and leadership abilities. Take a look at these two requirements (which was meant to resemble essentially the same task), and you can see how much more complicated it has become:

        1960’s: “do your best to help in your home, school, church or synagogue, and community”

        Today: “While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community.”

        Between the planning, networking, and actual execution of the project, this one requirement took me almost one-and-a-half years. All I ask is that you not make today’s Eagle Scouts feel less about what they have worked so hard to achieve.

        • I am an Eagle Scout who pinned on the rank at the very tail end of 1969. I have read Mr. Carlson’s comments and can sort of understand where he is coming from, but I have very little experience with the Scouting program since I became an Eagle Scout (I went off to college and eventually medical school, marriage, family life, and three decades in the Army) so it is impossible for me to offer my own assessments of today’s process of becoming an Eagle Scout. I want to commend you, M.T., for writing a very clear and respectful rebuttal to Mr. Carlson’s remarks. It is good to hear from someone such as yourself who has been through the “modern day” version of the path to becoming an Eagle Scout, and I appreciate hearing about your experiences in such a coherent, thoughtful, and convincing manner.

  3. I have heard “older” Eagles comment that they believe it is much harder to earn Eagle now than it was in their day. Particularly when it comes to the project. And, just in case you are not clear, the purpose of Scouting is to instill in youth the values that will lead them to make ethical decisions throughout their lives; it is NOT to make Eagle Scouts.

  4. My son was one of the Eagle Scouts in 2015 from the Inland Northwest Council. We had 5 Eagle Scouts from our troop in the Council. My son worked hard to earn his Eagle at age 13 1/2. Would love to see the age stats!

  5. I’d like to see how certain improvements over the years have contributed to the increase in the number of Eagle Scouts per year. Some improvements would be: digital equipment (Email, internet, printers, cell phones, social media, etc.), Advancement Requirements books, Guide to Advancement, Trail to Eagle programs, Training for unit, and District/Council advancement committees to name a few.

  6. I bet it is because of the OA Centuries of Service award. You had to get 100 hours of service, be an Eagle of go up a rank in 2015 by Dec 31st and a few other requirements to make it.

  7. Point of interest, The Spirit of Adventure Council did not exist until July, and yet neither of the two merged councils (Yankee Clipper and Boston Minuteman) are shown on this list. DId these Scouts get forgotten about or were they lumped in with those Scouts who earned Eagle after July?

  8. I would like to see this corrected to show that Yankee Clipper Council (north of Boston) and Boston Minuteman were their own councils before the merger to Spirit of Adventure. I don’t think of my son as an Eagle with SOA (which also stands for sons of anarchy. heh) but with YCC.

    Prior to the merger – that was his council, and he got his Eagle with that council. Thanks.

  9. As an Eagle Scout I can say that I HATE how the Rank of Eagle is the measurement of success by so many people. Advancement is only 1 of 8 methods we use in Scouting to deliver the promise, yet we put way too much emphasis on it and dilute it to the point of ‘meh, another eagle has popped out of the machine’.

  10. Two of my sons were Eagle and the third was a life Scout. I firmly believe that this experience gave them the tools to make a success of their life. They are between 45 and 50 years old and have fond memories of thier experience in Scouting. They have been very successful in life. Now I have had grandsons in Scouting. Even though I wasn’t in scouting in my youth, I served aw Weblos Leader, Asst Scoutmaster, Scoutmaster, District Committee and District Comissionor. America needs the lessons taught by the Scouting program and principles.

  11. As an adult leader and scout parent, I have issues with the whole merit badge process. I have seen multiple times, that he can earn a badge in 3 hours, without doing anything but sitting there listening. The most recent was Family Life and that was done in 2 hours!! I have many more examples. In fact iI can report on 12 out of 17 that he has. And he has not earned First class yet, but he has 17 MB’s!!!
    I have taken him to various classes across the state and one time to another state. It’s all the same. I always purchase the MB books, and most time it is never used. I am really disgusted with this, but I do not let him know that. I have complained to district and council, but it gets shrugged off.
    I feel that this MB stuff is just like “everybody gets a trophy” attitude. Just show up and sit there and you will “earn” it.
    Rant over.

    • Family MB requires doing two projects, one with pre-approval of the counselor. So I don’t understand how it can be done in 2 hours.

    • If the classes are as poor as you say they are, stop taking your boy to them. We parents and volunteers are the real gatekeepers as to how scouting gets done. The quality program is on us!

      For his next MB. Tell him to ask the SM to give him the contact info for counselors in your district. Then have him make the phone calls for an appointment. The process works best when the boy starts by personal contact with the counselor. Does the work. And comes back to summarize what he’s accomplished.

      By they way, it’s absolutely fine to rack up MBs on the way to 1st Class. Many boys proceed at the pace of about one rank per year. So that means they have plenty of time to earn interesting MBs and master 1st class skills.

