Revised campout requirements for Second Class, First Class

The number of overnight campouts required for a young man to earn the Second Class and First Class ranks will be reduced under new requirements that take effect Aug. 1, 2017.

But the total number of camping nights a Boy Scout will experience in the program as he progresses toward the rank of Eagle Scout will not change.

In 2016, alongside the release of the 13th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook, the BSA increased the number of campouts required for Second Class to three since joining from two. It increased the number of campouts required for First Class to six since joining from three.

The Aug. 1, 2017, revisions return the number of overnight campouts to pre-2016 levels but preserve the amount of time spent outdoors. The change, the BSA says, maintains a focus on life-changing outdoors experiences while recognizing that not all outdoor activities need to include overnight camping.

Hikes, service projects and outdoor-heavy merit badges like Geocaching and Orienteering add to the adventure of being a first-year Scout.

The changes leave untouched the Eagle-required Camping merit badge, which calls for at least 20 nights of camping. Because all camping nights since becoming a Scout can be used for this requirement — even those that count toward Second Class and First Class — the effect is that the total number of camping nights required to become an Eagle Scout is unchanged.

And of course these are minimum overnight campout requirements. Many Scouts will choose to camp more frequently.

What’s the change?  

Rank Current Requirement  New Requirement as of Aug. 1, 2017
Second Class 1a. Since joining, participate in five separate troop/patrol activities, three of which include overnight camping.  These five activities do not include troop or patrol meetings.  On at least two of the three campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect (such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee). 1a. Since joining Boy Scouts, participate in five separate troop/patrol activities, at least three of which must be held outdoors.  Of the outdoor activities, at least two must include overnight camping.  These activities do not include troop or patrol meetings.  On campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect, such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee.
First Class 1a. Since joining, participate in 10 separate troop/patrol activities, six of which include overnight camping.  These 10 activities do not include troop or patrol meetings.  On at least five of the six campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect (such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee). 1a. Since joining Boy Scouts, participate in 10 separate troop/patrol activities, at least six of which must be held outdoors.  Of the outdoor activities, at least three must include overnight camping.  These activities do not include troop or patrol meetings.  On campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect, such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee.

When do the changes take effect?

Aug. 1, 2017.

Can I still use the old requirements?

Generally, yes. Whenever there are requirement changes after the release of the Boy Scout Requirements Book or the Boy Scout Handbook, the Scout has until the following Jan. 1 to decide what to do (see Guide to Advancement topic 4.0.0.1).

It is the Scout’s decision.

In this specific case, a Scout choosing to use the old requirements would, in doing so, fulfill the new requirement.

What about Star, Life and Eagle?

There aren’t camping requirements for those ranks, because to become an Eagle Scout a young man must earn the Camping merit badge, which has its own camping requirements.

Requirement 9a for the Camping merit badge states:

Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events. One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.

All campouts since becoming a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may count toward this requirement, including those used to fulfill the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class.

122 Comments

  1. I would like to see the camping requirement language be more inclusive of using standing Adirondak style leanto’s. We do a lot of back packing trips in the Adirondaks and NY finger Lakes where we utilize the the existing leanto structures overnight instead of carrying shelter equipment, especially when the weather gets colder (30-50 degrees) and we’re carrying heavier sleeping bags and clothing.

    These are pretty rugged campouts, much more so than setting up a tent in a field next to your car at the local park mid summer. It would be discouraging to a scout to say that all that work to plan and execute such a trip doesn’t count…

    • I would concur! A Scout staying in a 3 sided structure and getting the experience of rugged outdoors should get credit for their time. Same if a Scout opts to sleep in a hammock or on the ground without a tent. It should be the experience that counts, not the act of setting up a tent.

      • Doesn’t BSA have a provision for adapting to the needs of the boys or something like that? I would think you could have some wiggle room? Clearly you are not watering down the requirement? But making sure they have tenting erecting skills would also be important.

      • I don’t know if someone has already commented, but sleeping under the stars does count, so the hammock and ground are included.

