Scout, currently a joining badge, to become its own rank

Being a Scout is about to get a lot cooler.

Scout, previously a badge a young man received upon joining and completing a few other requirements, will become its own rank — complete with a new patch — beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

By moving from a “joining badge” to an actual rank, Scout joins Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life as the ranks a young man must earn on his way to the highest rank in Scouting: Eagle Scout.

The requirements for the Scout rank are intentionally tougher than the ones for the Scout badge. Don’t expect completion of the new requirements for the Scout rank (included below) to happen overnight, particularly for boys who were not members of a Cub Scout pack. Depending on the maturity of an individual boy, it may take a few weeks for him to memorize the Scout Oath and Scout Law (Scout rank requirement 1a), as well as to learn some basic Scout skills.

But well-prepared Scouts — especially those who have recently earned the Arrow of Light — should be able to complete the Scout rank during the first few weeks after joining.

The Scout badge/rank is changing, but the age requirements to become a Boy Scout are not. A boy must be 11 years old, or have completed the fifth grade, or have earned the Arrow of Light Award and be at least 10 years old. He cannot yet have turned 18.

Let’s look at the new badge, as well as the old and new requirements.

Scout rank badge


As you can see, the new badge coloring makes more sense when seen as a part of the whole. Here’s the new set:



Each rank badge design now builds on the one before it. From left to right above that’s Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle Scout.

Previous Scout badge requirements

You’ll sometimes hear of these requirements as the “Boy Scout joining requirements.”

  1. Meet the age requirements. Be a boy who is 11 years old, or one who has completed the fifth grade or earned the Arrow of Light Award and is at least 10 years old, but is not yet 18 years old.
  2. Find a Scout troop near your home.
  3. Complete a Boy Scout application and health history signed by your parent or guardian.
  4. Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance.
  5. Demonstrate the Scout sign, salute, and handshake.
  6. Demonstrate tying the square knot (a joining knot).
  7. Understand and agree to live by the Scout Oath, Scout Law, motto, and slogan and the Outdoor Code.
  8. Describe the Scout badge.
  9. Complete the pamphlet exercises. With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide.
  10. Participate in a Scoutmaster conference. Turn in your Boy Scout application and health history form signed by your parent or guardian, then participate in a Scoutmaster conference.

New Scout rank requirements

All requirements for the Scout rank must be completed as a member of a troop. If a Scout has already completed these requirements as part of the Webelos Scouting Adventure, he must simply demonstrate his knowledge or skills to his Scoutmaster or other designated leader after joining the troop.

1a. Repeat from memory the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan. In your own words, explain their meaning.

1b. Explain what Scout spirit is. Describe some ways you have shown Scout spirit by practicing the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan.

1c. Demonstrate the Boy Scout sign, salute, and handshake. Explain when they should be used.

1d. Describe the First Class Scout badge and tell what each part stands for. Explain the significance of the First Class Scout badge.

1e. Repeat from memory the Outdoor Code. In your own words, explain what the Outdoor Code means to you.

1f. Repeat from memory the Pledge of Allegiance. In your own words, explain its meaning.

2. After attending at least one Boy Scout troop meeting, do the following:

2a. Describe how the Scouts in the troop provide its leadership.

2b. Describe the four steps of Boy Scout advancement.

2c. Describe the Boy Scout ranks and how they are earned.

2d. Describe what merit badges are and how they are earned.

3a. Explain the patrol method. Describe the types of patrols that are used in your troop.

3b. Become familiar with your patrol name, emblem, flag, and yell. Explain how these items create patrol spirit.

4a. Show how to tie a square knot, two half-hitches, and a taut-line hitch. Explain how each knot is used.

4b. Show the proper care of a rope by learning how to whip and fuse the ends of different kinds of rope.

5. Demonstrate your knowledge of pocketknife safety.

6. With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide and earn the Cyber Chip Award for your grade.

7. Since joining the troop and while working on Scout rank, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.

Transitioning to the new requirements

Boys joining on or after Jan. 1, 2016 must use the new requirements.

Boys who have joined prior to Jan. 1, 2016 who are working on the Scout badge may continue to work on the existing requirements, but they must convert to the new requirements upon completion of the Scout badge.

See more on the transition here.

Answers to FAQs about the Scout rank (and other rank changes)

Go here (PDF).


  1. So with the changes to the BS rank requirements and possibly a new handbook coming soon (and hopefully the rest of the SM handbook), will this be the last of the big 411 changes we’ve been seeing? Or is something else coming down the pike?

