The Eagle
July 2020

What does it mean to be an Eagle Scout? How does one become an Eagle Scout? Why does it require a project? These are common questions to someone who hasn’t achieved the rank of Eagle. We celebrate when a Scout is decorated with the Eagle Scout rank. We give gifts and have a party. But what happens before the party? How much does a Scout really have to accomplish in order to earn the rank that only 4% of Scouts have the honor of claiming?

Napoleon Scout's Eagle Project, a Sign for Community

The journey from Life Scout, the rank achieved prior to Eagle Scout. The path to earning the Eagle Scout rank is one of the most difficult steps along a Scouters path. To obtain the Eagle Scout rank you must complete a total of 21 merit badges, 13 being required and the remaining being the Scouters choice, Scouts must also serve in a position of leadership in their unit, and carry out the all-important Eagle service project.

A Life Scout from Napoleon, Ohio is not quite finished with his Eagle journey, but he recently spent more than a year planning and completing his Eagle service project.  Alex Birkhold of Troop 46 led a year-long project to fabricate a colorful, solid cedar welcoming sign for the city of Napoleon. The sign is carved completely in wood, stands 8 feet 3 inches tall and contains no support beams.

Alex spent hours working with local government agencies through the design and approval process. He led teams of volunteers, business and city workers to make ensure concrete was properly poured in October 2019, then led another team of volunteers in early August 2020 to finalize the welcome sign. Alex coordinated with local police and sheriff’s departments to shut down roads so the sign could travel through town. The sign sits on US 24 Eastbound at the Glenwood Electric Substation.

For a high-school age youth, these are large steps. Calling and meeting with city utilities, concrete pourers, asking for donations of supplies, coordinating groups of volunteers, and making sure everything is accomplished on time; these are the steps of large-scale project management. The phases of an Eagle service project require the Scout to be brave, courteous, kind, cheerful, trustworthy, friendly, thrifty and clean, which is just about the entire Scout Law. 

Local Scoutmasters are always excited about what these projects mean for our area communities. Many Scoutmasters remain in Scouting long after their own children become adults because they are doing their part to continue building the next generation of leaders, like Alex.  

If you know a young person interested in joining Scouting or an adult interested in volunteering, please go to to find a group near you!

If you know of a current local Eagle Scout who can be recognized for their efforts, please contact Jim Mason at