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kenk

Confusion about implementation of new rank requirements

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I just send this request for clarification from the national office to my council advancement person:

 

While I'm sure you are aware that a series of changes in advancement requirements are effective as of January 1, 2010, you may or may not be aware that there is a fair amount of confusion and debate regarding how they are to be implemented.

 

The details of the implementation are given on at the bottom of page 443 in the new Boy Scout Handbook:

 

"The rank requirements in this book are official as of January 1, 2010." - simple enough

 

"If a Scout has started work toward a rank before that date using requirements that were current before January 1, 2010, he may complete that rank only using the old requirements."

 

Here is where the confusion begins ... it is not uncommon for boys to have begun work on Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class requirements when January 1st rolls around. I have interpreted this to mean that they can only use the old requirements to complete the NEXT rank, and any remaining ranks must be completed using the new requirements, but others feel that as long as they have even one requirement signed off, that they are then "grandfathered" for that rank.

 

"Any progress toward a rank that is begun after January 1, 2010, must use the requirements in this Handbook or in the Boy Scout Requirements book."

 

This actually seems to support the "grandfathered" interpretation - that a rank for which ANY progress was begun before January 1, 2010, can be completed using the old requirements.

 

I hope the national office will address this confusion VERY soon.

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If the "grandfathering" approach truly employs the philosophy of having any part of a requirement done be the basis for allowing grandfathering of old requirements, then the issue kenk raises goes beyond T-2-1. Any scout with as few as three non-Eagle merit badges should, under that understanding, get to apply the old requirements all the way through and including Life. Star permits 2 non-Eagle MBs, and then any extra non-Eagles must be applied towards Life.

 

Somehow I doubt national intends for this to happen, but I've been wrong before. In the past when national issued a new set of rank requirements, my troop gave scouts the option of following the old requirements for the rank immediately after the one they currently hold, if the current rank was earned before the new requirement set went into effect. In the case when the next rank was Eagle, we coordinated very carefully with our Council's advancement committee.

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It's not very much change IMO.... shouldn't be too difficult to work the new requirement in.

I have been encouraging our scouts to be including these minor changes anyway so everyone is on top of the new requirements.

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We use which ever book was in use when the Scout joined our Troop.

 

The Webelos who crossed over last April are all using the old book, and will stay with that until they finish. We will stay current with Eagle requirement issues, but otherwise, the book they joined with defines rank advancement.

 

Those who join our Troop from this point on will be using the new book, and will follow that rank advancement until they are working on Eagle.

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I like SMT224's stance. I've had our troop's Advancement Chair kick back every advancement that comes to him after the change date irregardless of when the Scout started working on the rank. Is it the unit leader's decision on how and when to implement changes?

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one caveat is that you MUST keep an eye out on the S-L-E changes as in the past it included additional MBs. I've heard there was a Big push to get Eagle before the "urban Scouting" program of the 1970s took effect with 24 MBs being required and Camping and a few previously required Eagle MBs becoming optional.

 

In my time in scouting, I know the addition of Family Life has caused some challenges.

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732,

The SM is ultimately responsible for advancement. BUT the BORs are conducted by the committee for the most part, Eagle being the possible exception, and the SM does need the support of the committee.

 

That said, BSA policy is currently working on they can continue. back in the day when you had time requirements and Skill Awards, there would be no questions like the one being posed.

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It is my fervent hope that the national council does NOT address this question.

 

Take one minute to read again our mission. How can we teach boys to make good choices in life if we adult leaders cannot do so ourselves?

 

The permutations are nearly infinite: which rank, which requirement, how long ago completed, how many completed....

The national council cannot possible write a law directing how to implement the new requirements in all situations. Imagine the squealing that would ensue!

 

Take two extremes - a 2nd Class Scout has diligently worked and completed all 1st Class requirements before 1 Jan, save one. New requirements come out. Must he start all over?? How fair would that be? The choice is clear.

In the other extreme little Billy just joined the troop and completes a 1st Class requirement. Should he be grandfather in over the next 8 years? How fair would that be?

 

The national council must not step in and decide every variation in between. Just do the right thing! If in doubt, ask a Scout what should be done.

 

Teach ethical choices, not how to interpret a rule book.

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I agree with teaching ethics but we must also live by the rule book which needs to be written clearly so the average SM can understand it. My policy is if the Scout has begun work on the next rank before 1/1/10 as determined by a signed off a dated requirement for that rank then he works under the old rules for that rank only. The new rules apply to the next rank.

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"My policy is if the Scout has begun work on the next rank before 1/1/10 as determined by a signed off a dated requirement for that rank then he works under the old rules for that rank only. The new rules apply to the next rank. "

 

Eagle732,

 

That is the assumption I'm working under too. That is what I'm telling our troop we need to do.(This message has been edited by kenk)

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While the wording is not crystal clear, I think the use of the phrase "that rank only" strongly implies that ONE rank that is incomplete as of 1/1/01 -- the "next" rank -- may be completed under the old requirements, and that the new requirements apply for all ranks after that. In theory, I agree with FScouter that there may be some situations in which it would be unfair to limit the "grandfathering" to only one rank. However, I think that in deciding whether that unfairness exists in a given case, one must consider the nature of that particular "round" of changes. The changes this time are not very onerous. (I would say they are "minor", but that's questionable in the case of the Second Class and maybe the Life changes.) The changes are all additions of new requirements here and there, expansions of existing requirements and clarifications -- no requirements have been eliminated. For that reason, the concern about requiring a boy to "start all over" does not really apply this time. If a Scout misses the cutoff for a particular rank, he just has to do a little more work; none of what he has already done is "wasted." So I don't think there is really a fairness problem presented this time, even if the rule is applied the way I think national meant it.

 

I do see some possible fairness issues in the additional rule that my council has adopted, which I mentioned in the last thread on this subject: "A boy who has not completed a Scoutmaster Conference under the old requirements by 4/1/2010 must use the 2010 requirements for all ranks." First of all, I'm not sure how a council gets to adopt a policy like that, unless they got national approval, but the material that I read says that the Council Advancement Committee adopted it, with no mention of national. Second, for the lower ranks, if someone made a new rank in December, completing the next one by the end of March may not be easy -- though, maybe, that's part of the point, and they just don't want Scouts "hanging around" under the old requirements for an indefinite period. If I were going to create a policy like that, though, I would have made the deadline July 1 rather than April 1. Third, a Scout who made First Class after December 1, or Star or Life after October 1, will need to use the new requirements for their next rank without regard to the January 1 cutoff, because the 4- and 6-month time requirements cannot be completed by April 1. But as it turns out, there are no new requirements for Star or Eagle, and the new requirement for Life really is not that burdensome.

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Great thing about SMCs is that they can be done at ANYTIME whle a scout is workign on advancement, not necessarily the last thing they do as is usually practiced.

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Great thing about SMCs is that they can be done at ANYTIME whle a scout is workign on advancement, not necessarily the last thing they do as is usually practiced.

 

Eagle92, I have seen that comment made in these forums before, and I understand that the requirements do not specifically require the SM conference to be "last" (other than the BOR), but that is how it is always done in my troop and I suspect most others. My council seems to be assuming that as well, otherwise the "new policy" that I quoted would make no sense at all. I am sure what they mean is that all rank requirements (other than the BOR) must be completed by April 1, and they are equating that with completion of the SM conference. Technically they may be incorrect, but that is what they seem to be assuming. For our troop, at least, they would be correct.

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