Alternative Advancement Paths



As Scouting becomes more inclusive of young people with disabilities, questions often arise about how disabled Scouts can advance. While it might be tempting to just modify advancement requirements within the troop, a more formal procedure is required—two procedures, to be precise.

First, for the ranks of Tenderfoot through First Class, you must request permission from the council advancement committee ahead of time to modify requirements that the Scout cannot complete. Second, for advancement to Eagle Scout, you must request permission—again ahead of time from the council advancement committee—for alternatives to the merit badges required for Eagle. (Note that you can’t modify the requirements for a badge but must instead request an alternate badge.)

For more information, refer to these resources on the BSA website:

Alternate Requirements: Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class Ranks:

Alternate Requirements: Eagle Scout Rank:

Also available online is the Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Award Merit Badges:

The procedures are fairly straightforward and are designed to ensure that Scouts with disabilities complete alternate requirements and badges that are as challenging as those that other Scouts complete.

One more point is important to remember: Alternate paths to advancement are only available for Scouts with permanent physical or mental disabilities. A Scout who breaks his leg can’t take a pass on Personal Fitness merit badge!


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