|Advancement Committee Policies and
The Westchester-Putnam Council explicitly subscribes to all Advancement policies
and procedures established by the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America,
which are published in the official Guide to Advancement 2011 manual #33088.
All advancement issues or questions regarding Advancement can usually be
answered through this manual.
This manual can be obtained the Hawthorne Scout Shop or downloaded from the National website here.
The following information summarizes the advancement policies in the Westchester-Putnam Council. They are based on the official
Guide to Advancement 2011 manual. If there are differences,
the Guide to Advancement 2011 manual will take precedence.
This information is provided for the convenience of our registered members and
as an example and as a convenience to you. The Westchester-Putnam Council
Advancement Committee strongly recommends that the Guide to Advancement 2011 manual be consulted for more details and information.
In addition, each district has an Advancement Committee, as does the Council.
Please feel free to contact any of the District Advancement Chairmen or the
Council Advancement Chairman with specific questions.
What is Advancement?
Advancement is the process by which youth members of the Boy Scouts of America
progress from rank to rank in the Scouting program.
Advancement is simply a means to an end, not an end in itself. Everything
done to advance and earn these ranks, from joining until leaving the program,
should be designed to help the young person have an exciting and meaningful
Education and fun are functions of the Scouting movement, and they must be
the basis of the advancement program.
A fundamental principle of advancement in Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity
Scouting, and Venturing is the growth a young person achieves as a result of
his/her participation in unit program.
Council and district advancement committees implement procedures that help
achieve the following advancement principles.
Personal growth is the prime consideration in the advancement program.
Scouting skills, what a young person knows how to do, are important, but they
are not the most important aspect of advancement. Scouting's concern is the
total growth of youth. This growth may be measured by how youth live the
Scouting ideals, and how they do their part in their daily lives.
Learning by doing. A Cub Scout, Boy Scout, or Venturer may read about fire
building or good citizenship. He/she may hear it discussed, and watch others in
action, but he/she has not learned first aid until he/she has done it.
Each youth progresses at his or her own rate. Advancement is not a
competition among individual young people, but is an expression of their
interest and participation in the program. Youth must be encouraged to advance
steadily and set their own goals with guidance from their parents, guardians, or
A badge is recognition of what a young person is able to do, not merely a
reward for what he or she has done. The badge is proof of certain abilities, and
is not just a reward for the completion of a task.
Advancement encourages Scouting ideals. Scouting teaches a young person how
to care for himself/herself and help others. Advancement should reflect the
desire to live the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, or Venturing Oath in his/her daily
No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to or
subtract from any advancement requirements.
Advancement Rules and Regulations From National
Article IX. Policies and Definitions—From the Charter and Bylaws
Declaration of Religious Principle,
Clause 1-The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God. In the first part of the Scout Oath or Promise the member declares, "On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law." The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship and are wholesome precepts in the education of the growing members. No matter what the religious faith of the members may be, this fundamental need of good citizenship should be kept before them. The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.
Clause 2-The activities of the members of the Boy Scouts of America shall be carried on under conditions which show respect to the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion, as required by the twelfth point of the Scout Law, reading, "Reverent. A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others."
Clause 3-In no case where a unit is connected with a church or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other denominations or faith be required, because of their membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly unique to that organization or church.
Clause 4-Only persons willing to subscribe to these declarations of principles shall be entitled to certificates of leadership in carrying out the Scouting program.