  2. I’ve heard the new book won’t be available until mid January, and that’s if its on time (we know they are ALWAYS on time though, right?) So I suppose troops need to prevent new Scouts joining in January from: 1. buying the old book, which will probably still be on store shelves, 2. providing the correct requirements from an internet copy, and 3. provide the study materials for said new requirements. Why not just be sure the books come out on time, or push the mandatory use date to Feb 1.?

    • A lot of troops, like mine, don’t start recruitment until later in the year. Even so, most councils would grandfather those who are joining in 2016, and allow them to use either requirements.

    • If a boy joins a Boy Scout troop on December 31, 2015 and buys the current (2010) Scout Handbook, he can use it—and the requirements up to First Class, providing he earns his Scout badge by 12/31/15—for the entire year of 2016. That’s part of the transition schedule.

      He doesn’t need to start using the new requirements until he earns First Class, or until January 1, 2017, which ever comes first. He can make First Class in a year, right? 😉

      AFTER he earns First Class, or January 1, 2017 rolls around, he’ll need the REQUIREMENTS pages from the new book, but he’ll be able to download those in PDF form. So it’s not a horrible hardship.

      All Scout shops ought to remove the 2010 edition of the Scout Handbook from store shelves before January 1, 2016, because boys who join a Boy Scout troop on or after that date will not be able to use the requirements from the 2010 edition at all.

    • yes they were, but the Boy Scout program doesn’t fare as well, as the new SM Handbook had been pushed back several times, almost a year and a half late.

      • True. And disappointed no one came out to say why. But I guess it had something to do with these new Boy Scout (BS) changes so they didn’t get the cart before the horse … or the the trailer before the towing truck. 🙂

  3. So what happens when a scout can’t repeat the Scout Oath, Scout Law, and Scout motto from memory? Do you fail them in their BOR?

    • A Scout shouldn’t be allowed to get close to a board of review if he can’t recite those items. Advancement shouldn’t be akin to they way public schools operate, where students are “promoted” to the next grade even if they haven’t cut the mustard. A Scout either knows the material or doesn’t.

    • No BOR for Scout. However, I would think they would come prepared before their SM Conference. As they stated, this badge is not meant to be earned their first week or two. The Cub Scout program is “do your best” Boy Scouts must “complete all requirements as stated, no less, no more”. So the scout needs to practice for the Scout rank, barring any sort of disability, of course.

    • Boards of Review aren’t retests and if someone sees it as such, then some serious training on BOR need to be taken ASAP. Not a Retest or “Examination”
      Though one reason for a board of review is to help ensure the Scout did what he was supposed to do to meet the requirements, it shall become neither a retest or “examination,” nor a challenge of his knowledge. In most cases it should, instead, be a celebration of
      accomplishment. Remember, it is more about the journey. A badge recognizes what a young man has done toward achieving the primary goal of personal growth. …

      • It’s interesting how most of the comments have a generally even split between thumbs up and thumbs down. This illustrates the division on the issue. Do most troops have scouts recite (from memory) the Oath and Law at the start of a BOR? Is this proper procedure? Most scouts (95%) do fine on this in our troop, but a few really do a horrible job. At what point do you not advance the scout to the next rank if he does not memorize the Oath and Law (or at the very least show some progress)? Do you just keep ranking him up? It will not look good if an Eagle candidate can’t recite the Oath and Law.

        • I’m curious who would down-vote mikemenn’s comment, since all he was doing was quoting actual BSA guidelines. How can you argue with that? A BoR is NOT supposed to be a retest. It’s stated over and over again in the guidelines. And I’m sure the boys don’t want it to be! (the boys, remember them? they’re why we’re here.)

    • Scouts don’t fail BORs. BORs don’t take place until after a Scoutmaster conference where the scoutmaster determines if the scout has met all of the requirements for advancement.

    • If a Scout can’t repeat the Oath, Law, motto, slogan, Outdoor Code and Pledge of Allegiance from memory, and they have their handbook signed off for those requirements, you go to the person who signed it and asked them why they did so without them knowing it.

      There’s no BOR for Scout. And even where there is a BOR for a rank, it’s never a retest. But if a Scout were to have moved through the ranks without having memorized these things, the leaders are getting a serious talking-to so we can figure out how it got this far.

      The Oath and Law are basic elements of the Scouting program. We’ve all had to memorize it. And now that it’s the same ones that Cub Scouts have to learn, it should be easy if they’ve come up through the Cub Scout program. Every Troop should be reciting the Oath, Law, Pledge of Allegiance, etc. at every meeting, so Scouts should have it memorized eventually, even if they do nothing else than practice it every time they recite it at the beginning of meetings.

