Scouts BSA Program Updates

This page includes the latest information concerning resources and developments affecting the Scouts BSA program. Bookmark this page to get the latest program updates from the National Scouts BSA Committee.

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Virtual Troop meetings Facilitators Guide

Updated October 15, 2020

It is understood that access to technology will vary from Troop to Troop and may be dependent upon geographic differences. The purpose of this guide is to encourage and enable Troops, where feasible, to conduct meetings virtually in a safe, efficient, and productive manner. During a period when in-person meetings may not be possible, it is essential that virtual meetings be conducted while always keeping in mind the aims of character development, citizenship training, leadership, and mental and physical fitness. This guide anticipates that Troops will utilize the Troop Meeting Plan, including all 8 parts, but Troops are free to adapt their meeting plans to support their individual program needs. Download the guide here.

COVID-19 FAQ Advancement

Updated September 29, 2020

Updated information on rank advancement, merit badge requirements, and time extension request due to COVID-19 can be found on the COVID-19 FAQ.

Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts - Important Update

Updated September 22, 2020

The window for Eagle boards of review of the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts is from October 1, 2020 to February 8, 2021. As such, all Eagle Scout credentials will be dated February 8, 2021 so that we commemorate this milestone alongside the recognized “birthday” of the Boy Scouts of America.  

This adjustment was implemented so that Scouts were not unfairly prohibited from being part of the Inaugural Class due to COVID-19; however, we recognize that the extended window means that participating Scouts could experience a delay in receiving their Eagle Scout credentials if we waited to process all of the applications as originally planned.  

After receiving significant feedback confirming that concern, we have decided to administratively adapt the plan so that the national organization will process the credentials of the Inaugural Class in batches on a rolling basis starting in October as they are received. Due to reduced staffing and to ensure timely response to the Eagle application, only electronic applications will be accepted. Local Councils that need assistance with Scout Executive Verification of Eagle applications can send the scanned paper applications to advancement.team@scouting.org to be processed. 

This update:

  • Ensures Scouts can reference their Eagle Scout rank for academic, vocational, and military recognition, including scholarships and advanced enlistment grade,
  • Enables Scouts earning the Eagle Scout rank to hold their Eagle Courts of Honor right away after getting their credentials so that they do not have to wait to celebrate the achievement until February 2021, and
  • Allows the BSA to retain the collective completion date as planned as one Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts and to align with February 8th, the recognized “birthday” of the Boy Scouts of America.

To facilitate processing through the Eagle Form in ScoutNET PAS, certain modifications will be made. The constraints on being age 18 and over will be removed so that the Eagle Form can be initiated and processed, if over 18-years old.  In addition, there will be a Default BOR Date entry of February 8, 2021, that must be selected for those in the Inaugural Eagle Class. There will also be a button to set the record as an Inaugural Eagle Class Member.  These changes will be released over the next several weeks.

Additionally, the BSA will provide customizable press materials to councils prior to the October 1st window opening so that they are empowered to help Scouts celebrate and commemorate the milestone locally.  

Scouts BSA Office Hours session August 6, 2020

Updated August 13, 2020

The Scouts BSA Office Hours session was live streamed on August 6, 2020. Scouters and Senior Patrol Leaders had an opportunity to have their questions answered by subject matter experts from the National Scouts BSA Committee, topics included:

  • COVID-19 Eagle Time extensions request
  • Diversity & Inclusion Advancement changes
  • Recruiting Ideas
  • Female Troop Support

Scouts BSA Office Hours session May 21, 2020

Updated May 26, 2020

The Scouts BSA Office Hours COVID-19 session was live streamed on May 21, 2020. Scouters and Senior Patrol Leaders had an opportunity to have their questions answered by subject matter experts from the National Scouts BSA Committee, topics included:

  • Advancement
  • Leadership Development
  • Troop Operations

Scouts BSA Office Hours session February 6, 2020

Updated February 18, 2020

The Scouts BSA Office Hours session was live streamed on February 6, 2020. Scouters and Senior Patrol Leaders had an opportunity to have their questions answered by subject matter experts from the National Scouts BSA Committee, topics included:

  • Advancement
  • Leadership Development
  • Program
  • Patrols

Advancement Requirements

Updated May 14, 2019

The 14th edition of the Scouts BSA Handbook includes changes to advancement requirements. For example, the number of overnight camping activities required for the First-Class rank was reduced from six to three, and for the Scout Rank, members are no longer required to demonstrate, but must discuss, pocketknife safety to satisfy the requirement. The text in the corresponding chapters of the handbook was not properly edited to reflect these changes and reflects the old requirements. It is important that troops utilize the requirements listed in the Rank Requirements section of the handbook (pages 441–454).

The correct requirements are as follows:

  • First Class (Requirement 1a)

1a. Since joining Scouts BSA, participate in 10 separate troop/patrol activities, at least six of which must be held outdoors. Of the outdoor activities, at least three must include overnight camping. These activities do not include troop or patrol meetings. On campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect, such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee. (page 447)

  • Scout Rank (Requirement 5)

5. Tell what you need to know about pocketknife safety. (page 441)

The 2019 Scouts BSA Requirements book is available for purchase at your local Scout shop. Requirements for BSA Lifeguard were omitted from this publication. Information regarding BSA Lifeguard, including requirements, may be found here.

First Scouts BSA Office Hours Available Now

Updated May 10, 2019

The inaugural Scouts BSA Office Hours session was live-streamed on April 18, 2019.  Scouters had an opportunity to have their questions answered by subject matter experts from the National Scouts BSA Committee.  Topics included: helping new Scouts advance in rank; reinforcing the patrol method, preparing for weekend overnight outdoor experiences, and growing your new Scouts BSA Troop. 

Positions of Responsibility for the Eagle Scout Award

Updated March 12, 2019

In the latest printing of the Scouts BSA Handbook, the items highlighted in bold underline below were inadvertently left off the list of qualifying positions of responsibility for the Eagle Scout Award. The requirement should read as follows:

EAGLE Rank Requirements

  1. While a Life Scout, serve actively in your troop for six months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility:

    Scout troop. Patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader, troop guide, Order of the Arrow troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, instructor, webmaster, or outdoor ethics guide.

    Venturing crew President, vice president, secretary, treasurer, den chief, historian, guide, quartermaster, chaplain aide, or outdoor ethics guide.

    Sea Scout ship. Boatswain, boatswain’s mate, purser, yeoman, storekeeper, crew leader, media specialist, specialist, den chief, or chaplain aide.

    Lone Scout. Leadership responsibility in your school, religious organization, club, or elsewhere in your community.

For the most up-to-date Scouts BSA advancement requirements please refer to 2019 Scouts BSA Requirements No. 33216.

The New Troop's First Month

Updated March 12, 2019

Based on themes contained in Program Features, Volume I, samples of an initial meeting plan, as well as four regular troop meetings, have been developed. The sample meetings lead to a main event. These resources can be found at TroopLeader.org