ARTICLE X. PROGRAM (ADVANCEMENT) - RULES AND REGULATIONS
Clause 1. Education is the chief function of the Scouting movement and it shall
be the basis of the advancement program. A fundamental principle of advancement
shall be that the boy's progress is a natural outcome of his activities in his
unit. The rank requirements in these phases of the Scouting program, as set
forth in the official publications, shall furnish the basis of the activities of
a. In Cub Scouting, recognition is earned in the home and neighborhood by
completing certain achievements related to simple skills, habits, ideals, and
hobbies. Although the majority of the activities shall be completed in the den meeting, it is necessary for some achievements to be completed at home. It is essential for the den leader to communicate to the parents which achievements need to be completed at home.
b. In Boy Scouting, recognition is gained through leadership in the troop,
attending and participating in its activities, living the ideals of Scouting,
and proficiency in activities related to outdoor life, useful skills, and career
c. In Varsity Scouting, recognition is gained through leadership in the team,
attending and participating in its activities, living the ideals of Varsity
Scouting, and proficiency in activities related to outdoor life, useful skills,
and career exploration.
d. In Venturing, recognition takes on a wider scope, involving the assumption
of adultlike roles, identification with adult careers, and participation in
community and citizenship responsibilities.
Clause 2. All advancement procedures shall be administered under conditions that
harmonize with the aims and purposes of the Boy Scouts of America.
Cub Scout Advancement
Clause 3. Basis for Advancement. The Cub Scout advancement program shall be the
basis for advancement. There shall be three steps in Tiger Cub, Cub Scout, and
Webelos Scout advancement procedures: preparation, qualification, and
Clause 4. Ranks. There shall be the following ranks in Cub Scouting: Bobcat, Tiger Cub, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light.. The requirements shall be
authorized by the Executive Board and set forth in official Cub Scout
Boy Scout Advancement
Clause 5. Basis for Advancement. The Boy Scout requirements for ranks shall be
the basis for the Scout's advancement. There shall be four steps in Boy Scout
advancement procedure: learning, testing, reviewing, and recognition.
Clause 6. Ranks. There shall be the following ranks in Boy Scouting:
Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. The requirements
shall be those authorized by the Executive Board and set forth in official
Scouting publications. Eagle Palms may also be awarded on the basis of
requirements authorized by the Executive Board and set forth in official
Clause 7. Responsibility of the Troop Committee. It shall be the
responsibility of the troop committee, under the leadership and guidance of the
local council, to make sure that the program of the troop is conducted in such a
way that Scouts have an opportunity to advance on the basis of the four steps
outlined in clause 5.
Varsity Scout Advancement
Clause 8. Basis for Advancement. The Boy Scout requirements for advancement
shall be the basis for Varsity Scout advancement.
Clause 9. Responsibility of the Team Committee. It shall be the
responsibility of the team committee, under the leadership and guidance of the
local council, to make sure that the program of the team is conducted in such a
way that Varsity Scouts have an opportunity to advance on the basis of the four
steps outlined in clause 5.
Clause 10. Basis for Advancement
a. The Venturing advancement program shall be the basis for the Venturer's
advancement. There shall be four steps in Venturing advancement procedures:
preparation, learning, qualification, and recognition.
b. A male Venturer who has achieved the First Class rank as a Boy Scout in a
troop or as a Varsity Scout in a team may continue working toward the Eagle
Award while a Venturer until his 18th birthday. There is no Venturing
advancement route to qualify for the Eagle Award.
Clause 11. Ranks.
a. There shall be awards and ranks in Sea Scouts, BSA, the requirements for
which shall be approved by the Executive Board as proposed by the Venturing
Committee and set forth in Sea Scouting and Venturing publications.
b. With the exception of Sea Scouts. BSA, there are no ranks in the Venturing
Examination in Camps
a. In special instances, where Scouts are attending educational or similar
institutions and/or camps which give an intensive Scouting program, said
institutions and camps may, upon application, be authorized by the Corporation
to give the prescribed examinations and pass Scouts in such manner and with such
special conditions as the facts presented (as to the facilities and leadership
of the institution or camp) may, in the judgment of the Corporation, warrant.
b. Upon the recommendation of the Corporation, authority may be granted
annually for the above privileges to Scout camps or camps conducted by
authorized representatives of the Boy Scouts of America that submit evidence of
maintaining the program standards, provided their programs have been approved by
the Corporation. No exception shall be made to the time requirements to qualify
for rank advancement or for the award of Eagle Palms.
