Merit Badge Difficulty Ratings

Chief Seattle Council Scouts David and Jordon set out to earn every single merit badge available.meritbadge2

A long journey, with David finishing just before his just before his 18th birthday. With their help and the help of a few friends (Eli just finished 133 badges and Ian is diligently working toward that goal), we’ve put together comments and rankings of the merit badges available.

Badges are ranked 1-5 with 5 being the most difficult. 

(Merit badges may have changed as this ranking is from 2009 – but still helpful)


 Level 1 – easiest badges to complete (great for 1st year scouts)

Art – (5) simple requirements that can be done in an afternoon.

Basketry – Can get expensive if you buy the BSA kits, but probably a lot more difficult to do on your own.

Canoeing – Definitely a summer camp badge. Have fun swamping your boat!

Fingerprinting – Easiest of the easy. There’s a reason that so many of these badges get done. Do yourself a favor, though, and do this through your sheriff’s office. Much more interesting. Or, here’s an online course specific to the badge.

Fire Safety – The hardest part of this badge is demonstrating the different fires. Beyond that, it can be completed in a couple of days.

Golf – Could be done in a single day if you already know how to play golf, or if you have a good instructor. More fun to stretch it out over several rounds.

Painting – The only hard thing is tinting the white base. Everything else is easy.

Pulp and Paper – Make your own paper. Great to do just before Mother’s Day.

Reading – Takes awhile to finish, but is basically a library trip, a lot of reading, and some community service.

Sculpture – Wonderfully fun badge that can be earned in a day except you might have to let your project dry awhile before painting.

Wood Carving – Scout kits make it easy.


Level 2 – not too difficult

American Labor – A lot to digest, but you’ll learn something while doing it.

Architecture – A brief overview. Only difficult part is the interview with a practicing architect.

Bird Study – Actually a very cool badge to work on. A lot of requirements, but simple ones.

Chess – IF you already participate in Scholastic Chess or play regularly, the most difficult part of this will be finding a Scout you can teach. Note: National clarified that it must be a Boy Scout orVenturer, and it must be someone who does not know how to play at all.

Cinematography – Hardest part is finding someone who knows what they’re talking about to be the counselor.

Climbing – It seems like most indoor climbing gyms now offer this as a one-day badge. Fast and easy for fifty bucks, or one step at a time on campouts for much less.

Coin Collecting – Money, money, money. Again, a lot to do, but all easy.

Collections – You can’t use stamps or coins, but just about anything else will do! Almost in the Easy category.

Crime Prevention – You don’t have to be Chuck Norris to fight crime. A lot of “discuss” that isn’t too difficult.

Dentistry – The hardest part about this is making an appointment to see the dentist. It’s an interesting badge, especially if you come prepared with a lot of questions for your dentist.

Disabilities Awareness – Close to moderate because of the visits involved. If you don’t have a Scout with a disability in your troop, you’ll need to call around.

Energy – A whole lot to do, but none is difficult. Keep it in a notebook to make sure you have everything.

Fishing – Requires knot-tying and actually catching fish, so the difficulty depends upon you.

Genealogy – Hardest part is interviewing family members and gathering all the information. If you make the required visit beforehand, this is a good one for a Merit Badge Clinic.

Graphic Arts – An easy one if you’re computer savvy and artistic.

Leatherwork – Get a kit and you’re pretty well set. You’ll definitely need the book for this one.

Mammal Study – Almost easy. The best option is the photography one, since you can use those photos for Photography as well.

Motorboating – Easy if you are already 1st class. Otherwise, you’ll have to learn the First Aid requirements and pass the swimmer test. On the water is the fun part!

Music – Difficulty depends upon which options you choose. Requires a concert. Can be a long badge, but not hard.

Pets – If you have a pet and you’re responsible for feeding it, this is super easy. Just make sure you keep a record for 3 months, and find a place to show it (or teach it three tricks, if it’s teachable).

Photography – Perfect if you’ve had a photography class; if not, you’ll probably want to do a lot of reading to know exactly how the camera works. This is a fun badge. You can also combine it with other badges — like the photo display for Citizenship in the Community or the Mammal Study badge.

Plumbing – You’ll need to find someone who knows what they’re doing, but if you can get your plumber to let you shadow him for a day, this is a good one.

Safety – Easy except figuring out what to do for the Safety Project.

Scholarship – Especially easy for homeschooled Scouts since you won’t have to visit the principal’s office. The 250 word report is the only pain.

Textile – Doesn’t have to be girly. Textiles can also include fleece, wool, and cotton.

Theater – Be in a play, earn a badge. Kind of surprised to see this as a Merit Badge, but the mime part can be funny.

Weather – If you have a weather service office nearby, this can be very cool. The only requirement that isn’t interesting or fun is that you have to give a 5-minute speech from an outline.


