Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- How does a Scout go about earning a merit badge? What is the process?
- What if the requirements for a merit badge or rank change and I have not completed it?
- Do I have to have all of the reference lines filled out on my Eagle Scout Rank Application?
- Who do I contact if I have a suggestion for a change to a requirement?
- Active Unit Involvement?
- Who can sit on a board of review for Tenderfoot through Life Ranks and Eagle Palms?
- Who can sit on an Eagle Scout board of review?
- What can a Scoutmaster do if there is a Scout in his/her unit that is performing poorly in a position of responsibility or doesn't show up at all?
- In Venturing advancement, what is the deal with past credit and multiple credit?
- Can a Venturer earn his Eagle Rank through a Venturing Crew?
- Could you please clarify the procedures for holding an Eagle Scout board of review once the Scout reaches age 18?
2. What if the requirements for a merit badge or rank change and I have not completed it?
Per Terry Lawson (Director of Advancement, Boy Scout Division), "If a boy begins the requirements, he may complete the merit badge or rank under those requirements unless the new requirements state a deadline date. The last circumstance was 1999 when requirements for the Eagle rank changed and the old requirements had to be completed by April 1, 1999." If the Scout has just started the rank or merit badge, he may choose to use the new requirements. He may not however, pick and choose between the old and new requirements. Please note that the requirements found in the current Boy Scout Requirements book are the official requirements of the Boy Scouts of America.
3. Do I have to have all of the reference lines filled out on my Eagle Scout Rank Application?
The following information comes directly from the Boy Scout Advancement Conference held at the Philmont Training Center (2003) and has been transposed from notes as presented by Terry Lawson, National Director of Advancement/NESA:
- "All references must be complete on the Eagle Scout Rank Application.
- Only the "employer" reference may be omitted if the candidate has no employer."
- "For the educational reference, if the Scout is home-schooled, the person listed can be a parent/guardian, youth group leader, coach, etc."
- "For the religious reference, if the Scout is not part of an organized religion, he should list a parent/guardian and request a reference letter stating that they are not currently affiliated with an organized religion and that he does have a belief in God (or Higher Form of Being)."
- The Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures (#33088D) states,
- "The council advancement committee or its designee contacts the person listed as a reference on the Eagle Scout Rank Application either by letter, form, or telephone checklist. The council determines the method or methods to be used." In the Cape Fear District , reference checks are usually conducted by form letter. These are provided as a part of the Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbooks distributed at The District Committee Eagle Board Chairman and are available on the Advancement Committee web page. It is very important that form letters are sent to the individuals listed on the Eagle Scout Rank Application. At a minimum, those are the people who we expect reference letters from at the Eagle Board of Review.
4. Who do I contact if I have a suggestion for a change to a requirement?
Do not send these ideas to the Occoneechee Council Advancement Committee or the District Advancement COmmittee, because only the appropriate National Committee can add/delete/change requirements and awards. Suggestions for changes in requirements should be sent to the appropriate committee at the address below:
Cub Scout, Boy Scout, or Venturing Committee (Choose One)
Boy Scouts of America
1325 West Walnut Hill Lane,
P.O. Box 152079,
Irving, TX 75015-2079
If you have an idea for a new merit badge or Cub Scout recognition, you may also send your ideas to the address above. Be sure to include sources of information and possible requirements for the award.
5. Active Unit Involvement?
National does not define what active unit involvement is. It is important to use your best judgment and common sense to help meet the boys' and your unit's needs. A Scout who earns the Life rank at 15, is active for 6 months, and then comes back over a year later has already completed the requirement. As long as he stayed registered, he has already completed that requirement and the 6 months does not have to be consecutive. The Director of Advancement for the Boy Scout Division at National says that the way to really determine active unit involvement is through any Scoutmaster conference. Talk about outside activities and what else is going on in his life. Unit leaders should talk with Scouts who are so challenged, and mutually come to agreement on their understanding of the term "active" long before it becomes an issue for the Eagle candidate. Being active does not necessarily mean attending all meetings and outings - there are other things Scouts can do to actively support the troop. Don't Close The Box. Use the Scouts to the best of their ability. Scout Spirit, which is defined as living the Scout Oath and Law in a Scout's everyday life is most important Outside of Scouting, because we see them at our regular meetings, etc. Where does it say in any BSA publication about a 75% troop meeting attendance requirement? By a troop adding an attendance requirement is considered ADDING requirements and nowhere in the definition of Scout Spirit does it say how much participation a Scout has to have. If there is an appeal and it says the boy only attended 50% of meetings, etc, etc, the boy will win. A unit cannot set active percentages.
6. Who can sit on a board of review for Tenderfoot through Life Ranks and Eagle Palms?
After a Scout has completed all requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life ranks, or an Eagle Palm, he appears before a board of review. This board of review is made up of at least three and not more than six members of the troop committee. One member serves as chairman, usually the committee member responsible for advancement. Unit leaders, assistant unit leaders, relatives, or guardians may not serve as members of a Scout's board of review.
