The 2011 Guide to Advancement has been released:
The Guide to Advancement is the official source for administering advancement in all Boy Scouts of America programs: Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, Venturing, and Sea Scouts. It replaces the Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures and Advancement and Recognition Policies and Procedures, which are no longer valid.
I will do my best to revise former posts at ScoutmasterCG.com to alert readers to the changes in the new Advancement Guide. The guide also adds:
Be aware that statements or interpretations offered from unofficial websites and other such sources may be out of date or incorrect. They will not be considered in resolving advancement questions and issues. In situations not specifically covered in this guide, advancement chairs, coordinators, or other administrators should make decisions based on the aims and mission of the Boy Scouts of America, as well as the Scout Oath and Scout Law—and common sense.
Here’s the list of significant changes:
1. Council, district, and unit advancement committee responsibilities detailed and listed
2. Section on awards and recognitions eliminated for integration into a new publication, the Guide to Awards and Insignia, No. 33066 ( I haven’t seen this new guide yet)
3. Cub Scouting material updated
4. “Active participation” and “position of responsibility” requirements approached from unit’s established reasonable expectations.
NOTE: Units may establish ‘reasonable expectations’ to active participation and position of responsibility requirements. I have argued against metrics being applied to active participation in the past . This change does allow units to attach metrics to the requirement but it does not allow metrics alone to be the sole determination of ‘active’. Instead it describes a three step process and alternatives; but that’s for another post.
5. Venturing and Sea Scouts coverage added.
6. Merit badge section reorganized and expanded.
7. Board of review practices clarified, including wearing the uniform.
8. Rank advancement appeals limited to board of review rejections.
9. Eagle Scout rank application process clarified and updated.
10. Eagle Scout service project requirement changed, detailed, and clarified.
Eagle projects are now considered unit activities (I feel slightly vindicated that they were not actually unit activities before this change)
11. New process for requesting time extensions for earning Eagle Scout rank.
12. Advancement for special-needs youth clarified.
13. In applying for alternative requirements a qualifying disability need not be permanent.
I am very pleased the changes and clarifications in the new guide. Some of the more debatable questions have been put to bed with this publication and no doubt others will arise. What I suggest is that we all give the guide a complete, thoughtful read and make adjustments to our thinking and procedures as needed. As is true with any policy statements just take them at face value; don’t make many angels dance on the heads of pins.
There’s also a new Eagle project workbook. The most significant statement I have found so far:
Only the Official Workbook May Be Used
“Eagle Scout candidates must use the official Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook, No. 512-927, as produced by the Boy Scouts of America… Although it is acceptable to copy and distribute the workbook, it must maintain the same appearance with nothing changed, added, or deleted.
No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to produce or require additional forms, or to add or change requirements, or to make any additions, deletions, or changes in the text, outlines, links, graphics, or other layout or informational elements of the workbook. It is permissible, however, to print, copy, or send individual pages or forms within the workbook as long as they are not changed in the process.”
This finally and thankfully puts an end to all of the inflated unit, district and council specific workbooks!
I’ll be posting more about the specific changes soon; all I can say is I appreciate that the B.S.A. has sorted out some of the more difficult questions once and for all.