        • Sleeping under the stars counts for the Camping merit badge, Order of the Arrow eligibility and the Outdoor Award, but I see no way for it to count for 2nd Class and 1st Class as currently written. The 2016 requirements specified that 2 out 3 campouts for 2nd Class and 5 out of 6 campouts for 1st Class must be in a shelter you help erect.

          Regarding use of existing shelters, I expect that you could count tarping a 4th side as helping to erect the shelter. Likewise, a rain fly over a hammock would qualify.

          I applaud reducing the number of campouts in a self-erected shelter for 1st class.

      • Alex
        I think that Scouts who sleep in a hammock or on the ground are covered in the language since they are sleeping in open air: “Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent…”

        • You got caught looking at the Camping MB requirement not the 1st and 2nd class requirements that do not include under the sky, just like me…..

      • Using an existing shelter when available, rather than setting one up, is consistent with leave no trace guidelines.

      • I think it is important for the scouts to know how to erect the shelter they are sleeping in. I don’t see anywhere in the language that downplays the types of camping expressed here, rather they are encouraging the scouts to erect the shelter instead of relying on someone else to do so. It is a very important skill to learn.

    • Agreed.

      “If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.” Could the merit badge counselor construe these Adirondaks to be provided tents?

    • How is a leader supposed to keep track of these frequent changes? Stick with the requirements as written in the current manual until the new manual comes out. Craziness.

      • Changes are taken with the entire body of scouting in mind, not just your unit, your geography in mind.

        The devil is in the details. The fine line is more clearly stated email with these changes.

        • I think Charlie may be referring to all the changes that have been made in the last two years and now more changes, very confusing and expensive to keep getting new books.

      • I have to agree with you Charlie. Changes, changes, changes all the time from year to year. When you print a new manual, stick with it for five years. Upon the next edition incorporate any new changes, and again, stick with it. With boys coming and going from troops, it does drive the leaders nuts on keeping up with things. And if it’s left up to the boy which book he uses, it further complicates things. And then there’s the expense of buying new books again and again.

        • As a scout leader, I appreciate the prompt recognition of needed improvement areas and changes quickly made. I recognize the need for good communication but if we are attending riundtable and getting emails from the council, we should be in good shape.

    • Next to last paragraph states that if the camp provided a tent that is already up, then scout does not neef to pitch his tent. I read that to mean if the shelter is up, then they don’t have to set one up or bring s tent

      • You got caught looking at the Camping MB requirement not the 1st and 2nd class requirements that do not include under the sky, just like me…..

    • I feel that the reason for the pitch your own requirement for second and first class, is to ensure scouts know how to pit h thier wn tenr, or build tgheir own shelters, there will not always be Adirondack sheters on the trail.

      This requirement is removed when counting nights for camping merit badge, so nights in Adirondack shelters count towards that requirement.

    • That it covered by the phrase ” If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.” but that is only for the camping meritbadge, not T21… perplexing…

  2. Sounds like a reasonable change. Helps the scouts progress even if they can’t camp that much the first year. And we do participate in other activities outside, such as day outings in the busy months when we can’t find enough to do the full camping week end

  3. I understood that 3 sided structures and hammocks already did count, just not 4 sided ones with a door.

    • Not according to the written requirements: ‘On campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect, such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee.” It’s very clear what the requirement states.

  4. “Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched”. Under the stars counts which includes open air shelters, the ground and hammocks.

      • Requirement 9a for the Camping merit badge states:

        Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events. One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.

    • Not according the written requirements: ‘On campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect, such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee.’

  5. Can someone show me where on the official BSA site these changes are? Just trying to find it – not questioning it!

    • It says in the new handbook. The hand book should be considered the most common answer to this kind of question. There is also an advancement book which lists the information and dates as to when it becomes manditory .

    • I could not find the info anywhere on BSA’s website, but the Grand Canyon Council sent a message via Scoutbook with the same info and a link to this blog as a resource. I guess that is as official as it is going to get. The handbooks online did not have the camping changes anywhere. This blog and the message from our Council on Scoutbook were it. Hopefully there is a statement from BSA in addition.

