Ask the Expert: The BSA’s ‘active’ requirement

Update (May 1, 2012): This answer is no longer valid. Read the updated answer here.

We at Cracker Barrel feel geographically blessed to be in the same building as most of the Boy Scouts of America’s major decision-makers.

So when one of you comes to us with a question about Scouting policy, we know how to find the answer. That was the case when Clarke Green had a question about advancement. Clarke writes:

“Many troops have adopted a policy that interprets the ‘active’ requirement as
attending a specific minimum percentage of meetings and outings. This seems to
be in contradiction to the BSA policy forbidding adding or subtracting from
requirements. Are troops permitted to add these percentages to requirements?”

The short answer: No. For the official reasoning, we went to Bill Evans, team leader of youth development for the BSA. Here’s what Bill told us:

“Good question.  As the writer states, it is true and stated several times in
the Advancement Policies and Procedures Guide that neither, councils,
districts, nor units may add to, modify, or delete BSA advancement policies.
This rule is highlighted, bold, and in a box so people won’t miss it.  If
a unit does modify the active requirement as the writer suggests, it could come
back to haunt them if the youth appeals a negative decision based on that
modification.  The national advancement taskforce just revisited the
definition of ‘active’ and, after great discussion, decided to leave it as it
is.  Units may not add a percentage of meetings to attend.”

We hope that clears up your question, Clarke. Thanks for asking. If you have a BSA-related question, we’ll find the answer. Just send us an e-mail.