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Requirement completion

We are a new troop and have some questions about how literal the requirements are. Because we are meeting on zoom, some of the requirements are difficult to do over the screen.

  1. For Totin’ Chip, does each person need to have their own axe and saw and be doing the requirements at the same time?

  2. Is it enough to demonstrate by acting out what they understood from watching Scouter Rob videos?

  3. When a requirement says something like “tell” or “discuss” or “explain” or “describe,” etc., does each person need to give an answer, or does a group discussion where some people answer and others are listening suffice? The kids just end up echoing each other.

  4. For camping requirements such as Second Class 1a, where two have to be overnight camping, do virtual campouts count, and must they be outdoors? (We recently did a virtual pack/troop campout but most camped indoors because it’s freezing out.)

  5. For the service hours, can you accumulate hours from service projects to fulfill the requirement? We did three projects. Scouting for Food lasted 2 hours. A clean up that lasted 1 hour and another that lasted 1.5 hours. Does this mean for First Class, they just need another 1.5 hour project to complete the 3 hours?

We sent these questions to our local council but we didn’t get a clear answer. We just got referred to the Covid-19 regulations. So, we are still confused.

Thanks in advance for your answers.

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I recommend reviewing the Guide to Advancement here:

It has a lot of important information that will answer some of your questions.

Generally speaking, however, if a requirement says “demonstrate” it means each scout must actually demonstrate the skill in order to complete the requirement. Similarly, other terms mean each scout must individually describe, show, etc.

I personally would not approve a scout pantomiming the skill (e.g. tool use) for a rank requirement. There’s an enormous difference between pretending to swing an axe and actually doing so.

The text of the requirements in the handbook make it clear that the same service project may not be used to satisfy more than one rank, but that any individual rank can use a combination of smaller projects to make up those hours. Using part of Service Project 1 to satisfy Second Class and part of it to satisfy First Class is not OK. Using hours from Project 2 and Project 3 together to satisfy First Class, if Project 1 satisfied Second Class is OK.

On the virtual campouts, I would refer to the BSA’s Covid-19 FAQs. My understanding is the nights must be outdoors and otherwise satisfy the rank requirement as written (e.g. in a tent you pitch…), but may be part of a virtual event satisfying the requirements as described in the Covid-19 FAQ.


In our case, this is what we did.

11/7/2020 Scouting for Food - 2 hours - 2nd Class 8e
11/21/2020 Road spill cleanup - 1 hour - Tenderfoot 7b
01/10/2021 Trail cleanup - 1.5 hours - 1st Class 9d

Did we record that correctly? And will that mean, the boys will just need another 1.5 hour to fulfill the 3 hour requirement for 1st Class? Also, does it have to be in order? We have a Tenderfoot Scout that transferred, he did 8 straight hours with his previous Troop. Can he mark off his 1st Class 9d instead of 2nd Class 8e with that?

I want to reiterate that the Guide to Advancement will directly answer 3 or 4 of these questions. In addition, SOME requirements have COVID-19 alternatives.

#1: Each person does NOT have to have their own axe and saw. When my troop did it, each scout used the troop’s axe and the troop’s saw. No scout should be going out and buying these things.

#2: Demonstrate means demonstrate. They have to do it.

#3: “Tell, “Discuss” and “Explain” must be done by each scout. This isn’t a group award. EACH SCOUT must “tell”,” discuss" and “explain.” For example, this is what Guide to Advancement has to say in the context of merit badges, but it applies to rank advancement as well.

There must be attention to each individual’s projects and fulfillment of all requirements. We must know that every Scout—actually and personally —completed them. If, for example, a requirement uses words like “show,” “demonstrate,” or “discuss,” then every Scout must do that. It is unacceptable to award badges on the basis of sitting in classrooms watching demonstrations, or remaining silent during discussions.

#4: See COVID-19 FAQ and in particular Q: What changes have been made to rank advancement/camping requirements given the need to maintain social distancing during this time?

