New Boy Scout requirements for 2016 now in effect

It’s officially 2016, meaning the new Boy Scout rank requirements I’ve been blogging about for months are now official.

Where can you find the requirements, when must your Scouts start using them and what are the big changes?

You have questions, and we have answers.

Let’s do this. 

Where can I find the new Boy Scout requirements?

The BSA has made it easy for you, providing this PDF straight from the new Boy Scout Handbook (which, by the way, will available soon).

There’s also this requirements insert (PDF), which is suitable for printing and including in a previous-generation Handbook.

When do my Scouts start using these new Boy Scout requirements?

Think of 2016 as a transition year during which both the old and the new requirements will be used, based on the Scout’s joining date or his current rank on Jan. 1, 2016.

I blogged about the transition a few weeks back, but here are the basics:

The rank requirements are official as of Jan. 1, 2016. Scouts who joined the Boy Scouts of America on or after Jan. 1, 2016, MUST follow the rank requirements as printed in this Boy Scout Handbook or in the current year’s Boy Scout Requirements book.

Scouts who joined the BSA prior to Jan. 1, 2016: 

  • Who are working on the Tenderfoot through First Class ranks MAY continue to follow the old requirements, but MUST convert to the current requirements upon attaining First Class.
  • Who have completed the First Class rank MAY complete the rank they are currently working on in the old requirements, but MUST convert to the current requirements for subsequent ranks.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, all Scouts MUST use the current requirements regardless of rank.

What are the big changes?

In the last few months of 2015, I did a deep dive into the new Boy Scout requirements. Click each of these below to take a closer look:

What if I still have questions?

They’re probably answered on the BSA’s Program Updates page. It’s my go-to source for information on — what else? — BSA program updates.


  1. My son hasn’t even crossed over yet abd can do all the things required for the scout rank. webelos who earn their AOL should have no problem with this.

    • The point of AoL is to provide a cub the opportunity to practice with his den what it might be like to be in a patrol or troop. If the Webelos has mastered those skills, advancement in his new patrol is simply a matter of demonstrating them to his patrol leader or troop guide (which might take a few weeks if there are lots of crossovers — then getting involved in service projects, camping, exercising, and generally having fun in his troop.

      Obviously, he’ll also be better able to help other boys who may not have been cub scouts. That’s a different kind of fun that some people call leadership!

  2. That’s exactly correct. Plus, for Webelos who are on the current program, the Scout Rank requirements are exactly the same as Arrow of Light adventure “Scouting Adventure.” So Cub Scouts who earned the Arrow of Light under the current program effectively will have already done these requirements and only have to demonstrate their knowledge once crossing over to earn the Scout Rank.

  3. ok, so when might the new handbook with these requirements be available?
    Mid 2015? no.
    Jan 1, 2016? no.
    Sometime after January 20, 2016? Will see.
    Great way to work with new joining scouts and thier parents. DONT buy the hanbook. I know its requried but its the wrong one and we dont know when we will be able to get the right one.

  4. And I see the new requirements are now reflected in ScoutBook online… This will be helpful! (they weren’t as of the 2nd when our PLC met)

  5. I still see a HUGE issue with the new Scout Spirit requirement and the duty to god. I see this as an easy way for Scoutmasters to push their religious beliefs on the Scouts.

    So one Scout’s duty to god might be harm those who do believe as he does:
    “Fighting is prescribed for you, and ye dislike it. But it is possible that ye dislike a thing which is good for you, and that ye love a thing which is bad for you. But Allah knoweth, and ye know not.”

    or to be a racist:
    “And the Lord had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”

    Boy Scouts needs to leave duty to god to churches or families. Another lawsuit is sure to follow after a Scoutmaster or Board of review goes astray.

    • Wow. You seem to have missed the whole point of Scouting. In addition to being an Asst. Scoutmaster in an LDS unit, I’m also the Cubmaster of a Community Pack sponsored by the local Elks Lodge. One of my best friends is the pastor of the Lutheran Church and also my son’s den leader. Last year, I attended the Methodist baptism of one of the boys in my troop, and another boy in our troop is devout Catholic.

      Please understand you are in the minority, and most Scouts and Scouters have a HUGE issue with your position. A Scout is Reverent. That point of The Scout Law should be exercised by respecting and celebrating the beliefs of others.

