Can a Scout fulfill more than one requirement with a single activity?
The answer is always clear after a careful reading of the Scout requirements and the directions in the Guide to Advancement 2015 –
188.8.131.52 Fulfilling More Than One Requirement With a Single Activity
From time to time it may be appropriate for a Scout to apply what was done to meet one requirement toward the completion of another. In deciding whether to allow this, unit leaders or merit badge counselors should consider the following.
When, for all practical purposes, two requirements match up exactly and have the same basic intent—for example, camping nights for Second Class and First Class ranks and for the Camping merit badge—it is appropriate and permissible, unless it is stated otherwise in the requirements, to use those matching activities for both the ranks and the merit badge.
Where matching requirements are oriented toward safety, such as those related to first aid or CPR, the person signing off the requirements should be satisfied the Scout remembers what he learned from the previous experience.
Some requirements may have the appearance of aligning, but upon further examination actually differ. These seemingly similar requirements usually have nuances intended to create quite different experiences. The Communication and Citizenship in the Community merit badges are a good example. Each requires the Scout to attend a public meeting, but that is where the similarity ends.
- For Communication, the Scout is asked to practice active listening skills during the meeting and present an objective report that includes all points of view.
- For Citizenship, he is asked to examine differences in opinions and then to defend one side.
The Scout may attend the same public meeting, but to pass the requirements for both merit badges he must actively listen and prepare a report, and also examine differences in opinion and defend one side.
When contemplating whether to double-count service hours or a service project, and apply the same work to pass a second advancement requirement, each Scout should ask himself: “Do I want to get double credit for helping others this one time, or do I want to undertake a second effort and make a greater difference in the lives of even more people?”
To reach his decision, each Scout should follow familiar guideposts found in some of those words and phrases we live by, such as “helpful,” “kind,” “Do a Good Turn Daily,” and “help other people at all times.”
As Scout leaders and advancement administrators, we must ask ourselves an even more pointed question: “Is it my goal to produce Scouts who check a task off a list or Scouts who will become the leaders in our communities?” To answer our own question, we should consult the same criteria that guide Scouts.
For camping there’s three things you need to do to satisfy requirement 9.2.b
Start with Req. 9 –
“Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events.* “
If we read the asterisk it says –
“All campouts since becoming a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may count toward this requirement.”
Then we read 9.b –
“On any of these camping experiences, you must do TWO of the following, only with proper preparation and under qualified supervision.”
And finally 9.b.2
“Backpack, snowshoe, or cross-country ski for at least 4 miles.”
So Camping Merit Badge requirement 9.b.2 states these specific qualifications
- “Backpack at least (not exactly) 4 miles”
- “during any designated Scouting camping experience, with proper preparation and under qualified supervision, “
- “you have participated in since becoming a Boy Scout.”
Backpacking Merit Badge requirement 10 reads –
“Using Leave No Trace principles, participate in at least three backpacking treks of at least three days each and at least 15 miles each, and using at least two different campsites on each trek. Carry everything you will need throughout the trek.”
Backpacking Merit Badge requirement 10 more than satisfies the Camping Merit Badge requirement. 9.b.2, plus the Camping MB requirement specifically considers “any designated Scouting camping experience you have participated in since becoming a Boy Scout.”
A Scout who completed Backpacking Merit Badge would also have at least six days of camping towards the 20 required for Camping Merit Badge requirement 9, and those experiences would also qualify towards fulfilling the active requirements towards ranks, and/or the specific activity requirements for Scout-1st Class.
99.9% of conflicts and misunderstandings over requirements are easy to resolve if you read them carefully, and consult the appropriately titled Guide to Advancement.