Scouting Forums

Camping trip participation as Eagle requirement?

The background:
We have a Life Scout (as of Dec 2018) who completed his Camping Merit Badge last year. As a younger scout, he was a regular on all our monthly trips. He has been and remains active in meetings, troop service projects, PLC meetings, etc.
Late last year, he took a job with weekend hours, and has not attended any camping trips since.
The issue:
The Scoutmaster told him in order to qualify as “actively participating” in the troop, he must be attending campouts, so doesn’t want to count the six months since his Life BOR as active. He’d like to re-start the clock now, and require the scout attend 70% of the outings to qualify for an Eagle BOR (In addition, obviously, to the project, etc).
The questions:

  1. Is it OK to wait until after the kid has served six months (he’s an Instructor, had been Patrol Leader) to inform him his service is sub-standard? (I’m confident this requirement was not communicated by the SM previously.)
  2. Is there a requirement to camp, other than for the merit badge? (Save the trolling, I’m fully supportive that he SHOULD camp). If yes, is 70% reasonable?
    OR, Is this a case of a unit leader going beyond the published requirements for advancement?
    Thanks for the wisdom.

The requirements for Eagle (other than earn the Camping Merit Badge) do not mention camping.

Eagle reuirement 4 says:

While a Life Scout, serve actively in your troop for six months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility 11:
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.

Footnote 11 says:

Assistant patrol leader and bugler are not approved positions of responsibility for the Eagle Scout rank. Likewise, a Scoutmaster-approved leadership project shall not be used in lieu of serving in a position of responsibility.

As you can see, nothing mentions camping, however active is not defined. I would contend that if he served his position successfully without going camping, then he has fulfilled the requirement.

I personally would never prevent a Scout from earning rank due to other commitments, especially if it was due to a job. This Scout is being responsible by earning money, possibly saving for college or other education, instead of relying on his parents. Any Scout who can hold a job, go to school and still participate in troop meetings, service projects, etc. should be held up as an example, not prevented from becoming an Eagle Scout.

1 Like

IMO it’s not fair to spring this on the scout upon the completion of the six months. If no one saw cause for removing the scout from their POR during the tenure, they missued their chance.


Guide to Advancement really should be consulted here. In particular on Active Participation. And this leads to a three part check list.

  1. The Scout is registered.
  2. The Scout is in good standing. (Has not been dismissed because of discipline.)
  3. The Scout meets the unit’s reasonable expectations; or, if not, a lesser level of activity is explained.

As for the issues mentioned:

  1. It is NOT ok to wait until the end of the period in office to state that expectations haven’t been met. The SMs job is to coach the scout to meet the expectations. If they simply can’t be corrected, then the SM should remove the scout from the position.
  2. There can be some “reasonable requirement” which might involve going on campouts. But if the scout can’t meet that requirement an alternative “must” be offered. This is clear in the Guid to Advancement.

I would note that the scout can request to proceed without the SM’s signature if need be. The procedures for this are in the Guide to Advancement. Requiring a new project clearly crosses a line and I would absolutely counsel the scout against going along with this. In fact, I would be in contact with leadership about reigning in the SM because my experience is that this is seldom a one off situation.

It would appear to me that the SM has decided that he (or she) is a gate keeper and that is simply not the role of SM.

1 Like

I’m going to point out that if you deny the BOR, they can appeal outside of the unit.

What do your unit Bylaws say?
Our bylaws do not include activities outside of the regular meetings for advancement.

Many thanks to all for confirming what I intuitively knew was the case. And special thanks for those who provided specific citations.
Just for future readers, I did want to clarify that the scout hasn’t completed his Eagle Project yet, so that was not in question.(A suggestion he complete another project would have sent me immediately running to Council for an appeal.) It was really just a question of the definition of active participation.
A subset of the Committee and the SM have a meeting tonight on another topic, but I will be sure this makes it onto the agenda.
I often believe that I enjoy scouting as much as my kids do - surely due to the thoughtful and generous community of other adults supporting the program. Thanks for being part of that for our boys, now girls, and adults.

absolutely, His leadership was fine while he was providing it but is a problem after the fact?

I am unclear if you are asking about Eagle rank requirement #1, requirement #4, or both. I would recommend reading the Guide to Advancement especially sections through

  1. Did the unit have established expectations for positions of responsibility? When were these expectations communicated to the Scout? Even if he did not meet his responsibilities / unit expectations: “Only in rare cases—if ever—should troop leaders inform a Scout that time, once served, will not count” ( When Responsibilities Are Not Met).

  2. A lot depends on “reasonable”. Units are allowed to set reasonable expectations, but is 70% attendance on all outings (not just campouts) reasonable?

GTA section says:

"The concepts of “reasonable” and “within reason” will help unit leadership and boards of review gauge the fairness of expectations for considering whether a Scout is “active” or has fulfilled positions of responsibility. A unit is allowed, of course, to establish expectations acceptable to its chartered organization and unit committee. But for advancement purposes, Scouts must not be held to those which are so demanding as to be impractical for today’s youth (and families) to achieve.

Ultimately, a board of review shall decide what is reasonable and what is not. In doing so, the board members must use common sense and must take into account that youth should be allowed to balance their lives with positive activities outside of Scouting."

1 Like