An Eagle extension

Despite our efforts to keep Scouting programs going in the face of the worldwide pandemic, some things just become impossible at the moment. Merit badge requirements that include camping, for instance, and the collaborative nature of Eagle projects when we can’t come together due to social distancing threaten the timely completion of requirements.

A Scout’s eighteenth birthday can’t be postponed, of course, so the national advancement team has announced a temporary policy change to allow accommodations for Scouts approaching the age-out deadline to have an extension of time to earn Scouting’s highest honor.

Until September 30, 2020, local councils will be authorized to directly grant time extensions to Life Scouts who believe that restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic will prevent them from completing the Eagle Scout requirements by their 18th birthday. And even though they will be required to register as adults when they turn 18, those whose requests are approved can continue to work on requirements after age 18.

Each council will have its own method of requesting and approving the extension, but the process should be similar across the board. Scouts who are affected should:

  • Make sure their advancement records are complete and up-to-date in Scoutbook
  • List the remaining merit badges and completion plans for the unfinished project steps along with a statement of progress on the project so far.
  • For each merit badge, list the requirements yet to be completed, how the current situation impacts their completion, and how much extra time is needed to finish each one.
  • For the project, answer questions about the project’s approval status, selection of a project coach and fundraising considerations. List when the project was expected to be completed originally and have an estimate of how much additional time will be needed once it becomes possible to continue.

Council advancement committees will quickly decide whether to approve each request and promptly notify the Scout in writing. The completed waiver is to be included in the Eagle Scout application package.

Life Scouts who may be facing a time crunch should be made aware of the availability of the extension, and committee chairs and troop advancement coordinators need to be familiar with their local council’s procedure for requesting the extra time. If you haven’t heard from  your council advancement team and if you have Life Scouts in this situation, please reach out to your advancement committee or your unit-serving executive for details.

There’s more information on the Boy Scouts of America’s response to restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 in this summary. Included are approved rank requirement modifications and accommodations for Cub Scouts, ScoutsBSA and Venturing.

Image: deux chi (Creative Commons 2.0 license)

This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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