Responsibility for Merit Badges
Clause 13. The responsibility for merit badges shall rest with the merit badge
counselor approved by the local council and district advancement committee.
Merit badge counselors shall be registered adult members of the Boy Scouts of
America. The merit badge counselor shall prepare and qualify youth members.
There shall be no board of review.
ARTICLE XI. (REGISTRATION)-RULES AND REGULATIONS
Special Types of Registration
Clause 19. Mentally Retarded or Severely Physically Handicapped Youth Members.
In the discretion of the National Executive Board, and under such rules and
regulations as it may prescribe upon consultation with appropriate medical
authorities, registration of boys who are either mentally retarded or severely
physically handicapped, including the blind, deaf, and emotionally disturbed,
over age 11 as Cub Scouts and over age 18 as Boy Scouts, or Varsity Scouts, and
registration of young adults who are either mentally retarded or severely
physically handicapped, including the blind, deaf, and emotionally disturbed,
over age 21 as Venturers, and the participation of each in the respective
advancement programs while registered, is authorized.
Advancement for Youth Members With Special Needs
The following are the guidelines for membership and advancement in Scouting for
persons having disabilities or other special needs.
ADA Definition of an Individual with a Disability
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) provides the following
definition of an individual with a disability:
"An individual is considered to have a 'disability' if s/he has a physical
or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
(e.g., seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks,
learning, caring for oneself, and working), has a record of such an impairment,
or is regarded as having such an impairment.
"An individual with epilepsy, paralysis, HIV infection, AIDS, a
substantial hearing or visual impairment, mental retardation, or a specific
learning disability, is covered, but an individual with a minor, nonchronic
condition of short duration, such as a sprain, broken limb, or the flu would not
be covered by the ADA.
"The ADA definition protects individuals with a record of a disability
and would cover, for example, a person who has recovered from cancer or mental
"And the ADA protects individuals who are regarded as having a
substantially limiting impairment, even though they may not have such an
impairment. For example. . . a qualified individual with a severe facial
disfigurement is protected from being denied employment because an employer
feared the 'negative reactions' of customers or co-workers."
The Department of Education identifies a severely handicapped child as one
who, because of the intensity of his physical, mental, or emotional problems, or
a combination of such problems, needs education, social, psychological, and
medical services beyond those that have been offered by traditional regular and
special educational programs, in order to maximize his full potential for useful
and meaningful participation in society and for self-fulfillment. Such children
include those classified as seriously emotionally disturbed or profoundly and
severely mentally retarded, and those with two or more serious handicapping
conditions, such as the mentally retarded blind, and the cerebral-palsied deaf.
Youth with physical disabilities and youth and adults with developmental or cognitive challenges are welcome in the Boy Scouts of America.
Youth and adults who are developmentally disabled, or youth with severe physical challenges, may be considered for registration beyond the age of eligibility for their program: over age 11 for a Cub Scout, 18 as a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout, or 21 as a Venturer or Sea Scout (see Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America, article XI, section 3, clause 20, reproduced in the appendix, 18.104.22.168). A developmentally disabled adult of any age, for example, may be considered for youth membership and join Scouting if a qualified medical professional is able to correlate cognitive abilities to less than the upper limit of an eligibility age. Members approved to be so registered are indicated in the system with a disability code. A disability, to qualify an individual for registration beyond the age of eligibility, must be permanent and so severe that it precludes advancement even at a rate significantly slower than considered normal. If ranks can be achieved under accommodations already provided in official literature, or with modifications as outlined below, then the disability probably does not rise to the level required. This is often the case in considering advancement potential for youth with moderate learning disabilities and such disorders as ADD/ADHD. If ranks can be earned, but it just takes somewhat longer, the option is not warranted.
