2012’s Eagle Scout class was biggest yet

2012's Eagles are the only ones who can wear this 100th Anniversary patch.

2012’s Eagles are the only ones who can wear this 100th Anniversary patch.

For Eagle Scouts and their fans, 2012 was the gift that keeps on giving.

We spent all year celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Arthur Rose Eldred becoming the first Eagle Scout. We got scientific evidence of what I’m calling “the Eagle Scout effect.”

And now, just this morning, comes news that more boys earned Eagle in 2012 than in any year in the award’s history.

A whopping 57,976 new Eagle Scouts joined the ranks last year, surpassing the previous high mark of 56,176 in 2010.

The 2012 total represents a 12.6 percent increase over the size of 2011’s class (51,473).

To me, a record-setting Eagle class is proof that Scouting remains alive and well as we settle into the movement’s second century. And it represents the nationwide impact of nearly 58,000 young men who know what honor, loyalty, and hard work really mean. Not to mention nearly 58,000 Eagle service projects that improved countless communities. The way I see it, the world could use a few more Eagle Scouts.

So here’s to 2012’s Eagle Scouts — and to 2013’s, 2014’s, and so on. Let’s keep that number growing.

65 thoughts on “2012’s Eagle Scout class was biggest yet

  1. I do not like our participation trophy society but…did anyone consider that the highest two years, 2010 and 2012 were Centennial years with special patches and special recognition? We had several scouts who pushed to complete this year for that purpose. The fact that there was a 12% increase in one year probably had a lot to do with the anniversary, which I’m sure is what National intended.Have some worked harder than others? Absolutely, but every Eagle that has come through our troop has definitely met the requirements and has done his best…that is the goal.

  2. as I said in an earlier post, those that feel so strongly that there are issues in our program need to take action and be apart of the program, otherwise they are just another problem to be faced. I know that my unit has years where we might not have any, and then we have years that we have six eagles, there are a multitude of factors that one must take into account before making such critical accusations against kids that even if they haven’t don’t everything that you expect them to have done, have probably still outperformed their peers. Somebody also mentioned meritbadges being given away, if anything additional requirements have made it more difficult, many badges that used to be earned at camp our now incompletes and I have seen this through seven years as a summer camp staff. What is the problem with holding meritbadge clinics if you ensure that you have quality instructors? classes like that are where i earned badges like medicine and aviation. if you truly feel like badges are just being given away, then it is of no fault of the scouting movement but rather those direct contact adults that are not doing their part, and are therefore robbing these scouts.,

    • and yes, I can speak from both parts of this as I earned my eagle in 2008, and I will be the first to admit that I did not feel that my project was as well as it could have been, I still put alot of effort and dedication into becoming an eagle. I only had roughly 25 meritbadges, and i finished my project just weeks before aging out (while home on the weekends from working at camp), but still lead an effective project with the only influence from my leaders being them simply asking what i needed of them, and asking me if I was planning on making sure I finished. since I aged out in 2008 I have been and ASM and served in many other roles as well.

      most of these issues that people are bringing up, i would say are speculation at best, but even it you have seen it happen with your own eyes does not make it the norm.

      I say again, if you have a problem, be proactive and find a solution.

  3. My son earned his Eagle Dec. 18, 2012. The last 2012 Eagle BOR in our Council! Good thing he has 3 months to spare, but he is going to miss a Bronze Palm by 13 days. Anyway, I’m proud of him–can’t wait for his COH now. And son #2 should be earning his Eagle this summer.

  4. Reblogged this on An Hour a Week…. left over after Scouting and commented:
    It was a banner year for the Eagle Scout last year. Bryan on Scouting posted the official (as of today) numbers of 57,976 new Eagle Scouts last year. Congratulations to all of the new Eagles! (Especially to my oldest son and the other 2 scouts in our troop that earned Eagle last year!) I can’t wait to see what 2013 brings, there were a bunch of scouts in our troop that were geared up in 2012, but didn’t quite finish. Should be a great crop of new Eagles this year as well!

  5. My son earned his this summer by building an awesome pavilion in a little park. Does anyone know where to get this special patch? Local shop doesn’t have it.

  6. Are you saying that your son has had his Eagle ceremony in the middle of the year and the presentation case didn’t include an Eagle patch with the 2012 on it? That seems pretty strange. It’s not a surprise that your local council doesn’t have those Eagle patches as they have to be specially ordered and it’s now 2013.