      • I have been in Scouting a very long time as was my father before me and his father before him. I ashore you I get the point of Scouting and that is why I am concerned about this change. I think you are missing the point of my concern.

        Yes if a unit, its’ chartering organization and its leadership are all truly reverent ( showing of great respect and admiration) and open to the beliefs of others without any bias, then there is no issue or concern; but you must admit, two people’s belief in, and duty to, god can be diametrically opposite and can conflict with the Scout Law we all hold so dear.

        And there are leaders, many leaders who have a very strong belief in their religion being the true or correct religion and are taught or believe they are doing you a disservice by not trying to save or convert you.

        My units have all faiths and denominations and everyone is very aware and respectful, accepting (and reverent) of our diversity. I am the godfather of two children of different faiths, have attended Mass with the Pope John Paul 2, sat Shiva after the loss of a college friend, and had the pleasure of meeting the Dalai Lama, so I understand religious diversity a bit.

        I leave the details of those religions and the belief constructs of those religions at the door when I step into the role of Scouter.

        I also must disagree with your assessment that “Most” Scouts and Scouters have a HUGE issue with my position, my experience is to the contrary.

        My concern is with the longevity of the Scouting program, increasing the duty to god component is NOT a step in the right direction and has great potential for further deteriorating the Scouting movement in the US

    • This is the verse that gets misinterpreted a lot. The skins they wore were animal skins that marked the type of power or priesthood they were holding. White and exceedingly fair meant their spiritual quality for having the right to wear the priesthood or animal skin. Blackness referred to their souls changing to darkness, no longer having the power to wear the priesthood. Symbolically, if the animal skin flesh they are wearing, isn’t preserved properly, it turns black and dies. Has nothing to do with nationality.

      • I see I have gotten your Garmies all a tither. Your interpretation is a very recent change in the position of the LDS church.

        It still amazes me we have Scouting world wide and only BSA interprets BP as being so religious.

    • Scouting is a private organization with values and principles that are and have always been a critical element in the purpose of the program. If someone is against religion or spirituality, there are plenty other organizations they are welcome to become a part of. Your concern is understandable but invalid from the perspective of scouting. And it is why it is so very frustrating when scouting is put under pressure by the liberal left and others who want to force the program to change and adapt to those views which would have them completely redefine and take apart the whole program. Bottom line. If you don’t like the principles of scouting, don’t join or participate. Sounds pretty simple to me.

      • Yes Scouting is private BUT receives huge public funding through tax exception and grants.

        Scouting is NOT religion and in its by-laws states.

        The Boy Scouts of America, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that
        religious training. Its policy is that the home and the organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life.

        Furthermore, and this is where I think MANY units and Scouter are misinformed:

        Clause 3.
        In no case where a unit is connected with a church or other distinctively religious organization shall members of other denominations or faith be required, because of their membership in the unit, to take part in or observe a religious ceremony distinctly unique to that organization or church.

        So when a Scout is asked to “Tell how you have done your duty to God” in theory the Scouter must accept the Scouts answer without interjecting their own beliefs. I do not think Scouters with strong religious beliefs will be able to accept answers that are contrary to their religious beliefs

        I am 100% for the principle of Scouting, I am not for the principle of the well meaning Scouter who interjects his of her religious beliefs and the new duty to god open the door for them to do so much more than ever before.

        • Adult scouters in a board of review who let the spirit of the Scout Oath and Law guide what they hear, will have no problem accepting answers from a boy who understands what it means for him to do his Duty to God.

    • Yes, it is hypothetically possible for a boy to have those beliefs, and in that probably very unlikely hypothetical situation, if the boy believes that he has met his duty to God requirement as defined by himself and his family, then he has met that particular requirement. I’m not saying that the BSA should be fine with attitudes like that. Meeting the Duty to God requirement doesn’t necessarily imply that he has also met the Scout spirit requirement (which in these hypothetical instances I submit that he hasn’t). So, still grounds to deny rank advancement, but in those hypothetical situations the rank advancement wouldn’t be denied because of anything related to Duty to God.

    • Concerned Anonymous Scouter: Come around to your real point: you don’t think religion has a place in scouting.

