Can a Scout complete his Eagle board of review after 18?

Let’s say there’s a Boy Scout who has completed all the requirement for the Eagle Scout rank. He finished the merit badges, service project, active participation, Scout spirit, position of responsibility and unit leader conference.

But he still lacks one step: the Eagle Scout board of review.

And then — Happy Birthday! — he turns 18. He’s no longer a Boy Scout.

Is it too late for that Scout to earn Eagle?

The answer is no.

The Eagle board of review may be conducted after the 18th birthday. After all, it’s not the Scout’s fault if the adults who will sit on his board aren’t immediately available. Or if circumstances arose that prevented him from having a board of review within the allotted time frame.

Here’s the full answer, courtesy of Section 8 of the Guide to Advancement. (Note: the 2015 version is still current as of this writing.)

Which requirements must a candidate complete before 18?

These Eagle rank requirements must be completed before a Scout turns 18:

  • Six months active participation since earning Life
  • Demonstrate Scout spirit
  • Earn 21 merit badges, including 13 from the required list
  • Hold a position of responsibility for six months or more
  • Plan and execute an Eagle Scout service project
  • Participate in a Scoutmaster conference

Does this rule apply to Scouts with special needs?

Not in many cases. There is advancement flexibility for Scouts with special needs.

Men age 18 and older, properly approved by the council executive board to register beyond the age of eligibility, may apply for the Eagle Scout rank. Since they are considered youth members for as long as they are so registered, they do not need a time extension. In these cases, you don’t need special permission to hold the Eagle Scout board of review more than three months after the 18th birthday.

See section 10 of the Guide to Advancement for more on this topic.

Can the Eagle board of review be completed beyond the 18th birthday?

Yes.

What special approval is required to complete an Eagle board of review after 18?

That depends on how long after the 18th birthday we’re talking.

Within three months of turning 18: No special approval required.

Three to six months after turning 18: Local council must preapprove. To initiate approval, the candidate, his parent or guardian, the unit leader, or a unit committee member attaches to the application a statement explaining the delay.

Six months or more after turning 18: Local council must send to National Advancement Program Team to approve. The candidate, his parent or guardian, the unit leader, or a unit committee member must petition the National Advancement Program Team for authority to hold the board of review this late. The request must explain the reason for the delay, and it must be processed through the local council and sent to the National Advancement Program Team with a copy of the application. A position statement from the Scout executive, designee, or council advancement committee must be included.

What about an adult who finished his Eagle requirements as a youth but never earned Eagle?

Scouting Wire has covered this topic in the past.

It is possible for those who completed the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank in their youth, but never received it, to obtain credentials necessary for acquiring it. If a board of review was not held, and the individual met the BSA membership eligibility rules in effect at the time, then a board of review may be requested.

In any case, a candidate must have completed all requirements before age 18.

The steps:

  1. Fill out the Belated Eagle Scout Application, No. 512-076 (Page 88 of the Guide to Advancement).
  2. Gather evidence, such as an Eagle Scout Rank Application signed at the time work was finished, blue cards, advancement reports or troop records. (The BSA will not normally accept actual merit badges or sashes as evidence, mainly because you can buy them on eBay.)
  3. Submit evidence of completion to your local council, which will pass along the records to the National Advancement Program  Team.
  4. Once documentation is verified as complete and compelling, credentials can be released or permission granted for a board of review.

What about time extensions for unforeseen circumstances?

These are extremely rare but are granted. Look at Section 9.0.4.0 of the Guide to Advancement for details.

If a youth foresees that, due to no fault or choice of his own, he will be unable to complete the Eagle Scout rank requirements before age 18, he may apply for a limited time extension.

To do this, use the form called “Request for Extension of Time to Earn Eagle Scout Rank,” (No. 512-077), available in the back of the Guide to Advancement or online at this link.

Some examples of unforeseen circumstances:

  • A health-related incident requiring a hospital stay
  • A disabling injury
  • A significant employment conflict
  • A family relocation
  • A family emergency
  • A natural disaster
  • Severe, unexpected or unseasonable weather
  • Unforeseen actions of others affecting the youth’s ability to complete the requirements

The list above helps volunteers understand how the BSA evaluates requests for time extensions. They are not precise tests, and each case is considered individually.

13 Comments

  1. yeah, so here is an angle on that… if the committee wait over a month to schedule, then the scout loses out on their bronze leaf because of a simple scheduling error, do they lose the opportunity to earn the leaf?

