Printable VersionAdvancement Committee Policy & Procedures


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Advancement for Youth Members With Disabilities.  (pages 34-37)

The following are the guidelines for membership and advancement in Scouting for persons having disabilities or other special needs.

Advancement for Youth Members With Disabilities

There has been much confusion among volunteers and professionals as to the rules and regulations regarding who qualifies, and—most importantly—who doesn’t qualify for age exemption as a Scout with disabilities.

In an effort to clear up confusion, under Article XI, section 3,clause 20 of the BSA’s Rules and Regulations governing Special Types of Registration, it states the following.

Mentally Retarded or Severely Physically Disabled Youth Members. In the discretion of the (National) Executive Board, and under such rules and regulations as it may prescribe upon consultation with appropriate medical authorities, registration of boys who are either mentally retarded or severely physically handicapped, including the blind, deaf, and emotionally disturbed, over age 11 as Cub Scouts and over age 18 as Boy Scouts or Varsity Scouts, and registration of  young adults who are either mentally retarded or severely physically handicapped, including the blind, deaf, and emotionally disturbed, over age 21 as Venturers, and the participation of each in the respective advancement programs while registered, is authorized.

The operative words are: mentally retarded or severely physically handicapped young people. Examples of these medical conditions include:

• Down syndrome

• Legal blindness

• Severe autism

• People permanently confined to wheelchairs, i.e., someone who is quadriplegic

• People who are deaf

The Annual Health and Medical Record form must be used as part of the procedure for registering a severely physically disabled youth in Scouting. Their medical condition must be certified with a signed statement from a licensed physician. In the case of mentally retarded or emotionally disturbed candidates, their condition must be certified by a statement signed by a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist.

This extension of age is not provided as a window of opportunity for those who are less challenged such as someone who has a moderate learning disability or for those who just can’t seem to advance within the normal time restrictions. Individuals whose medical conditions are not as severe as defined in clause 20 do not qualify for the age restriction exemption and must follow the normal age requirements for advancement. If in doubt, contact the national Youth Development office. ions for Eagle these reasons.

Advancement for Cub Scouts With Disabilities

The advancement program is so flexible that, with guidance, most boys can do the skills. It might take longer for a youth with disabilities to complete the requirements, but these accomplishments will be more personally meaningful. The standard for every boy is, “Has he done his best?”

A Cub Scout who is physically disabled may be given permission by the Cubmaster and pack committee to substitute electives for achievement requirements that are beyond his abilities. It is best to include parents in this process of determining substitutions since they are most familiar with their son’s abilities. Immediate recognition of advancement is even more important for boys with disabilities. The Tiger Cub and Cub Scout Immediate Recognition Kits, the den doodle, and the Den Advancement Chart all help provide immediate recognition in den meetings as achievements and electives are completed. Remember that a month seems like a long time to a boy and that completing requirements for a badge might seem like forever to him. Be sure to give him periodic recognition at pack meetings when he earns a badge.  While leaders must be enthusiastic about helping youngsters with disabilities, they must at the same time fully recognize the special demands that will be made on their patience, understanding, and skill in teaching advancement requirements.

Advancement for Boy Scouts With Disabilities

These guidelines apply to advancement for all Boy Scouts with disabilities.

• All current requirements for an advancement award (ranks, merit badges, or Eagle Palms) must actually be met by the candidate.

• There are no substitutions or alternatives permitted except those that are specifically stated in the requirements as set forth in the current official literature of the Boy Scouts of America.

• Requests for alternate rank requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class can be made using the information outlined in this chapter.

• The Scout is expected to meet the requirements as stated—no more and no less. Furthermore, he is to do exactly what is stated. If it says “show or demonstrate,” that is what he must do; just telling about it isn’t enough. The same thing holds true for such words as “make,” “list,” “in the field,” “collect, identify, and label,” and so on.

Alternate Requirements Through First Class Rank

A Scout who has a permanent physical or mental disability and is unable to complete all of the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class rank may submit a request to the council youth development committee to complete alternate requirements. Below are the procedures for applying for alternate requirements. To keep Scouts with disabilities as much in the advancement mainstream as possible, some advancement accommodations may be required. Thus, a Scout in a wheelchair can meet the requirements for hiking by making a trip to a place of interest in his community. Giving more time and permitting the use of special aids are other ways leaders can help Scouts with disabilities in their efforts to advance. The substitute  hould provide a similar learning experience. Bear in mind the outcome of the Scouting experience should be one of fun and learning, and not completing requirements for rank advancements, which might place unrealistic expectations on the Scout.

Advancement for Venturers With Disabilities

These guidelines apply to advancement for all Venturers with disabilities.

• All current requirements for an advancement award must actually be met by the candidate.

• There are no substitutions or alternatives permitted except those that are specifically stated in the requirements as set forth in the current official literature of the Boy Scouts of America.