The review is not an examination. The Scout has learned his skill and has been examined. This is a review. The Scout should be asked where he learned his skill, who taught him, and the value he gained from passing this requirement. The review should take approximately 15 minutes.
7. Who can sit on an Eagle Scout board of review?
The board of review for an Eagle candidate is composed of a minimum of three members and a maximum of six members, 21 years of age or older. These members do not have to be registered in Scouting, but they must have an understanding of the importance and purpose of the Eagle board of review. At least one district or council advancement representative shall be a member of the Eagle board of review, when conducted at the unit level, and may serve as chairman if so requested by the unit.
8. What can a Scoutmaster do if there is a Scout in his/her unit that is performing poorly in a position of responsibility or doesn't show up at all?
In a decision recently handed down by National on an appeal, several key issues were considered and precedents were set. The following is quoted directly from that decision: "Serving in a position of leadership means that if they are elected or appointed to a position, such as Patrol Leader, and serve in that position for the required time, they have satisfactorily completed that requirement." The conclusion is that time in position fulfills the requirement.
The decision also said, "The issue of whether their service is satisfactory is resolved at the local board of review for that rank. Therefore, a boy who was in the position of Scribe for six months from Life to Eagle had fulfilled that requirement. That does not necessarily mean that he will pass his board of review, because if his service was not satisfactory, he could be turned down at the board of review."
The National Advancement Committee offers the following advice for Scoutmasters. Each time a Scout is elected or appointed to a position of responsibility, he MUST be given his job description and responsibilities. If you have a Scout in a position and he isn't doing his job, he needs to be counseled and removed if necessary. At some point down the road, he may be ready to try that position again or another one. Remember, if he served in the position for two months that is two months fulfilled towards completing the requirement. Also, if a Scoutmaster removes a Scout from a position of responsibility, he/she must notify the Scout and putting it in writing is preferable, though not required.
9. In Venturing advancement, what is the deal with past credit and multiple credit?
Past Credit: All requirements for all awards require Venturers to do work as Venturers. As an example, they may have earned the Backpacking merit badge as a Boy Scout, but must do all that is required in the Ranger backpacking elective while registered as a Venturer. Some requirements may require some type of certification such as Scuba Open-Water Diver, American Red Cross Standard First Aid, or BSA Lifeguard. This certification may be used regardless of when it was earned as long as the certification is still current.
Multiple Credit: Venturers may receive multiple credit for requirements in Venturing, such as using an American Red Cross Emergency Response course for credit in the Ranger first aid course requirement and first aid elective, and the Silver first aid requirement. However, Venturers may not receive multiple credit when required to do a tabletop display or presentation. These must be done for each requirement that requires one. Members who are simultaneously members of a Boy Scout troop may receive credit for work toward Boy Scout advancement and Venturing advancement. An example would be getting dual credit for hikes for the Backpacking merit badge and for the Ranger backpacking elective, or for a conservation project required in Boy Scouts and in Venturing.
10. Can a Venturer earn his Eagle Rank through a Venturing Crew?
Any male Venturer who has achieved the First Class rank as a Boy Scout in a troop or Varsity Scout in a team may continue working toward the Star, Life, and Eagle Scout ranks up to his 18th birthday. He must meet the requirements as prescribed in the Boy Scout Handbook and the current Boy Scout Requirements book.
Position of responsibility requirements may be met by the Venturer serving as president, vice president, secretary, or treasurer in his crew, or as boatswain, boatswain's mate, yeoman, purser, or storekeeper in his ship. The Scoutmaster conference will be conducted by the Advisor or Skipper.
As the Venturer meets the requirements for the Star and Life ranks, a board of review is conducted by the crew or ship committee. The Eagle board of review follows the procedure established by the local council. If a young man is registered in a Boy Scout troop and Venturing Crew/Sea Scout Ship, he is considered "multiple/dual registered" and he must be "prime" in the unit that he plans to submit his Eagle Scout Rank Application through. In order to verify that a young man is "prime" in the correct unit or to switch, contact the council registrar.
11. Could you please clarify the procedures for holding an Eagle Scout board of review once the Scout reaches age 18?
Scouts who have completed all requirements for a rank prior to their 18th birthday should submit their application and be reviewed and recognized within three months after that date. For Eagle Scout boards of review conducted between three and six months after the candidate's 18th birthday, a statement explaining the reason for the delay must be attached to the Eagle Scout Rank Application when it is submitted to the Eagle Scout Service. If an Eagle Scout board of review will be held after the six month following the candidate's 18th birthday, the Eagle Scout must petition the National Boy Scout Committee for an extension of time to hold the board of review. The petition must be processed through the local council, detailing the extenuating circumstances that prevented the board of review from being held within the six-month period following the candidate's 18th birthday, and be accompanied with a copy of the Eagle Scout Rank Application.