  6. I suppose it is up to the individual Camping MB counselors to interpret whether an open-site structure is equivalent to sleeping under the sky, but I have always thought adding in such structures makes sense. Many trail systems, including the Ice Age National Scenic Trail here in Wisconsin have a series of open shelters along the trail. Our troop has not used them but we have hiked past them and I always thought that would be a fun way to experience the trail.

    • Boy Scouts should not be camping in the same tent as their parents. With other Scouts? Yes. By themselves? Yes. But not with their parents.

      • I agree that Boy Scouts should not be tenting with their parents. OTOH the requirement doesn’t say. If the scout tents with a parent and meets the requirement, he has met the requirement and we have a responsibility to sign off on it.

      • SHOULD scouts sleep in tents without a parent? Usually, probably yes. Does it count as sleeping in a tent if a parent is in the tent? OF COURSE IT DOES.

        • Agreed – everything is designed to allow parents to participate as part of youth protection. Even Eagle board of review rules in the Guide to Advancement state that while parents are encouraged not to participate, they must be allowed in if that is what they want.

          “The Scout’s parents, relatives, or guardians should not be in attendance in any capacity—not as members of the board, as observers, or even as the unit leader. Their presence can change the discussion dynamics. In cases where parents or guardians insist on attending a board of review, they should be counseled that their presence can change how their son addresses questions, and that the opportunity to further self-reliance and courage may be lessened. However, if parents or guardians still insist on being present, they must be permitted to attend as observers.”

      • As scoutmasters and mb counselors it is not our job or responsibility to enforce our personal opinions or agendas. I agree that the boy needs to learn how to do things on his own and unnecessary parent involvement can hinder his growth and camping maturity but a night of camping is a night of camping.

      • Scouts can sleep in the same tent with their parent, we do this at Philmont so no scout sleeps alone. Safety first.

  7. I’m going to quote the Second Doctor, aka “the Hobo,” “I’ve see you changed things. HHHMMM, I don’t like it.” Doing monthly camp outs is not that hard. Doing a day long hike instead is not that hard.

    But after seeing a 30 minute service project done in the outdoors count as an outdoor activity for the Webelos Outdoorsman Adventure, I got some concerns about this. Especially since most Scouts working on Second and First Class ranks are new, just crossed over Scouts, they, and more specifically their parents, may want things just like Cub Scouts due to the language.

    • Of course a 30 minute service project counts. The requirements states

      > 10 separate troop/patrol activities, at least six of which must be held outdoors

      It’s not the fault of the new scout that the service project was short, it’s the fault of poor planning by the PLC. The point of the requirement is to ensure that a scout is active. If he is going to the planned activity he should get credit for it.

  8. Okay nit pickers. Let us remember that the decision also should be a common sense, yet fair interpretation. The leader of the unit, or the committee, can determine how much flexibility is allowed while still meeting the basic intent of the requirements. Volunteer adults “should” have the ability to make this determination in a logical and perceptive manner while still adhering to the spirit of the written word. Obviously, sleeping in some other actually outdoor manner would meet the intent, in my view. It is as much the challenge as the equipment. I can assure you that boys that make their beds under the stars learn how to do it properly, or they revert back to other accommodations. Sometimes, they learn far more in such an experience. The tent erecting is not the important part.

    • this requirement for the TFC program is not that big a deal. Sleeping in a tent that the scout put up is a simple task that is basic to camping. It is only for two events. Other structures can be used on other camp outs. Scouts need to be camping on a regular basis to enjoy the program especially when they are starting out.

    • No, they can’t. There is NO interpretation in advancement requirements. From the Troop Leader Guidebook, Volume 1, page 98, “Each Scout is expected to meet the requirements – no more and no less – and to do exactly what is stated.” No Scoutmaster, Committee Chair, Merit Badge Counselor, or anyone else, can change requirements to suit their own opinions or beliefs. If the requirement states that the Scout must sleep in a tent or other structure that he constructed, than that is what he has to do. This is only for 3 campouts. If a campout doesn’t follow the requirement as written, then it’s a great outdoor activity, and it can be counted as one of the required outdoor activities, but it CANNOT be counted as a night of camping for that requirement.

      • I’m just going to add on to the “no more and no less – and to do exactly what is stated.”

