When do Scouts start using the new Boy Scout requirements?

When Ryan Seacrest finishes the countdown on New Year’s Eve, the calendar won’t be the only thing changing.

Boy Scouts will switch to a new set of requirements at each rank — Scout through Eagle — beginning Jan. 1, 2016. You can see all the requirements, old and new, in this PDF.

But when are Scouts required to use the new requirements? What about Scouts who are still working on a rank using the old requirements?

And what about those young men who join the troop after Jan. 1, 2016? Must they use the new requirements right away?

Those answers and more below, taken from these FAQs.

This is the latest in a series of posts where I take an in-depth look at changes coming to Boy Scouting next year.

I’ve already blogged about the number of camping nights and service hours increasing, an increased emphasis on physical fitnessScout becoming its own rank and Boy Scouts telling about their duty to God at each rank. You can read more about changes to Boy Scouting (and, for that matter, Cub Scouting and Venturing, on the Program Updates page.)

When can Scouts start using the new Boy Scout requirements?

On Jan. 1, 2016. No earlier.

The requirements were released early so Scouts and Scouters would have plenty of time to prepare for the changes.

Does every Boy Scout have to switch to the new requirements right on Jan. 1?

No. Boys registered in a troop, team, crew or ship on or prior to Dec. 31, 2015, may choose to switch on Jan. 1, 2016. But they don’t have to.

For those who choose not to switch right away, here are the rules:

  • Boys registered in a troop on or before Dec. 31, 2015, who are working on Tenderfoot through First Class ranks, may continue to use the old requirements through 2016, but they must convert to the new requirements upon attaining the First Class rank.
  • Boys registered in a troop, team, crew or ship on or before Dec. 31, 2015, who have completed the First Class rank may complete the rank they are currently working on with the old requirements through 2016, but then must convert to the new requirements for subsequent ranks. (For example, a First Class Scout working on Star can finish Star with the old requirements but must use the new ones for Life.)
  • Any boy registering in a troop for the first time on or after Jan. 1, 2016, must use the new requirements.

Is there a deadline for using the current/old requirements?

Yes. Dec. 31, 2016, is the last day to sign off on requirements using the old requirements.

So what if a youth is partially done with a rank on Dec. 31, 2016?

He would not need to “start over” and repeat all of the requirements for that rank. He must only complete new requirements and any new elements of requirements.

If the wording of a completed rank requirement has not changed and that requirement was signed off on or prior to Dec. 31, 2016, the approval should be transferred to the corresponding new requirements.

For Tenderfoot through First Class ranks, this may include approvals that were previously listed in a different rank.

When the rank in progress has new requirements (or new elements of requirements) that were not in a previously completed rank under the current (2015) requirements, those new requirements or elements will need to be completed in 2017 and beyond.

Will there be a new handbook for use with the new requirements?

Yes, as previously announced, the 13th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook will be available in January 2016. Look for more details in January.

Will every Scout need to acquire a new handbook in order to have requirements signed off?

No. A Scout may continue to use his existing handbook as a reference and resource. However, he should also have a list of the new requirements for the purpose of sign-offs.

It should be noted that there will be other content updates beyond requirement changes in the new Boy Scout Handbook, which may make the purchase of a new handbook desirable for many BSA members.

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