  7. Let me add that I am somewhat troubled by the push that we are giving these young boys to complete merit badges. My son attended summer camp where he earned four, a space camp where he earned five, another mini-camp where he earned robotics and three which he earned together with his troop at meetings over the last year. With the addition of two that he completed on his own initiative, that brings the total to 15 merit badges! I think that I had four my first year… The point being that we have accelerated the whole process! This year, if we so choose, we can send him to a very good merit badge camp where he could earn three more, a special program at the Eisenhower Presidential Library where they have an incredible Cit. in the Nation program, summer camp where there is opportunity for another four merit badges, two more with the Troop running the possible total to 25 and that isn’t even pushing it!! With the exception of the merit badge camp, all are pretty much expected for the boys. Of course, the required Eagle merit badges are the ones that take time. Hiking can’t be done at a two day merit badge camp! Camping, cooking, wilderness survival, orienteering, canoeing… the list goes on and on, these skills and the merit badges they represent are the “traditional” scouting ones. Learning these skills properly takes time and effort. I suppose that the real trick will be balancing the “wonder of discovery” with the need for instant gratification.

    • its kind of tough to argue this, because it is important to make oppertunities available, and I personally would say that is the sign of a good program, but it is up to the scouts to do the work still. i only had about 25 all together when i got my eagle, and I made sure when i was at summercamp that i had plenty of time for stuff other than meritbadges. at the same time, i am an outdoor skills director for summercamp now (camping, pioneering etc) and personally feel like i do a good job with the week that I have to teach classes, and the point of many of the non eagle required badges is exposure to see if the scout has an interest that they may learn about after taking the badge, so again, more badges may not be a bad thing. your son sounds different, but most kids even given the oppertunity do not tend to earn that many badges in a year, every year.

    • The same thing has happened with just about everything kids participate in. I think we can all remember when we used to play baseball or football at the local park for fun. Now, there are all kinds of sport teams and clubs, and less in the way of pickup games. Everything is so much more organized these days, with programs for everything.

      In my opinion, earning a merit requires not only knowledge to complete the requirements, but the initiative to do the work. Clinics have the potential to take away some of the initiaitive-building, but can offer unique opportunities. What is a scout going to get more out of, earning Cit. in the Nation on his own, or having the opportunity to do it at a presidential library as part of your area’s program? My son just earned Dog Care merit badge at the local humane society through a clinic. He still had to be self-directed enough to do several requirements on his own, but the chance to go behind the scenes at the humane society was a valuable experience.

  8. The bar has been lowered. We forget that becoming an Eagle scout is not just about getting merit badges. I is a journey from scout to eagle where kids learn from participating not showing up some of the time. It isn’t let me see how fast i can get the required amount of badges. It is a shame how many of our Eagle scouts don’t even know how to do their knots because they never tought anyone how to do them. We as leaders are suppose to teach our kids to become leaders. This doesn’t mean pass them from rank to rank just because they tried. Not everyone gets it right the first time they try. They need to show leadership. We forget that they boys don’t need to be in a leadership role to show that they are a leader. It is the young men that take the initiative to help the new scouts and teach them what they have learened who are the real leaders. Not the young men that have the rank and delegate everything and hide in thier tents while the troop is participating in the weekend I have been a leader with my son throughout his scouting career and in another local troop with my nephews also. I have seen leadership give rank away just because they have finished their badges. When our kids or young men are ready to do their Eagle project we as an organization are not making our kids show leadership with their projects. My son was told that his project was to big and he couldn’t do it. I told leadership to knock it off he has resources that most kids don’t and he needs to learn how to use the resources he has. He did his project which required him to raise 10K and other supplied and he did his project successfully. He was very proud of what he had accomplished and even after he successfully finished we were still told that he shouldn’t have been allowed to do a project of that size. Over the last 10 years I have become disenchanted with the ease of being able to achieve the rank of Eagle. Scouting is still a great organization but I can’t continue to watch the rank of Eagle be diminished by our trophy society. So I am hanging up my hat good luck to all the boys

  9. I wasn’t intimating that the bar was being lowered. Rather, I believe that, with the addition of these merit badge camps, parents that want to see their boys as Eagles are pushing them much more intently than we ever were. One of the most difficult things for our parents to learn in our troop is that they need to “step back and let the boys do it!” We sometimes forget that you can learn a LOT more from failure than from a hundred successes! Why is my boy way ahead of where I was at his age? One of the reasons is our council’s Trail To Eagle program which they get at summer camp. It gives them a tremendous springboard towards the first three ranks. When I questioned some of the scouters about the program, I was informed that the goal was to “get scouts to Eagle by fifteen” because that seemed to be the tipping point where we lose a lot of them to high school sports, activities, work, girls, etc… If I had to compare this new “Trail to Eagle” approach to the way WE went through scouting, it might be closer to comparing a microwave to a slow roaster, they both will cook the dinner but there IS a difference! I will not denigrate the accomplishments of the Eagles of today. As I stated above, the Eagle isn’t the number of merit badges a scout has but is the culmination of all of Scouting’s experiences and virtues exemplified in the young man proudly standing before us.

