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Frequently asked questions (with answers)

Answers to Eagle Scout rank questions are on a separate page.

B-1 What positions qualify as "positions of responsibility" for Star and Life ranks?

The ones listed in the Boy Scout Handbook. For Venturers and Sea Scouts, the positions are listed in the Venturer Handbook. As to Boy Scout advancement issues, when changes are made, they often appear in the Boy Scout Requirements book before they appear in the Boy Scout Handbook. Be sure to use the current edition of the Boy Scout Requirements book.  Be aware that some positions of responsibility for Star and Life do not fulfill the requirement for Eagle.

B-2 What must the Scout actually do or accomplish in his "position of responsibility" in order for it to count?

The requirement is not a "leadership" requirement; it is to "serve actively" in a position of "responsibility." The duties for most positions are explained in the Junior Leader Handbook. The Scoutmaster decides and the board of review reviews what service is sufficient, but they are not ed to add to the requirements nor reduce them.  See also section in the Guide to Advancement.

B-3 Who may be on the board of review for Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life ranks?

Three to six members of the troop committee. Scoutmasters and assistant Scoutmasters may not serve on a board of review. Troop Committee Guidebook. Relatives or guardians of the Scout may not serve either. Guide to Advancement. Note that members of the troop committee are registered in Scouting. The committee does not automatically include all parents.

B-4 What is the date to use for the date a merit badge was earned?

Use the date on the blue merit badge card -- the date the merit badge counselor signed it as completed.

B-5 What does a unit do if a boy is physically or mentally unable to complete some requirements?

There is a provision for alternative advancement requirements for a Scout who is unable to complete all the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class ranks. Plans and approvals must be done with the district advancement chair before the Scout does the alternative requirements.The alternatives may not be counted if he does them before getting approval from the council advancement committee. See the Boy Scout Requirementsbook for more information. Units cannot make exceptions other than as noted there and in the Boy Scout Handbook. At the Scout Shop there are many other resources available for example; A Guide to Working with Boy Scouts with Disabilities and Scouting for Youth with Physical Disabilities.

B-6 Who signs off requirements in the back of the Scout's Boy Scout Handbook?

The Scoutmaster or persons he/she designates. The designated persons may be Scouts or adults for specified ranks or sets of requirements. Guide to Advancement.

B-7 Is it necessary that requirements be signed off in the back of the Scout's Boy Scout Handbook?

No, but it is customary and very useful record keeping.

B-8 If a Scout has earned the Arrow of Light, does he have to repeat the requirements to earn his Scout badge?

The Scout needs to have the troop approve his satisfaction of the requirements. The Scoutmaster conference is an important introduction of the new Scout to his new troop and his Scoutmaster, and an opportunity for the Scoutmaster to start developing his relationship with the Scout.

B-9 Since the Scoutmaster conference needs to be private, how can we comply with the youth protection guidelines?

It needs to be a private discussion, but held in full view of other people. Scoutmaster Handbook.

B-10 How can Scouts and others earn the 50-Miler Award if they were not able to do the 10 hours of service during the outing?

If it was not possible for each person to complete 10 hours of group work on the trail, a similar project may be conducted in the unit's home area. Boy Scout Requirements.

B-11 When does a Scout officially hold his new rank?

Positions of responsibility and some other things need to be accomplished while he holds the current rank. He holds the rank as of the day he passes his board of review. Boy Scout Handbook.

B-12 How long does a Scout have to complete a merit badge?

There is no limit except that he must be a Boy Scout (or Varsity Scout) when he starts and when he finishes, and he must finish it before his 18th birthday.

B-13 Is it a good idea for a Scout's parent to be his merit badge counselor for a merit badge?

No, it is usually not a good idea. One of the "methods" of Boy Scouting is "adult association." The Scout will get the most out of his associations with adults if his merit badge counselors are not family members.