      Unfortunately, I’ve seen all too often where the Webelos leaders don’t take the Arrow of Light requirements seriously and are just looking to pass their Cubs onto Scouting without really doing the requirements. This year, we had 9 new Webelos join our troop and none of them knew the Oath, Law, or any of the other joining requirements. I asked them if they earned the Arrow of Light, to which they all said yes. “But you had to know all this in order to earn the Arrow of Light, so how did you do it,” I asked them. They said their den leader never tested them on that, he just signed their books. Three of them never visited a troop meeting, either.

      We are working with our Webelos-to-Scout coordinator in our troop to make sure the incoming Webelos this year will be prepared to join with the new requirements.

      • All my Webelos met the AOL standards as we began them in August of Year 2. We had been saying the Scout Oath & Law since the August before when they became Webelos Scouts. Most completed the Oath & Law requirement very quickly, but a couple did not finish them until January, 4 months after some of their peers had earned them. We were already moving on to the Boy Scout method of advancing at one’s own pace not moving everyone together at the same time.

        Everyone just needs to hold the Scouts to the requirement as written, nothing more & nothing less. No advancement just because we don’t want the Scout to feel “bad.”

  4. Why? Aren’t these just some of the tenderfoot requirements remixed and rearranged? Why do we need to shuffle things around like this? Is this making the program better for the scouts and the haggard adult volunteers involved? In what way? I recently saw some of the original rank requirements from nearly 100 years ago and they were so simple, so plainly worded. Don’t get me wrong, simple does not mean the same thing as easy. I’m not arguing that scouting should be easy. I do wish it was simpler though. Constantly changing things (apparently just for the sake of change) and making the wording more complex (todays requirements read like a lawyer-ese Legal Contract language compared to the originals) each year is needless complexity.

      • So, he agrees with me (in a more eloquent way). This comment over there was great too, “So many Scouts never even read their books. If you go back the the material written by BP, Uncle Dan, and Green Bar Bill, it was friendly and conversational. It the way that you would have a conversation with a 12 or 13 year old. Those folks really understood communicating with young people and I think recent publications have lost sight of how very important getting their attention and speaking with them in their venacular and not sounding like a school or work handbook.” –Van Donley

    • One reason for the changes is because of the One Oath, One Law initiative that done away with the Cub Scout Promise, Law of the Pack, and Venturing Code. And with Webelos doing more and mroe outdoor stuff, they will be ready for the extras.

    • I am all in favor of removing this from a “joining” requirement. And in the process I am in favor of adding the knots. The only thing I would change is that I would NOT have all of these be repeats of what the Scout may have done in Webelos. I would have preferred that it mean something NOT included in Arrow of Light. But as it is, all of the requirements are going to be repeats from AOL for those Webelos using the new requirements. I would also have included a Board of Review.

    • You’re right on these being some of the tenderfoot requirements remixed and rearranged. The change is also in Cub Scouts. In Cub Scouts, many of the new requirements are the same as those for Scout, Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, etc. The Cubs are required to pass these requirements to earn Webelos and AOL. Guess they just have to repeat the same requirements when they get to Boy Scouts. Seems silly.

  5. Most new Scouts already viewed Scoutas their first RANK in Boy Scouts. The concept of a joining badge is totally foreign to most new boys, and even our older boys. Likewise nine out of ten adult volunteers you ask will tell you the same thing, that SCOUT has always been the first rank in Boy Scouting. It’s fine to make the requirements a little more difficult, because the boys understand that concept of “earning” a rank, but at least in our area, drawing the distinction between a SCOUT badge and a SCOUTt rank, will only confuse Boy Scouts and adult volunteers alike.

    • Actually Scout as a joining emblem came about in 1972 as part of the Improved Scouting Program. Confusion ever since. Heck I remember when having AOL automatically gave you Scout and waived the 2 months time requirements needed for Tenderfoot.

      Yep, I’m an old fogey 😉

    • I always explained that the Scout badge was like the Bobcat in Cubs – it was a joining badge. There were things (simple) that had to be done for it, and it was a patch worn on the uniform as a placekeeper.

  6. Interesting changes but I am not sure I see the point of some of them. Learning the Scout Oath & Law until the scout can repeat it from memory isn’t too hard. Nor is remembering the Motto & Slogan honestly. We, as a troop, haven’t done as well with the Outdoor Code focusing more on getting the scouts to understand what in means & the obligations it puts on the scouts – as part of the Leave No Trace initiative (& Totin’ Chip requirement).

