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New Requirement for Star

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I don't want to put words in anyone's mouth, but I think what fgoodwin was getting at is that the council rep should have provided more details than just a flat statement. Without any other information to consider, what you describe is a major change to the program and advancement.


Personally, I find the information somewhat suspect, particularly considering that the new Handbook is coming out this summer. Why issue a handbook and then have it outdated the next year when a new requirement is added?


Judging by the feedback posted here, I think you've gotten the answer to the question you posed.

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"Why issue a handbook and then have it outdated the next year when a new requirement is added?"


1. Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't BSA have a history of doing that very thing?


2. Do we know for sure that this requirement isn't in the new Handbook?


That said, this requirement doesn't sound realistic to me because of the expense and because most WFA courses are limited to 15 years old and up. That could create a de facto minimum age of 16 to become an Eagle. I doubt that would fly in some segments of the scouting community. It could work if BSA made it a requirement for Eagle, or even Life and if they found a way to make the course accessible to the average scout.

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1. Touche.


2. No, we don't. But why not start the new requirement with the launch of the new handbook? The spring of 2010 is a completely arbitrary date, so why not pick an arbitrary date that makes sense and matches the HB?

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I know, let's require Scouts to be able to tie certain knots... and hike , oh, say, 50 miles total in two years time, and ummm, maybe know how to treat wounds and accidents... and perhaps be able to find their way with a map and a compass. Hey, and be able to signal a message to someone a far distance away, say, without batteries...

Just a thought...

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Not required for advancements, but it is for Philmont and some High Adventure programs.


As stated in the Council and Unit Planning Guide the 2008 First Aid and CPR Certification Requirement reads

as follows:


Philmont requires that a least one person, preferably two, (either an advisor or a youth participant) in each crew

be currently certified in American Red Cross Wilderness First Aid or the equivalent* and CPR from the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross or the equivalent.

The American Red Cross Wilderness First Aid is a sixteen-hour course designed to help in situations when help is not readily available. Several hours may be required for Philmont staff to reach a remote backcountry location after a message is delivered to the nearest staffed camp. First aid and CPR training will result in proper and prompt attention being given to injuries and/or illnesses. You must present current certification cards upon check in to verify this requirement.

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  • 2 months later...

It seems I am from the the same council as the OP. We have many from our Troop take WFA from an orginization called, Center for Wilderness Safety (www.WildSafe.com) I was reading their FaceBook page when I saw the following posting:


"The BSA will be REQUIRING all Scouts wishing to attain the rank of STAR, to become Wilderness First Aid certified, as of March 10, 2010. The requirement will be the completion of a 16 hour WFA course, and the NCAC will not be offering that; just their 3-4 WFA courses which are 25 hours in length.


"Our Question to YOU:

Our WFA course is 25+ hours long, but is an average of $115. Would you want your Scouts to take this course, even though the expense - due to its intense and thorough nature, or would you rather they get a shorter, less intense and meaty course for less?


"Give us your thoughts so that we can best serve you!"


Remembering this thread I asked for more info, where he received his info and the issue of the new books not including this. His reply:


"We were told about it at the Powhatan District Round-Table back in June. The announcement came from the NCAC Council Health & Safety chairman, Craig Johnson. He told everybody that it was passed down to him directly from the National Council at a recent health and safety meeting.


"I would tend to believe him, but we have not been able to verify this information from National; however we have heard of this from other Councils who have asked us to help them out with their WFA needs (they are smaller Councils)."


I am going to follow up with Mr Johnson to see if there is any more to this.

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Looking at the Health and Safety Committee page on NCAC's website I see that they are now offering a 16-20 hour course in addition to the 25-30 hour course.




There are no dates or cost information just a link to Craig's e-mail. It looks like it is offered on request.


The shorter course fulfills the Philmont crew requirement. The longer one fulfills the "needs of the Venturing Ranger Program including optional first aid requirements".


I cannot believe that this will become a Star requirement in March of next year; not with other requirements changing just 3 months earlier. Let us know what Craig says.


I took the longer course and I highly recommend it for scouters or older scouts. You can't be over-trained when it comes to first aid though I hear what you are saying with regard to cost. I am curious what the cost of the shorter course will be. As a point of reference, ARC teaches a 16 hour course for $110.