Examples of conditions that, if severe, may be criteria for registration beyond the age of eligibility include these:
1. Autism spectrum disorders
2. Blind or sight-impaired
3. Deaf or hard of hearing
4. Developmental cognitive disability
5. Developmental delay
6. Down syndrome
7. Emotional or behavioral disorder
8. Physically impaired
9. Severely multiple impaired
10. Traumatic brain injury
To register a person who will remain as a youth member beyond the age of eligibility, the following documents must be assembled and submitted to the local council:
1. A letter from a parent or guardian describing the disability and its severity and permanence, and petitioning the council for approval of registration beyond the age of eligibility
2. A completed youth membership application or proof of current membership
3. A completed Annual BSA Health and Medical Record form, online at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/HealthandSafety/ahmr.aspx signed by a licensed physician
4. A signed statement from a qualified health professional attesting to the nature of the disability, its severity, and permanent limitations connected with it. For physical disabilities, this must be a licensed physician; for developmental or cognitive issues, a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, or as appropriate, a neurologist or other medical professional in a specialty related to the disability.
5. A letter from the unit leader advocating and supporting the registration
6. Other supporting documentation, such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), treatment summaries, etc., which are optional, but can make a difference in the decision. The council executive board must approve petitions directly, or delegate action to a council operating committee or other group of responsible volunteers at the council level For further information, see the Guide to Advancement 2011 Section 10.
Advancement for Cub Scouts with Disabilities
Advancement is so flexible that, with guidance, most Cub Scouts with disabilities can complete requirements. The standard is, “Has he done his best?” It may take him longer to attempt requirements and demonstrate this, but his accomplishments will be rewarding to him, his parents, and his leaders. A Cub Scout who is physically disabled may be given permission by the Cubmaster and pack committee to substitute electives for achievement requirements that are beyond his abilities. It is best to include parents in this process of determining substitutions since they are most familiar with their son's abilities.
A Cub Scout who is physically disabled may be given permission by the
Cubmaster and pack committee to substitute electives for achievement
requirements that are beyond his abilities. It is best to include parents in
this process of determining substitutions since they are most familiar with
their son's abilities.
Immediate recognition of advancement is even more important for boys with
disabilities. The Tiger Cub and Cub Scout Immediate Recognition Kits, the den
doodle, and the Den Advancement Chart all help provide immediate recognition in
den meetings as achievements and electives are completed. Remember that a month
seems like a long time to a boy and that completing requirements for a badge
might seem like forever to him. Be sure to give him periodic recognition at pack
meetings when he earns a badge.
While leaders must be enthusiastic about helping youngsters with
disabilities, they must at the same time fully recognize the special demands
that will be made on their patience, understanding, and skill in teaching
Advancement for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts with Disabilities
Members must meet current advancement requirements as written for merit badges, all ranks, and Eagle Palms, although some allowable substitutions or alternatives are specifically set forth in official literature. The member is expected to meet the requirements—no more and no less—and he is to do exactly what is stated. If it says, “Show or demonstrate,” that is what he must do; just “telling” isn’t enough. The same holds for words and phrases such as “make,” “list,” “in the field,” “collect,” “identify,” and “label.” Requests for alternate requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks can be made using the information outlined below. Alternate Requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class Ranks.
A degree of modification in advancement requirements may be necessary to mainstream as many members with disabilities as possible. Thus a Scout with a permanent physical or mental disability (or a disability expected to last more than two years or beyond the 18th birthday) who is unable to complete all the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class rank may, with his parent or guardian, submit a request to the council advancement committee to complete alternative requirements. Unless a Scout has been approved to register beyond the age of eligibility, then alternative requirements must be completed by the 18th birthday. The procedures appear below. This avenue is also available to youth with longer-term disabilities (such as those related to a severe injury) who want to continue advancing during recovery.
How to Apply for Alternative Requirements
Step 1-Do As Many Standard Requirements As Possible.