  12. I am a Scouter in Massachusetts. Have been registered with my troop for 50+ years, and was either the SM, or SA for each Eagle the troop has produced. I do agree with some of the comments on the merit badges being earned too quickly. That responsibility falls upon he counselor, and the SM. My three sons are among our troop’s Eagles, and they never attended any of the merit badge “classes” being offered. They made multiple visits with local people to get it done. I also feel that some units stress too much on the Eagle award. Not to take anything away from the Eagle, because I have great respect for these young men. Leadership skills are also learned by many Scouts who Do not have the desire to complete that.

  13. This might be for a separate thread, but how are the council numbers determined? For example, Alabama – Florida is #3.

  14. One of the biggest changes that have made achieving the rank of Eagle more attainable is the inclusion of alternative Eagle required merit badges. 50+ years ago the Lifesaving merit badge was the “Eagle killer.” There were many scouts that ended their careers as Life scouts because they just couldn’t complete the 400 yard swim, regardless of the level of their effort and support. Now they can earn Emergency Preparedness and move on. I’m not necessarily saying this is a good or bad thing. I was a 90 lb. 14 year old and it was definitely the hardest merit badge that I earned. Had I had the option of doing Emergency Preparedness I probably wouldn’t have worked so hard to achieve the goal and would have missed the great sense of accomplishment that came from finally earning it. But it would have been devastating if my best efforts in this one merit badge weren’t enough and prevented me from earning my Eagle.

    • I don’t know, Gary Davis, but it seems that at 14 years old, if you failed the 400 yard swim, you could have done it later at age 15, or 16, when you had grown considerably larger and stronger. If you had failed at 14 years, with practice you eventually could have done it, especially at age 17. Although I am an Eagle Scout, I don’t think failure at age 14 would have been “devastating”. Some of the great lessons of Scouting are that you should try different things, and “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” These are some of the most important lessons of life, more important than actually becoming an Eagle Scout. My problem with the Swimming and Lifesaving merit badges was that I had a fear of deep water, and there was a time I thought I could never do the Lifesaving merit badge requirements, but over time, as I trained myself to be a stronger and more versatile swimmer, the requirements went from impossible to possible, from achievable to achieved. Later on in college I even went on to complete a standard Red Cross course in lifesaving. At one time, being an Eagle Scout meant that you had a reasonable chance at saving someone who was in trouble in deep water, now apparently it does not mean that. Like you, I’m not saying this is a good or bad thing, but the sense of what it means to be an Eagle Scout has changed. The whole organization has changed due, at least in part, to political correctness and caving in to special interests who have the money to continue suing the BSA, but that’s another story for another time, perhaps. Thanks for YOUR story.

  15. I hope I’m wrong….I looked twice…we had 3 eagle scouts out of our little troop and our troop number isn’t listed! I was excited to see this report and our troop number and well….oh well.

    • Hey Jennifer,

      The report doesn’t list troop-by-troop numbers. Just councils. Congrats to your three new Eagle Scouts!

  16. Comparing one year to another does not ,to me, show good character. To obtain Eagle has and still is NOT an easy task. I am talking from experiencing of not only being a mother of four Eagle Scouts, but also was a mentor to at least eight other boys. For many it has been a teaching journey from Tigers all the way to Eagle. I have been heavily involved in scouting for over eighteen years. What is important in the end is what each young adult walked away with….maybe accomplishment and all the knowledge they will now take on their new journey through life. I grew deeper with each and every one of them. The growth of these young adults was incredibly! Congratulations to ALL the Eagles over the ages for following the scouting path and achieving such high standards to share with the future generations. Carla Buttliere Troop #140 Buffalo Grove,I’m.

  17. (Eligible Scouts is defined as registered Boy Scouts or male Venturers who are under 18).

    Stats can be fun to argue about especially the long argued % of scouts who earn Eagle rank. Shouldn’t eligible scouts be defined as Eagles/Life Scouts since Star and below ranks are not eligible to earn Eagle (yet).

    Age is another one since there are a large number of EBORs held after 18 and the calculation is EBOR – DOB. 2 18’s + one 15 would average to 17,33.

    Congrats to all the scouts!

  18. We should remember that Eagle Scout is not the end-all, success-in-life or failure. When my boy age out at 18 as a Life Scout with 25 merit badges, a couple of religious awards, plus NYLT and NAYLE under his belt, he expressed the feeling that he had failed. I assured this young man with a handicap and who is still working to get his high school diploma, that he’d gone a lot further than many other Scouts (I’d only reached Star rank), and pointed out that Bill Gates had “only” reached Life Scout rank and that I’d not heard anyone say that the Man from Microsoft was a failure. My boy had gone to summer camps, the Michigan International Camporee and the White River Canoe Races in Arkansas and survived having his troop dissolved in the middle of one year; he finished his youth years as a Lone Scout and is looking forward to the time when his nephew is old enough for Tiger Cubs so he can be a Den Leader. I was disappointed when he came out of a 7-hour Merit Badge Day where he’d been signed off on four badges for his $25 fee…sitting in classrooms did not meet the requirements for Art, Welding, Public Speaking and a Citizenship badge, so I subtly had him actually DO the requirements that include action.

