WHEN RANK REQUIREMENTS CHANGE
MERIT BADGES THAT COUNT TOWARD
SPECIFIC RANK REQUIREMENTS
- Requirements are
published annually in the book Boy Scout Requirements
("BSR"). The requirements in the annual edition of the book
supersede merit badge pamphlets published prior to that edition.
Pamphlets published after the last annual edition supersede the book until
the next annual edition is published. http://www.usscouts.org/
is a good source for current requirements.
- All requirements
must be passed while the scout is registered as a Boy Scout with the BSA.
- Troop 186 treats a
boy as having joined Boy Scouts when we send in his BSA application to the
Council. However, a literal reading of the “Boy Scout Joining
Requirements” [BSR p. 6] shows that a boy has to complete ten requirements
before he can join Boy Scouts. Scout is not a rank [Advancement Rules and
Regulations clause 6]--all boys who have joined Boy Scouts are “Scouts,”
but most of those Scouts also have a rank (Tenderfoot through Eagle).
- Rank requirements
for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class can be worked on
simultaneously. [ BSR p. 7]
- Merit badges can
be earned at any time. [BSR p. 22] Thus a boy scout can work on
Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, and merit badges all at the same
- There is no time
in grade requirement for Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class so they
can be earned at the same Board of Review and awarded at the same Court of
Honor, e.g. Tim Hughes October 2001.
- Star, Life and
Eagle have a time in grade requirement: 4 months as First Class, 6
as Star, and 6 as Life.
- Star and Life have
a choice of satisfying a Position of Responsibility (“POR”) requirement or
carrying out a “Scoutmaster-assigned leadership project to help the
- Eagle requires a
POR and an Eagle project (which benefits an organization other than the
- Some merit badges
requirements are identical to rank requirements and so earning the merit
badge, ipso facto, means the rank requirement was passed. One
must closely read the requirements to see if they are identical. Common
mb. Requirement 3 requires that Second Class 7a-7c and First Class
9a-9c be completed and so satisfies those rank requirements.
- First Aid
mb. Requirement 1 requires current knowledge of Tenderfoot through
First Class first aid requirements. “Knowledge” is different from
demonstrate, show, prepare, and so on. "Knowing" first
aid for a blister (Tenderfoot #12b) is not the same thing as
"showing" that first aid which is what 12b requires. [Per
BSR p 29 for difference between "show" and "tell"]
See Tenderfoot 12a-demonstrate, 12b-show; Second Class 7a-show,
7b-prepare, 7c-demonstrate; First Class 8b-demonstrate, 8c-show.
Presumably First Class 8d’s “tell” might be equivalent to “knowledge” but
it seems better for the scout to pass it specifically rather than
piggyback on First Aid mb. Thus no rank requirements are satisfied
by earning First Aid mb. Some merit badges have first aid
requirements—those requirements are not satisfied by having earned First
- Bird Study
mb. Requirement 5 (identify 20 wild species) satisfies Second Class
5 (identify 10 kinds of wild animals)
requirement (Tenderfoot-1, Second Class-5, First Class-10) must be
troop/patrol activities other than troop/patrol meetings. Activities
are not technically the same as outings. However, the only
activities that are not outings that the Troop undertakes which qualify
are Magnuson cookout, Magnuson advancement, swim night, and leadership
retreat. Arguably the cookout and swim night do not qualify because they
are troop meetings held at a different venue, but they are sufficiently
different from a regular meeting as to meet the requirement. Hiking
mb’s hikes don’t qualify as "activities" unless Hiking mb
requirements 1-4 have previously been passed. [Hiking mb footnote]
- If a scout is
working on a rank and the requirements change, Boy Scout Requirements
will specify the grace period for advancing under the old requirements.
Rank requirements changed substantially on 01-01-2010. If a scout was
working on a rank on 01-01-2010 he can continue using the old requirements
or can use the new requirements. [BSR p. 6] The Troop's policy is that a
scout is working on a rank if at least one requirement has been passed and
signed off and that rank is the next rank after his current rank. Thus a
Tenderfoot can use the old requirements for Second Class but must use the
new requirements for First Class and above even though he has Passed a
First Class requirement or has earned an Eagle-required merit badge.
- If a scout has
started working on a merit badge and the requirements change, he may
continue to use the old requirements until he leaves scouts or may elect
to use the new requirements. The only proof that he has begun
working on a merit badge is that he has begun working with the mb
counselor (not that sometime in the past he had the Scoutmaster sign a
blue card). A counselor may, or may not, accept work done prior to
being contacted by the scout. The camping merit badge counselor
(Troop 186 and Parsons) typically accepts camping nights that were
completed prior to undertaking the mb.
- Camping merit
badge requires 20 days and 20 nights of scout activity camping “under the
sky or in a tent you have pitched.” However, there is an exception
for one week of long-term camp (Parsons) which may be counted even though
the scout did not pitch his tent. Ski lodges and Parsons work party
cabins do not count.
- Miles used for
Hiking mb cannot be used for other merit badges, to wit, Backpacking, but
can be used for the 50-Miler Award.
- A mb counselor
does not have to initial every requirement on the back of the blue
card. His signature on the front is all that is needed. Some
counselors use a computer(!!!) rather than the blue card to track a
Prepared by Tom Hughes
February 24, 2010