      This all reads like you just needed to get something off of your chest about your worry that the LDS church or Muslims (or any religions different from your own) are going to convince boy scouts to NOT do/believe the things you happen to agree with in your Christian Old & New Testament view of faith. If I use your untoward tactic I would count among these such teachings as:”seiz[ing] your infants and dash[ing] them against the rocks.” or “cut[ting] off the hands of your wife [if she is unfaithful]”. I don’t think it is your place or mine to cherry pick from a quick internet search and decide you know about what the faithful in that religion believe. Meeting a pope or sitting in an ashram gives you no particular authority or standing and it seems clear the Dalai Lama had very little philosophical impact on your life – – you might as well have skipped that meeting for the good it did your heart.

      To be religious one would in most cases have to be a theist, but the opposite is not true. BSA is unquestionably a theistic organization and that is a foundational tenet — as 4 generations of your family can attest as they participated in scouting (we are to assume in quiet protest).

      I think your words and your approach here are left very wanting and moreover do not live up to the scout law “that we all hold so dear” as you said disingenuously below. Starting a religious debate under the cloak of anonymity on a Boy Scout themed website intended to help scouters is not BRAVE. Mocking the religious text of two major world religions is not KIND or COURTEOUS or HELPFUL.

    • Lord Baden Powell created The Boy Scouts as a Christian service organization for youth! Every single Scouting endeavour is designed to foster appreciation of God’s creation, and to glorify Him through service to others. These ‘new’ requirements are a circling back to Baden-Powells original intent. I’m terribly sorry that was not made clear to you or your child before you joined a group that is so obviously not where you want to be.

    • Hey, Donald. Handbooks will be in stores this month. The requirements are available now (and have been made public for months).

      I’m excited!

      • I think BSA did a great job publishing the changes and for the most part I think they are great. However, as of right now we only have part of the bigger picture. Looking at these changes, it is clear to me there are probably some changes in the scout book itself. I would have liked to read the book to see how it supported these changes. Instead, I am left guessing how to interpret the changes until the books arrived. The books should have been on the shelf last month, so that when a scout joins today or tomorrow, you can put a book in their hand and get to work. Anything less I consider being unprepared, which is not what we are all about.

        • You know, you have a point. For an organization who’s motto is “Be Prepared”, our national headquarters seems to rarely be.

  6. @vcs,

    Although I disagree that duty to god should be part of scout spirit. I think if it is included, it should be a separate requirement. The scoutmaster is only to ask how the scout is doing his duty to god. They are not to judge the answer as it related to any one religion or in fact at all. The goal is to make the Scout think about their answer, express it, and encourage them to do their duty to their god.

    • Yes the intent or the goal may be germane but the implementation will more than likely not be. I have seen many “Interfaith” or “nondenominational” services at Scout camp that were very much emphasizing one religion.

      Not to mention the Scouters out there who take it upon themselves to go off script and put in their own interpretation in rank and merit badge requirements. For example at a recent winter camp a merit badge counselor signed off on Scouts blue cards for the Public Health Merit badge after a 45 min class with very little group discussion or interaction from the Scouts. These Scouts were cheated out of the experience. I realize this is a different matter but the same Scouter who shortened the merit badge requirements and taught his own version of the requirements is also going to be discussing duty to god with his scouts at some point. I have no confidence that he will not put forward his own agenda and beliefs.

      It is impossible for the BSA to police or control these interactions.

      • I have never attended a “Scout Own” service that was not Christian based most have been expressly Christian, as in “God bless us..” and “in your name amen” etc.

        Not that I’m offended but it is why I also have a problem with pushing the duty to God harder. Heck on a LinkedIn discussion board a SM said he wouldn’t let non-Christians stay in his troop.

        • Amen is a very old word which has survived relatively unchanged and which basically means “so be it”. I understand that it’s traditionally associated with Christianity, but it’s basically an affirmation of acceptance and support for whatever was just said. From wiktionary: From Old English, from Ecclesiastical Latin āmēn, from Ancient Greek ἀμήν ‎(amḗn), from Classical Hebrew אמן ‎(amén, “certainly, truly”) (cognate with Arabic آمِين ‎(ʾāmīn), Classical Syriac ܐܡܝܢ ‎(‘āmēn)). In Old English, it was only used at the end of the Gospels. Elsewhere, it was translated as “soðlic!”, “swa hit ys”, and “sy!”.

