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Problems with the Requirements

I suppose it is similar to every National Scout Association. The national level creates the program and makes huge changes, and they let us deal with the problems that spurs out of it. If you have given close attention to the advancement requirements, you will notice a lot of flaws that can easily be fixed if the national office pays attention and gives it a little bit of time.

What are the Problems?

Non-Existent Merit Badges.
There are merit badges listed in the "13 and Above" handbook that has no official requirements tied to them. No set procedure was provided on how Scouts can work on these merit badges. They are listed on this website as the In the Works Merit Badges.

Non-Eagle Merit Badges.
Merit badges that has tied official requirements can be classified into four types (at least I classify them into such):

  1. Eagle Required Merit Badges

  2. Eagle Optionally Required Merit Badges (ex. Tree Farming, Ecology)

  3. Specialist Rating Merit Badges

  4. Non-Eagle Merit Badges

The Non-Eagle Merit Badges are merit badges that a Scout can earn, but it cannot be credited towards a Scout's advancement towards Eagle Scout. These merit badges are not made specifically required and they are not part of any specialist rating. Note that a merit badge is credit towards Eagle if it was specifically required by the rank requirements or it was earned as part of a specialist rating.

There are at least 40 Non-Eagle Merit Badges as of this time.

Un-Earnable Specialist Ratings.
The first step in earning a specialist rating is to select three merit badges under the specialist rating that you have not earned previously. There are specialist ratings that includes merit badges that are required for Eagle Scout (which automatically disqualifies them from being part of the three) and leaves the specialist rating with less than three merit badges.

The Merit Badge Center has removed these un-earnable specialist ratings from our list of specialist ratings. There are six of these specialist rating in the "13 and Above" handbook.

I have written a letter to the Program Division of the National Headquarters in 1999 and did receive a quick response from Director Rogelio Villa. Until today, the revised future editions of the requirements he had mentioned in his response letter has not surfaced.

Rank Requirements Problem.
In the Airman Rank (Air Scout track) and Seaman Rank (Sea Scout track) the requirements can never be completed due to required merit badges without officially tied requirements to them. They are the Airplane Modelling and Survival Swimming Merit Badges respectively.

There is also a problem with the specialist rating required for the Venturer Rank (Traditional Scout track) since on the "13 and Above" handbook the specialist rating Scout Conservationist does not exists. Although it does exists in the proof edition of the handbook, there are only two merit badges left to earn after you eliminate all the merit badges that are required for Eagle Scout.


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Since August 4, 1999 - Fourth Edition September 30, 2003
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