Update to Scouts BSA joining requirements opens the door to more young people

While Scouts love to climb mountains and hike across rugged terrain, their path to joining Scouts BSA shouldn’t be met with similarly daunting obstacles.

To that end, a change to the Scouts BSA joining requirements will make it easier for young people to join a troop alongside their friends and classmates.

Effective April 18, 2022, the Scouts BSA joining requirements have changed. They now state that a young person can be a member of Scouts BSA if they meet any of these requirements below.

New Scouts BSA joining requirements (effective April 18, 2022)

  • At least 10 years old, currently in the fifth grade and register on or after March 1
    or
  • At least 10 years old and have earned the Arrow of Light Award
    or
  • At least 11 years old (but not yet 18)

As a reminder, the previous joining requirements stated that a young person could be a Scouts BSA member if they met any of the requirements below.

Old Scouts BSA joining requirements (prior to April 18, 2022) 

  • At least 10 years old and have completed the fifth grade
    or
  • At least 10 years old and have earned the Arrow of Light Award
    or
  • At least 11 years old (but not yet 18)

In comparing the two sets of bullets, you can see that the change primarily applies to young people who are still in the fifth grade. Thanks to the change, a 10-year-old who wants to join a Scouts BSA troop in March of their fifth grade year (or beyond) is welcome to do so.

An option to cross over

Some parents might wonder whether a Cub Scout working on Arrow of Light must move to a Scouts BSA troop if they turn 11 but haven’t finished the rank.

The answer is no. The pack can continue to work on rank advancement as normal and move the Scout into a troop when they complete the rank or at the regular program roll-up in June.

In other words, the only mandatory crossover is when they have completed the fifth grade. Like all the other ranks in Cub Scouting, once school ends, the Cub Scout is now the next rank.

Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA: Two great programs

Cub Scouting is truly a life-changing program for families and their kids. It builds character, introduces young people to leadership concepts and offers action-packed fun week after week.

But by the time a Cub Scout is 10 years old and working on their Arrow of Light, they’re inevitably going to start looking ahead to the adventures that await in Scouts BSA.

That means the program is working as intended. As a young person moves through Cub Scouting, they will experience increasingly difficult challenges and enjoy more and more freedom. It’s only natural that they’ll start thinking about what comes next.

The new requirements encourage that enthusiasm and allow young people to move into Scouts BSA at a time that’s right for themselves, their packs and troops, and their families.

About Bryan Wendell 3283 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.