    I find the requirements 2a-d to be more procedural and that a 10-11 year old scout cross-over will ‘learn & forget’ these. That said, we walk our scouts through the different ranks and encourage them to read the scout handbook with their parents. They seem to be better learned through time in the troop, exposure, & experience – organically learned, if you will, to use an overly used expression.

    And it seems odd that the pocketknife be added to this rank as it is part of 3c for Second Class. Especially as most scouts won’t have a pocketknife at that point and cannot use them on scouting activities until earning the Totin’ Chip. In fact a number of parents ask us when their scout can get a jackknife and we walk them both through the process.

    In the end, honestly, I don’t see the need for the changes. My son tested for the Scout badge seven years ago with one of our long-standing leaders in the troop. He did OK but the leader wanted more. So he told him to read up on it & that he’d retest him the following week. My son was disappointed but did so. The following week he did very well, earning him a firm handshake and a “Congratulations.” The ear to ear grin my son was sporting said it all.


    James (SM)

  7. In nearly 40 years of leadership,I never considered the Scout Badge anything other than a rank. Just goes to show how over the years scouting standards have become relaxed to please a few donors and their relatives. Time to get back to hard core basics before all the lemmings go over the cliff. Oh, and for the Eagle Scout who say we need to get back to fulfilling the Scout Motto and Scout Slogan, seems to me you need to find out why you decided not to keep the oaths and promises you made.

  8. I haven’t seen the new Webelos requirements but if a scout is sporting an AoL, they should knock this out in relatively short order. I could see with a new scout, it might take a few weeks.

      • The only problem I can see is the grandfathered Webelos earn it the old way, but then they go onto Boy Scouts around Jan. 2015 or later, they will have to do the new Scout requirements. A council commissioner told me these new Scout requirements are not mandatory until summer. Can anyone verify?

        • This year’s 2nd year Webelos have the option of finishing the old Webelos requirements or following the new AOL requirements. In our Pack, they are more than half way done with the old Webelos badge so they’re finishing that one.

          Everyone else from here on out will be following the new program and requirements.

  9. First, I like the change in color. Graphically helps in showing the transition in parts of the First Class patch.

    Second, by making it officially a Rank it clears up some cofusion between Scout and the other ranks.

    Third, i’m glad it is more than what can be done in just one night. Helps make it seem worth something to earn.

    In our troop we have been using a program we developed called ‘Character Counts’ where on the scouts first campout after crossover. The scouts learn the parts of ‘Scout’ and also work on team building. The day ends with individual SM conferences and presentation of badges at that evenings campfire. With the additional requirements I don’t see a problem in incorporating them into our program. By having the older scouts teaching the different parts it truly helps the new scouts to part of the whole.

  10. So, will the requirements for Tenderfoot rank change, since some of those requirements have been added to the new Scout rank?

  11. This is more similar to when I transitioned from Webelos to Boy Scouts in 1970s. I am glad that it has to be earned again.

  12. What happened to the previous age/rank related joining requirements, i.e., Meet the age requirements. Be a boy who is 11 years old, or one who has completed the fifth grade or earned the Arrow of Light Award and is at least 10 years old, but is not yet 18 years old. Without these age or previous experience requirements, it seems like a boy of any age can join Scouting?

  13. I’m pleased at the change in the fleur-de-lis color from brown to gold. I like to point out to our Scouts that the design of the rank badges gradually add elements until the entire Scout Badge is represented in the First Class rank patch, drawing parallels between their growth as younger Scouts into having learned the basic skills necessary to take a formal leadership role, turn around and teach the younger Scouts behind them. The color change graphically reinforces this.

    I understand that when the BSA switched to tan-background rank patches in 1989, the brown fleur-de-lis was retained from the earlier full-color patch design for Scout when the joining badge was introduced in 1972. Does anyone know why the original design for the joining badge didn’t use a gold fleur-de-lis like the older rank designs for Tenderfoot, First Class, Star and Life?

  14. Question: Currently any requirements from Tenderfoot through First Class can be worked on at the same time. Now that Scout is a rank, which is correct: that they can work on anything from Scout to First Class at the same time, or that they first have to earn Scout?

    And aren’t several of the new Scout requirements already in the lower rank reqs? What do we do with those???

