More advancement changes

Here are a few other advancement-related items that have been changed or clarified in the recent Guide to Advancement that affect the troop committee:

  • If you’ve ever been caught short on a board of review night without enough committee members on hand, there is relief. The new rule allows for adults who aren’t registered committee members to serve on a BOR. Here’s the exact language: In units with fewer than three registered committee members available to serve, it is permissible to use knowledgeable parents (not those of the candidate) or other adults (registered or not) who understand Boy Scouting’s aims.Smaller troops may only have three registered committee members, and if the son of one of the committee members needs a board of review, it would otherwise be impossible, since parents can’t participate. This change would also seem to give troops with more committee members greater flexibility to assemble a board of review when we are unexpectedly overloaded with candidates, say during a troop meeting or on a campout. We really don’t want to turn away a Scout who only needs a BOR to advance for lack of registered committee members. They don’t define “available to serve”, so it could mean that while you may have many committee members, they might not all be able to make it to a board of review session. The catch here is that if you have knowledgeable parents or adults who understand Boy Scouting’s aims, they belong on the troop committee anyway, and if you find you need to press them into service, you should invite them to register.
  • A disability needn’t be permanent in order to be eligible for alternate requirement consideration. It’s considered permanent if it is expected to last at least two years, or past the Scout’s 18th birthday.
  • Rank advancement appeals are limited to board of review rejection only. A Scout cannot appeal an adverse decision during a Scoutmaster conference. He can always request a board of review at any time anyway, and the board can take the Scoutmaster’s rejection into consideration. Star and Life candidates who are rejected for rank advancement by a board of review can appeal to the council advancement committee.

There are many changes to the Eagle process. Chief among them are:

  • The workbook has been changed and standardized. It now comes as a fillable PDF that can be saved. The workbook must be used as provided; councils and troops can’t require a different version.
  • Eagle project approvals have been streamlined. An Eagle candidate needn’t provide detailed plans to the beneficiary or troop committee; he only needs to have a cohesive plan and have steps to continue project planning once the concept has been approved.
  • Eagle projects are now considered troop activities, so they are subject to two-deep leadership, youth protection, money-earning procedures and tour plan permits as they would apply to any other troop outing or activity.
  • An Eagle candidate can appeal to the district and a boad of review can be held outside the troop if the troop refuses to grant approval, such as a Scoutmaster or the troop committee refusing to sign off on the application.
  • There is now an accommodation for Eagle candidates where completion of all requirements was delayed past his 18th birthday for reasons unavoidable or unanticipated. These would include work obligations, hospitalization or injury, family incidents or errors or omissions by adults. Excluded, as they always have been, are situations where the Scout just ran out of time or didn’t rejoin the troop in time to fulfill the requirements, particularly time-based ones such as service in a position of responsibility or one of the 90-day required merit badges (Family Life, Personal Fitness).
  • In the rare circumstance where an adult realizes that he completed all the requirements for Eagle prior to his 18th birthday but never had a board of review or officially earned Eagle, he can use the evidence to apply and receive Eagle as an adult. It could be for any number of reasons. There is a new form for a belated Eagle board of review, and a description of the process.

Follow the “Roundtable Resources” link on this page for a more comprehensive list of policy changes and clarifications that I presented at our November 2011 district roundtable. Of course, the final, authoritative word is in the official BSA guide itself, so if there is any question, look in the book!


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