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Guide to Advancement 2013

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  • Guide to Advancement 2013

    According to the National Advancement Teams Twitter account, the 2013 revision of the Guide to Advancement should be posted here,, any day now.

  • #2
    Wooooo Whoo....another volume to digest by the lawyer scouts and scouters....

    Is there a clif notes of changes????


    • #3


      • #4
        Scouting Mag's blog on the release:
        I wish I got a nickel for every numbskull question that gets asked in the comments section of Bryan's blog. Gee, folks, maybe the answer to your advancement question in the blog about the advancement guide can be found in Guide to Advancement.


        • Basementdweller
          Basementdweller commented
          Editing a comment
          There is a idiot on BOS , a new cross over dad................He has studied the previous G2A cover to cover and is a complete expert on the subject of advancement.

          I am highly entertained by his cub level interpretations for boy scout advancement.......

          I like mine, There are times in life when doing your best isn't good enough and could cost you your life......Learn it, Demonstrate it, Master it.

          I can see him being a high speed low drag parent.....

      • #5
        Here is an overview list of the major changes,

        Section 2. Advancement Defined

        1. and Added that learning Scouting skills and concepts is a vehicle for achieving the primary goal of advancement

        Section 3. Guidelines for Advancement and Recognition Committees

        2. Clarified position on “First Class First Year”
        3. New topic on building an advancement committee
        4. New topic on educational presentations

        Section 4. The Mechanics of Advancement

        5. Clarified procedures for when advancement requirements change
        6. Added language for Cub Scouts close to earning rank at the end of a school year
        7. Clarified that new Cub Scouts begin with Bobcat but may work simultaneously on the rank appropriate to their age or grade
        8. Changed that unused Bear badge achievements, or parts of achievements that were used for the Bear badge, may now be counted toward Arrow Points
        9. Added language on Boy Scout ranks and simultaneous fulfillment of requirements for Tenderfoot through First Class
        10. Added that Scouts who may not have learned a signed off requirement should be given opportunities to practice or teach the related skills or concepts in order to complete learning
        11. New topic to clarify how BSA intends skills and knowledge retention to be achieved
        12. Added reference to publications related to service projects released in 2012 by the national Health and Safety Committee
        13. Clarified that positions in provisional units such as jamboree troops do not fulfill rank requirements
        14. Clarified that unit leaders do not have the authority to deny a Scout a unit leader (Scoutmaster) conference that is necessary for rank advancement
        15. New topic on procedure for fulfilling more than one requirement with a single activity
        16. and Clarified that Eagle Scout and Quartermaster projects must be separate and distinct

        Section 5. Special Considerations

        17. Revised and expanded the examples of procedures a council advancement committee might consider for camp settings; added statement on advancement in Cub Scout camping

        Section 6. Internet Advancement Highlights

        18. Added benefits and features of Internet Advancement
        19. Introduced presentation, “Getting the Most from Internet Advancement”
        20. New topic related to using Internet Advancement and working with board of review signatures, Scout transfers, and dual registration

        Section 7. The Merit Badge Program

        21. Clarified recommended merit badge process
        22. Topic changed to explain more about the blue card; much of the former content in moved to
        23. and Introduced method for reporting instances of merit badge counseling that do not follow BSA procedures
        24. New topic clarifies procedure on the purpose and meaning of a unit leader’s signature on the blue card, and a Scout’s freedom to choose counselors
        25. Added adherence to the Sweet Sixteen of BSA Safety; updated special qualifications for supervisors of Canoeing, Climbing, Rowing, and Scuba Diving merit badges; and added special qualifications for Archery and Kayaking
        26. Added language allowing unit leaders to limit the number of merit badges Scouts may earn from one counselor
        27. Introduced new presentation, “The Essentials of Merit Badge Counseling”
        28. Added suggestions for improving merit badge group instruction quality
        29. Covered how to address the use of unregistered, unapproved merit badge counselors
        30. New topic on limited recourse for cases where it is clear and evident Scouts could not possibly have fulfilled merit badge requirements
        31. Added topic on the use of unofficial worksheets and other learning aids available from the Internet
        32. Added topic on merit badge opportunities with non-Scouting organizations or businesses
        33. Added topic on charging fees for merit badge opportunities

        Section 8. Boards of Review: An Overview for All Ranks

        34. Clarified that a board of review must be granted if a Scout believes he has completed rank requirements
        35. Clarified approach to observers and parents attending boards of review; added statement discouraging mock boards of review
        36. Clarified age qualifications of unit committee members serving on boards of review; added statement on Scouts ready to be reviewed for more than one rank
        37. Clarified procedures for boards of review under disputed circumstances, including that they may be appealed

        Section 9. The Eagle Scout Rank

        38. Clarified dealing with positions of responsibility when a Scout transfers from a troop or team to a crew or ship
        39. Redefined role and source of Eagle Scout service project coaches
        40. Added language allowing local councils to add parameters for Eagle Scout service project fundraising
        41. Added procedure for project beneficiaries that are not allowed to retain funds from an Eagle service project
        42. Added mention of new service project beneficiary information sheet, “Navigating the Eagle Scout Service Project,” which will be included with the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, and can be found at
        43. Clarified unit responsibility for safety on Eagle Scout service projects
        44. New topic on Eagle Scout service projects and the Messengers of Peace program
        45. and Added various clarifications to the tests and process for time extensions to earn the Eagle Scout rank

        Section 10. Advancement for Members With Special Needs

        46. Clarified requirements for Scouts with special needs and inclusion of unit leaders and parents in boards of review

        Section 11. Appendix

        47. New form, “Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns”
        Last edited by click23; 07-12-2013, 06:23 AM.