  15. I though the Scout ranks were changing to age/grade.
    6th grade – Scout & Tenderfoot
    7th grade – Second and first Class
    8th grade – Star and Life
    9th grade – Eagle

    So if a youth did not join until 7th he would work on 2nd & 1st or if 9th grade he would start working on his eagle.

    Maybe that is not for a few years

    • BOY Scouts is not CUB Scouts, and should NOT be grade/aged based. If BSA was to do this in my opinion, it will further emphasize the “One and Done” mentality I am starting to see more and more in Scouting, and not “Mastering the Skills,” or “The Badge represents what the Scout can do, not what he has done” mentality of previous generations of Scouts and editions of Boy Scout Handbooks.

      • Making it age/grade related would hold back those that put in more effort. Our troop has four 6th graders that just got 1st class and one of those boys did it two days before he turned 11. We also have six more 6th graders between Tenderfoot and 2nd. We also have an 8th grader that is Tenderfoot, a 7th grade and 8th grade Life Scouts and one kid that could probably make Eagle before he turns 14 (he decided to focus a year on earning awards instead of working on Eagle). We have a couple of gifted kids as well as some with learning disabilities. Letting them set their own pace also teaches them how to get things done in the real world. My son is one of the ones burning through merit badges and ranks and he quickly discovered that if he wants all those achievements then he had to learn time management skills and make goal plans. On the other hand I also have a foster son who is learning disabled and mentally handicapped yet he doesn’t feel bad about not keeping up with the others or feel pressured to catch up because it’s not based on his grade/age.

    • No matter what changes are made within the ranks, in Boy Scouts you still need to advance from one rank to the other and meet all of the skill requirements and TIME requirements. Using the method listed by the poster, why not have a boy wait until 9th grade and just become an Eagle with nothing else done? Because it doesn’t work that way.

      I’m still wondering about the kid reported to be an Eagle Scout at 11 years of age. I saw the story in the foreign press, but bever saw anything from national. An 11 year old would neither have the time to complete the required ranks, not have been able to meet the time requirements necessary to advance.

  16. Let’s hope not BUT many of the paid staff were not Scouts or even Scouters, they are all about numbers. If they can get more numbers by recruiting older boys with a fast track to eagle they are going to do it. It’s all about the numbers.

    • Maybe the “paid staff” in YOUR Council were never Scouts nor Scouters; 79 percent of the BSA’s National Team (staff) are volunteers or were volunteer Scouters; and 38 percent of the National Team (staff) were former Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and/or Explorers/Venturers. They and their volunteer counterparts are about *program* and *program successes* which money is a small part of.

      • 38% is really low I think for how many previous scouts, and when you say 79% are or were volunteers, that doesn’t mean much because they are “encouraged” to volunteer when hired, the number that matters is how many volunteered before becoming an employee.

  17. I am an Eagle Scout I just got my rank last year and let me tell you scouting changed my life but honesty I do not like these new changes the ranks are already hard enough to earn do you people not want young scouts to get eagle because the more stuff you add the more boys going to quite its proven but yet you still turn it in to something reciculous.

  18. I see that my days in scouting are numbered. Scouts are far more busy now than they were even 10 years ago. National seems to have a concern about numbers dropping, so they keep making things more and more difficult. Don’t get me wrong, advancement shouldn’t be a piece of cake, but new requirements are getting out of hand. It’s difficult enough for boys to be able to attend meetings on a regular basis if they are in sports, show choir and/or other activities. Does anyone at the national level involved with units at all? If they did I think they would be more concerned about some of these changes.

    • I think they’ve been pretty clear that either you are in sports programs or in scouts. I don’t get any impression that they want kids doing any activities outside what the BSA has deemed “worthy” (for lack of a better term). They are quite happy to let you “try” sports then move on

      • Jim B,

        Kind of a sad ‘with us or against us’ mentality, honestly. Some of our troop’s most active and top notch scouts have been those who have been athletes as well as scouts – including some who’ve become Eagle.

        It is a balancing act no doubt about it, especially at the higher ranks, but it can be done & successfully so. We must foster a welcoming atmosphere within scouting. Otherwise scouting will slowly become a thing of the past.

        Honestly considering the alarming rate at which kids drop school sports the BSA should be targeting the 12 – 15 year olds who are looking for something fun to do. They get burnt out by the grind of sports, especially the pressure put on them.

        I had two scouts join our troop this year who are freshman. They went to summer camp & had a blast and are enjoying themselves no end.