Level 3 – moderate difficulty

American Cultures – A really interesting one. Time ranges depending upon your choices. Requires visits.

American Heritage – A lot of requirements that are best done one at a time. Get an award at the same time by doing just a little more – Youth Patriotism Award.

Animal Science – Easy if you live on a farm; else trying to convince Mom to let you raise a chicken might be somewhat of a chore.

Archery – A good camp badge; if you miss out at camp, you’ll need to find an archery range. The qualifying score is what moves this to the moderate category.

Astronomy – The visit or Star party is some work; most of this is right out of a good astronomy book.

Athletics – Takes 4 months in a sport, and you can’t use the same time period that you do for Sports.

Aviation – Building the model is the most difficult part, but at least the badge has interesting requirements.

Backpacking – If your troop is active in backpacking and camping, this shouldn’t be too hard. If not, your patrol might need to schedule a few weekends out.

Communications (E) – Basic common sense. Easy if you’ve already done public speaking. Can be a lot of fun with the right group.

Composite Materials – Hard part is finding a qualified counselor; some of the troops do neat things like make skateboards.

Computers – Ranges from 2-4 depending upon who is teaching it. If you spend a significant amount of time on the computer already, shouldn’t be too difficult.

Cooking – Open right away, since you’ll do most of the requirements while camping.

Dog Care – The three months and the waste cleanup are what make this moderate. If you already have a dog, it’s mostly your normal chores.

Drafting – Difficulty varies widely depending upon merit badge counselor interpretation of the requirements. Interesting and useful.

Electricity – If you have somebody helping you that knows what they’re doing, this isn’t too difficult. It’s very interesting, and a fun badge. Use the online module at emeritbadges.org to make this make more sense.

Electronics – Not so hard if you’re already familiar with electronics; if you’re coming in blind (like me, David), it takes a bit more work to fully grasp. Another IEEE badge.

Environmental Science (E) – A lot of observing involved, but not terribly long or difficult. Make sure to read the book because the experiments are in it. Don’t do this at camp unless you have a good instructor. Ones who skirt the requirements only cheat you.

Farm Mechanics – Again, finding a good counselor for this who has a farm is the hard part. The implement dealer interview was interesting.

Fish & Wildlife Management – Requires a visit and building a bird feeder, but everything else can be done inside. Do with Bird Study.

Fly Fishing – Not as easy as you think! Requires knots, proper technique, and catching two fish. If you can, combine it with Fishing since they overlap.

Forestry – Because of where we live, this is *almost* in the Easy category. Requires visits and a lot of collection and identification, but is a great outdoorsy badge.

Gardening – Requires a visit, and growing a garden. Depending upon the color of your thumb, this could be very difficult or very easy.

Geocaching – So much fun! Requires someone to drive you around. Req 9 can be a difficult one (planning a hunt). If a lot of Scouts are working on the badge at the same time, consider setting up a basic hunt for your Cubs.

Geology – This is good to open before you do Earth Science in school, or see if you can get a geologist at a museum to volunteer to be your counselor.

Horsemanship – To really do this right, try taking lessons for a few months.

Indian Lore – If you live near a reservation (like WE do), this can be pretty easy! The only thing that moves it out of Easy is needing to teach other Scouts or give a presentation. Here are some of my Indian Place Names for requirement 4g.

Landscape Architecture – What makes this more difficult than some is finding a landscape architect that you can shadow.

Law – Requires interview and visit. Just make sure you’re not being charged $160/hr.

Lifesaving – Not too hard if you’re a good swimmer and have your Swimming badge.

Model Design and Boatbuilding – Depending upon your dexterity, could be very easy… or not. A trebuchet takes care of req. 4c, but your SM probably won’t let you launch it at Scouts.

Nature – Takes a long time if you keep ants for a season, but a well-designed and thorough badge. Hint: meal worms hatch quickly.

Orienteering – Not too hard if you have an Orienteering club in your area. Otherwise, you’ll get a lot of practice setting up your own.

Personal Fitness (E) – Not difficult, just takes effort and a long time to do it. Probably best for older Scouts to do.

Pioneering – Knots, knots, and more knots. This is a lot of fun, especially if you can do it at a Camporee.

Pottery – Some similarities to Sculpture; if you do this at a studio, you can likely do them together.

Public Health – Easily one of the least favorite badges. Requires a visit to a government health agency, plus you might not agree with everything that’s in the book. If your parent is the counselor, that’s the best way to go for this. Some of the “discuss” portions aren’t really appropriate.

Public Speaking – Requires being brave enough to talk in front of people.

Radio – If you use the online module, this is pretty easy to understand. Requires a visit. Do this at the same time as the Electronics badge.

Railroading – Requires a visit, but everything else can easily be done at a model railroad club or show.