        • #6
          After reading through all of this, here are some of the major changes

 “Do Your Best”
          …In the same spirit as “Do Your Best,” if a boy is close to earning a badge of rank when the school year ends, the pack committee, in consultation with the den leader and the Cub Scout’s parent or guardian, may allow him a few weeks to complete the badge before going on to the next rank. Earning it will give him added incentive to continue in Scouting and carry on and tackle the next rank.

 Arrow Points
          Unused Bear badge achievements, or parts of achievements that were used for the Bear badge, may be counted toward Arrow Points. For example, in Bear Achievement 9, “What’s Cooking,” four of seven parts listed are required for the achievement. The other three may be used as electives toward Arrow Points. Since 12 achievements will have been used to earn the Bear badge, electives may also be chosen from any of the remaining 12. For the Wolf badge, only electives may be used to earn Arrow Points. Once a boy moves to the next Cub Scouting rank level, he may not earn Arrow Points from the earlier rank.

 Counselor Approvals and Limitations
          … The National Council places no limit on the number of merit badges an individual may be approved to counsel, except to the extent a person lacks skills and education in a given subject. The intent is for Scouts to learn from those with an appropriate level of expertise.

          Merit badge counselors must submit the Merit Badge Counselor Information sheet, No. 34405, according to local council practices. The form must show each badge for which the counselor requests approval. Additions or subtractions may be submitted using the same form. Although it is permissible for councils to limit the number of badges that one person counsels, it must not do so to the point where Scouts’ choices, especially in small or remote units, are so limited as to serve as a barrier to advancement.

          Neither does the National Council place a limit on the number of merit badges a youth may earn from one counselor. However, in situations where a Scout is earning a large number of badges from just one counselor, the unit leader is permitted to place a limit on the number of merit badges that may be earned from one counselor, as long as the same limit applies to all Scouts in the unit. Approved counselors may work with and pass any member, including their own son, ward, or relative. Nevertheless, we often teach young people the importance of broadening horizons. Scouts meeting with counselors beyond their families and beyond even their own units are doing that. They will benefit from the perspectives of many “teachers” and will learn more as a result. They should be encouraged to reach out.

 Limited Recourse for Unearned Merit Badges
          From time to time, however, it may be discovered that merit badges could not actually have been earned. For example, a Scout who returns from summer camp or a merit badge fair with signed blue cards for an extraordinary number of badges could raise concerns.

          If, after consulting with those involved in the merit badge program—such as an event coordinator, the camp director, or a merit badge counselor—it becomes plainly evident that a youth could not have actually and personally fulfilled requirements as written, then the limited recourse outlined below is available. It may result in a decision that some or all of the requirements for a badge could not have been fulfilled, and thus, that the badge was not actually earned.

          After such a consultation, the unit leader, in a positive environment similar to that of a unit leader conference, discusses with the Scout the circumstances under which a merit badge in question was approved. A parent or an assistant unit leader should attend as an observer. The young man shall not be retested on the requirements, but a conversation with him can reveal if he was present at the class and actually and personally fulfilled all the requirements. Such a discussion could cover who taught a class, what sort of activities took place, where and when they occurred, how testing was done, what the Scout might have brought home from the class, and other similar process-oriented details.

          In most cases, with a fair and friendly approach, a young man who did not complete the requirements will admit it. Short of this, however, if it remains clear under the circumstances that some or all of the requirements could not have been met, then the merit badge is not reported or awarded, and does not count toward advancement. The unit leader then offers the name of at least one other merit badge counselor through whom any incomplete requirements may be finished. Note that in this case a merit badge is not “taken away” because, although signed off, it was never actually earned.

          Just as we avoid penalizing Scouts for the mistakes of adults, it should be a rare occurrence that a unit leader finds the need to question whether merit badges have been earned. This procedure for recourse is limited and reserved only for clear and evident cases of noncompletion or nonparticipation. For example, the recourse could be allowed when it would not have been possible to complete a specific requirement at the location of the class, event, or camp; if time available was not sufficient—perhaps due to class size or other factors—for the counselor to observe that each Scout personally and actually completed all the requirements; if time available was insufficient for a “calendar” requirement such as for Personal Fitness or Personal Management; or if multiple merit badges in question were scheduled at the same time.

          This procedure is not to be viewed as an opportunity for retesting on requirements, for interjecting another set of standards over those of a merit badge counselor, or for debating issues such as whether a Scout was strong enough, mature enough, or old enough to have completed requirements.