        It is easy for me to have an opinion that all boy scout level scouts should sleep in their own tents without a parent. The idea is sort of preposterous to me at first. But remember, scouts of all abilities, and all different disabilities, have to follow the rules as written, no more, no less. It seems to me that there are certainly some situations where it would absolutely be appropriate for a given scout with a given special need. It really is fair to all – to all of our scouts – if we follow the rules and stick to the requirements as written without taking anything away or without adding anything to them.

        And, yeah, I agree that it isn’t hard to bring out tents for one camp out and have the boys set them up, count the other structures for camping merit badge nights. I think the point is to actually perform the skill of setting up the tent, not just the camping out, for the rank requirement.

      • There is always interpretation! One unit I know of left Friday after school for a two night camp. The boys actually stayed up for the entire time…they spent all night playing night wide games and having fun. Of course they crashed like crazy on the drive home! They went camping…set up their tents, built lean-tos, built fires, did compass work, cooked their meals…but never actually went to sleep! Are you not going to count this simply because they did not participate in the act of being unconscious for a few hours? To take this to the extreme…what if they slept for just 15 minutes? Do you count it then?

    • When we away from home, where to stay comes to mind. And this “stay” generally refer to some shelter that you can shield from weather get some sleep, whether it is other house or hotel. Likewise, Scouts learn the basic skill to have the shelter made during camping. I’d tell you erect the traditional tent in the cover photo will take you a while to figure out. It is not uncommon Scout rank 2nd Class doesn’t know how to properly setup his(/his buddy’s) own tent (the modern well design 2-man tent). The requirement is meant for them to do it hands on. Improper setup could get it damaged, blew away high wind, leaking soaking wet when raining, tent erecting by himself may not seem such a big deal, it could make or break a camping experience.

    • Requirements are just that – required. A Scout must follow the requirements, “no more and no less – and to do exactly what is stated.”

  9. Go take a hike. Walk quietly for one hour without talking (except in case of life threatening emergency). Go sleep in something other than your own bed at home that your momma made. Get wet in a rain storm and get dry again. Eat something that your mom and dad didn’t cook . Eat something that did not come from a drive thru . Sleep under some shelter that is not “permanent”. Sleep under some shelter that is open to the elements and flying bugs. Walk on dirt. Point out (do not touch) Poison Ivy to your Scout Leader. Make a fire with what you can find on the hike, and (some form of spark). Repair something that is broken. Recite the Scout Promise and Scout Law and THINK about why these words are important .

    See you on the trail….

  10. I just wish our organization would just get back to basics. We have had more requirement revisions to ranks in the past 7 years alone than we had in the first 100 combined! Enough already…

  11. So, which lobby prevailed in returning some sanity to the requirements? Kudos. Not all Scouts come from affluence, live in the suburbs, or live in the country, with access easy access to campimg sites. Daddy’s car isn’t always available to haul the gear to a remote site. Maybe the kids from the city can now play with less rigid requirements. Aren’t we developing character/ So many inane hurdles added and placed in the way through the years. It’s nice to see some unnecessary ones removed.

  12. With at least one major chartering organization limiting first year scouts to only 3 campouts, it was impossible for their leaders to succeed at First Class – First Year.

    This reversal can now make that happen again. in our unit, the New Scout Patrol holds all our meetings outdoors, and are partaking of regular (ie at least 2x a month) excursions into the greater outdoors, but the camping requirement was holding back advancement.

    Now we can just continue to let advancement be a by-product of our program, and still succeed at delivering First Class Scouts. no longer trapped by the rigidity of the chartering organization.

    Thank You BSA!

    • Boys are supposed to be planning, executing, their own events. Parents are there facilitate and ensure safety

    • Nothing in any scout handbook or printed guidelines for any chartering organization requires that the rank of First Class be achieved during the boy’s first year in scouting. In fact the goal of [multiple years of] scouting is for every boy to be a First Class scout NOT an Eagle. Scouting and rank advancement should not be forced on any boy it should be a natural “consequence ” of the outdoor program, a result of what is learned. That being said I am registered with this CO and welcome back the old way so that boy’s who want to advance may do so…but really how hard was it to do 3 campouts after turning 12 to get to First Class?

