Yes, summer months count toward advancement time

expertlogo1Updated 2021

Most Scouts are taking a break from school right now, but Scouting doesn’t take summers off.

So I was surprised to learn that in one troop, the Scoutmaster mandates that summer months don’t count toward Scouts BSA advancement requirements. That means he doesn’t count June, July or August as valid months required for Scouts needing four active months for Star or six active months for Life.

I’m sure he means well, but the Scoutmaster is wrong on this one.

Here’s the question and the expert’s response.

The question

In our troop, the Scoutmaster mandates that during school summer recess, he will not acknowledge summer time as valid months required for either Star or Life advancement.

Our schedule usually ends after a court of honor in mid-June. During the summer, Scouts attend camps in the district or council activities. The Scouts are in good registration and still actively participate in Scouting activities. Is the Scoutmaster right?


[name withheld]

The applicable requirement

The requirement for Star reads: Be active in your unit (and patrol if you are in one) for at least four months as a First Class Scout.

And for Life it’s: Be active in your unit (and patrol if you are in one) for at least six months as a Star Scout.

Losing two or three months during summer hurts the Scout working toward either of these ranks.

This also applies to positions of responsibility, where Scouts must serve in these positions for four months (for Star) or six months (for Life or Eagle).

The expert’s answer

From Mike Lo Vecchio of the BSA’s Content Management Team:

A Scout who is currently registered and has not been removed from their unit because of disciplinary reasons should not be penalized because their unit is inactive during the summer months.

Requirements completed for merit badges and ranks must be counted.

If they hold a position of responsibility during the time their unit is not active, they cannot be penalized, and their time must be counted.

As with all service hours for Second Class, Star and Life, they must be approved by the unit leader.

If service hours are to be performed during the months the unit is not active, the unit leader should not disapprove otherwise valid service and prevent the Scout from completing their requirements.

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About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.