          That being said, the most fair thing to do for nondenominational services is to have denominational parts, or rotating denominational services. It’s impossible to have a service/prayer/whatever that satisfies every possible religion. LDS prayers, for instance, have to conclude in the name of Jesus or they are not considered a “real prayer”. Non-millennial Jews (which is by far most of Judaisim) do not consider a prayer said in the name of Jesus to be a “real prayer”. That’s just one of the many, many differences which preclude any service/prayer from really being nondenominational. Since we cannot truly meet a nondenominational standard, the best thing to do is to put in some kind of rotating schedule so that everyone gets a chance to do their own thing.

          I’ve volunteered my time with the chaplain at a large summer camp before and I’ve led nondenominational services the way the camp wanted me to, but yes it was rather slanted towards Christianity in general. Still, though, we tried to get a good music rotation with songs from multiple different religions.

    • I agree with Scouter’s second sentence – – and this point was already made very well by the person who wrote the blog, Bryan Wendell. I feel like some people on this thread have basically read the headlines and bullet points only and then used this as a forum (anonymously, which is very telling) to attack the religious faithful of people different than themselves — with views they already held before they got involved in this conversation.

      In scouting when a requirement says “Tell” or “Describe” it is a monologue (as Bryan writes). When it says “Discuss” it is a dialogue. Bryan wrote a whole blog about that, and he highlighted it in the link that he provided in this article – – probably anticipating this concern.

      Most of the arguments by @vcs that this new requirement changes anything do not hold water and are intellectually lazy. Any person with whom your son interacts can proselytize to him. That is true of a SM teaching a bowline knot, a stranger on the bus, their school mates, a history teacher, an Aunt, etc. I think we can HOPE for the adult leaders in scouting to faithfully do their duties including, in this case, asking a question and not turning it into a dialogue or judgement-based interaction. Understanding we do not live in a perfect world, where that HOPE is misplaced then we have Two Deep Leadership as a backup to protect a scout from an onslaught of religious instruction. And the last bastion of protection is the involved and active parents our scouters, perhaps even legitimate ‘very concerned scouters’, who do not convey their parental responsibilities to others whether it is in scouting, school, volunteer organizations, or sports teams in which their son participates.

  7. My son is a proud Life Rank scout working on his Eagle Scout rank. He also chooses to live his life as an Atheist. I don’t believe any one has a right to judge him on his belief in or non belief of any higher power.

    • I suppose it depends on your location, but in my district, your son will very likely be asked about how he lives his duty to God. I’ve not been on an Eagle board yet where the Scout told us that he was an atheist, and I honestly hope it never happens.

      As SM, I ask that question in pretty much every Scoutmaster conference for rank. I’m not pushing any religion, but I do agree with BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principle. We make it clear to the Scouts in our troop that if they are questioning their belief in whatever they want to call God then they have better have a clear answer as to what “Duty to God” means to them, especially if/when they go to an EBOR.

      You may not believe that anyone has a right to judge, and I’m not going to challenge you on that. However, by agreeing to be a member of the BSA, your son has also agreed to BSA’s Declaration of Religious Principle. He’ll have to figure out how to do that and be an atheist. I personally don’t see how someone can hold both positions but I’m willing to listen to someone explain it to me.

      • I printed the insert double sided. I took the stack of papers hot off the printer and folded the stack right down the middle. The page numbering worked out perfectly.

    • Question – if he’s an atheist, how is he a member of the Boy Scouts of America? You have to believe in a higher power of some sort…

      From the Youth Membership application:
      Excerpt from the Declaration of Religious Principle
      The Boy Scouts of America maintains that no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God and, therefore, recognizes the religious element in the training of the member, but it is absolutely nonsectarian in its attitude toward that religious training. Its policy is that the home and organization or group with which the member is connected shall give definite attention to religious life. Only persons willing
      to subscribe to these precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle and to the Bylaws and codes of the Boy Scouts of America shall be entitled to certificates of membership.

