In January of each year the Boy Scouts of America releases Boy Scout requirement updates. This January’s Boy Scout program changes are part of a long running review of all Scouting programs and a realignment of programs to the mission and vision of the Boy Scouts of America that was called Goal 411. This was part of the 2011-2015 National Strategic Plan. Although there were significant changes to the Cub Scout and Venturing programs, there was no perceived need for significant program design changes for the Boy Scout program. Many of the changes involved rearranging current requirements but added service for all ranks (conservation related at Life Scout), health/eating habits, and physical fitness for each rank Tenderfoot through First Class Scout. Duty to God is incorporated as a requirement in all ranks as part of Scout spirit, and for various ranks they added outdoor ethics, weather safety, and risk assessment/mitigation requirements.
Of particular note, the revised camping requirements now require six nights of camping to become a First Class Scout and three nights of camping to become a Second Class Scout (one night as a Tenderfoot Scout and two nights as a Second Class Scout). This is different than the current program that requires only three nights of camping to become a First Class Scout. Traditionally, EYO Scouts have had the goal of achieving the rank of First Class Scout in their first year of Scouting.
The overnight camping change should not affect how the EYO Scout leader plans the EYO program. It simply means that EYO Scouts will make First Class after they have become deacons. Your EYO program should still contain elements of the Scout skills of camping, cooking, first aid, map and compass, knots and lashings, fitness, aquatics, nature, woods tools, citizenship, Scout spirit, leadership, and outdoor ethics.
Another key change is that Scout now becomes a rank. Some Scout leaders referred to it erroneously as a rank previously, but it was a badge. As a rank, it has more requirements than before with several of them moved from Tenderfoot requirements. What is unique about this rank is that it does not require a board of review, just a Scoutmaster conference. The board of review is first conducted as a Tenderfoot Scout, and then for all ranks thereafter.
For those boys who join the EYO Scout patrol as Arrow of Light recipients, the EYO Scout leader should be aware that:
All requirements for the Scout rank must be completed as a member of a troop. If you have already completed these requirements as part of the Webelos Scouting Adventure, simply demonstrate your knowledge or skills to your Scoutmaster or other designated leader after joining the troop. (Boy Scout Requirements – Effective Jan. 1, 2016, Comparison to Current Requirements, online—see link below).
Boys rising up from the Webelos program now have adventures; and they complete two ranks: Webelos and Arrow of Light (AOL). The EYO Scout leader should review the new Webelos and AOL adventures. You can find the new Webelos and AOL requirements at:
There are many more details to the new requirements across all ranks too numerous to cover in detail in this blog. You can download a copy of the new 2016 Scout requirements compared to the current requirements at:
For many years I have taken advantage of the program features published by the Boy Scouts of America. The new Program Features for Troops, Teams, and Crews replaces the Troop Program Features. Volume 1 (SKU 616351) is now available at:
Volume 2 (SKU 616352) will be available in early fall. Each volume will have 16 program features with a mix of topics: outdoor, sports, health and safety, citizenship and personal development, STEM, and arts and hobbies. Leaders and youth members can use these to plan exciting programs, help facilitate advancement and personal growth, and keep youth members engaged.
The January 2016 new program features and advancement requirements need to be integrated into your annual plan. Advancement and program are methods used in the Scouting program to help young men practice the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As young men participate in outings, attend meetings, work on requirements, and strive to live according to gospel principles family members and the EYO Scout leader provide instruction, encouragement, and support. Now is a good time to begin putting together an annual plan for the EYO Scout patrol with clear priesthood purposes implementing the elements of the new program that begins in January 2016.
– Stan Stolpe has served in multiple Scouting positions at the unit, district, council, regional, and national levels in the U.S. and overseas. His current positions include district roundtable commissioner, district Cub Scout training chairman, and assistant Scoutmaster for a new Scout troop. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia, serving in the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.