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 Alternative Merit Badges for Eagle Scout Rank Alternative Merit Badges for Eagle Scout Rank

Though individual requirements for merit badges may not be modified or substituted, youth with special needs may request approval 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 alternatives must present the same challenge and learning level as those they replace, and must be completed by the 18th birthday unless the member is registered beyond the age of eligibility (see “Registering Qualified Members Beyond Age of Eligibility,”

Scouts with special needs must complete all merit badge requirements as written. No substitutions for individual requirements are allowed 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 Alternative Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges.

The completed application is sent first to the district advancement committee and is then routed to the council advancement 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, for example, a physician, neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc., or when appropriate, an educational administrator in special education. 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 alternative 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. Once this is done, the Scout may begin working with a merit badge counselor on the approved alternative merit badges. When applying for the Eagle Scout rank, a candidate with disabilities must attach the Eagle Scout Rank Application to the approved Application for Alternative Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges. The form can be found at Link. It is important to remember that requirements for merit badges cannot be changed in any way, and all requirements must be completed as written.

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