Reptile & Amphibian Study – Creepy crawlies. Hard part is getting Mom to let you keep one for a month.

Rifle Shooting – A great badge! Don’t forget to review the safety aspects thoroughly, then have fun!

Rowing – Gently down the stream… It’s the CPR requirement that puts this in the moderate category.

Skating – If you already skate, this is only a matter of having your counselor watch. It might take awhile to learn the tricks if you don’t. Inline requirements are easier than quads.

Small-Boat Sailing – Best done at camp. Capsizing the boat is the most fun.

Space Exploration – Shoot off a rocket! A lot of reading, but once you know what you’re doing, the rocket is the best part.

Stamp Collecting – Fun badge. The only thing that makes this moderate is trying to find an expert to go to a show with you.

Traffic Safety – The photos of the wrecks were gruesome, but the actual requirements are far less than the state’s drivers’ exam books.

Truck Transportation – No, you don’t get to drive one. But it does require a visit to a truck terminal.

Veterinary Medicine – Requires a vet visit; a good one to do if you’re taking in your pet anyway.

Watersports – Getting up isn’t the problem, it’s jumping the wakes that might give some difficulty.

Welding – Something that every Scout should try. If you can get a qualified welder to teach you, this badge can be done in about 8-10 hours of instruction time. Definitely not for Scouts with short attention spans or safety violations in their recent past.

Woodworking – Easier if you have the tools; otherwise, you’ll need to find a place that will let you work on projects. If you have Shop in school, should be a cinch.


Level 4 – difficult or very time-consuming badges

Auto Mechanics – It’s a lot to remember, and most of the requirements are “demonstrate”.

Camping (E) – It’s not the actual camping, but the 20 nights and making sure some of the campouts fit the specific requirements. Open it as soon as you join Scouts.

Chemistry – Tedious for those of us who don’t like chemistry. Requires a visit. Not as difficult for science geeks (and I say that respectfully).

Citizenship in the Community (E) – Requires interviews, visits, and a public presentation. Yes, if you do it RIGHT, this is a hard badge. If you just want to get it over with and don’t really care about learning something, you can probably do it in three weeks. Need (8) community service hours.

Citizenship in the Nation (E) – Make sure to allow sufficient time to really go through the Constitution. A good badge to do with your American Government class. Requires visits. (Jordon and David logged 36 class hours each for this badge!)

Citizenship in the World (E) – *IF* you do it right, this should take a few months to complete. I know some camps offer it in a day, but what are you really getting out of it in a day?

Cycling (E) – The requirements aren’t that difficult, but it does require 7 different rides, including a 50-miler with time constraints. If you can’t swim very well, this is a good alternative.

Emergency Preparedness (E) – The best way to do this is to pair up with your local government emergency management division, so that you can do a real drill with them. This badge takes a lot of planning to do on your own.

Engineering – A little dry, but if you have the right counselor, the hands-on part can be fun.

Entrepreneurship – Requires interviews, reports, but the hard part of this is running a business.

Family Life (E) – Could be a (3) if you’re a self-starter. For some of us, it just seems to take forever.

First Aid (E) – A lot of requirements, but interesting. Taking a CPR course and a First Aid course will get most of the requirements marked off.

Hiking (E) – The hard part is the 20-mile hike. Takes awhile to get in the (5) 10-milers, but enjoyable.

Home Repairs – A lot of different things involved. You might do this as a group, and offer to repair a senior’s home in your area.

Insect Study – Would be easy except the mounting of 50 bugs. A lot of fun.

Journalism – Watch tv and get a badge. Not really, but you do have to watch the tube or read a paper. The television option is especially fun. Requires a visit and interview.

Kayaking – Time-consuming — BUT here’s the thing: If you do the kayaking option for the whitewater badge, and earn the Kayaking BSA award, this is almost a gimme. If you’re going to either one of the badges, combine it with the other. A little extra and you’ll earn both (and the award).

Medicine – A lot of “discuss” and “tell”, but also requires a doctor visit and medical volunteer hours.

Metalwork – Can get expensive, depending upon which option you choose. The work doesn’t seem that hard, but it’s finding a metalworker to supervise and teach that might be a problem.

Nuclear Science – Learn how safe, efficient, and inexpensive nuclear power is. Requirements vary, but hopefully include a visit (difficult post 9-11).

Oceanography – Requires a 500-word report or a 5-minute speech. Yuck. Otherwise, very interesting badge.

Personal Management (E) – Time-consuming, but not overly difficult.

Plant Science – TONS of requirements. The “Field Botany” option is a lot easier than the other two.

Robotics – Because of the cost of the equipment involved, this will probably best be done as part of a Robotics club.

Salesmanship – A good one to do if your Troop does any kind of door-to-door selling (popcorn, anyone?). Easy if it’s natural for you; extremely difficult for those of us for whom it’s not.

