Paul Wolf at the US Scouting Service Project Inc. has published his annual review of Boy Scout requirement changes, a tremendous resource and a great service to us all, thank you Paul!
Here’s some key points that we should all know:
A new edition of Boy Scout Requirements (BSA Publication No. 33216) was released in mid January, 2013. When there is a conflict between two published lists of requirements, such as Boy Scout Requirements and a Merit Badge Pamphlet or the Boy Scout Handbook, the requirements book should be considered to be the controlling document, until a newer edition of Boy Scout Requirements is issued.
The new Boy Scout Requirements booklet has changes to the Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle rank requirements, a very minor change to the wording of Joining (Scout) requirement 7, and changes to 21 merit badges, plus the requirements for the 2 new merit badges which were released in 2012 (Kayaking and Search and Rescue). In addition, the Alternate Requirements for Eagle Scout rank were rewritten. The booklet also contains announcements regarding the new Sustainability merit badge, which will become available later in 2013, and the upcoming (January 1, 2014) change to require Cooking merit badge for the Eagle Scout rank. Although not identified on the Inside Front Cover, the Special Opportunities section includes new information on the Morse Code Interpreter Strip, the Cyber Chip, the Nova Awards, and the Supernova Awards, and some revisions in the Religious Emblems listing.
In late 2011, BSA released a new Guide to Advancement, BSA Publication 33088 (SKU 614448), which replaced the former publication 33088 entitled Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures. The Guide to Advancement is the official Boy Scouts of America source on advancement procedures. A new edition is due out later in 2013.
BSA issued new editions of ALL of the merit badge pamphlets on August 1, 2008. The primary change to most of the pamphlets was the introduction of color photographs and diagrams, and new covers. The actual text and requirements, in most cases did not change from the previous editions. In some cases, however, the new editions do contain new information, and new requirements. If the copyright date in the new pamphlet is not 2008 or later, the text in the pamphlet, including the requirements, did not change, only the cover and illustrations. In addition, two of the old pamphlets, for the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Merit Badges were combined into a single pamphlet, although the Merit Badges remain separate and distinct from each other. Also, one Merit Badge, Auto Mechanics, was renamed toAutomotive Maintenance, (and the emblem on the badge was changed). Although a new edition of the Lifesaving merit badge pamphlet was issued, the requirements did not change. However, the footnote relative to alternative requirements for the Second Class and First Class rank swimming requirements was deleted.
The table on the inside back cover lists 6 merit badge pamphlets (Automotive Maintenance, Dog Care, Emergency Preparedness, Kayaking, Search and Rescue, and Welding) with a copyright date of 2012, and 4 (Astronomy, Gardening, Photography, and Public Speaking) with a copyright date of 2013.
The new Kayaking badge and pamphlet was released by BSA, and Scouts could begin earning the badge on June 13, 2012.
The new Search and Rescue badge and pamphlet was released by BSA, and Scouts could begin earning the badge on August 20 2012.
In addition to the new Sustainability merit badge, BSA has announced plans to release new merit badges for Game Design, Programming, and Digital Technology (which is to replace the Computers merit badge) at various times during 2013, and five more in 2014 or 2015 (Animation, Signs, Signals and Codes, Multi-Media, Computer Aided Design, and Advanced Computing). In addition to the announced major revisions to the Cooking merit badge, a major update to the Cycling merit badge is also scheduled for some time in 2013.