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Check out the National BSA Monthly Advancement Newsletters
Click here to view an topic index of the National BSA Newsletters. Covers popular advancement topics, as well as interesting articles on how to promote advancement in units.
Signs, Signals and Code Merit Badge Released
Click here for more information and list of requirements.
2014 Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook Released
Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook – 2014 Revision Fillable NEW! (as of May 20, 2014) This is the newly revised Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook. Scouts who have already downloaded the previous workbook may continue to use it.
2014 Eagle Scout Rank Application Released
The 2014 Eagle Scout Rank application is required as of January 1, 2014. Camping merit badge is now a Eagle required merit badge. Spread the word!
Cooking Merit Badge Requirements Released
Check it out. Cooking merit badge will be Eagle-required starting in 2014.
On Increasing Advancement
Check out this new reference document from National, on increasing advancement.
Programming Merit Badge Released
Cycling Merit Badge Released
Sustainability Merit Badge Announced Today – July 12, 2013
Click here for more information. The effective date in which Sustainability can be earned is Monday, July 15. A Scout may earn this merit badge in lieu of Environmental Science. The Eagle rank application has been updated to include this option.
2013 Guide to Advancement Released! – July 11, 2013
The PDF version contains answers to pretty much any advancement question that might come up, and it’s essential reading for your unit’s advancement chair and others who like to be kept in the loop on all things advancement.
You’ll want to spend some time with this user-friendly guide. Consider downloading the PDF to your tablet for portable reading. Or print off a copy on recycled paper and keep it handy.
There’s so much inside the guide that it’s pointless for me to go into too much detail here. But I did want to draw your attention to five takeaways I gathered from a first look at the guide:
1 – No unauthorized advancement changes (Page 2)
Right there on Page 2, the Guide to Advancement answers one question I hear from quite a few Scouters: “Can my unit tweak this requirement in this way?”
The answer is no. While program elements are customizable at the unit, district and council level, advancement is not. In other words:
No council, committee, district, unit or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited exceptions relating only to youth members with special needs. For details see section 10, “Advancement for Members With Special Needs.”
2 – Significant changes to the 2013 edition (Page 7)
Section 22.214.171.124 is a great service to Scouters who have been handling advancement in their unit for some time.
It painstakingly outlines all of the changes, additions, deletions and clarifications to requirements since the last Guide to Advancement was published in 2011.
On example of a big change is 126.96.36.199, which now states that:
… [In] situations where a Scout is earning a large number of badges from just one counselor, the unit leader is permitted to place a limit on the number of merit badges that may be earned from one counselor, as long as the same limit applies to all Scouts in the unit.
Other changes apply to the merit badge program, boards of review, the Eagle Scout rank and the mechanics of advancement.
3 – Frequently asked questions (Page 9)
If you have a question about advancement, Section 188.8.131.52 should be your first stop. The questions are organized by program, and the answers are a location within the Guide to Advancement where the full explanation can be found.
What does “active participation” mean? May a Scout choose any registered merit badge counselor? How is the decision of a board of review appealed?
It’s all in there, plus more.
4 – The big picture — and the little one
What I’ve always appreciated about the Guide to Advancement is that it explains the overall aims of the advancement program within the Boy Scouts of America before focusing on the little details. That’s still the case in 2013′s update.
The guide covers the four steps in advancement: learning, testing, reviewing, recognizing. It reminds us all that advancement is just one of Scouting’s many methods, meaning there’s a lot more to the program than badges, belt loops and beads. And it explains that “personal growth is the primary goal.”
It’s only after prefacing the advancement program with those reminders that you get the drilled-down details.
5 – Contact info
If after reading the 100-page guide cover to cover you’re still lost, that’s fine. The guide includes some suggested ways to contact the BSA’s friendly Advancement Team:
Note that the national Advancement Team addresses many questions through its Twitter feed (@AdvBSA) and through the e-newsletter, Advancement News. To subscribe to Advancement News, send your name, email, and council name to *protected email*.
The national Advancement Team is available for recommendations or for questions that cannot be handled locally. Suggested corrections to this publication are also gratefully accepted. Send questions and comments *protected email*, or mail them to National Advancement Team, Program Impact Department, S209, Boy Scouts of America, 1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, Texas 75015-2079.
Suggestions for new merit badges should be directed to the BSA Innovation Team at *protected email*.
Eagle Walk Brick Order Form
Eagle Walk Brick form – The Properties Committee and the Executive Board of the Northeast Georgia Council have developed an Eagle Scout Brick Walk and Plaza so that bricks honoring them can be placed at Jefferson Service Center. You can order a brick for placement in this plaza for $5o. What a wonderful way to further honor an Eagle Scout. Flyer has more details.