        • We have a 6th grade 1st class about that is in his church youth group and plays baseball and football every year, another that plays soccer, track and cross country, and my son got 1st class just before he turned 11 and he does cross country, track and competitive rock climbing. Our local middle coaches keep pointing out that our sports teams are mostly scouts. On cross country only one boy on the team wasn’t a scout. We even talked the coach into being a merit badge counselor. There is no reason you can’t do both.

      • The Guide to Advancement addresses the issue of how a Scout can balance his time commitments pretty clearly – take a look at section, Active Participation. It includes the following:
        “…We must also recognize the many worthwhile
        opportunities beyond Scouting. Taking advantage
        of these opportunities and participating in them may
        be used to explain why unit participation falls short.
        Examples might include involvement in religious activities,
        school, sports, or clubs that also develop character,
        citizenship, or personal fitness. The additional learning
        and growth experiences these provide can reinforce
        the lessons of Scouting and also give young men the
        opportunity to put them into practice in a different setting…”
        And more on that topic follows.
        It appears to me that this provision was included to address the “our way or the highway” mentality that could discourage other worthwhile pursuits. Please consider this before deciding what “they” want Scouts to be involved in.

      • My son is a three-season high school athlete (football, basketball, track) and is about to complete his Eagle rank. Our troop also has a lot of boys in baseball and soccer. Certainly there are times of year that are more difficult for attendance than others, but boys can definitely participate in sports AND Scouting both.

    • Gayle, I can assure you that the folks doing all of the changes are VOLUNTEERS, just like you and me, from all over the nation and not just in Texas.

      As purely background, this effort to revise the Scouting programs started back in 2009. There were seven tasks forces composed of *volunteers* from all over the nation (I was a part of two of them at the time) which looked at where Scouting was, where it was at that point in time, and where we suggested that Scouting goes to meet the new challenges of youth in the 21st Century.

      In 2009, the first of the results of the “411” task forces were revealed to realign and restructure the National Center. In 2010, the BSA looked at membership, training and field professional standards. 2012, we started the revision of our older youth programming and last year (2013) we did the same thing with revisions to our Cub Scouting programming. Last year (2014) we started with the revisions to Boy Scouting.

      Everything is designed in two year “brackets” so that as we finished one group of revisions, that it would bound over to the next group. Of course, our internal arguments over membership standards pushed things back a little…but overall, the BSA is on course toward getting the entire movement revamped by 2017.

      To directly answer your question, a very large number of the BSA’s professional staff and of course, all of the BSA’s volunteer staff at the national level are also UNIT LEVEL volunteers too. Many of the professionals working at the National Center are also unit committee, Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting and/or Venturing leaders. Of course, all of the volunteers serving at the national level are also members of units or are Districts and local Council leaders too.

      Hope that help resolve your concerns that “nobody’s steering the boat”.

  19. They really want to know how you’ve done your duty to God. They ask seven times. Not once do they ask about Country. Curious.

  20. My family lives in Columbus, Ohio. Our son is a freshman at a city high school, where he picked up some literature during Orientation. The information on the document states that kids in grades 9-12 work on the Eagle Boy Scout rank. He talked with a young man and his Dad who were both in uniform and had lots of patches.

    Our son was impressed by the patches and is interested in joining the group. My husband says that being an Eagle in Boy Scouts will impress the admissions staff when our son applies to College.

    • Honestly, colleges are impressed with youth who’ve done some good in the world … by developing their own special skill-set and showing leadership.

      Eagle is a brand that connotes special skill-sets and leadership. But admissions officers are pretty savvy. If all someone has on their application is the Eagle award, but no description (say in the essay portion) of how they developed special skills or showed leadership, it wont amount to much.

      So, the right approach to college is hard work academically. (That’s how a student learns to take stock of his/her life and write about it clearly.) Then, put free time into developing special skills and showing leadership outside of the classroom. Being a scout and working toward Eagle is certainly a great way to do that. (Especially if a boy likes patches!)

  21. On working on the first four ranks simultaneously, note that the note appearing below the last requirement for TF, SC and FC states “The requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks may be worked on simultaneously; however, these ranks must be earned in sequence.” Scout is not mentioned in that note. Section of the Guide to Advancement states that “Requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class may be passed at any time after the Scout badge has been earned.” The 2015 edition was written in consideration of the new 2016 requirements. Scout is to be earned before beginning work on any other rank.
    And the idea that Boy Scout ranks are tied to age or grade in school is incorrect. That is the plan in Cub Scouting, but not in Boy Scouting. The 2015 Guide includes this item in “After being awarded the Scout badge, there are six ranks in Boy Scouting that are to be earned sequentially no matter what age a boy joins the program.”
    Finally, let’s remember that a lot of very dedicated volunteers at the national level worked hard to develop these new requirements. They include some great ideas that should bring noticeable improvement to the program. I too have concerns about how a few of them will work in the real world troop environment, but let’s give them an honest try. We may be pleasantly surprised.