Before applying for alternate requirements, the Scout must complete as many of
the standard requirements as his ability permits. He must do his very best to
develop himself to the limit of his abilities and resources.
Step 2-Secure a Medical Statement.
A clear and concise medical statement concerning the Scout's disabilities must
be submitted by a licensed health-care provider It must state that the
disability is permanent and outline what physical activities the Scout may not
be capable of completing. In the case of a mental disability, an evaluation
statement should be submitted by a certified educational administrator relating
the ability level of the Scout.
Step 3-Prepare a Request for Alternate Requirements.
Once they have done their best to the limit of their abilities and resources, the unit leader or a troop committee member submits to the council advancement committee, a written request for alternate requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks. It must show what has been completed, and suggest the alternates for those requirements the Scout cannot do. This request should be detailed enough to give the advancement committee enough information to make a decision The request must be accompanied by supporting letters from the unit leader, a parent or guardian, and the member (if possible), as well as a written statement from a qualified health professional related to the nature of the disability. This may be a physician, neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc., or an educational administrator as appropriate. Statements must describe the disability; cover the Scout’s capabilities, limitations, and prognosis; and outline what requirements cannot be completed. Additional information such as Individualized Education Plans provided to parents by schools, and various treatment summaries and reports, may help an advancement committee make an informed decision.
Step 4-The Advancement Committee Reviews the Request.
The Scouting With Special Needs Committee of the Westchester/Putnam Council Advancement Committee should review the request, utilizing the expertise of professional persons involved in Scouts with disabilities. The Scouting With Special Needs committee may want to interview the Scout, the parents, and the leader to fully understand the request and to make a fair determination. The decision of the Scouting With Special Needs committee should be recorded and delivered to the Scout and the unit leader.
The Council Advancement Committee must then secure approval of the Scout Executive. When applicable, the candidate's application for his award must be made on the Eagle Scout Rank Application or Quartermaster Award Application and also recorded on the Advancement Report form. In the application of these policies for Scouts with special needs, reasonable accommodation in the performance of requirements for advancement may be made. These may include such things as the extension of time, adaptation of facilities, or the use of equipment or necessary devices consistent with the known physical or mental limitations of the handicapped individual, it is urged that common sense be employed.
Normally, it is expected that youth with moderate learning disorders, ADD, ADHD, and so forth, can—albeit more slowly— complete standard requirements: See Guide to Advancement 2011 Section 10.2.2.2
Alternate Merit Badges for the Eagle Scout Rank
Though individual requirements for merit badges may not be modified or substituted, youth with disabilities may be approved for alternative badges they can complete. This is allowable on the basis of one entire badge for another. To qualify, a Scout or qualified Venturer or Sea Scout must have a permanent physical or mental disability, or a disability expected to last more than two years, or beyond age 18. The member does not need to be registered beyond the age of eligibility with a disability code. Before applying, he must earn as many of the Eagle required merit badges as possible. Any alternates must present the same challenge and learning level as those they replace, and must be completed by the 18th birthday. If physical activity is involved, a physician must approve it. A clear and concise medical statement concerning the Scout's disabilities must be made by a physician licensed to practice medicine, or an evaluation statement must be certified by an educational administrator.
Upon finishing the Eagle-required merit badges that are possible, the Scout, with his parent or guardian, reviews the detailed requirements covered in the Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges.
for alternative Eagle Scout Award Merit Badges
The completed application is sent to the Scouting With Special Needs Committee. It must be accompanied by supporting letters from the unit leader, a parent or guardian, and the member (if possible), as well as a written statement from a qualified health professional related to the nature of the disability. This may be a physician, neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc., or an educational administrator as appropriate. Statements must describe the disability; cover the Scout’s capabilities, limitations, and prognosis; and outline why the merit badge(s) cannot be completed. Additional information such as Individualized Education Plans provided to parents by schools, and various treatment summaries and reports, may help an advancement committee make an informed decision. All alternate badges should be included on just one form.