Newly Released Merit Badges
Game Design – Released March 2013
Search & Rescue – Released June 2012
Kayaking – Released May 2012
Welding – Released February 2012
Merit Badge Completions at Summer Camp
October 2, 2012: The Council Advancement Committee receives, each year after summer camp at CRM, questions from some units about the unit’s ability to “allow” or “disallow” merit badges signed off by our Summer Camp Staff. National Advancement Policy states that once a merit badge has been signed off by an approved, registered, merit badge counselor it is considered earned and the Scout must be credited with earning the badge.
All of the merit badges offered at CRM are under the supervision of a registered, approved merit badge counselor who is actually the person that “approves” the earning of the badge for each Scout. Many of our classes, like most other council’s summer camps, are taught by an instructor, under the supervision and guidance of an approved counselor. We believe we offer one of the highest quality merit badge programs of any summer camp.
In order to allow units to have more of a part in the quality control aspect concerning merit badges offered at camp and to comply with the National Advancement Policy of “once it’s earned it’s earned” we are implementing, for the 2013 summer camp season, the following procedure for any unit that wishes to participate.
Upon check in at CRM, and the unit leader meeting with the Program Director, the unit leader may “opt out” of having our counselors/instructors sign off on merit badges as completed at camp. This will allow the unit to have a registered, approved, merit badge counselor of their choice follow up with their Scouts after summer camp. Our instructors at camp will be acting as a resource in instruction for your merit badge counselor leaving final approval of the merit badge in the hands of your counselor after returning from summer camp.
To facilitate this, units wishing to “opt out” must furnish a letter to the Program Director at check in, listing the merit badges they wish to opt out of at camp. All Scouts from their unit taking these merit badges will leave camp with a “partial” completion to be signed off on by the units selected merit badge counselor. The letter must be signed by the unit leader (Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor or Team Coach) dated, and have the unit leaders name printed on the letter also. This letter will stay on file with the summer camp records in case issues arise later concerning what was earned at camp.
Your unit leader should be sure and inform your Scouts, and their parents, as to which merit badges the unit leader is “opting out of” so as not to cause issues later.
Thank you for choosing to attend Camp Rainey Mountain / Scoutland as your summer camp this year.
Merit Badge Completions at Council/District Events
October 2, 2012: The Council Advancement Committee receives, each year, questions from some units about the unit’s ability to “allow” or “disallow” merit badges signed off at District Advance-A-Rama’s, Merit Badge Days, Pathfinders etc. National Advancement Policy states that once a merit badge has been signed off by an approved, registered, merit badge counselor it is considered earned and the Scout must be credited with earning the badge.
All of the merit badges offered at district sponsored Advance-A-Rama’s” Merit Badge Days, etc are to be under the supervision of the district advancement committee who is to ensure that all merit badge classes are conducted under the supervision of a registered, approved merit badge counselor who is actually the person that “approves” the earning of the badge for each Scout and that merit badge “blue cards” are used per the Guide to Advancement section 184.108.40.206 (pages 36,37) as this is national policy and must be adhered to. In the case of council sponsored events such as Pathfinders, these events will fall under the Council Advancement Committee.
In order to allow units to have more of a part in the quality control aspect concerning merit badges offered at these events and to comply with the National Advancement Policy of “once it’s earned it’s earned” we are implementing, effective immediately, the following procedure for any units that elect to “opt out”.
Upon check in at the event the unit leader may “opt out” of having the events counselors/instructors sign off on merit badges as completed. This will allow the unit to have a registered, approved, merit badge counselor of their choice follow up with their Scouts after the event . The events councilors / instructors will be acting as a resource in instruction for your merit badge counselor leaving final approval of the merit badge in the hands of your counselor after returning from the event.
To facilitate this, units wishing to “opt out” must furnish a letter to the event organizers at check in, listing the merit badges they wish to opt out of. All Scouts from their unit taking these merit badges will leave the event with a “partial” completion to be signed off on by the units selected merit badge counselor. The letter must be signed by the unit leader (Scoutmaster, Crew Advisor or Team Coach) dated, and have the unit leaders name printed on the letter also. This letter will stay on file with the units records in case issues arise later concerning what was earned at the event.
Your unit leaders should be sure and inform their Scouts, and their parents, as to which merit badges the unit leader is “opting out of” so as not to cause issues later.
New Guides to Advancement & Eagle Service Project Workbook
September 17, 2011: The new Guide to Advancement and new Eagle Service Project Workbook has been released.
The 2011 Guide to Advancement has been expanded to include more information on advancement in all programs (Cub Scouts, Boy Scout, Venturing, Varsity and Sea Scouts) along with more in depth explanations of many of the former “grey” areas.
The Eagle Service Project Workbook has also been reworked and expanded to be more specific in what is required to be in the workbook and should be more helpful to the scouts and leaders when preparing it.
The Northeast Georgia Council will implement them as of November 1, 2011. The “cut off date” for using the existing Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook will be November 1, 2011, based on the date of the signature of the benefiting organization.