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I won't say that improving First Aid training in the youth program is something that should not be be done.


We have a tool in the toolbox, though: The First Aid Merit Badge. It's an Eagle requirement, and has been for over 40 years. If National wants to raise standards for this MB, then that's what should be done; not adding another course to the mix.


I agree that Venturing recognitions require additional First Aid beyond the scope of the Boy Scout program merit badge, and that the National High Adventure bases should require WFA as a condition of participation.


Further, January 1 is now the normal, usual, and reasonable date for new requirements: Look at the new HB: Provisions in it take effect Jan 1, 2010.


Something does not add up here. I think I'll look at this topic again in January, and again next March ;)

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I agree with John-in-KC. Something doesn't add up here. Why would national spend so much $$$ on putting out a brand new handbook when the rank requirements in it will be changed again only a few months after the requirements in the new handbook take effect? The only change I see on page 438 to Star Rank is a few new positions of responsibility to choose from.


Haven't got the new handbook yet? You can download the requirements from the companion website:




Click on Table of Contents

then click on Rank Requirements

Scroll down and click on the Star Rank Badge

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I can't imagine this actually being true, for several reasons. Number 1 being there aren't that many councils that offer the course. We offer 2 - 3 courses each year, and they all fill up, many times with participants from out of council and out of state. We also offer a SOLO course once or twice a year, but they are more expensive ($150) since they have paid staff.


We require students to be 14 and have the recommendation of their Venture Advisor or Scoutmaster. We usually have 5 - 6 instructors helping teach the course, so we can get in a decent size class. Cost is around $95. Certification is good for 3 years. SOLO cert. is good for 2 years.


WFA is a great course, which I highly recommend. It really changed the way I think about and prepare for first aid. Basic first aid is just learning the basic skills. WFA takes those skills and teaches how to apply them when you are miles from the trail head, and when you have multiple victims. Subjects include recording & tracking vital signs, prioritizing care, knowing when & how to go for help & what information needs to go with them. We spend a lot of time talking about head, neck and spine injuries. We also cover what to do if you have a fatality. The room gets very quiet during that segment. I can't imagine going into the backwoods with the Troop without this training.

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  • 3 months later...

Updated information concerning WFA for Philmont and Northern Tier. My friend at the Center for Wilderness Safety has let me know the following:


According to the National HQ of the Boy Scouts of America, BSA published new guidelines in August 2009 establishing a new standard for Adult Leaders requiring Wilderness First Aid (WFA) training. This new requirement goes into full effect on March 1, 2010. All crews going to Philmont Backpacking Treks or Northern Tier Canoe expeditions will be required to have at least one crew member with an up to date "Wilderness First Aid" credential.


If the training was received prior to March 1, 2010, nearly any up to date WFA training credential will be accepted. However, any training conducted after March 1, 2010 for the purposes of receiving a "Wilderness First Aid" credential to meet the requirements of Philmont or Northern Tier must be conducted according to these new WFA-BSA guidelines. One of the specifications of the new guidelines is that the topics covered must meet the guidelines curriculum with no omissions or inclusions. So, only a course specifically tailored to meet these guidelines will qualify.



Participants must be at least 14+ years old.

Participants must have adult CPR and AED certification


He also added that the newest news is the WFA-BSA training will be required for Star Scouts starting in 2014.


Some background. Cliff Castleman, who founded the Center for Wilderness Training, is a former DE for the Powhatan District in the National Capital Area Council. This is why I tend to listen to his updates.

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That's good information. I still think the requirement for Star is whole out of line, inappropriate, and unnecessary. The cost and availability of such courses (even 5 years from now) will be limited at best; after all, who will really be taking these courses except Boy Scouts and a few sporatic others?


On the other hand, if a course like this was offered directly by BSA, that would be the horse of a different color. On the same lines, that raises a multitude of other questions and issues. It will be intersting to see how this pans out over the next few years.

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Thinking about this some more ... wouldn't it make more sense to require First Aid Merit Badge before tossing in a WFA course? That way they'd have the basics down pat. Right now, you don't have to earn First Aid until right before you get Eagle.(This message has been edited by shortridge)

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