The advancement committee reviews the application, using the expertise of professionals involved with youth who have disabilities. To make a fair determination, the committee may want to interview the Scout, his parent(s) or guardian(s), and the unit leader. The committee’s decision should be recorded and delivered to the Scout and the unit leader.
When applying for the Eagle Scout rank, a candidate with disabilities must attach the Eagle Scout Rank application to the approved Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges. In order for a Venturer to be an Eagle candidate, he must have achieved the First Class rank as a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout.
Approval for Special Needs Eagle Candidates Over 18
Men over age 18, properly approved by the council executive board to register beyond the age of eligibility with a disability code, may apply for the Eagle Scout rank. Since they are considered youth members for as long as they are so registered, they do not need a time extension. A letter from an advancement committee or Scout executive, indicating the member is over 18 and registered with a disability code, must accompany the Eagle Scout application. If the candidate is not so registered, but should be, then the procedures under “Registering Qualified Members Beyond Age of Eligibility,” 10.1.0.0, must be followed.
Eagle Scout candidates who have disabilities but who do not qualify for registration beyond the age of eligibility must complete all requirements before the 18th birthday. In some cases, however, they may qualify for an extension of time. The Council Advancement Committee request that it be contacted at least 90 days prior to a Scout's 18th birthday if an age waiver is requested.
Advancement for Venturers and Sea Scouts with Disabilities
With a parent or guardian, Venturer-age youth with disabilities must consider the programs presented by individual crews or ships. The activities involved must fit within the capabilities of the prospective member. Discussions with crew Advisors or ship Skippers can reveal what is possible and what is not. Generally, crews may be more able to offer flexibility for members with disabilities than ships. For example, safety concerns onboard a vessel may present barriers difficult or impossible to overcome.
Working Towards Boy Scout Advancement
Qualified Venturers and Sea Scouts with disabilities, who are working on Star, Life, or Eagle ranks or Eagle Palms, must meet the same requirements and follow the same procedures as outlined for Boy Scouts.
Working Towards Venturing Awards
The candidate must meet all current award requirements. There are no substitutions or alternatives permitted except those specifically stated in current requirements, or as outlined below or set forth in official literature, or where crew Advisors have been provided flexibility with certain awards. The Venturer is expected to meet requirements as stated—no more and no less. If it says, “Show or demonstrate,” for example, that is what he or she must do; just telling about it isn’t enough. The same holds true for such words or phrases as “make,” “list,” “in the field,” “collect, identify, and label,” and so on.
Requests for alternative requirements for Bronze, Gold, Silver, Ranger, Quest, and TRUST awards may be made, however, using the same qualifications and process outlined under How to Apply for Alternative Requirements, above. As with alternative requirements for Tenderfoot through First Class ranks, we must be dealing with permanent physical or mental disabilities, or in the case of Venturers, disabilities expected to last more than two years or beyond age 21. Unless a Venturer has been approved to register beyond the age of eligibility, then alternative requirements must be completed by the 21st birthday
Working Towards Sea Scout Ranks
All current Sea Scout rank requirements must actually be met by the candidate. There are no substitutions or alternatives permitted except those specifically stated in current requirements, or as outlined below or otherwise set forth in official literature. The Sea Scout is expected to meet the requirements as stated—no more and no less. If it says, “Show or demonstrate,” for example, that is what he or she must do; just telling about it isn’t enough. The same holds true for such words or phrases as “teach,” “lead,” “take command,” and so on.
With the full cooperation of a ship committee and Skipper, it may be possible for some youth with disabilities to participate in Sea Scout advancement. The requirements are specific, not based on interchangeable merit badges, and they build from rank to rank. The prospective member, with his parent or guardian, should review the requirements to determine whether advancement is feasible with reasonable flexibility. If ship leaders agree, then the same qualifications and process apply, as outlined under How to Apply for Alternative Requirements, above. As with alternative requirements for Tenderfoot through First Class, we must be dealing with permanent physical or mental disabilities, or in the case of Sea Scouts, disabilities expected to last more than two years or beyond age 21.