      • The LDS church makes earning First Class within a year a priority. They limit 11-year-old Scouts to just 3 campouts a year, so this change directly impacts them.

        • And that’s where the problems lie IMHO. 1) LDS units pushing First Class in a year. Scouting is not a race, and the Scouts need to advance at their own pace. And the key should go back to mastery of the skills as it use to be. 2)Why does the LDS Church not allow Cubs and 11 year old Boy Scouts camp as they want to?

        • And LDS Campouts are usually 1 night, not 2. I was not aware that they limit the campouts to 3, they don’t do that in our district.

        • @P

          Only the 11 years olds are limited to 3 camp outs a year. That is why the 11 year olds have been segregated into their own patrol separate from the rest of the troop.

          I believe the impetus to create New Scout Patrols starting in 1989 came from the LDS units using it.

  13. Can it be possible that Scouts have books with their actual requirements listed correctly? Now every single one must carry an addendum to what is written.

  14. Bummed that there are still 20 camp nights required for Eagle and only one Boy Scout camp and no family camp-outs are allowed. Our troop just does not camp out regularly, if at all. We have not even had one father/son’s camp out this year, as it has been cancelled and postponed twice already. We’re desperate!! We live on 1/3 of an acre here in Sunny So Cal and offered to have some troop camp outs in our own backyard. Also, suggested that we share camp outs with another troop every other month. Received no positive response from either suggestion. The LDS Church is divorcing itself from the BSA after age 13 by year end. Need to get in 3 more camp nights ASAP. Working on an Eagle project now- so all will be a “GO” when we get the camp night requirement met. PATHETIC.

    • Agreed. I wish Camping MB required 50 nights and not make bones if it was Boy Scouting, some other organization, or your family (a.k.a., that “other patrol”).

      Remember, planning a patrol overnight also would count. If 6 to 8 boys came to me with a plan to camp on your “back nine,” I’d line them up with a couple of chaperons (to pitch a tent at a reasonable distance and have fellowship with you day) and give them some fun challenges for their waking hours!

    • Why is the PLC not planning camp outs? Why are the patrols doing their own?

      Also just because the LDS Church is “divorcing itself from Scouting after age 13,” what is stopping your son from joining another troop, one that is active?

    • LDS boys do not age out of Scouting at end of 13. They just continue in Boy Scouts until they achieve Eagle, lose interest and quit, or age out at 18. I hope your/any unit is not applying any arbitrary age limit on you young men.

        • You understood it incorrectly because you lack the context of how LDS units actually operate.

          In LDS congregations, ALL boys 8-18 are registered in Scouting regardless of whether they participate or not because it is the official young men’s program for the Church.

          With this change, registration is no longer mandatory for boys 14 and up. If a young man is interested in continuing in scouting after he turns 14, he still registers with the Troop chartered by the congregation and participates like before.

          This will “trim the fat” and not compel boys to participate in a program that they or their families may not be interested in after 14, which is a good move.

    • Most Scouts will not earn the rank of Eagle. Those with the drive to do so will find a way to meet the requirements in the 6 to 7 years between Webelos and age 18. Our Troop has at least one campout each month and at least two high adventure activities each summer. We have had boys from other less active Troops join us for the adventure and to meet the requirements. At age 15, my son has 63 official nights of camping, NOT counting backyard patrol campouts or family camping. He has earned his Life rank and is going to Sea Base next week. He might make Eagle while 16, which is considered young in our Troop. If he earns his Eagle he will know he has earned it. I don’t think the 12 year olds who were processed through the Eagle mills can say the same thing.

  15. Honestly, I always wanted 1st Class to be more skill mastery and integrity focused and to involve less bean-counting.

    Ideally, 1st Class means you can be counted on to fulfill the vision of the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates.

    Does that mean clocking quite a few nights to demonstrate mastery? I think so. But let’s not put the cart before the horse. Mastery should be the focus.

