When to begin
You may begin working toward your Eagle service project anytime after you earn Life, regardless of the number of merit badges that you have earned. Your project idea must be approved by your unit leader, unit committee, and council or district advancement committee before you actually begin working on the project.
Follow the instructions in the Life to Eagle packet carefully. All the necessary steps are outlined in the packet and most of the material can be used in the writing of the final report. Make several copies of the packet before writing anything. Make all your entries in the copies and when you are satisfied with your work, then fill out the original forms.
What are the steps to follow
1. You must plan, organize, and direct a project of significant value. This is your opportunity to demonstrate leadership qualities. You are expected to be in charge of this project and the project should be a reflection of you, your goals and your abilities.
2. The project may benefit community, school, church, civic group, or similar, but may not benefit a Scouting group. Contact and seek suggestions from local groups, such as the Mayor's office, First Aid Squad, Church, Fire Department, Schools and Nurseries, Parks and Environmental groups, etc. Arrange to have a contact person from the sponsor to monitor the progress of the project. Also, locate a technically knowledgeable person to guide and instruct you as you work on your project. Usually, it takes several months to locate a project. Many boys spend three or four months (or more) trying to find the right project.
3. After locating a project and discussing your ideas with your Scout leaders, prepare a project approval report. You must specify the project objectives, how you plan to accomplish the project, what resources you have or will need. This should fully disclose how you intend to carry out the project and should be supported with lists of tools, expenses, hours required. Provide a milestone chart that shows each of the steps to be completed, when the steps will be accomplished, how many volunteer hours each step will require.
Planning usually requires several months to complete. The project can be explained in about two pages, plus supporting tables, lists, diagrams. Generally, experience shows that planning takes about 25 hours and then actually doing the project may take about 100 hours (or more).
4. Obtain approval from the sponsoring organization, your unit leader, the unit committee and the District Advancement Committee. This usually requires about two or more weeks. You may be asked to revise or change parts of the plan and to resubmit for approval, which could add several more weeks.
5. Finally you and your friends and other volunteers can actually do the project. This is usually the fun part. You and your family do not actually do the project, though you may work on the project -- this is your opportunity to demonstrate leadership by motivating other people and by directing the project. Usually, this takes from a few days to several weeks.
6. After completing the project, summarize the project with a final report. Discuss how the project was accomplished, any problems that you encountered, any changes or deviations from your project approval form. Discuss budget, funding, volunteer hours involved, tools and equipment. The report should indicate how the sponsor, the people involved, and you benefit from the project. Completing the report can take from a few weeks to many, many, many months. A good report is usually three to five pages, plus supporting tables, lists, pictures, etc.
"Guidelines for Earning the Eagle Rank" by Joe Sinniger (used with permission)