        • 1. I think those lines are only blurry to you.
          2. If you are responding to TipDog then what is your point about monotheism – – who said anything about monotheism. You are all over the place pal. One can imagine one scout saying “my duty is to go to church once per year” or another saying “my duty is to be kind and in harmony with all of nature” and both would be acceptable. ((Sounds like we can add Buddhism to the faiths you are taking off on. I think we are up to Mormons, Muslims, and Buddhists now.))
          3. My goodness, what is it with you and your Unhelpful, Uncourteous, and Unkind comments about LDS folks, done under the Unbrave cloak of anonymity?

          It is hard to imagine a person in any way attached to scouting having so much vitriol for another person’s faith. Talking about Garmies and some offhanded comment about Mormons becoming gods….I think you are really teetering close to hate speech here. And of course you are doing that anonymously because it is shameful and very un-scout-like.

    • Many unit leaders “shelter” young athiests — no doubt feeling they are in no position to judge.

      But, shouldn’t a young person who highly values atheism judge harshly and abandon an organization who asserts that “no member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing an obligation to God.”?

      The (somewhat perverse) advantage of the new religious requirements is that it gives a burgeoning atheist an opportunity to stick up for his world view before he invests a tremendous amount of time supporting something he would logically oppose.

    • I humbly ask, (in all sincerity) how does he reconcile “A Scout is Trustworthy” whenever he says “On my honor, I will do my best to GOD …” if he does not believe in any god?

  8. This whole “duty to God” business is the BSA’s way of saying, “we’re still going to discriminate against atheists,” and it really is not helpful here in the 21st century. The irony is that the BSA is fine if you want to worship trees or rocks or multiple gods and goddesses, but they have a problem with someone who says, “I just don’t believe in stuff I can’t see” – and then the BSA wants to make a big deal out of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

    The upshot is, I’ve had highly respected professors and professionals in their field turn down requests to become Merit Badge Counselors in STEM related subjects because they simply can’t condone the BSA’s discrimination against their own faith – one founded in science and not in God.

    • I have not noticed that. In our community we have a number of scientists who are theists (or theists who have callings in the sciences) and are enthused about contributing time to BSA — specifically because of its principles.

      However, now that counselors must register as adult leaders and in doing so should read the fine print on the adult application, we have every reason to expect this to be an increasing issue.

  9. I imagine these so-called respected professionals are looking for an excuse to avoid dedicating their precious time to a group of young boys. It is hard in general to get adults to dedicate quality time to many merit badges that is why many of them look to skips many of the requirements. My son worked harder on some of his belt loops than some of our Scouts have on their merit badges.

    • I think that’s an unfair generalization.

      Prior to just a couple of years ago, merit badge counselors did not have to fill out a BSA membership application. They asked little more than their contact info and hobbies/professions. Frankly, it didn’t matter. That counselor was needed for skill/experience, not to be paragons of moral rectitude. They didn’t have to know anything about scouting … just what was required of a boy for the badge they were counseling.

      Now, because of perverse individuals who’ve used their positions to assault our youth, BSA has to guarantee it has done due diligence to screen all direct-contact volunteers — and this includes merit badge counselors. The unintended consequence of this is that the Declaration of Religious Principle is front-and-center as the adult completes his/her application. So, not only are they asked permission to run a background check and commitment to youth protection training, they are asked to give assent to principles they had never been asked to consider before.

      I can see that being problematic for a few people of conscience who, if they are going to volunteer their time, might rather do it with an organization whose ideals don’t conflict with theirs.

  10. If you don’t like the rules…don’t play the game. There are other groups to join, why should everything cater to everyone? It shouldn’t. Don’t like the game, create your own! Stop pushing your agendas on groups that you don’t agree with! And quit taking everything so personally! You act as if the world is against you or judging you! The BSA has its rules and regulations. If you don’t agree with them, do something else. If I don’t like bananas, do you think I Dole is going to change it into an orange for me? Heck no! I just don’t eat bananas! If you don’t like it, don’t participate! End of Rant.

    • The problem is in the interpretation of those rules. Over time they are being bent and twisted into something they are not or never were. Some are using the rules to push their religious agenda beyond what the Scouting program is for.