    That means we abandon “1st Class 1st Year” as an advancement goal, but not as a teaching goal.
    1. Have your boys teach all of the skills (scoutcraft, health/safety, and citizenship) in the course of a year,
    2. have the PL sign off on anyone who can demonstrate them to the point they can safely teach their buddy.

    Reward your “masters” with some awesome hike plans!

    Camping nights and service hours will follow.

    • That’s why First Class Rank use to be a requirement for High Adventure, you had mastery of basic outdoor skills and could take care of yourself and others. Ditto for OA.

  16. I see two sides to these revisions. Upping the number of camps to make it so that with the “Every Scout a First Class scout” goal every scout has had sufficient camping experience in their “career”. However 6 camps stretched the time frame for these ranks way out, especially for LDS sponsored troops, where the 11 year old new scout patrol is restricted to 3 nights a year. I think the BSA is catering to this self-imposed limitation, allowing an LDS 11 year old/new scout a chance to be First Class rank before he graduates to the camp-every-month patrols.

    With the announcement of LDS chartered organizations no longer supporting a Varsity Teams nor Venture Crews, something had to be done to shrink the time frame to achieve the Eagle rank to 3 years; under the LDS regulations, the soonest the scout could be First Class Rank would be 3 months after his 12th birthday. This means most would probably be Star rank a little before their 13th birthday and Eagle just before exiting the program at age 14. This does not allow for much wiggle room (about 5 months of “slack”).

    Personally I sought out a “community sponsored troop” for one of my sons to circumvent some of the restrictions I feel were unnecessary (not joining until age 11 & limited number of camps a year); he had his Arrow of Light and it made no sense to have him wait 6 months to continue progressing. He is still 11 and is a Star Rank. If he stays on top of things he could be an Eagle at age 12. This is unheard of for LDS sponsored Troops.

    As for those worried about “staying on top of changing requirements” the requirement book ($5) is published every year and is a necessity for any serious scout master who not only needs to stay on top of rank requirement changes, but also on the merit badge and award requirement changes that change every year as well. It seems the merit badges go under review about every 5 years, and are staggered, so you can count on SOMETHING changing every year. Modern culture/needs to not remain constant, so the requirements to prepare scouts for adulthood cannot remain constant. Just go back to the 1910 handbook and see how narrow the content of that can be applied in modern society.

    • I hope this is not intended to boost speed ranking, in able to produce bunch of 12-13 years old Eagles for LDS boys. BSA is not a factory to output package at minimum time, the aim is “Prepared for Life”

    • An Eagle at age 12? Something is very, very wrong with a Troop that will allow a boy to “advance” in such a short time frame. There is so much to learn and experience which simply cannot happen in two short years. A Scout needs leadership skills that should include service as an APL, a PL, several Troop positions and ideally a stint as SPL or ASPL. IMHO, passing Scouts to the rank of Eagle by age 12 is insulting to Scouts who had to actually earn the rank.

      • This has been discussed at length in other threads, and although rare, a few 12 year olds who lead well and master skills quickly are out there. So I’m not insulted.

        If they are appearing in droves and are incompetent, surly, and ill-tempered. … Well, then I’d have a word with the boy’s scoutmaster.

      • Agreed.

        Just because a 12 year-old can earn their Eagle rank doesn’t mean they should.

        A lot of the challenge–and personal development–of scouting is having to maintain interest and keep your eye on the goal in spite of changing priorities and interests throughout your teen years. Earning it at 12 deprives the youth of the challenge of having to make a personal, serious commitment to scouting while things like dating, employment, more challenging schoolwork, etc try to pull them away.

        Some 12 year-olds may be mature and be great leaders, I have never seen a case where a such a young man wouldn’t have benefited tremendously from going through scouting beyond such a young age to earn their Eagle.

      • Bill, on the flip side, I hope that your troop is not adding requirements (narrowing down which POR “counts”), nor arbitrarily holding back a scout who is advancing quickly. The troop should not be “allowing” a scout to advance based on what they think the BSA requirements should be, they must only be making sure the BSA requirements are met as written.

        That being said, I certainly hope that the BSA did not make this change in order to accommodate the arbitrary LDS rule that limits the number of camping nights in which an 11 year old can participate.

