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Issue 493 – June 28, 2016

Hi Andy,

My question is about the 1910 Anniversary Ring patch that goes around the World Crest. At first, the 1910 patch was available to anyone who was BSA-registered at the time it was issued. But what about now? It’s six years later. Can a Scout (or Scouter) who wasn’t in the BSA in 2010 allowed to wear it on his (or her) uniform today? If they wear it now, it can make them look like they’ve been in Scouting longer than they really have. But what I’ve seen and read is this: “The following year, a special ‘ring emblem’ to go around (technically it is “on top of”) the World Crest emblem was designed, approved and distributed to the field (and) any Scout, Venturer, volunteer, or professional may wear the special 100th Anniversary emblem with the World Crest (the World Crest may have to be moved upward to accommodate the wearing of square knot insignia or other special insignia worn on the left front of the field uniform shirt).”

I simply don’t feel that a Scout should be allowed to wear this when they weren’t a Scout in 2010. To me, this takes away some pride of a Scout who was a member of a pack or troop in 2010. After all, those who earned their rank after 2010 aren’t permitted to wear current rank patches that have “2010” on them. Can you help me resolve this issue? (Name & Council Withheld)

There are two circles or ring emblems that may be worn around the World Crest emblem: the Messengers of Peace ring emblem and the 1910 World Crest ring.

The first has a specific requirement: “To participate, scouts simply need to go online and register their MOP-related community service projects (including Eagle Scout projects). Doing so adds pins to a global Messengers of Peace map, showing service projects around the world. The Messengers of Peace rings are available to all Scouts who complete MOP projects.” In other words, this one is earned.

The 1910 World Crest ring, which “celebrates the 100+ year history of the Boy Scouts of America” is, according to the BSA, “not required for uniform wear, but a handsome addition.” This latter emblem has no requirements, either stated or implied. In short, if a Scout (or Scouter) wants to wear it, then he does so. With impunity.

To attach any sort of “requirement” to an emblem, patch, or badge that has none is to overstep one’s authority. This is not a matter of opinion or viewpoint, and isn’t open to discussion or debate. While I can appreciate your personal opinion, I’m obliged to advise you that it simply has no place with regard to the 1910 World Crest ring.
Hello Andy,

I’m a Unit Commissioner and Merit Badge Counselor-Coordinator. Back in September 2015, SCOUTING Magazine published an article that said, in part: “Finish time-sensitive merit badges as soon as possible. The Eagle-required…merit badges have requirements that take several months. Urge Scouts to get those time-sensitive requirements out of the way early. Consider, for example, Family Life requirement 3: ‘Prepare a list of your regular home duties or chores (at least five) and do them for 90 days’. A Scout two months from his 18th birthday simply couldn’t earn that merit badge.”

I don’t agree. After all, a Scout may start working on the requirements of a merit badge at any time. So, in the example used, the requirement says “regular” home duties or chores. If the Scout’s already been doing these regularly, it’s likely that the time period has been for more than 90 days. If that’s the case, I don’t see why he would have to start a new 90-day time period.

I’ve posed this viewpoint to some Scouters in my district. So far, it’s running half see it as a Scout must do the 90 days of chores after he creates his list, and half see it as I do: that the Scout can have done his regular chores, list them, and create a record of his frequency afterwards. I’m interested in your and Mike Walton’s thoughts on this one.

Thanks in advance. I find your columns to be a wealth of information, and regularly recommend it to other Scouters. (Christy Brown Anderson, California Inland Empire Council)

If you’d like Mike Walton’s thoughts on these points you’ll need to write to him directly. He and I don’t collaborate. I write all Ask Andy columns personally, and I reply to all who, like you, write to me personally. With that understanding, let’s tackle your question, for which several subtle aspects may need to be considered…

In the first place, the BSA absolutely does state that any Boy Scout can begin work toward any merit badge at his—the Scout’s—sole discretion. This is somewhat different from your observation that “a Scout can start working on the requirements of a merit badge at any time.” A merit badge formally begins when the Scout and his Merit Badge Counselor meet for the first time: This is the formal “start-date.” For merit badges that have 90-day/3-month requirements, a Scout can certainly have begun or even completed that requirement in advance of having his first MBC meeting. However, the work needs to comply precisely with the language of the requirement.

You mention Family Life req. 3: Prepare a list of at least 5 of your regular home duties/chores and do them for 90 days; keep a record of these; discuss these with your counselor. If, by some accident or quirk, a Scout has done 4 such chores for 90 days, he will need to do another one (to total 5) for another 90 days. If he failed to make a list in advance, or they’re not “regular” tasks, that won’t work, either. This is why he first meets with his counselor: So that he doesn’t spend up to 90 days doing the sorts of stuff that don’t meet the language of the requirement, ultimately wasting his time and energy. If, however, what the Scout has accomplished prior to his first counselor meeting does indeed match the requirement, then he certainly doesn’t need to repeat.