      We need to move on and put out time and effort into the programs

  11. If the scout has a true understanding of atheism,then this should be easy for them to explain. If not, the leaders should already be encouraging the scout to gain the understanding needed to explain it to meet the requirements. How is this an issue? We enjoy freedom of religion, and to maintain this we must be willing to stand up for what we believe and that includes being able to answer questions about your beliefs. It’s called common sense.

  12. Help!! On the “official” Transitioning to the 2016 Boy Scout Requirements
    it also says that Scouts “Who have completed First Class MAY complete the rank they are currently working on in the existing requirements, but then MUST convert to the new
    requirements for subsequent ranks.”
    So can the more advanced Scouts continue to use the old requirements for the rank they’re working on?

    • Yes they can until the end of 2016. This year, for Star, Life, Eagle and Palms once they complete the rank they are working on, they must use the new requirements for the next rank. Next year, they must use the new requirements, no matter where they are.

    • Right – a Scout who is 1st Class can use the old rules for Star then convert to new for Life/Eagle, a Scout who is Star can use the old rules for Life then convert for Eagle, a Scout who is Life can use the old rules for Eagle – all assuming they finish that next rank before 12/31/16

  13. Suppose a Star scout is working on his Life rank in 2016 under the old requirements. He has completed 6 service hours working for a community organization but does not complete the rank of Life by the end of 2016.

    Since he must use the new requirements in 2017, Will he then be required to perform an additional 3 hours of service work that is conservation related in order to comply with the new Life requirement?

    • Your note assumes he started working on Life prior to this year. If that is the case, the answer to your question is yes and the lesson for him is to not take over 1 year to finish Life!

      If he is currently at 1st Class and working for Star, then when he makes Star and starts working Life in 2016, he starts with the new requirements.

      • I agree, if it takes him over a year to finish Life… Dude, get a life! 😉
        (Yes, it was an atrocious pun, but it was fun anyway.)

    • Chances are he will do more than one half day of conservation projects this year if he his indeed a star scout (the concept, not the patch. So this is a moot point.

  14. The endless quibbling over the ‘duty to God’ change just highlights how many different views are out there. The answers back from BSA sound overly sensitive and somewhat whiny. Lets just wait awhile and see how it works out. If a youth or their family has issues with the requirement it will be solved, in one fashion or another. Lets not get upset over what MIGHT happen. There are too many mights to consider. Please settle down and give rational thinking a chance to occur.

  15. Our committee just voted to make the Scouts adhere to the new rules now. So any boy that was registered in 2015 and transitioning from 2nd Class to First Class has to do so under the new guidelines even though the guidance states that those working on Tenderfoot to First Class can continue to do so under the previous requirements and the transition to the new requirements for Star.

  16. The BSA’s plan to require asking Scouts to “tell” about their duty to God does not reconcile with their statement not to judge the Scout by his reply. IF the Scout replies in ANY way contrary to the beliefs/position of the questioner they are put in position that is easily compromised by any person who just can’t keep their beliefs to themselves. Good intentions is not a proper way to mentor Scouts, and the religious mentoring belongs in the Family. It is quite frankly none of the third parties business how and what the Scout believes, that includes the BSA. IF a Scout is truly living their life via their oath they are already expressing their duty to God via their actions, and their service and other requirements to achieve their ranks are ALREADY the answer to the question. This is religious meddling on the part of some agenda within the BSA and I do not support it.

  17. ….And some more great planning by BSA Supply, as the new handbooks are backordered now until mid to late February. It’s crossover season…duh!

  18. Hello….I am looking for Faith in God Correlation to the New (2016) 11 Yr. Old Scout requirements. I have searched and searched and can’t find anything that has been put together for the new requirements……Does anyone have this? Thank you!

  19. I was disappointed at the ridiculously slow rollout of the new books. Pdf sheets are not at solution for a new rollout that had been talked about for over a year! It was Jan 22 before books were in the scout shop and they are cheaply printed like the last version, we have switched to only buying our scouts spiral bound and those were not out until February. No excuse! Having to explain to new scouts that we cannot give them books because they are not out yet is an embarrassment to the program

  20. Buddhists are, for the most part, not theists; yet we have had Buddhist troops since the 1920’s and recognize the Buddhist religious awards.

    This is NOT a simple issue and should be dealt with by BSA is an honest and consistent manner.