Unless a Sea Scout has been approved to register beyond the age of eligibility, then alternative requirements must be completed by the 21st birthday.
Woods Services Award
This annual award has been established to recognize volunteers who have performed exceptional service and leadership in the field of Scouts with disabilities. Nominations must be submitted by December 31. The council nomination form for the Woods Services Award can be found here.
One person is selected each spring for national recognition. He or she must be currently registered and have three or more years of volunteer service in any capacity related to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, or Venturers with disabilities.
Torch of Gold Certificate
This is for local council use in recognizing adults for outstanding service to
youth with disabilities. Order No. 33733.
Extended Absence from Scouting
Members who leave a BSA program are welcome to return if they are eligible and in good standing. They take up where they left off, assuming the last verifiable rank. It may be necessary for them to produce advancement documentation, or to have records updated or transferred from another council. The time away shall not be held against them, and they shall not be made to redo requirements. Because time spent in positions of responsibility (“Positions of Responsibility,” 22.214.171.124) or active participation (“Active Participation,” 126.96.36.199) need not be continuous, any periods of activity before leaving count toward the next rank. The new unit leader, however, may check with past unit leaders, parents, or others to confirm time spent meets the respective requirements. See Section 188.8.131.52
Youth of Other Nationalities
Youth from other countries who temporarily reside in the United States, or have moved here, may register in a BSA unit and participate in advancement. If progress from a foreign Scouting association is to be considered and applied to BSA requirements, then the foreign Scout must meet in person (or over electronic media) with members of the council or district advancement committee, along with at least one adult leader or committee member of the receiving unit. Previous advancement work is reviewed to determine the BSA rank—up to, but not including Eagle Scout rank—the youth is qualified to receive. The candidate must present evidence of membership and advancement from the previous association. Once a rank is determined, it is reported through the BSA’s Internet Advancement or on an advancement report.
This procedure applies to all ranks except Eagle Scout, which is not considered equivalent to any other association’s rank. If it can be established that Life rank has been achieved, then the council or district advancement committee can determine which BSA merit badges may be awarded based on previous work. This may leave a number of additional badges to earn—required or not— to achieve Eagle. Requirements for active participation, position of responsibility, Scout spirit, the service project, and the unit leader conference must be completed in a BSA unit. This procedure also applies to members of the BSA who, while living abroad, have earned advancement in another Scouting association. See Section 184.108.40.206
Bestowing Posthumous Awards
If, prior to death, a youth member in any BSA program has met the requirements for a rank or award, including age and service, he or she may receive it posthumously. If a required board of review has not been conducted, it is held according to the methods outlined in “Boards of Review,” 220.127.116.11. It is appropriate to invite parents or guardians and friends to discuss the efforts made toward the rank.
For the Eagle Scout rank, the application is verified at the council service center, but it must be sent to the National Advancement Team for processing. A cover letter from the Scout executive or designee must indicate it as posthumous. This triggers changes to the congratulatory letter returned with the pocket card and certificate. Note that the same procedures regarding timing of an Eagle Scout board of review apply in posthumous cases. See “Eagle Scout Board of Review Beyond the 18th Birthday,” 18.104.22.168.
Spirit of the Eagle Award
The Boy Scouts of America has created the Spirit of the Eagle Award as an honorary posthumous recognition
for registered youth members who have lost their lives through illness or accident. It is offered by the National Court of Honor as a final salute and tribute in celebration of the recipient’s life, and publicly recognizes his or her contributions to the mission of Scouting. An application can be found here.
A unit committee must complete and submit it to the local council within six months of the member’s death. After acceptance there, it is forwarded to the National Youth Development Team for review and approval.