    • Since the bronze palm requires 3 months service as an Eagle Scout, the Scout would need to have completed his Eagle Board at least 3 months before his 18th birthday. I’ve observed that many, if not most, Scouts who get palms have the schedule very well worked out and know when they need their Board of Review. I’ve also noted that it’s fairly common to have the Scout be presented his bronze palm at his Eagle Court of Honor if that occurs more than 3 months after his Board of Review.

  2. Why didn’t the Scout asked for the Board of Review earlier? It’s not always possible to call a Board the same day the youth asks for it, remember the people who are doing the Board are volunteers and they have jobs and families. If the youth joined when he was 12 he had six years, so one month shouldn’t be the Boards fault.

    • I’m an ex-ASM and expect to be called as needed.

      I would advise, however, if you were the particular candidate’s SM/ASM in the past year or so, to sit out that EBoR.

  3. A similar topic but not exactly. I’ll post here anyway. I have a Scout that completed his 1st class rank requirements (other than Scoutmaster Conference and Board of Review) on Dec 31st under the old program. Last month, he finally showed up to a Scoutmaster’s Conference. Last night, he asked for a Board of Review. In my opinion, he is well beyond the Dec 31st date and should be required to complete all of the new 1st Class requirements just like all other scouts that didn’t complete their rank by the deadline. Thoughts?

  4. My first application for Eagle was in about 1975, but I was turned down because they had recently changed the requirements and now there were new badges and belt buckles that I needed to complete. I transferred to a new troop during this time because our old troop was now disbanded because the scoutmaster had died. I completed the new badges and belt buckles and applied again, but it turns out that my scoutmaster had never turned in the paperwork for a few of my badges. I finished all the requirements for Eagle before 18, but the scoutmaster at my new troop left, and I took over the troop as the senior scout and kept it going while I was in high school until I left for college. I never had a board of review for myself, but was able to help others continue in their advancement during that time. About 4 years later, the new scoutmaster found my old records and asked why I did not get my Eagle. I told him about what happened to our troop, and then he told me that he wanted to call a board of review and have me reviewed by a county judge and get his signature to send off to the Red River Council along with the application. They turned me down because 6 of my badges were never recorded in their office (although my scoutmaster had awarded them to me). The paperwork for my badges had been thrown away by my ex-scoutmaster’s widow. I went on to become a cub and boy scout leader for my kids, but it has always remained a sore spot to not have achieved this goal because of a lack of leadership. Please volunteer your time because it does make a difference!

  5. What would you consider “active” in the troop for 6 months? We were told before that as long as a scout was not behind in dues or other money in the troop, he was considered active. We have a scout up for an eagle board that hasn’t been to a meeting in a year, and I’m having a hard time trying to convince myself he should get the rank of Eagle.

    • I would have a hard time considering that Scout active also. I realize that they get busy and life gets in the way but missing a whole year is extreme. My son is an Eagle, is currently the SPL of his troop, a 3 season athlete and involved In music and holds a job but still had/has time to be an active member of his troop. I think it matters.

    • We have had this roe before with parents. Scouts who go MIA for months to years and pop up just before their 18th to finish out an Eagle. Some work hard and show to meetings, outings, and do whatever we ask of them. Others are in and out for meetings, no outings, and grumble about anything asked of them.

      We currently are in a war with a parent who claimed her child was in marching band and therefore couldn’t make 7pm meetings, MB practice according to school was 2:30 to 5 at the latest. It also ended in January. Since September the scout has made 5 meetings, 1 of 6 eagle project workdays, no OA events, no outings (2 the previous year), no summer camp for 3 years, has not worked in a leader or mentor role. Do you think we’re wrong to say “No, We cannot in good judgement sign this” He has moved ahead with his Eagle workbook, completed a Eagle project solo, and is now lobbying the council to skip signatures from the SM and Advancement Chair since we’re being unfair.

  6. I have heard, third of forth hand, that a couple of scouts who were drafted during the 40’s, but had competed all the Eagle reqs were being honored with a long deferred advancement.

  7. I do know that in WW2, there were a number of young men who had completed all of the requirements except their Board of Review, when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941, and who signed up for military service before their Boards could be held. I think that in most – if not all – instances, they were allowed to receive their Eagle awards after returning from military service.

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