Second Class rank requirements:
1a & 1c. – Virtual patrol or troop activities via video conferencing will be permitted.

#5: Someone already answered.


Yes, you did the service hours correctly. No, service hours do not have to be done in order. They can be done in any order that works best for the Scout.

The First Class service project is written is a way that a Scout must use a different service project(s) than what was used for Tenderfoot and Second Class.

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Questions 1 to 3 is clear to me now and I will share my findings with our Troop.

For #4, most of the kids pitched their tents indoors because of the freezing weather. Some did it on their porch. We logged in at certain points of the night to eat together, do virtual campfire and flag retirement. Does that satisfy the “outdoor” aspect per covid-19 regulation change?

While camping is allowed to be virtual, I would say it still has to be outside. A tent set up in the living room or even porch would not be signed off in my opinion.

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I would not include an indoor tenting experience toward camping nights. Even if it was cold, being prepared for the conditions is an important part of the camping experience.

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Being a Scout means to pitch tents outdoors, and sleep in them, in freezing weather. Scouting involves outing.


Snow caves, igloos, lean-tos, teepees, or other structures the Scout helps to erect can also qualify for First Class / Second Class requirement #1.


Well, if the scout built the porch … :wink:

I think everyone has given you helpful answers. In my experience, the important thing is to bring your scouts in on the interpretation. Have them read the requirements and ask them to think if they’ve met them.

The ideal situation is that your scouts have elected a patrol leader, and that PL can sign off each scout as he demonstrates a skill.
Yes, doing this in a pandemic is a challenge. But the more that the boys own and understand their own advancement, the sooner they can focus on the skills they want to master.


That is what the troops in my area are doing. First, any virtual campout has to be sanctioned by the SM (e.g. be official, have plan, be outdoors, etc.), and secondly the Camping MB it clearly states

“Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched.”

Even in the advancements it clearly states that these are outdoor, overnight camping. May not say a tent always, but it certainly says out doors!

First Class / Second Class requirement 1a. specifies that the overnight camping must be done outdoors.

Since joining Scouts BSA, participate in 10 [5 for SC] separate troop/patrol activities, at least six [3 for SC] of which must be held outdoors. Of the outdoor activities, at least three [2 for SC] 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.

The BSA COVID-19 FAQ do not mention any changes to the outdoor requirement of First Class / Second Class requirement 1a.

Camping merit badge requirement #9a is worded a bit differently, but the BSA has previously said:

Ask the Expert: What is (and what isn’t) a camping night for the Camping MB?
The intent of the requirement is to camp overnight in a tent or under the [sky],” LoVecchio says. “This means sleeping overnight in building/structure does not meet the intent of the requirement.


Thank you! This is all new to us. I appreciate your response.

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If I was a scoutmaster (and I’m not), I’d consider counting it for those who camped on the porch, assuming it’s not screened or enclosed AND they actually set up a tent, hammock, etc. I suspect you could argue that the porch provides extra shelter from the elements. So, I suspect not all would count it.


just like campgrounds that have tent platforms that they WANT you to use

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Thank you all for your responses. I guess we will be counting the kids who pitched their tent on their porch/backyard. But we will have to plan another virtual campout where the boys really do it outside versus their family room or indoors. Or better yet, hopefully, the stay-at-home order will be lifted and we can all do true blue campouts again.

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:rofl: That’s the part of Louisiana where I was born, @DonovanMcNeil. Well, I’m from St. Mary parish, but Lafayette is relatively close to “home”. Most of my scouting was in the (then) New Orleans Area Council, though. It would have been awesome to “head home” to the boonies with my troop, most of whom had never been closer to the “real swamp” than the Barataria Preserve south of the city.

@CharleyHamilton - everyone I know that has gone to Swamp Base Went thinking it was going to be Northern Tier mosquitos on steroids - but paddled out saying it was the most beautiful Scouting trip they ever took. Trek #2 is Hammock only.