  10. I have seen the Eagles of 2012 getting into their service to their troops and their districts and their councils. They are there to help out, to teach and to learn more skills themselves. They are helping out with Popcorn events, and Camporees.
    The first merit badge seems to be one that they look like deer in headlights after just receiving it, but I have seen them immediately turn around and help another scout with all the information they need for that requirement someone asked about! Talk about EDGE!!
    I think from a Commissioner’s point of view- it is how we perceive these new leaders- are they still boys or junior leaders?? Those who are given opportunities to help at Cub Camp and even Scout Camp or a Merit Badge Clinic as a mentor for the younger ones- really have grown before my eyes. They are NOT just Eagles, but future Varsity Team And Venturer Crew Members who LOVE Scouting! Many become Scoutmasters and want to continue into District and Council and even National Positions!!
    Why should WE as Adults limit our Youth from succeeding??

  11. My son completed his board of review on 19 Dec 2012 thus an Eagle Scout…We has a busy Dec and Jan. He got you Eagle Scout Award on 02 Feb 2013. I am also an Eagle Scout. At a his Eagle Court of Honor, I wore my Eagle Medal which is 33years old. We used my medal to award him his Eagle Scout. His mother removed it from my shirt pocket and pinned it on my son’s shirts pocket….I thought it was cool father to son….I guess not very many of us out there…..Again Congrates to Matthew. He was the first Eagle Scout of the Troop also…

  12. There are probably many reasons that the number of Eagles has gone up while the total number of Scouts has dropped. I taught ROTC at a college for 4 years in the 1990s and saw hundreds of scholarship applications. Later, I served on the national committee for an organization that awarded scholarships. I was in Scouts, but never made it beyond Second Class. I have been a Scouter only for 5 years now, but have served as a Den Leader, Troop Committee Member, Round Table Cubmaster, and on the Council International Committee so have been very active. These are my thoughts for the possible increase:
    1. Scouters are better trained now then every before. With the Internet, interested Scouters can take a multitude of training courses that they could not have taken before. I do not ever remember having a Scoutmaster conference when I was a Scout and the only one that made Eagle in a decade in that troop was the Scoutmaster’s son. In fact when the son made Eagle, the Scoutmaster quite & no one else stepped forward so the troop folded for several years. Now Scouters know what must be done to get Scouts through the ranks, even those that lived out in smalltown America where I was one. Additionally, there were only 2 of about 12 Dads that were active in my troop as a Scout. Studies show that Scouts whose parents are active in Scouts have a higher propensity to earn Eagle. With many Troops having 1/3 to 2/3 of the parents involved, it is reasonable expect that most of their sons will have a good chance to make Eagle.
    2. Parents are more involved with their children’s lives. Whether we call this being “helicopter parents” and think it is bad, it is a fact of life. When I was a kid, my parents never asked me about my school day, asked me if I had my homework done, or what I did in Scouts and whether I needed to complete some requirement. Now, the parents know what the requirements are, ask their Scouts questions about their day and meetings, and sometimes even prod their Scouts into completing the requirements. Parents know that having Eagle Scout on their Scout’s college application will help so they do want their sons to earn it.
    3. There are more opportunities to earn merit badges than ever before, but that does not mean that the requirements for the badges are watered down. Whether that is done at a Merit Badge Forum or in some other method. A few months ago, I organized the first ever American Heritage Merit Badge Forum at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City MO. There were homework requirements to complete before their arrival. 18 Scouts showed up, but only 16 met the standard because 2 had not completed their homework as they should have done so. As a Merit Badge Counselor, it is up to me to make sure that the standards are met. These kinds of Merit Badge opportunities were not available a generation ago.
    4. When I was a Scout, no one could earn a Merit Badge until they became a First Class Scout. Now, they can start on their first day in a troop. That makes it easier to get the badges when starting out 1-3 years ahead of where one could back in the 1970s. Another requirement when I was a Scout was that we HAD to learn semaphore or Morse Code for an Eagle MB. Tough for a middle-school kid, but that requirement is now no longer required.
    5. Lastly, Scouts know that being an Eagle will give them a boost in life. Something I never thought about when I was a Scout. Whether that is because their parents remind them about it regularly or they learn it on their own, it is part of them. Additionally, the Scouts are competitive with each other. If other Scouts are getting Eagle in their troop it only drives others to do the same. Kids that want Eagle or going to be more driven & I see kids nowdays wanting Eagle much more than when I was a Scout.

    As long as the Scouts are meeting the standards for advancement and Eagle, nothing more or nothing less, than there should be no issue with an increase in the numbers if the standard is not compromised.

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