What is Trail to Eagle, you ask?

The Trail to Eagle (TTE) program is a Nationally accredited specialty resident camp; a specifically designed program for older Scouts to give them the opportunity to work on the merit badges they need to finish the Eagle Scout rank requirements. We are an MCC-specific, one-week unique provisional camp with a highly structured program hosted at D-bar-A Scout Ranch. Scouts must be at least First Class rank by fall of the camp year and at least 13 years old or older.  Trail to Eagle Camp Founder Ed Basar and his volunteer staff have been proud to sponsor this event for 29 years, and the staff continues to set the bar high every year.

When it all Began?

In July of 1994, the first Trail to Eagle (TTE) program took place at D-Bar-A Scout Ranch. Camp Director Ed Basar and others brought together the first Trail to Eagle Staff made up of about 25 Scouters which included the Ranch support staff. The first year of Trail to Eagle had 99 Candidates and four troop colors. The staff came together and believed to bring to life the program vision that was seen by Ed Basar. Today our staff continues to Believe and is made up of about 100 volunteer adult Scouters and eight troop colors. Our staff are all over 18 years of age and all have some type of experience in the merit badges they teach.

Over 3,100 Eagle candidates from 12 states, 31 councils, as well as from the Far East and Trans-Atlantic Councils, have attended this unique, one of a kind program. One of the largest attended camps had 191 candidates participate from six states, eleven different councils, including a candidate from Shanghai, China. Scouts from nearly every corner of the Michigan Crossroads Council have participated in this event.

Over 64% of our candidates have attained the rank of Eagle Scout and even more are still working on achieving this lofty goal. We have had 60 staff members who have been with the program for ten years or more. There is a ratio of one staff member for every two youth.

What is the Program?

During their week at Trail to Eagle, candidates earn, on average, over six merit badges each. The candidates have earned, on average, over 1,000 merit badges each year with an average of over six merit badges per Scout. However, TTE is not a merit badge mill, but rather a highly structured week that allows ample time to work on merit badges. A Scout must earn the merit badge by coming to camp prepared with all their pre-requisites required for each merit badge they take; they are not just given a badge. Partials are possible.

TTE camp typically will offer over 70 merit badges, including Eagle required badges. In addition, TTE will be offering many “see counselor” merit badges from our diversely experienced adult staff.

All participants are called “Eagle Candidates” will be divided into provisional units, and will be based out of the cabins at D-bar-A Scout Ranch. Overseeing the Scouts will be at least three Scoutmasters and a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (JASM), many of whom are Eagle Scouts, and in most cases have gone through the TTE program. All meals will be served by the highly qualified D-bar-A food service staff in the Dining Hall (Wyckoff Lodge).

While the emphasis is on earning merit badges, there will be many other high adventure activities which all add to the fun. These include: flag ceremonies, a waterball competition, “Basarball” (volleyball), Boy Scout Jeopardy, chess tournament, a camp wide Vesper service, mile swim, and the ever-popular Order of the Arrow ice cream social.

Also, throughout the week, the Eagle Candidates are competing for the highly coveted Troop Spirit Award. Troops demonstrate their spirit with cheers and songs performed at assemblies before and during all meals.

One of the MOST sought-after distinctions is the George Thomas Award. This award is presented to Eagle Candidates who exhibit the same spirit and enthusiasm that this outstanding Scouter it is named after showed for the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

Upon completion of the Trail to Eagle Camp, there is a special honors ceremony for the Eagle Candidates. The special event is open to and highly encouraged for all parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends to attend.

The Trail to Eagle program has been featured in various news publications, including Scouting Mag and The County Press.

Trail to Eagle Dates 2024:

Sunday, June 30 – Saturday, July 6

Trail to Eagle Requirements:

  • Registered BSA Youth Member
  • 13 years old (by Fall of 2024) or older and at least First Class Rank and up

Trail to Eagle 2024

Trail to Eagle is a nationally accredited specialty Scout camp. This will be our 30th anniversary of Scouting service.

