Summer months count toward Scout advancement, whether a troop meets or not

expertlogo1Some troops take a break between summer camp and the resumption of school.

That’s fine, but what about those Scouts who are serving in a position of responsibility when this summer break occurs? Does their time still count even if their troop isn’t meeting?

The answer, contrary to the well-meaning policy of some Scout units, is yes.

I addressed this back in 2014 when Mike Lo Vecchio, a BSA expert on the matter, weighed in:

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

Two years later, the same answer applies. I checked back with Lo Vecchio, and he writes:

Regardless of the unit’s expectations or their policy, they must count the time served even though the unit is not meeting.

How might this play out in a troop? Here’s an example, sent in an email to me from a district commissioner in Tennessee:

It is not unusual for troops in our council to take a five- or six-week break during the summer after summer camp in mid-June and before school resumes the first week of August.

In this case, a Star Scout working towards Life Scout filled a patrol leader position for five months before the troop began its summer break. The troop is contending that he only completed five of the six months of leadership required to be advanced and that he needs to have one more month in a leadership role to be eligible for advancement.

His father contends, based on your article, it is not the son’s fault that the troop takes a short summer break and that his son should be eligible for advancement.

The father is correct. And you can consider this blog to be the official source. Once more, here’s Lo Vecchio:

Simply, the Scout cannot be penalized because the unit is not active during the summer months.

Further reading

See the Guide to Advancement for more guidance.


  1. Would this apply for Cub Scouts/Webelos as well ? Most Crossovers are conducted, well used to be at the Blue and Gold, but things changed in the new program, along with some “months active” requirements in AOL that would mean boys could not cross over before March (assuming a Sept. start of program for the pack) based solely on that requirement.

    • Is your Pack not continuing to meet at least once a month through the Summer? I believe the same mindset outlined regarding the Scout Troop applies to the Pack. AOL Webelos always had a “months active” requirement. Specifically, the wording was, “Be active in your Webelos den for at least six months since completing the fourth grade (or for at least six months since becoming 10 years old), and earn the Webelos badge.” Active was defined as, “Active means having good attendance, paying your den dues, and working on den projects.”

      While the program changed, the “months active” did not. There is no reason an AoL Webelos couldn’t be complete prior to February. If the Den started back up in September, 6 months is February. But again, that is ignoring obvious Pack activity in the Summer. There are also Webelos Adventure Camp type activities available.

        • As a Webelos leader, I have new Webelos coming and moving up nearly every month. The req’s say scouts have to be active for three and six months. It does not say they have to be consecutive months.

          If a boy moves up in April and is active in April and May, that equals 2 months. If he comes to camp or another activity in June, that makes a 3rd month. Packs are supposed to have an activity in July and August–even if yours do not, the activity level picks up where it left off. For example, coming to den and pack meetings in September would be the scout’s 4th month.

          If there are no pack activities and your scout has joined late or become active late in the year, parents can work with den and pack leaders to create activities during the summer months to fulfill these req’s and help the scout grow.

          Remember that most parents and most scout leaders are doing their best. Working together and supporting each other will always be best for the scout.

  2. As with a lot of requirements, being a leader is not a ‘one and done’ task. A scout will need to continue to lead in order to continue advancing, or simply in helping the troop operate. At a minimum, the scout will need to hold another position of responsibility for his next rank.

    • There is no need to hold another rank unless POR is required for advancement to the next rank. My son is a Life Scout at 14 1/2 & already has his 6 months POR for advancement to Eagle. He does not have to hold another leadership position if he doesn’t want to do so. He will probably, however, take one such as Troop Guide to help out the next group of crossover Scouts.

      Forcing a Scout that does not need POR to hold a position may be considered adding to the requirements. If Scouting has sunk in, however, the Scout should be willing to step up if a POR is vacant and need of filling.

      • Agreed – if the requirement is to hold a POR for 6 months, that is all they need to do. My point was that once a scout earns a rank that required a POR, the clock resets. So, if he was Star and was patrol leader for 6 months, once he earns that rank and begins working on Life, he needs to hold a POR for another 6 months. I also meant that if a Scout held a POR that happens to fall in a time period where the troop did not do much, the odds are the next time he holds a POR it would likely be during a busier time, so in the end the scout ends up with plenty of experience leading.

  3. If “active” is taken literally, the no scout would ever get the required time. Most troops meet once a week for an hour or two. It would take 12 to 24 meetings just to reach a day’s worth of time. Forget about 4 months or 6 months!

    Time is, and should be, calculated by the calendar. A scout obtaining the Star Rank on March 1 is qualified to move up to the Life Rank on Sept. 1, assuming all other requirements are complete.

  4. M confused. My son is 10.5 and in fourth grade. Our first meeting was September 29. So he met the time requirement for Webelos 1 on December 29, right? Then the earliest he can achieve AOL is six months later so June 29? Assuming all other requirements are completed?

  5. Troops are supposed to go camping every month. Why would a Boy Scout troop not be active in the summer. It’s an outdoor youth program. Also, requirements are to be taken literally. 6 months is 6 months.

    • I agree. Maybe there is something I’m missing, but why would a troop choose to not be active during the summer? In addition to summer camp, we usually do a river trip, and a lake trip. We also continue to meet every week. Attendance may be a little smaller due to family vacations, but we always have the program running for the rest.

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