News & Briefings

Scoutbook – Advancement Update

Temporary Changes to
Advancement Requirements Expire February 28, 2022

On March 1, 2022, all temporary changes to Scouts BSA advancement requirements will expire, and Scouts will return to the original, unmodified requirements.

Note that Scoutbook will be modified around March 1 to restore the requirements that were deferred due to COVID. If the rank has already been marked approved in Scoutbook, make a note in the next unearned rank of when the test was conducted.

What changes are rolling back?

On May 7, 2020, as the COVID case counts continued to rise, the BSA introduced a set of modifications to requirements for the Camping merit badge as well as the Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class ranks.

 

Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class

Here are the original modifications to the Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class requirements, as posted in May 2020.

Many of the changes involved tweaked verbs. For example, instead of demonstrating how to display, raise, lower, and fold the U.S. flag (Tenderfoot requirement 7A), Scouts could tell how to do it.

Scouts also were permitted to complete some requirements virtually, allowing for activities like virtual museum visits and virtual patrol or troop camp outs.

 

Swimming requirements deferred

Because many public swimming areas were closed during the pandemic, the BSA allowed a temporary deferment of two swimming-related requirements: Second Class requirement 5B and First Class requirement 6A.

  • Second Class requirement 5B: Demonstrate your ability to pass the BSA beginner test: Jump feet first into water over your head in depth, level off and swim 25 feet on the surface, stop, turn sharply, resume swimming, then return to your starting place.
  • First Class requirement 6A: Successfully complete the BSA swimmer test.

Learning to swim is a critical life skill, so the BSA did not remove these requirements altogether. Instead, the requirements could be deferred until the Scout’s next rank (through Life, but not Eagle).

Also, we should note that the swim test is still required for Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat. Those key safety features are critical if units take part in aquatics.

Requirement 9B of the Camping merit badge

Requirement 9B of the Camping merit badge challenges Scouts to add “Scout fun” to camping by enjoying activities like backpacking, biking or rappelling while on a camping trip. That requirement was made optional during this period.

All the changes listed above will end on March 1, 2022.

Please note: When the changes were first announced, the BSA shared that “these requirements will be reinstated with 30 days’ notice to our Scouting family.” Consider this blog post part of that notice.

What are the new (or, technically, old) requirements?

Beginning March 1, 2022, Scouts and Scouters should follow the requirements as written on this page on Scouting.org 1.

If you’re a browser book-marker, that’s the page you’ll want to file away. There you’ll find the most up-to-date requirements for rank advancement and awards.

For merit badges, use this link to ensure you have the latest and greatest.

As you return to the original requirements, remember this sentence from the Guide to Advancement (section 10.2.2.0): “Members must meet current advancement requirements as written for merit badges, all ranks, and Eagle Palms — no more and no less — and they are to do exactly what is stated.”

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