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Completing Categories for Rank Reqs before MBs

While GTA says a Scout can begin any MB at any time, shouldn’t the Scout complete the rank requirements of a certain category (Cooking, Fitness, Citizenship) BEFORE beginning the related MB?Because Scouts cannot double-dip these reqs AND get to dabble in those categories within the ranks before beginning the entire (particularly Eagle-required) MB, doesn’t it make sense for Scouts to complete those rank reqs first?

At the Scoutmaster (or Scoutmaster’s designee) and Merit Badge Counselor’s discretion, it is permissible for a Scout to fulfill more than one requirement with a single activity – unless it is stated otherwise in the requirements. (Guide to Advancement Fulfilling More Than One Requirement With a Single Activity)

For example: a Scout cannot use the same meals for rank advancement and the Cooking merit badge, because the Cooking merit badge specifies this in the requirements.

On the other hand, when the fitness rank requirements and the Personal Fitness merit badge requirements match up, the same activities can be used for both.

Where matching requirements are oriented toward safety, such as those related to first aid or CPR, the person signing off the requirements should be satisfied the Scout remembers what was learned from the previous experience.

It might make sense for a Scout to work on one or the other first, but it’s up to the Scout to decide whether to work on the rank or the merit badge requirements first or simultaneously.

That’s not strictly true. For example, all camping nights count toward Camping MB, not just those after the rank requirements are completed.

While I understand the sentiment, it’s not consistent with the BSA guidance. Aside from that, what defines a particular requirement as specifically related to a give merit badge? Some seem obvious, such as swimming or first aid. On the other hand, are the Leave No Trace and TREAD Lightly principles prerequisites for Environmental Science and Sustainability? What about the identification of evidence of local plants and animals? We would need a standard set of rules from the BSA associating the rank requirements with the merit badges to avoid inconsistent implementation.

In some cases this has been done by incorporating the rank requirements directly into the merit badge requirements (e.g. first aid). In some cases, there are MB requirements that state “Before doing requirements X through Z, do requirement W”. However, there is no blanket requirement that completing the “related” rank requirements precede merit badge work.

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Thanks much, Charley & Jennifer, for your comments.

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