  21. Does anyone know if there are plans to allow the purchase of an electronic version of the handbook? I am a leader and really would rather have things electronic and before spending money for a paper book would rather go my desired way, but cannot seem to find anything on that topic. There are new merit badges books that are interactive, so just was thinking we would get book offered too.

  22. The new emphasis on Duty to God is clearly payback to the evangelical wing of the BSA for going along with the change in the policy towards gays.
    If a scout can give any answer to the question about Duty to God, without judgement, then what meaning do those words really have? Could it be that this requirement is only there to give comfort to those who need to feel that, even if gays are allowed, the Mormon, Baptist and Catholic churches still call the shots in scouting?

  23. This is a minor question, but the new “Scout” rank is now earned some time after joining a troop. So what would you call the new “scouts” who are not “Scout” rank yet?

  24. A couple of quotes from Scouting’s founder on the topic of “duty to God”
    1. “Scouting is nothing less than applied Christianity” – (Scouting & Christianity, 1917)
    2. “When asked where religion came into Scouting and Guiding, Baden-Powell replied, It does not come in at all. It is already there. It is a fundamental factor underlying Scouting and Guiding.” (Religion and the Boy Scout and Girl Guides Movement–an address, 1926).
    I think it is no accident that the Scout Oath and Law begin and end with “duty to God” and Reverence [toward God].
    If you are unable to “Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath and Scout Law” — including these points — then perhaps Scouting is not for you.

    For Baden Powell the focus of religion is Christianity since that was the context in which he lived. It is a credit to the Scouting movement that this has been expanded to include other faiths. I know that my own life has been enriched by discussing matters of religion and faith with people whose beliefs and backgrounds are different from my own, both within and outside of Scouting. (To me, part of “duty to” and “reverence toward” God is seeking to understand.)

  25. One error in the new Webelos Handbook – on page 151 – it says that scouts need to show how to tie a bowline – but on page 181 it says that requirement 5 requires Scouts to know a square knot, 2 half hitches, and a taut-line hitch (the same as the Boy Scout requirement for a Scout badge).

    One suggestion in the Boy Scout Handbook – on page 19 – the illustration for Scout Handshake)– shows 4 fingers in the exchange grip. I believe the illustration should reflect a scout-to-scout handshake – rather than a scout- to-outside person (a regular handshake). This will help scouts understand the difference between a scout handshake and a regular handshake.

  26. I am curious why the ranks requirements for those already in progress have to change at all. I can see this for all who will cross over or have not yet gotten scout rank but not for those started at any rank level. In colleges and universities whatever curricula/curriculum you start with is yours till graduation. Even if changes occur you are not made to change.

  27. Just read through all the comments, and admire the patience of the, Baden Powel Scouters.My scouting carreer began way back in the late thirties in a Congregational Church Sponsored Troop in Fulton, NY, and which progressed through a troop sponsored by a Baptist Church, then through non-denominational sponsorship at bases in Germany, New Mexico and California at Vandenberg AFB. Then, with a ten year later in life son, it began all over again with a Pack and Troop sponsored by the 2nd Reformed Church of Marion, NY.
    Now, at age 87, I find myself getting a new start; however, this time as Committee Chariman of Troop 97 in Palmyra, NY, an LDS Church.
    What I have always loved about Scouting is the Cameraderie; the Learning; and the dedicated, loving leadership that is charachteristic of all whom I have been blessed to work with, as a Scout, as a Cub Master, as a Scout Master, as Merrit Badge Counselor, and all the other things that go with it, such as building racers, and tracks, and Timers…and the many learning experiences learning to be equal to whatever situations adventurous people find themselves in, be doing the Racquet River in a canoe, or making it through Hell For Sure Pass in the High Sierras.
    I attest to the truth in a long ago Scout Addage: Scouting Rounds A Guy Out!
    We have three sons, all wearing the highest ranks, and members of the OA, and who continue in leadership rules of every ilk, such as Districe Commissioner.
    The common thread that makes Scouting what it is and what it can do, is following the Scout Oath and Law…and certainly their opening and closings, attesting to the benefits of modeling our lives after a God of Love; not oa contensious God, in fact whose Son teaches us to Forgive endlessly, to Love all of God;s Creations.
    Which includes all of us.

    Dick Halstead

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