Personal Management is another of these types of merit badges: req. 2 has a 13 consecutive week requirement that’s fairly intricate. Again, it would be painful for a Scout to have proceeded without benefit of a counselor conversation in advance, so that he doesn’t de-rail himself somewhere along the way, especially since the requirement states that these 13 weeks must be consecutive.

Personal Fitness is third in this arena. Its req’s. 7-8 ask for a complete 12-week physical development program with a contemporaneous log, but req. 6 specifies that pre-regimen measurements must be taken before starting. So, if the Scout has done part or all of his 12-week regimen but failed to do req. 6 first, he’ll have to start from scratch. We provide counselors so that this sort of stuff doesn’t happen.

As a counselor for Communication merit badge, I recently had a Scout come to me after having developed and presented a 7-minute speech, and asked that I okay him for the merit badge’s req. 3. I couldn’t do that because that requirement specifies 5-minutes; not some other length. As a consequence, the Scout found out the hard way that working alone and using a counselor to simply “sign off” on stuff the Scout thinks he’s done doesn’t always pay off as anticipated.

Now, check out my column titled “Eagle–It’s a No-Brainer” (No. 324 – August 11, 2012).

Dear Andy,

I’ve seen in recent BSA literature that two Scouts with a large age difference sharing a tent is discouraged. This makes sense from a YP standpoint. Last night at Roundtable, I had several leaders insist that it’s now a formal BSA policy that there can’t be more than two years difference between two Scouts sharing a tent. I hadn’t heard this and decided to look into it. I found the statement below in the current online version of the GTSS (a Google search produces a similar statement in other documents): It’s “discouraged” but doesn’t seem to be an ironclad policy. Here’s the quote: “Assigning youth members more than two years apart in age to sleep in the same tent should be avoided unless the youth are relatives.” Any insights on this? (John Pinchot, Longhorn Council, TX)

The GTSS statement is as you quoted. This should hardly be any sort of insurmountable problem, since it’s been a BSA standard procedure since 1989 that boys who graduate from the Cub Scouting program (ideally in February, which has also been the standard since 1989) form into one or more “new Scout” patrols, and these patrols effectively remain intact through their entire Boy Scouting experience. Consequently, it’s unlikely that any two scouts in these patrols will ever be more than perhaps six months apart in age.
Dear Andy,

In the SCOUT HANDBOOK—Requirements section (in the back), there’s a box for the leader initials and date. But who is really able to initial and date that a requirement is completed? A committee member is considered a leader, but may have no clue how something is done, whereas a Star or Life Scout isn’t necessarily a “leader” but has intimate knowledge about lots of requirements (because he’s done them). Which way do we go here? (Bob Mitchell)

Surprisingly perhaps, committee members really don’t interface with Scouts… This is what the Scoutmaster and ASMs (if any) do. Committee members are the “back room” support folks. So, with that in mind, “Leader” can certainly be the Scoutmaster or designated ASM, and can even be the Scout’s Patrol Leader, a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, or—in certain circumstances—the Senior Patrol Leader. It can even be a Scout holding the position of Instructor. But a random Star or Life or Eagle Scout isn’t the logical place to go because—as you point out—he may not be a “Leader.” A Scout who’s First Class or above in rank can certainly be the instructor (lower-case “i” here), who then asks a “Leader” to sign the Scout off on having completed the requirement.

Thanks Andy—that was A BIG help! Can I ask another question? I’m not sure what the four steps of Boy Scout advancement are, or where to find them. Can you help with this one, too? (Bob)

The four steps are: 1. The Scout Learns. 2. The Scout is Tested. 3. The Scout is Reviewed. 4. The Scout is Recognized. There’s an excellent Power Point presentation on this that you can access, download, and then share with every adult and parent in your troop. Go to:…/ppt/Effective_Troop_Advancement.ppt

Happy Scouting!


Have a question? Facing a dilemma? Wondering where to find a BSA policy or guideline? Write to Please include your name and council. (If you’d prefer to be anonymous, if published, let me know and that’s what we’ll do.)

[No. 493 – 6/28/2016 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2016]


About AskAndy

Andy is a Board Member of the U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.

Andy has just received notification by his council Scout Executive that he is to be recognized as a National Distinguished Eagle Scout. He is currently serving as a Unit Commissioner and his council's International Representative. He has previously served in a number of other Scouting roles including Assistant Council Commissioner, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Den Leader, and--as a Scout--Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. His awards include: Kashafa Iraqi Scouting Service Award, Distinguished Commissioner, Doctor of Commissioner Science, International Scouter Award, District Award of Merit (2), Scoutmaster Award of Merit, Scouter's Key (3), Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award, Cliff Dochterman Rotarian Scouter Award, James E. West Fellow (2), Wood Badge & Sea Badge, and Eagle Scout & Explorer Silver Award.

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