Review: Online Eagle Scout Shadow Box and

This post is not a news release or story, it is my personal opinion…

I have for the past few months, after seeing a promotion for it on the National Eagle Scout Association website, been excited for the release of I was a little turned off by the online shadow box format it appeared to be taking, but was excited that it appeared NESA and the BSA had established a social media type website to allow Eagle Scouts to connect. Just think of the possibilities! Unfortunately after seeing the I have once again been disappointed by NESA and the BSA’s attempt at social media.

Being advertised as an online Eagle Scout shadow box, the premiere online showcase for Eagle Scouts and their families, here is the description I received:

As part of the 100th anniversary of Scouting celebration, The National Eagle Scout Association is introducing an interactive website that will allow you to celebrate your Scouting stories and awards and preserve them for family and friends to enjoy. In essence, produces an “interactive shadowbox” for the display and preservation of your Scouting experience. Your participation will help spread the spirit of Scouting to new Scouts while also helping us carry out our mission of service.

Your showcase can be personalized to reflect your personality and interests. Various themes are available and you can choose from over 300 interactive Scouting awards, badges, and insignia to add to your showcase. Not only can background stories be associated with each award, but you can:

Preserve memories
Celebrate Scouting highlights
Customize showcase skin & Design
Upload photos
Print Awards
Invite friends to view awards, badges, stories and more!

Sounds great doesn’t it? Why wouldn’t you want to sign up and share your story and “spread the spirit of Scouting?” For most the answer will be $14.95 (NESA members) or $19.95 (non-members). The signup page forgets to mention it, but according to the FAQ that is only for a year’s subscription to the service.

Why isn’t this service being offered for free? Why isn’t NESA spreading the stories of Scouting for free? Why isn’t NESA allowing Eagle Scouts to reconnect and network for free? Does anyone at the National organization understand that if we share the story of Scouting, it’s easier to recruit new members and its easier for Scouts to fundraise? If we keep Scouting Alumni engaged they are more likely to donate and stay involved in the program?

Just look at the comment left on the Subaru Forester Pinewood Derby Commercial post by ScoutAbout:

Around the campfire at our recent pack family campout we asked new families why they had joined cub scouts. SEVERAL of them said they saw the car commercial with the wooden car race and it sparked good memories and better values. They knew the actors were not real Scouts, they knew the scouts did not drive Subarus, and they were reminded that there was a program out there that emphasized good old fashioned values and fun. Kudos to Subaru for helping my recruiting effort.

I’ve heard similar stories after Councils have held community Pinewood Derbies, or an Eagle Scout project received major media attention. We need to encourage people to tell the story of Scouting as much as possible, and a $14.95/year fee for people who have already paid for a NESA membership just won’t cut it.

That is my two cents, take it or leave it. If you wish to view the stories of fellow Eagle Scouts and to create your own interactive showcase, go to Check it out, you may disagree with me.

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As someone that has been involved in creation of the website from the start, I’d like to offer my two cents about the site.

First and foremost, the website is designed to preserve the stories of Scouts everywhere and to display it freely in a rich, engaging context. Anyone can read the stories, view the photos, and click the awards of members for free. This is a great way to promote Scouting and to fire the imagination of young boys who hope to be Boy Scouts one day.

For example one story on myNESA describes a military officer who helped establish the Victory Base Council in Bagdad while on active duty in Iraq. also displays profiles on police officers and other public servants from around the country. One subscriber even expressed a desire to create his shadowbox so that his Cub Scout grandson can know more about his personal Scouting accomplishments. Without a searchable, rich destination like myNESA, stories like this might otherwise be lost or collecting dust in the attic.

Yes, there is a small fee for Scouts who want to include their personal story and awards for all to enjoy. But to in order to maintain the focus on the Scout shadowboxes and the stories of their owners, it was decided not to display advertising on the website. Almost half of all proceeds go back into NESA programs which help fund much needed scholarship programs for high school seniors. The cost is a little over a dollar a month which helps pay for the storage and hosting of the individual’s content and photos. Most fund raising programs raise money to help organizations continue their mission of service. You wouldn’t expect to sell popcorn at no cost would you?

The only true way to measure the value of this product and its features is to become involved with it and experience it for yourself.

By John Cariker on November 18th, 2009 at 11:30 am

to John Cariker,
Why does a website promoting the highest of Scouting’s awards, The Eagle have to be MONEY EARNING?! It is not a small fee, it is outrageous. As an Eagle Scout I help our Council in every fund raising effort. To ask our Eagle Scouts to PAY UP is obscene. As a Life Member of NESA I would greatly appreciate if the charges be eliminated now. We are not “selling popcorn” on this site.

By Russell Williams on December 27th, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I have been a scout for over 35 years cub scout,boy scout,camp staff and vice chief of my lodge.As a Eagle scout,vigil member of the OA and a scoutmaster and parent of a Eagle scout it sickens me to continually get asked for more and more money by the scouts and nesa.I continue to support my troop,district and council. I have many scouting stories that will not be shared in this forum because enough is enough. The boy scouts of america and nesa should be ashamed of themselves for the never ending begging for more funds.It used to be about the boys what happened?

By Eric Johnson on February 20th, 2010 at 7:31 pm

It is a shame that something like this should cost money.We as Scouts give daily of ourselves and have spent money to enjoy the experiences we have had.If one wants to share their experience with others then we shouldn’t have to pay to share our experiences with others. NESA and BSA should be ashamed of themselves. Until thsi service is free or a one time nominal fee is charged I will not share my experience here.

By Richard White on April 13th, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Hey, what happened to the Shadow Boxes? I paid my money, was disappointed that there were so few images and so little space to display them. Now I lost the link to mine.
Note that the NESA website doesn’t seem to have been updated for 2 years.
Old copies of Eagleletter…
When I sought authorization to BUY my 50-year veterans pin, I got a surprise.
A nifty gold metallic card with Mazzuca’s signature engraved.

By George Fosselius on May 31st, 2010 at 11:21 am


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DISCLAMER: It is not officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of the USA or the World Organization of Scout Movements.