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Ask the Chairman - Nomination Process

January 23, 2018     Ask the Chairman

Q: Mike,

Since the OA is a national honor society, why aren't all Eagle Scouts OA members? Although I understand the idea of a totally boy-chosen honor, do you think the OA would ever change its policies in order to induct Scouts who may be left out but still worthy of the Order? I am not saying that the boys inducted aren't worthy, because they are; it is just that, in my opinion, all Eagle Scouts should be worthy of induction, and if there were Eagle Scouts who are not inducted, that they should be. What are your thoughts on this?

Yours In Scouting,



A: Jack,

Thank you for your question. I have taken some time to think about this one a bit, and though there could be many different perspectives, allow me to try and articulate mine.  

The Eagle Scout Award is the pinnacle of a young man’s Scouting experience. It represents the culmination of the youth having set a lofty goal for himself and the diligence and hard work that it takes for him to get there. Once achieved, it opens many doors for him, both personally and professionally. One of those doors is the right and opportunity to join the National Eagle Scout Association which comes with additional accolades.

As members of Scouting’s National Honor Society, we have been selected for membership in the Order because our fellow Scouts saw our sincerity and acceptance of the high ideals of the Scout Oath and Law.  As such, we must fulfill the trust and confidence bestowed upon us by our fellow Scouts with this mighty purpose. The essence of the Order’s existence is that we must be those individuals—Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Scouters—who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in our daily lives, and by such conduct cause others to emulate our actions. So candidacy for membership in our Order is determined by our peers once we have met the camping and other requirements for eligibility.  

When our election teams visit a troop or team meeting, they ask these questions:

  • Who in this group is a friend to all and a brother to every other Scout?

  • Who is pleasant and easy to get along with?

  • Is he kind and helpful?

  • In all, if you were a Tenderfoot Scout, would you like to hike and camp with him?

  • Who is cheerful, even when he has many tiresome jobs to do?

  • Who smiles whenever he can?

  • Who obeys promptly and cheerfully?

  • Does he control his temper?

  • If you were at camp with him for several weeks, do you think you would enjoy it?

  • Who is always ready to give unselfish and wholehearted service to others?

  • Who, in serving others, can forget his own desires and interests?

  • Who has served your unit all year round, faithfully attending your meetings and helping with your service projects?

  • Do you think he will continue his service in the future?

  • If you were his patrol leader, could you depend on him?

  • In all, ask yourselves: Who in this group, by living up to the Scout Oath, serves your fellow Scouts with such an example of brotherhood and cheerfulness that you look up to him with deep respect and admiration?

The Order and its leadership for the past 101 years has been very thoughtful about who we elect into membership and how. Each time we have thought about changes in how we bring in new members we always return to the core questions we try to ask every Scout who selects other Scouts for entry to our organization. I think you can see that, while an Eagle Scout may meet some of these characteristics we are seeking, he doesn’t have to meet them in order to be an Eagle Scout. He can also be an Eagle Scout without meeting our two-year camping requirements.

I hope this helps! Thanks for doing what you do!