    • Actually the 2015 Guide to Advancment, 2nd edition ( the one that came out after June 1, 2015) does NOT cover the new rank requirements as they do not go into effect until January 1, 2016, which is when a new Guide to Advancement should be coming out. The 2015 GTA 2nd Ed came out to cover the new Cub Scout program.

      Gotta remember that the GtA needs to cover CURRENT advancement situations.

      I just hope that national doesn’t keep changing requirements on an almost yearly basis. Wish they would stick with one set of requirements, the one in the BSHB, and let folks finish their advancement trail using their BSHB. I’ve seen an issue because a Scout was using his BSHB’s requirements, only to be told they were changed, and he had more stuff to do.

      • Agreed. The wording was chosen in light of what was to come, but a 2016 version of the Guide will certainly be needed to clarify this for everyone. The 2016 Requirements book should also include an explanation of the difference between Scout and the next three ranks. The note at the bottom of the current requirements listings is going to be missed by some.

  22. Our council had and Eagle Scout candidate at the board of review. He was 13 years old, and we were told that you can’t take maturity into consideration, yet in the 3rd paragraph you use that word. Please explain. I was on that review board.

    • Simple. The age 13 Eagle candidate should have his ‘maturity’ measured against his age and against a 17 years, 11 month candidate that was reviewed just before the 13 year old candidate. I would venture that the ‘maturity’ would be several years ahead of his 13 years on this Earth.

      [ A comparable issue exist for Merit Badges, where all scouts are expected to meet the same written requirements, but your typical 11-12-13 year old has a different background and experience than the 16-17 year old Scout. ]

  23. If we just let them slide through, what is going to become of the Eagle Scout…People will just blow it off. Yes boys will make mistakes but for the most part they need to do them and if they are w a great troop the scoutmaster will def make sure these boys know these things. Don’t start giving these ranks away. Boys need to learn and quit rushing them through.

    • I don’t think maturity should be a factor in BOR but it can be a factor in some merit badges. Our SM won’t let boys start family life until he thinks they are mature enough to take the badge seriously.

      • GtA says you don’t need a “Blue Card” or to have met with a counselor to start working on a MB, so how do you enforce your policy above? And how is it not adding to the requirements (always been a no-no) if you have some threshold requirement for a MB that is not stated in the requirements?

        • It’s not something he enforces really, he talks with the boys regularly about what they are working on and what they plan next. He will strongly suggest waiting if he doesn’t think they are ready. If the boy decides to do it anyway we don’t stop them or discourage them. For example, my son wanted to do EnviSci as part of his rankles advancement goals. The SM suggested waiting to do that one at summer camp because it would be difficult on his own. That didn’t fit with my son’s goals so the SM is trying to find a counselor for him. The SM will make suggestions but he won’t hinder those that are determined.

  24. I’ve always seen the scout badge as a rank. I’m not against changes, but I do feel it is important for the new boys to have that patch on their uniforms right away. A new scout with no rank has no status within the group. All these requirements accomplish is withholding that rank until the boys have completed requirements that already exist in the coming ranks. Seems to me that this period of the new scout being in limbo might encourage more than a few scouts to change their minds and quit.

    As for the actual requirements, do they really need to know the finer points of the First Class badge? It might be over a year or two before First Class is earned. Explain the patrol system and how the boys run the troop? Really? In many units, September (when many new scouts sign up) is whe the leadership of the troop is being re-organized with new SPLs and patrol leaders, etc. This can be a bit chaotic for a time as the boys transition to their new roles. So we now expect the new boys to figure all this out right after joining? It will take many several months to get a true feel for how the troop functions.

    I don’t see the point in any of this. The boys are not going to benefit from it. It will just add an obstacle to becoming a member–something the BSA certainly does not need.

  25. Currently, the achievement of the Scout rank does not count towards Journey to Excellence advancement requirement #6. Will the more stringent requirements now allow this rank to count?

  26. What is the back saver sit and reach for Tenderfoot? Are we going to need to get a sit and reach box and how are the Scouts supposed to practice for it?