• Requests for alternate rank requirements may be made using the information outlined in this chapter.

• The Venturer is expected to meet the requirements as stated—no more and no less. Furthermore, he or she is to do exactly what is stated. If it says “show or demonstrate,” that is what he or she must do; just telling about it isn’t enough. The same thing holds true for such words as “make,” “list,” “in the field,” “collect, identify, and label,” and so on.

No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or to subtract from, any advancement requirements.

Guidelines for Alternate Requirements

1. Do As Many Standard Requirements

As Possible. Before applying for alternate

requirements, the Scout must complete as

many of the standard requirements as his

ability permits. He must do his very best to

develop himself to the limit of his abilities

and resources.

2. Secure a Medical Statement. A clear

and concise medical statement concerning

the Scout’s disabilities or limitations must

be submitted by a licensed health-care

provider. It must state that the disability is

permanent and must outline what physical

activities the Scout may not be capable of

completing. In the case of a mental disability

such as a learning disability, an evaluation

statement should be submitted by a certified

educational administrator relating the ability

level of the Scout.

3. Prepare a Request for Alternate

Requirements. A written request must be

submitted to the council youth development

committee for the Scout to work on alternate

requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class,

and First Class ranks. The request should

include the standard requirements the Scout

has completed and the suggested alternate

requirements for those requirements that he

cannot complete. This request should be

detailed enough for the youth development

committee to make an informed decision.

The request should be prepared by the Scout,

his parents, and his Scoutmaster, and should

include a copy of the medical or educational

statement as required in step 2.

4. The Youth Development Committee

Reviews the Request. The council youth

development committee should review the

request, utilizing the expertise of professional

persons involved in Scouts with disabilities.

The committee may want to interview the

Scout, his parents, and the unit leader to

fully understand the request and to make a

fair determination. The committee’s decision

should be recorded and delivered to the

Scout and the unit leader.

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37

Approval for Special Needs

Eagle Candidates

These guidelines apply only to those who are qualified for

the age restriction exemption.

When submitting an Eagle application for special needs

Eagle candidates over the age of 18, written documentation

of approval must be given by the council youth development

committee and council executive board that the Eagle Scout

candidate is over the age of 18 and has met the qualifications

for a special needs Scout as stated in Article XI, section 3,

clause 20 of the BSA’s Rules and Regulations governing

Special Types of Registration. The Scout executive must

attach a letter to the application indicating that the executive

board has approved the application.

Alternate Merit Badges for the

Eagle Scout Rank

These guidelines must be followed when determining

appropriate alternate merit badges for the Eagle Scout rank.

1. The Eagle Scout rank may be achieved by a Boy Scout,

Varsity Scout, or qualified* Venturer and Sea Scout who

has a physical or mental disability by qualifying for

alternate merit badges. This does not apply to individual

requirements for merit badges. Merit badges are

awarded only when all requirements are met as stated.

2. The physical or mental disability must be of a permanent

rather than of a temporary nature.

3. A clear and concise medical statement concerning

the Scout’s disabilities and limitations must be

made by a physician licensed to practice medicine,

or an evaluation statement must be certified by an

educational administrator.

4. The candidate must earn as many of the required merit

badges as his ability permits before applying for an

alternate Eagle Scout rank merit badge.

5. The Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Award

Merit Badges must be completed prior to qualifying

for alternate merit badges.

6. The alternate merit badges chosen must be of such a

nature that they are as demanding of effort as the

required merit badges.

7. When alternates chosen involve physical activity, they

must be approved by the physician.

8. The unit leader and the board of review must explain

that to attain the Eagle Scout rank, a candidate is

expected to do his best in developing himself to the

limit of his resources.

9. The application must be approved by the council youth

development committee, utilizing the expertise of

professional persons involved in Scouting for people

with disabilities.

10. The candidate’s application for Eagle must be made on

the Eagle Scout Rank Application, with the Application

for Alternate Eagle Scout Award Merit Badges attached.

* In order for a Venturer to be an Eagle candidate, he must have achieved the First Class rank as a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout.

Certification. (page 43)

Certification must be given by the appropriate local council committee responsible for advancement that each Eagle Scout candidate over the age of 18 and Venturing award candidate over the age of 21 has met the requirements as stated in the current official literature of the Boy Scouts of America. (A representative of the council advancement committee must be a member of the Eagle board of review.)

Woods Services Award. (page 43)

This annual award was established to recognize volunteers who have performed exceptional service and leadership in the field of Scouts with disabilities. Nomination forms are sent annually to councils every September with a December 31 deadline. One person is selected each spring for national recognition.

Torch of Gold Certificate. (page 43)

This is for local council use in recognizing adults for outstanding service to youth with disabilities. Order No. 33733.

* In order for an Explorer to be an Eagle candidate, he must have achieved the First Class rank as a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout.


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