  17. What counts as an “activity?” Is holding the weekly Troop meeting outside on a nice night an “activity”? Is utilizing the time from opening ceremony to closing flags at meeting time to police up trash on a ball field next to the meeting room an “activity?”

    I’m seeing lots of room for 12-year-old lawyers (and they all are!) to negotiate their way into undermining what’s intended to be a modification that creates flexibility!

  18. I applaud BSA’s efforts to be inclusive of our wonderfully diverse population, for that is the backbone of all that is good about our country’s strength, and based on people from all cultures and walks of life. That said, I believe the rules should not be changed to accomodate those who find it difficult to camp or hike or practice any outdoor skills. And certainly rules should be made or amended only by people very experienced in the subject they write about. BSA Scouters and other Volunteers should be made aware of the difficulty through some easily accessible mechanism and give assistance in finding opportunities for them.

    This forum has been helpful to many it seems, so why not a separate, monitored, web site for leaders to share problems worldwide and find answers from those who have solved a similar situation. On the local level, Round Tables are a good place, but often only represent a small number of troops, who unfortunately may all have the same problem. Examples: inner city, non English speaking, or very remote communities.

    As someone who has camped and hiked for 73 years, 63 of them as a Scout or Scouter, I very strongly wish to keep the Outing in Scouting. All the effort and brain power required of us adults to make sure Scouts become men of integrity, imagination, and ambition with a wide awareness of the culture and natural environment that nourishes us all, is worth the time.

  19. This may not be well received but I’m throwing it out there anyway……. This is change has more to do with falling in line with the way LDS troops do things. The new requirements were not in alignment with the way(schedule) the LDS troops operate. Follow the decision of the LDS powers that be deciding to pull all the boys age 14 and over out of scouting, National changed their requirements to cater to them in an effort to stop the bleeding of funds.

    There is no reason for boys not to camp in a tent they help to erect for 6 nights a year. Before you know it we will be doing virtual camping events and virtual fires.

    • LDS boys do not age out of Scouting at 14. They just continue in the unit’s Boy Scout troop until they achieve Eagle, lose interest and quit, or age out at 18. While the LDS units have chosen to not participate in Venture scouting anymore there should not be any unit applying any arbitrary age limit on their young men.

      • And if there are only two or three boys out of 10, for example, who want to continue, how many LDS wards do you think are going to keep the necessary adult leadership staffed? The local bishop just won’t want to put the resources into staffing and ensuring the training of leaders. Of course most wards don’t really follow training requirements anyway. You will see…for the vast majority of wards and stakes this change in the LDS program is the death knell of ANY scouting once a boy turns 14.

        • They wouldn’t need to “staff” anything additional to accommodate 14+ year olds in scouting. They continue to staff leaders for those age group. That hasn’t changed. Boys that age always had the option to participate with the existing 12 and 13 year old scouts to continue their progress towards Eagle if they choose to. The Scoutmaster in an LDS unit is responsible for all scouting in the ward, regardless of the age of the boy.

    • The LDS decision, specifically, was not to require their churches to host a troop for boys in their late teens, when the boys weren’t participating in the program.

      You also overstate the benefit of the current first class requirement. It does not promote 6 overnights/year. A boy may take his entire scouting career to earn First Class. So at best, it promotes less than 1 night/year.

  20. What does a camping Scout today need ? A 12’x12′ square tarp, some poles and home made pegs (Totin’ Chip !), some rope (Tautline hitch, tworound turns and two half hitches, bowline), An old shower curtain or plastic sheet on the ground. . Some “OFF” or “6-12” if you insist. A SMALL flash light (handtorch for our Brit friends). Extra clothes and gear rolled into re-cycled plastic bread bags and perhaps Band Aid tins, a duffle or pack to carry it all in (packframe? A shared cook stove (Patrol cooking? Two or eight, it’s a Patrol !) or if you are lucky, a built up wood fire and grate. A Gdad or Uncle who saved his 1954 FieldBook. Maybe a hand axe and the opportunity to practice with it. The time and patience (“awe, do we have to”?) to walk thru the woods/desert/shore with someone who can point at things and give them names and purposes. “You mean you can EAT that?” Yes, wild raspberries are the same as the ones in the Safeway. No, THAT red berry is from the Jack in the pulpit and is toxic…..

