Homepage Forums Scouts BSA Should a Scoutmaster be able to create addition eagle requirements?

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    • #218133
      Jackson Schlussel

      My scoutmaster has recently made a new requirement for any scouts looking to advance into life or eagle rank. He wants scouts to either plan and lead a trip, or do some troop leadership project over time. What I want to know is despite this specific requirement, is it scoutlike to deny a scout rank advancement if they completed all the rank requirements but not the requirement created by the scoutmaster?

    • #218271

      It’s not a question of being scoutlike, it’s a simple policy question. The short answer is no. No one is allowed to create additional requirements for any rank, Eagle included.

      Directly from the BSA’s Guide to Advancement (2019 edition):
      Policy on Unauthorized Changes to Advancement Program
      No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited exceptions relating only to members with special needs. For details see section 10, “Advancement for Members With Special Needs.”

      If a Scoutmaster is doing this in addition to all the other requirements, it needs to be addressed by the Troop Committee and the SM should refresh their training.

      For Star and Life ranks, the Scoutmaster can assign a leadership project to be completed by the scout instead of requirement #5, holding a position of responsibility for four (Star) or six (Life) months. However, that is not an allowable alternative for Eagle. Per the 2019 Eagle Rank Requirements page, there’s a footnote #11 that states (my emphasis added):

      “Assistant patrol leader and bugler are not approved positions of responsibility for the Eagle Scout rank. Likewise, a Scoutmaster-approved leadership project shall not be used in lieu of serving in a position of responsibility.</strong>”

      If you have a Scoutmaster who is doing this, however well meaning they think they are being, they are operating outside of clearly defined BSA regulations.

    • #218492

      For ANY part of Scouting, rank or merit badge, requirements are to be completed AS WRITTEN. No one may add or take away requirements with the rare exception of “Special Needs” scouts who need to have alternative, but equally challenging, requirements.

      Now that we answered your question, you’re left with 1 other “problem”… what do to about it.

      Not only is your SM in the wrong, but through the BORs and Scoutmaster Report to the Committee, the Committee should have caught on to the fact that they have a “rogue” Scoutmaster on their hands. He needs to be corrected or replaced ASAP.

    • #218830
      Jay the Antelope

      Hi Jackson,

      Middletown Souter and Guru are giving you the straight goods here and you’d be wise to request a meeting with your unit’s committee, or even the COR. Before you do though, be sure you’re fully understanding the gravity of what your SM is trying to achieve. I feel that you’ve got a lot more story here, and we’ve only been given a small sample size to review.

      That said, I’ll share that our unit had a similar matter a few years ago-we had something called a “Life Project” that Scouts were “required” to complete during their respective paths to Eagle. A parent went to great lengths to prove this an inappropriate practice. He went all the way to our council committee before he was able have action taken to stop this lunacy. It’s no longer required.

      Many adults were and still are fussy with one another to this day (more than eight years ago).

      IF your SM is denying your advancement because he wants to add to the pile of rocks you’re carrying, he’s wrong and you should go for your award as strongly as you feel you deserve it. IF though, there’s a question in his mind about your character, physical fitness, citizenship, or leadership; or, anything about your skills that are still able to be questioned (not previously signed off), please understand that the only way a SM can ensure the award is valid is to delay your advancement. He cannot deny it! No matter his desire to do so. IF you’re done and it’s all on the up and up he can delay it until satisfied that you’re as deserving as you feel, your parents feel, and your book states you are.
      SO, maybe you simply go with the above listed reference in hand, your book, a pen, and the smiling face of a humble Eagle, and ask him to discuss your next steps toward achieving your goal. That’s what you may need to do to get there.
      Good luck!

      • #232509
        Jackson Schlussel

        My scoutmaster is not testing me personally, this is a troop wide requirement. He has even admitted to writing in requirements in scout handbooks to enforce his own requirements.

    • #219729

      I’m gonna spin this the other way.
      Life rank requirement 5 has a scout fulfilling a position of responsibility (PoR) or SM-approved leadership project (LP) to help the troop.

      So, let’s break this down …
      If your are elected SPL/PL you should be planning trips anyway. If you’re not, someone else is leading your patrol, and you are not fulfilling your PoR.
      The other PoR’s are appointed by the SPL with the approval of the SM. The SM doesn’t have to approve a PoR if you are not willing, as a Star or Life scout, to contribute to the life of the troop.

      Maybe all those other SM’s are taking from the requirements if they allow scouts to skate by without requiring them to actually contribute to the good of the troop.

      • #232506
        Jackson Schlussel

        Just to clarify, my scoutmaster is not denying me rank advancements personally. He has created a troop wide requirement that applies to everyone no matter how well they have fulfilled their (PoR). I already spent 6 months as quartermaster and went above and beyond in that role, I did not need to continue in a leadership position but did so anyway because I wanted to.

      • #232922

        Your SM cannot add requirements to any rank, but what can be done (per the GTA is to lay out clear expectations for each leadership role within the Troop. Those expectations must be reasonable, which is a bit subjective. There is some leeway (as I review the documentation) for a bit of rank adaptation, but for me, the expectations should be nearly the same for each rank.

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