    • The best analogy I’ve heard was comparing it to the military. We don’t consider an honorably discharged soldier a failure because he didn’t make Brigadier. Think how many soldiers stay Privates, or “just” make Sergeant? None of them are considered failures. If he had fun, then his time as a Scout was a success! (and it sounds like he had lots of fun!) Tell him congratulations personally from me! (How can you be a failure if somebody miles away and totally unknown to you is incredibly impressed by your tenure as a Scout?)

  19. Some interesting comments and I would like to add a few observations and ideas. My son has been a Boy Scout for 4 years now and the scouts I see advancing are also the ones who are into other activities – Band, Sports, etc. as such they are “joiners.” The ones who parish along the way tend to not have many other activities. I also see the scouts advancing have parents who are active in the troop, come to the parent meetings and go on the camp outs. As the Advancement Chair for my troop I keep track of each scout and 3 or 4 times a year will have a meeting with each patrol leader and ask them, “How are the scouts in your patrol doing?” I also send a troop “Snap Shot” of each scouts progress to the Scout Master so that he has an idea of how each scout is doing but more important to me is that the Scout Master gets an idea of how the Patrol Leaders are doing, especially with the younger scouts. In other words, are they leading. Last, our troop has an adult that is what we call the “Eagle Chair.” He knows the ropes of how to do the paperwork that Council wants and in the format that they require.

  20. Just remember, there are lies, d@&% lies, and statistics. How you frame the question/equation determines the result. I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but what is the numerator and demoninator of the fraction they use to say 4%, or whatever, make Eagle. is this the most accurate? Is it used deliberately to make it sound rare? This year’s Eagles divided by all Scouts ever registered would make a very small percentage. Enquiring minds want to know, to coin a phrase.

    • Both the numerator and denominator are clearly spelled out in the article:

      Numerator: “Exactly 54,366 young men became Eagle Scouts in 2015”
      Denominator: “…defined as registered Boy Scouts or male Venturers who are under 18”

      The denominator includes everyone from the wet-behind-the-ears 10-1/2 year-old scout who just joined to the 17.99 year-old scout who is about to age out of the program.

      Feel free to use a different basis of measure if you so desire.

      Personally, I would like to know the average youth tenure upon leaving the program. That would mean that of all scouts in the program, (6.57% x average tenure) earn their eagle scout. I haven’t ever been able to find a “tenure upon exit” statistic.

  21. Brian,

    Kudos to you for continuing to post interesting articles and stay above the fray of the comments here and on FB. No matter what an article says, there is always a crowd criticizing today’s scouts, national, etc.
    Keep up the good work and spreading the news.

  22. Now for the statistics lesson (paraphrasing from last year’s post): this number closely approximates the probability of any scout becoming Eagle in a given year as long as the numerator is small. But, as the percentage gets large, that probability gets underestimated because the denominator doesn’t account for other factors like scouts who might only be registered for a year and venturers who have never earned 1st class.

  23. (Eligible Scouts is defined as registered Boy Scouts or male Venturers who are under 18). Is the most inaccurate statement on the page. Last I looked at the requirements you had to be a Life Scout for 6 months and complete the other requirements. This number is GROSSLY inaccurate. If a scout has already earned his Eagle he is still counted against the total. We know that 30% of new Scouts will drop out if the first year. You really need to redefine your “ELEGIBLE SCOUT” definition.

    • Every statistic has certain biases. For example, only counting boys who were life scouts for six months at the beginning of the year would not account for Star scouts who went on to earn Eagle. It would completely ignore boys who aged out as first class scouts.
      I personally would love to know the age out stats. I.e., the number of boys who were ever scouts who turned 18 each year categorized by the last rank earned by that birth date. However, lower rank advancements were not recorded nationally in he 20th century.

      The percentage used takes advantage of the two events that were always reported nationally with a high degree of accuracy: the number of paid registrations and the number of applications for Eagle rank. As long as the number of Eagles who make rank before age 17 is small, this will be a pretty good estimate of the chance of a boy in any given troop being awarded Eagle.

      There are other ways of aggregating registration figures and coming up with, say, cumulative proportion of Eagles to registrations, but even then those methods can’t account for boys who quit and rejoin.

  24. “With the value of volunteer time at $23.07 an hour”

    This appears to be the approximate value of an adult’s volunteer time (“the average wage of non-management, non-agricultural workers”). It seems reasonable to set a value based on what a given Eagle Scout could earn if he were working rather than volunteering. I’m thinking the true value is closer to $9.00 per hour.

  25. It would be good to see not numbers of Eagle Scouts per council but a percentage example corn planter district is extremely small 8 eagles might be a large percent.
    Also one thing I have also always wondered how many that get eagle are disabled? What percentage?
    My son is an eagle class 2015 and he is disabled.

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