    Why is it so hard to encourage boys (and girls?) to enjoy the out doors, sans electrics and social media (“lol, dad thnks I dnt knw Poison Ivy”)

    It often seems that the younger Scouts don’t “Get It” until they can be convinced to go to Philmont or Northern Tier, but the adventure is right down the street, in that urban park, that National Park, the back yard of your aunt .
    Second Class originally (research it!) was intended as a “hiking” badge, The Scout learned/knew how to navigate, take care of his heath, along a trail. He gained stamina (3 miles, 5 miles 10?) carry a load. Be part of a Team. . First class was recognition that the Scout could now CAMP. He could cook for himself, be self sufficient.

    A First Class Scout: From B-P: “” When a boy has become a First-class Scout — but not before then — he has got a grounding in the qualities, mental, moral, and physical, that go to make a good useful man. And I look on swimming as a very important step, combining as it does attributes of all three of those classes ? mentally it gives the boy a new sense of self-confidence and pluck; morally, it gives him the power of helping others in distress and puts a responsibility upon him of actually risking his life at any moment for others; and physically, it is a grand exercise for developing wind and limb. “”
    **(there was evidently some discussion about requiring ‘swimming’ as a requirement, as not everyone has access to a pool or lake… How can you require something that is so hard to practice/prove?)

  21. Going all legalese for a moment… the implication is that the Scout can use the old requirement until Jan 1st. But that’s not what it actually says. It says that you have until Jan 1st to *decide* what to do, and that you can use the old requirements to finish your current rank. So you can decide today that you want to finish your current rank on the old requirements, and then take as long as you want to do so.

    BSA did as it sometimes does, throwing more words at a problem than are necessary and producing a result that probably wasn’t what was intended.

    (Though in this particular case, where the new requirements are straight subsets of the old, it’s hard to see why anybody would choose to use the old requirements.)

  22. My understanding from my husband’s experience as a kid and from reading I’ve done is that First Class should actually be the most challenging rank to achieve. After all, other than the Eagle project, once you’re First Class it’s only 16 months to Eagle, and most kids can get the Merit Badges done in that 16-18 month period even if they don’t have any yet (and most of them have a lot done, if not all, by the time they get to First Class anyway). I don’t know if I agree with the First Class, First Year philosophy.

    • If the boy rigs it himself and follows leave-no-trace bully for him. Especially if it’s set up so as to withstand some rain.
      It’s actuall more work to rig a fly for a hammock than for most tents.

  23. At this point I don’t care what the reasoning is behind the change, just stop making them. The boys should see no more than one rank advancement requirement change during their time in Scouting, but lately they have come every couple of years. It is unfair to both the boys and the leaders to have to try to keep up with that and to have to figure out who has to comply with what requirements.

  24. My son is being told he is required to attend summer camp for Eagle. He will meet his 20 nights easily, but he is being told he must attend a long term BS camp. Is this true? He camps for a solid 50-60 nights with his family every summer which overlaps his troops voted on summer camp. They will not adjust their standard summer camp dates which are generally around the 4th of July (even over it like this year). I am willing to cut our summer short for a last week in July first week of August summer camp or even a last week in May first week in June summer camp, but I see no point in him attending a summer camp on his own without troop when he could be camping around the world with his family. This is frustrating.

    • Wow! Around the world? Any chance you want to adopt a crew advisor? 😉

      As worded, the requirement says “… One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement. …” The operative verb is *may* not *must.*
      Your son should discuss this with his counselor, show him the dates of the events he would like to count toward his 20, and ask him to support the requirements as written.

      I will say this, BS camp is generally quite a lot of fun (especially for a scout who doesn’t need to earn MBs to make Eagle). Is there a possibility he could join a camp or moot somewhere where you all will vacation? Our troop has had boys join us provisionally, and it’s been a good experience for everyone involved. Scouts will open their arms to scouts all around the world, and as fun as it is, traveling with the ‘rents, it also great to fall in with a couple dozen complete strangers your own age for a week.

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