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When people are asked what they did in Scouting, or what it is they think Scouts do or learn, they most often mention the outdoor activities, camping and hiking. A First Class Scout would surely add first aid or fire building or swimming or cooking or knot tying. And those who made at least Star or Life would doubtless talk about the merit badges they must have earned to achieve those ranks-especially those required for Eagle. But these hands-on experiences, as memorable as they are, makeup only a portion of what must be done to advance. And the remaining requirements—those beyond the merit badges and skills activities—are generally the most difficult to administer and judge. This section concentrates on those. Consult the Scoutmaster Handbook, No. 33009, for guidance on implementing the others.

The concepts of “reasonable” and “within reason” will help unit leadership and boards of review gauge the fairness of expectations for considering whether a Scout is “active” or has fulfilled positions of responsibility. A unit is allowed, of course, to establish expectations acceptable to its chartered organization and unit committee. But for advancement purposes, Scouts must not be held to those which are so demanding as to be impractical for today’s youth (and families) to achieve. Ultimately, a board of review shall decide what is reasonable and what is not. In doing so, the board members must use common sense and must take into account that youth should be allowed to balance their lives with positive activities outside of Scouting.

Since we are preparing young people to make a positive difference in society, we judge that a member is "active" when his level of activity in Scouting has had a sufficiently positive influence toward this end.

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