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Merit Badge requirements for LD Scouts

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Can anyone give me the ruling on Merit Badge requirements for scouts with learning disabilities? I know the Merit badges for Eagle can be substituted with others.


Do the requirements have to be completed as stated?


We are trying to get a concrete answer. In documentation I've read, the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second and First Class can be modified. It seems to me that while badges can be substituted, the requirements have to be completed as stated. Can anyone back this up?



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First - Welcome to the virtual campfire!! There's lots to learn in here!!!


Merit Badge requirements must be met to the letter - no more and no less.

See specific references in discussion on adding requirements:



There is some allowance for substituting some required MBs for Eagle, but those are usually based on a physical inability to complete the requirements and not on a scout with learning disabilities who has a more difficult time completing them.


Hopefully one of my fellow forum addicts with references at their fingertips will provide more details shortly.


I would recommend contacting your Council office if you need more help. They should have someone there with responsibility to assist with disabled scouts.


Good luck!


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That seems to be the problem - we don't have anyone specializing in scouts with disabilities. I've scanned the website from Marin County and came to the same conclusion about fulfilling the requirements.


I wish I could find a contact at National that could help out. We need a concrete reference point to make the requirements clear to the parents.

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I think you want to get/read the BSA publication

"Scouting for Youth with Learning Disabilities" Its BSA publication 33065A. The one I have was printed in 1999, I dont know if there is a more up to date one, if there is, its would be 33065B or C etc.


This is the one to get.

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Karent welcome to the campfire.


What you are looking for is:

A Guide to working with Boy Scouts with Disabilities BSA pub #33056c

I have the 2004 printing


Application for alternate Eagle required merit Badges :



What you are looking for can be found on page 2 of the application. It states: "This does not apply to individual requirements for merit babges.Merit badges are awarded only when all requirements are met as stated".


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From the wwswd.org website - From the Advancement Committee Policy & Procedures:


"Alternate Merit Badges for the Eagle Scout Rank. (page 43)

1. The Eagle Scout rank may be achieved by a Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or qualified*

Explorer who has a physical or mental disability by qualifying for alternate merit badges.

This does not apply to individual requirements for merit badges. Merit badges are awarded

only when all requirements are met as stated.

2. The physical or mental disability must be of a permanent rather than a temporary nature.

3. A clear and concise medical statement concerning the Scout's disabilities must be made by a physician licensed to practice medicine, or an evaluation statement must be certified by

an educational administrator.

4. The candidate must earn as many of the required merit badges as his ability permits before

applying for an alternate Eagle Scout rank merit badge.

5. The candidate must complete as many of the requirements of the required merit badges as

his ability permits.

6. The Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Award Merit Badges must be completed prior to

qualifying for alternate merit badges.

7. The alternate merit badges chosen must be of such a nature that they are as demanding of

effort as the required merit badges.

8. When alternates chosen involve physical activity, they must be approved by the physician.

9. The unit leader and the board of review must explain that to attain the Eagle Scout rank, a

candidate is expected to do his best in developing himself to the limit of his resources

10. The application must be approved by the council committee responsible for advancement,

utilizing the expertise of professional persons involved in Scouting for people with special


11. The candidate's application for Eagle must be made on the Eagle Scout Rank Application,

with the Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Award Merit Badges attached."


In the Application For Alternate Eagle Requirements there is no mention of having to complete the requirements as stated.


In speaking with our Committee Chair I pointed out the statement in #1 that "Merit badges are awarded only when all requirements are met as stated." Is this all the ammo we need?


We're afraid to get this wrong and we haven't gotten anywhere with our local Council. We have a meeting with the mom of the Scout (on Wednesday) and I'd like to have an answer for her, other than we're still checking on it. I knew if anyone could answer the question it would be the great folks who visit this forum!

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Thanks ljnrsu!

That's what I was missing.

It's worded differently on the web page than on the actual application.

I was blinded by my own insecurity....

I knew you guys would come through.

God bless you!

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you should get the publication "Scouting for Youth with Learning Disabilities". There's too much to type here, but here are some snippets:


"...it is important that these scouts be treated as much like others as possible, therefore completing the requirements as stated in official Scouting literature should be a primary objective. It may take these scouts a little longer than others..."


"...he may apply for alternate requirements for Tenderfoot throught First Class ranks, or for an alternative Merit Badge." Note - it did not say alternate requirements for a merit badge.


"Giving more time and permitting the use of special aids are other ways leaders can help scouts with disabilities in their efforts to advance."


"The substitute should provide a similar learning experience. Bear in mind the outcome of the Scouting experience should be one of fun and learning, and not completing requirements for rank advancements." hmmm, sounds like another thread topic.



1 - Do as many standard requirements as possible

2 - Secure a medical statement

3 - Prepare a request for alternate requirements

4 - The advancement committee reviews the request

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We are very fortunate that we have a school employee that specializes in LD as an ASM. He has been working with this boy and parents.


Excellent quotes EagleInKy thanks for those, we'll get the book (I checked at the scout store and they are expecting a shipment next week)




I like this quote especially and I may use it tonight. Some background: according to the ASM this scout has the mental capacity of a three year old and barely speaks. So his parents know he can't do any of the requirements and that they all need to be adjusted. So they are trying to push him along. We need a plan to slow them down, without turning them away. He's only been in the troop a year and he's ready for his Tenderfoot BoR. He attended a Merit badge class and they feel he should be awarded the badge just because he went and they read the book to him.


How do you explain to someone that their son can't be pushed along (like school) without hurting their feelings? The other boys like this kid and we'd like him to stay.

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There's a troop in our council that has a few LD kids. We shared a campsite with them at summer camp a few years ago. The LD kids that were there seemed to hang out at the campsite more than go to MB classes. I'm not sure what rank they were, maybe they didn't know. Advancement seemed to be the farthest thing from their mind. They were there to have fun. I don't know if any of these guys ever made Eagle. That's not important. They seemed to be having the time of their lives. The SM said that some of them stuck around past 18. They didn't even realize they weren't scouts any more. They just liked being with their friends. I think that's cool.

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A true LD scout can stay a scout almost for ever and continue to work on ranks. We have a LD troop here in our district that about 2 yrs ago awarded its first Eagle. The Scout was 35 yrs old, took him that long but he persisted.

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Had our Committee meeting last night and the Mom attended. We finalized the steps to adjust rank requirements. Then started discussing Merit badges. She is mad that we can't make adjustments to Merit badge requirements.


Long story, short - a Committee member suggested that we award the scout with a certificate stating that he "tried" the merit badge. Not sure if she agrees with that yet, she's going to call Council.


Nlds, does that troop have a web site? I would love to have someone she can correspond with or even some kind of information to reference with other LD kids involved in the scout program. I've told her many times that her son never has to leave scouts.

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nld - Yes, you are correct. I forgot that rule. I remember a 30-something year old scout getting Eagle here several years ago.


karent - It's unfortunate, it sounds like the mom is more focused on advancement/rewards than she is in the social interaction that will be good for her son. I hope you can help her work through it.


Do a google search on "Scouting Unlimited". This is what some council offices refer to their programs to work with scouts with disAbilities.


Here's a link to one council's website that may be useful:


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