          Unit leaders who find it necessary to make use of this recourse must act quickly—if possible, within 30 days of discovery. It is inappropriate to delay a Scout’s advancement with anything less than a prompt decision. If a Scout or his parent or guardian believes a unit leader has incorrectly determined a Scout has not earned a merit badge, or more than 30 days have passed without a reasonable explanation for the lack of a decision, they should address their concerns with the unit committee.

          They should first, however, develop a thorough understanding of the merit badge requirements and that each one must be passed exactly as it is set forth. Upon encountering any merit badge program where BSA standards are not upheld, unit leaders are strongly encouraged to report the incident to the council advancement committee, preferably using the form found in the appendix (see “Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns,”

 Conducting the Board of Review
          …The number of “observers” at a board of review should otherwise be minimized. The members of the board of review, however, have the authority to exclude the unit leader or any other observers if they believe their presence will inhibit open and forthright discussion.

          …The BSA discourages mock or practice boards of review. “Practice” reviews may imply that board members will ask predetermined questions or that the board of review is anticipated to be other than a positive experience. Instead, the advancement committee should aim for unrehearsed, spontaneous answers revealing character, citizenship, and personal fitness at the boards of review.

 Advancement for Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts With Special Needs
          …It is important to remember that the advancement program is meant to challenge our members; however, not all of them can achieve everything they might want to—with or without a disability. It is for this reason all Scouts are required to meet the requirements as they are written, with no exceptions.

          For boards of review for Scouts with special needs, the board members should be informed ahead of time about the special circumstances and needs. It may be helpful, too, if the unit leader is present at the review. He or she may be able to help answer questions and provide background. It may be important to allow parents or guardians to be present at the meeting as well—especially if they are able to help interpret and communicate what the Scout is saying. At the least, parents should be available to help board members understand the Scout’s challenges and how he copes with them.


          • #7
            hehehe point 7 is in response to my post on bryan on scouting about a boy who earned a 8 merit badges in a single day, 6 hours, at a merit badge clinic with no prereq.......

            The entire point 7 is exactly what I did with my wayward scout.......While he swears up and down he didn't help himself to the merit badge cards.....He didn't know the projects, instructor....had another lad attend the same day and eagerly showed me his projects he actually earned two.....other lad not so much......

            Lad has no interest in actually earning them....So until he decides he didn't earn them he will continue to fail scout spirit.


            • #8
     is not really new. While it has not been spelled out in the Advancement Guide before, it has been mentioned in the Cub Scout Leader Book, and has been a rule for many years now.

              The only stipulations have been that the Cub can not work in two levels at the same time, and that the extension is for the rank award only.


              • dedkad
                dedkad commented
                Editing a comment
                There are some on here who contend that as soon as the school year ends, a Scout's ability to earn rank ends. Why some people choose to hold such a hard line, I'm not sure. I'm glad it's clarified now.

              • blw2
                blw2 commented
                Editing a comment
                & I thought it floated around a June 30 date, not the school year......

              • ScoutNut
                ScoutNut commented
                Editing a comment
                As the Cub Scout program (except for LDS) revolves around the school year, and there are lots of different end of school year dates across the country (and even some year long school systems), BSA has made June 1, as the date that their computer system (ScoutNet) automatically updates all registered Cub Scouts to their next Cub level.

                This is why newly graduated kindergarteners can not be registered as Tiger Cub Scouts until June 1. The system does not see them as eligible until then.

                Cub Scouts is flexible, and the Cubs love "bling". However "bling" is not the focus of the program, and the boy also love new, more interesting things.

                Of all of the times (maybe 5-6 in 15 years) that I have offered Cubs more time past our end of May Cub Graduation in which to complete their current rank award I have been taken up on it exactly 0 times. The boys prefer to move on to newer activities.

            • #9
              Allowing unit leaders to disallow MBs which are obviously unearned is a good thing. I thing the "rat sheet" on counselors is silly. Do you really need a form?

              The previously announced change to blue cards -- the unit leaders have no discretion in either the choice of counselors or when or if a Scout starts working on MBs -- is a serious error. We're not likely to make any changes in how we counsel our Scouts regarding merit badges.


              • #10

                While the new form is a bit long-winded compared to the previous one, one purpose is for the district or council advancement committee folks to approve the person, or disapprove. I know in my district, we did have folks on the committee reviewing all these forms at one time and compiling into a district book. Let's face it you don't want someone who is just one step ahead of the Scout being an MBC? That would be like having me be a Railroading MBC.

                Also with some of the new requirements for some MBCs, it is needed to make sure the MBCs still qualify. Unfortunately I no longer qualify as a Canoeing MBC since I don't have any current certs, nor trained by an instructor. Just had the MB as a youth, did 2 fifty milers via canoe, taught the the MB prior to this etc.


                • Twocubdad
                  Twocubdad commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I'm referring to the new "Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns" on page 79 or thereabouts, not the MB Counselor Application. As if somehow a form is going to make it easier to challenge counselors who are pencil whipping requirements, especially since the biggest offender are council employees (aka, "camp staff").

              • #11
                I have to agree, Twocubdad. I foresee the form becoming more useful to councils in compiling a squeaky wheel list than a bad counselors list.