  27. Silly-silly. The Scout Rank has been considered mostly a JOINING token for knowing Oath & Law, and a bit about scouting lore — comparable to the old Bobcat _pin_.

    The well prepared Webelo + Arrow of Light _should_ be handed the Scout rank/badge at the far end of the cross-over bridge, after 10 min. with the new Scoutmaster and then fill out the first column for the Tenderfoot physical fitness req. sheet, the same evening.
    This allows for awarding the Tenderfoot rank at the Court of Honor a month (plus a couple of days) later, and on to FIRST CLASS IN A YEAR.

    My prediction is that in many Troops, the graduated AOL and new Scouts will be waiting
    six months later, to complete the enhanced requirements of this new Scout Rank,
    and for January/February Courts of Honor.
    {Not your well run Troop, but that other one down the road.}
    This will cause more discouragement and drop outs.
    And we know, in that other Troop, no serious work is done or signed-off for advancement to the next rank until after the prior rank award has been issued at a formal Court of Honor and the badge sewn on the uniform.

  28. Most of you all are missing the point. The new Scout requirements get everybody on the same page. Not every boy that comes into a troop has been in Cub Scouts. Not every Cub Scout crossing over has earned his AoL. (or fulfilled all the requirements the BSA way, as we’re learning from the commenters.) The new requirements mean the boys *should* understand their troop and the way it is supposed to function better. I know some parents are mystified about the whole process long past when they should already know how it all works, but not all parents are scouters. Some never plan to be, some would be if they could figure out what’s going on. Not everybody has time for hours of online training and even fewer are inclined to campout for a weekend just to find out how Scouts operates. This makes sure the BOYS understand how it all is supposed to operate right from the start.

    And for those of you complaining about the repetition, these are teenage boys we’re talking about. Since when did telling them something ONCE or having them do something ONCE mean they heard you or understood it? By the time they’re old enough to be SPL, hopefully they will have been “through the routine” enough times they will know instinctively “the BSA way” for anything they have to deal with. BSA is trying to make “a boy led troop” the default, and not something that happens only with the luck of the draw. (It is not the norm it should be, at the moment. Kudos to you who have a boy led troop, but there are still too many dysfunctional units to say they all are boy led.)

    • I agree that we should be striving for better unit organization and to have all units boy-led. I just don’t see how this change in requirements affects that one way or the other. The changes would do nothing to aid the transition to Boy Scouting, regardless of whether the new scout earned AOL, or even had any Cub Scouting experience at all. In any case, this will just present an additional hurdle.

  29. Bryan,
    According to the BSA’s Webelos Transition page, “A Webelos Scout who has earned the Arrow of Light rank has now completed all the requirements for the Scout badge and may join a Boy Scout troop.”
    Aside from the debates over whether a Webelos actually “earned” the AOL, this statement seems to support the practice of a boy getting his Scout badge at the other end of the bridge in his crossover ceremony along with his troop neckerchief, handbook, etc. But this page does say “badge” not “rank.” Is the intent that with the new Scout Rank that this practice should/would no longer be possible, and that the AOL recipient will need to repeat/perform the requirements in his new patrol? I can see both sides of the argument, but I’m looking for what the policy will actually be (not just the opinions of this august community of commentators 😉 If the boy could do it once for AOL, he shouldn’t have any issue repeating the requirements again. But on the other hand, getting your Scout badge/rank at your crossover ceremony is a great transition and a possible point of motivation for the Webelos to do those things in the AOL to prepare himself for Boy Scouts. Thanks!

  30. I just answered my own question by re-reading the FAQ, imagine that! :). It’s pretty clear that the Scout Rank will be earned after joining the Troop, even by AOL recipients, and not presented at crossover as has been the case with the Scout badge in the past. Thanks for all you do to help keep us informed!

  31. Not to change the subject on the new requirements, but I hope that the bindings on the new BS handbooks are greatly improved. I still have my handbook from the 60s and others that I have accumulated, but it seems the more recent editions fall apart with just a little use. I know you can get one with the plastic spiral binding, but really, how much would a little wider glue binding band add to the handbook ?

  32. Its about time. As a scout I had to earn it as my first rank and this was at a time when we had skill awards belt loops. This should have never been “given” away as was done in the past. I am glad its gone back to old standard and now if we can make the succeeding rank a little more challenging and interesting then we may retain more youth and even attract more youth that have never been exposed to scouting before.

  33. I like the new requirements, but I say leave the badge as it was. Having scout different gives the effect of giving “bookends” to the ranks, as the scout badge and eagle scout badge are so different.

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