Ask the Expert: Rapid-fire FAQs, round 2

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Last week, I provided answers to eight frequently asked questions, and at the end of the post, I provided information on how to ask your own Scouting-related question. (By the way, you can do so by emailing, subject “Ask the Expert.”)

Well, 78 emails later, it’s time for Round 2 of my rapid-fire FAQs. I can’t answer every question, but I have answered nine more common ones below.

This round will cover Cub Scouts earning merit badges, funeral services for a fallen Scouter or Scout, uniform questions, and more. Perhaps a question you’ve been wondering about is covered… 


Cub Scouts earning merit badges?

Question from Harvey: “I’m a Scoutmaster, and if a Scout has completed Cub Scouts in the spring but hasn’t crossed over to Boy Scouts, could he go to a merit badge clinic and take a merit badge that summer but not receive the badge until he is in Boy Scouts in the fall?”

Answer from Bryan: No. A boy can’t begin work on a merit badge until he is enrolled in a Boy Scout troop. He’ll have plenty of time to work on merit badges once he’s a Boy Scout.

Funeral services for a Scouter or Scout?

Question from Kevin: “If a Scout or Scout leader passes away, can they have a flag draped over their casket or a military style funeral.”

Answer from Bryan: The BSA doesn’t specify. During such a difficult time, that decision is best left up to the family of the Scouter or Scout. You may want to consult the Manual for Chaplain Aides and Chaplains under the heading “Scout Funeral Services” for some ways a Scout unit can honor one of its fallen members. A funeral service outline is available there, as well.

Tuck or no tuck?

Question from Michael: “Is it a ‘requirement’ for the uniform shirt to be tucked in? I’ve searched through all BSA publications and cannot get a clear answer.”

Answer from Bill Evans: “No stated requirement. We just say neat appearance. We know many women, for example, prefer to have their shirt out.”

Mix and match?

Question from James: “Can a Scout or Scouter wear the ‘old’ olive green pants with the new Centennial shirts? I’ve heard many people claim that mixing and matching is against the rules, but that rule isn’t in writing anywhere!”

Answer from Bill Evans: “We state that a Scouter and Scout can wear any previous uniform as long as it is in good shape. So, yes. But you can’t mix programs. For example, you shouldn’t wear Venturing pants with a Boy Scout shirt.”

Loop us in: Red or green?

Question from Carlos: “I remember a ‘recommendation’ when the Centennial uniform was first released that Scout troops stop wearing the red shoulder loops and adopt the Centennial Boy Scout (green) shoulder loops even on the ‘old’ uniforms. Is this in writing anywhere? The red loops are discontinued in the ScoutStuff catalog. Is there any reason to still wear them?”

Answer from Bill Evans: “Red loops are no longer available, but we still see plenty of troops wearing them, which is not a problem. Same as seeing a Boy Scout wearing the long green-and-red knee socks with the garters and tabs. That is fine. We offered them once, so you can still wear them. It should be noted, however, that locally made shoulder loops are never authorized.”

Palm presentation?

Question from Heather: “I have an Eagle Scout who has now earned the Bronze Palm. Who should be the one to present it to him? And when is an appropriate time for it to be given to him? I’d like him to receive it at our troop’s Eagle Court of Honor, which involves three other scouts as well, but have been told it can’t be presented there because it’s not a rank badge?

Answer from Bryan: First, congrats to the Eagle Scout who has been active in his troop for at least three months and earned five merit badges beyond those required for Eagle. As to your questions, that’s a matter of troop preference. The Senior Patrol Leader, Scoutmaster, or the Eagle Scout’s mom or dad could present the palms. I’ve never seen palms awarded at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor, but I have seen them handed out at regular troop courts of honor. My instinct would be to keep the Eagle Scout Court of Honor “sacred” for those boys in the troop earning Eagle and make the palms part of the regular troop court of honor. But that’s just me. Any other thoughts for Heather? Please leave in the comments.

Related: Eagle Palm requirements

Jamboree prep?

Question from Veronica: “I was just wandering if you’re going to the Jamboree? Any advice, hints on things to know so I can better prepare my 13-year-old?”

Answer from Bryan: Tell him to get ready for the best 10 days of his life, first of all. My jamboree experiences as a participant in 1997 and 2001 and a staffer in 2005 were some of the best weeks of my Scouting career. There’s a wealth of info over at the official Jamboree website, so be sure he’s browsed around there. As for my advice, it would be to see and do as much as he possibly can. Said another way: Save the lounging around for when he gets back home.

Sure, seeing and doing it all is impossible. But by packing his days with fun activities, he’ll come home with a lifetime of memories. Speaking of, make sure he takes a camera or a smartphone with one built in. He’ll need it to show his classmates what they missed! Anyone else have tips? Leave ’em for Veronica in the comments.

Sustainability MB requirements?

Question from Bobby: “I have seen that the Sustainability Merit Badge will have an earn date of July 15. Do you have any idea of when the merit badge pamphlet and requirements will be released to the rest of us? I am a Merit Badge Counselor for several merit badges that are related and I would like to be “the first on the block” to be able to offer this one.”

Answer from Bryan: Love the enthusiasm. And I’m as excited as you to see these requirements. You’re right about the July 15 earn date, and that’s when I’ll post the requirements here on my blog. Speaking of, have you bookmarked my New Merit Badge Calendar? That always contains the latest info I have about merit badges.

Two roles, two knots?

Question from Tim: “Can a leader earn knots as both a Cub leader and Boy Scout at the same time? A person would be registered as both a den leader and a Scoutmaster trying to earn Den Leader Knot and Scoutmaster Key.”

Answer from Bill Evans: “The bottom line is yes, he can. But it’s important to specify that nobody is ‘earning’ a knot like the Den Leader Knot. Knots only represent an award, like in this case would be the Den Leader Training Award.”

Other Ask the Expert posts

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About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.