It is specifically designed for the older Scouts First Class and above and 13 years old by the fall of 2024. TTE provides them a highly-structured program to give them the opportunity to work on merit badges that they need to finish for the Eagle Scout Rank. Over 64% of our candidates have attained Eagle.

TTE is a week-long provisional Camp, which means you can come as an individual Scout without your home Troop. Cabins are used for sleeping. All meals are served at the Wyckoff dining hall.

Candidates are assigned to 8 designated Troop colors. Each Troop has 3-4 Scoutmasters per cabin. We have over 100 volunteer staff members, with average of 15 years of experience each. All Eagle Merit Badges are offered, along with approximately 68 non-Eagle Merit Badges. Our counselors are over 18 years of age, they work in the field they teach or have an interest in that merit badge.

We offer classes in: Aviation, Fish & Wildlife, Radio, Robotics, Fly Fishing, Cooking, Golf, Mining in Society, Geocaching, Movie Making, Photography, Metalwork, Welding, Signs, Signals, & Codes, Digital Technology, Engineering, Wood Carving, Journalism, Horsemanship, Farm Mechanics, Search and Rescue, Railroading, Animal Science, and so many more.

Our Trail to Eagle staff schedules the Candidates for up to seven hours of class time per day. All Candidates must take a minimum of six hours of classes per day. On the average, a prepared Trail to Eagle candidate can earn six to ten merit badges. However, Trail to Eagle is NOT a merit badge mill, it’s a highly structured environment that allows ample time to work on merit badges. A Scout must earn their merit badges; they are not just given them; partials are possible. Being Prepared is the key — by reading the book, doing the pre-requisites and bringing show and other items required of them to camp.

Evening activities are also offered such as:
water ball | gaga ball | fowling | Basar (volley) ball | chess tournament | jeopardy | mile swim | vespers | euchre tournament | and much more!

The cost for Trail to Eagle includes activities, lodging, food, and a patch. Unique to Trail to Eagle, each candidate will also receive a troop color hat, neckerchief, and T-shirt. A $50.00 deposit is required at time of registration and will be applied to the total Trail to Eagle Camp fee.

Questions? Contact the Trail to Eagle team at trailtoeagle@michiganscouting.org for more information.

Trail to Eagle Camp Founder, Ed Basar

Ed Basar was the founder and was the Camp Director of the Nationally Acclaimed MCC Trail to Eagle program for 28 years, providing the opportunity for Scouts to become Eagle.

He earned Eagle Scout, as well as the Explorer’s Silver Award, the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award, Lutheran Church Lam Award, Scoutmaster Award of Merit, Scouters Key, District Award of Merit, and the George Meany Award.  He was also recognized Nationally with the Certificate of Merit for Life Saving and was a James E West Fellow and a vigil Honor member of the Order of Arrow.

His Scouting career included 20 years as the Ranch Director at D-Bar-A, 27 years as the Camp Director of Trail to Eagle Program, 10 years on the National Aquatics committee, 40 years on the National Camping School aquatics staff at the regional level, 19 plus years as the Director of the Core 5 swimming program, waterfront director for the Michigan International Camporee, NOAC staff for 13 years, 6 years National Jamboree Staff, Staff at Charles Howell Scout reservation, and past Scoutmaster of Troop 3 for 21 years and Troop 435 for 18 years. He has co-chaired the first three rendezvous.

Ed was also a retired middle school teacher and coach after 40 years in the Detroit School system. He has been honored as the middle school physical education teacher of the State of Michigan in 2000. He has also earned the Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award for outstanding volunteer work with the youth in the inner City of Detroit. Also awarded the Detroit Board of Education achievement award in 2002.

Ed had four words for both his fellow Scouters and aspiring Scouts:

“You’ve Got to Believe!”

And “believe” Ed certainly did. The success of the program is undeniable. “Over 63% of Trail to Eagle Candidates have become Eagle Scouts, this has given him the opportunity to attend over 400 Eagle Court of Honor of Trail to Eagle Candidates in the past 27 years.

The Staff of Trail to Eagle will continue to hold the memory of Ed in our hearts and “Believe” so we can help more Scouts reach the rank of Eagle Scout.

Ed Basar
October 25, 1940 – November 7, 2022