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Friday, April 8, 2011

The Eagle Scout Badge on your son's resume

There are not many qualifications a child can earn before the age of 18 that will help them get a job.  The Eagle Scout is one of the best.  I was a scout as a kid and made it up to Life Scout (right before Eagle) and then dropped the ball when I was 17, going past the age limit before fulfilling the service project requirement. Somehow it never seemed right to put a badge on my resume indicating that I "almost" got there.

Getting that eagle scout badge makes a difference.  If you search the Internet for "Eagle scout, value, job interview", there are countless stories of people who claim that they were chosen from among several candidates for a job just because they had "Eagle Scout" on their resume.  You would also find comments from recruiters who unanimously list it as a plus.  And these are from mid-career job seekers!  If it is valuable to a recruiter/employer at age 35 then imagine how it must look when there is not much else on your son's resume at 22 just out of college.

The skills and qualities associated with the Eagle Scout play a large part in why there is such high perceived value.  It takes time, persistence, discipline, and even some physical effort to complete all the requirements. Along the way your son will be learning about community service, leadership and confidence.

To join the Boy Scouts your son needs to be at least 10 years old.  That gives him 8 years to achieve Eagle and overcome all the other distractions in those turbulent years from 10 to 18.

To reach Eagle, a boy will need to work his way up through the various ranks, Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and then Life.  There are additional time requirements as well, at least 6 months as a life scout, 6 months as a Star scout and 4 months as First Class before moving up.  Each badge has specific requirements  that must be accomplished before achieving the rank. Once your son has the Life badge he still needs to complete the following:
  1. Be active in his troop for a period of at least 6 months after he has achieved the rank of Life Scout.
  2. Collect references for his character
  3. Earn 21 merit badges including First Aid, Citizenship, Communications, Personal Fitness, Family Life, etc.
  4. While a Life Scout, serve in a leadership position in the troop.
  5. Plan, develop and lead a service project for the benefit of his community.
  6. Take part in a Scoutmaster conference.
  7. Successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
If your son is already a scout, do your best to encourage him to stay in until he gets his Eagle badge.  If he is not a scout, here are a few reasons why scouting is fun (from a 10 year old perspective).
  1. The boy scout knife
  2. Lighting fires
  3. Hanging out with friends
  4. Camping
  5. Hatchets and axes
  6. Dad will be a scout leader and go with you (might work on the 10 year old, not likely for the 15 year old though...)
Last night I asked my son whether he would like to be a boy scout or not. His immediate and determined response was a resounding "NO".  I am still working on how to convince him to give it a try, maybe the hatchet?

*Note about our daughters and the Girl Scouts.  In the Girl Scouts, there is a comparable award called the Gold Award.  To be honest, I had not heard about it until now but after doing some research it seems to have the same prestige as the Eagle Scout and requires similar levels of discipline and maturity to achieve.

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