Scouters who have no trouble tying monkey’s fists, Turk’s heads, and sheer and diagonal lashes often get tied up in the intricacies of Boy Scout advancement. The requirements and procedures for advancement seem clear on the surface, but there’s still plenty of room for confusion (although perhaps not as much as some folks think).
Take, for example, these truths about advancement–all of which are false:
- A parent can’t serve as a merit badge counselor for his or her son.
- The Scoutmaster can sign off any merit badge.
- The Scoutmaster can decide which merit badge counselor a Scout can use.
- There is a maximum number of merit badges an adult can counsel.
- Work a Scout does on a merit badge before he gets a signed merit badge application (“blue card”) doesn’t count.
- The Scoutmaster conference must be the last requirement completed before the board of review.
- A Scout must attend a board of review in full uniform.
Of course, the best source for the truth in advancement is the 2015 edition of the Guide to Advancement, which I trust you have a copy of (and have read!). But there’s another great source as well: “Advancement News.” Published several times a year by the BSA’s Advancement Team, this electronic newsletter explores common issues in detail. For information and back issues, see http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/advancement_news.aspx.
If you have a question about advancement, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll find an answer in the newsletter. And you can be guaranteed that the answer you find will be correct.