Shotgun Shooting – The hard part of this is getting a good enough score to pass. Otherwise, it’s a blast.

Snow Sports – If you don’t already ski or snowboard, the level of proficiency might take a little while. Try the option you are most interested in, and switch if you find it’s not going to work. Different muscles for each of the options, and personality comes in to play.

Soil and Water Conservation – This is a fun one, but there’s a lot involved including visits and written reports.

Sports – Not difficult, but you have to be on two different sports teams for a season each in order to qualify, so it can take a long time.

Surveying – The badge isn’t difficult — but finding someone who really knows what they’re doing is.

Swimming (E) – A lot to learn, but it’s one of the most important things here.

Whitewater– Someone want to explain how a “Class I” river qualifies as Whitewater?? Good one to do at the same time as the BSA Kayak Award. Difficult because you have to have CPR card and Canoeing badge (or Kayak BSA) to even start it.

Wilderness Survival – The ultimate Boy Scout badge. Every single Scout should prepare for and earn this one. Should be one of the Eagle-requireds.


Level 5 – for the die-hard!

American Business – Another one requiring a business, and no, you can’t use the same three months for different badges. Lots of visits and reports. Good if you have a high school business course, though.

Archaeology – A lot of requirements, a lot of work, reports, plus you need to be able to find a dig to volunteer at. Who does these? Update: What a find! We were blessed enough to be able to actually work on a dig! Still a very difficult badge, but we learned a LOT.

Bugling – Unless you’re already used to playing a brass instrument, the required calls are fairly difficult to master. You can use a trumpet instead (easier). Still have to serve as bugler for three months in your troop. Plan to start this early because it took us 8 months and 10 months to complete.

Scuba – Most difficult badge of them all for anyone 15 and older. Requires NAUI or PADI adult certification. Expensive and a lot of work. Really good skill to have, though. If you do this before you turn 15, you can earn a *much* easier and less expensive Jr. Certification.

Board of review tips!

Congratulations!

You have had your Scoutmaster conference and are ready for your board of review. Ranks
Here are a few quick tips:

  • Wear your full Boy Scout Uniform
    • Scout Shirt & Pants
    • Neckerchief, Merit badge sash
    • Boy Scout Handbook
    • Be Prepared to recite the following from memory:
      • Scout Oath
      • Scout Law
      • Scout Motto
      • Scout Slogan
      • Outdoor Code

(Some leeway can be given to Scouts at the Tenderfoot rank, but for Second Class rank and higher, all of the above should be memorized.)

  • You may have to answer other questions about your Boy Scout experience, accomplishments, the things you enjoy about Scouts and the ways you are contributing to the troop.

Purpose of a Board of Review:

The members of a Board of Review should have the following objectives in mind:

  • To make sure the Scout has completed the requirements for the rank.
  • To see how good an experience the Scout is having in the unit.
  • To encourage the Scout to progress further.

Congratulations again, you are now on your way to Eagle!

 

For more information on the following ranks click one of the following:

Tenderfoot     Second Class      First Class     Star     Life       Eagle


Tenderfoot Rank

Tenderfoot Badge
This is the Scout’s first experience with a Board of Review. The process may require some explanation on the part of the Board of Review Chairperson.

The first few questions in the Board of Review should be simple. The Board of Review should try to gain a sense of how the Scout is fitting in to the Troop, and the Scout’s level of enjoyment of the Troop and Patrol activities.
Encourage advancement to 2nd Class. Point out that the Scout may have already completed many of the requirements for 2nd Class.
The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 15-20 minutes.

Sample Questions:

  1. When did you join our Troop?
  2. How many Troop meetings have you attended in the last two months?
  3. What did you do at your last patrol meeting?
  4. Tell us about your last Troop campout.
  5. How would the first aid skills you must know for Tenderfoot help on a campout?
  6. Where did you learn how to fold the American flag? Tell us about your first experience with this skill.
  7. How would you avoid poison oak (poison ivy, sumac)?
  8. Where did you go on your hike? How did you choose the location?
  9. If you were on a hike and got lost, what would you do?
  10. Why do we whip or fuse the ends of a rope?
  11. What is the “Buddy System” that we use in Scouting? When do we use it?
  12. Why do you think there are physical fitness requirements (push-ups, pull-ups, etc.), and a retest after 30 days, for the Tenderfoot rank?
  13. What does it mean to a Tenderfoot Scout to “Be Prepared”?
  14. Do you feel that you have done your best to complete the requirements for Tenderfoot? Why?
  15. What “good turn” have you done today?
  16. Please give us an example of how you obey the Scout Law at home (school, church)?
  17. What do you like best about our Troop?
  18. What does it mean for a Scout to be “Kind”?
  19. Do you have any special plans for this summer? The Holidays?
  20. When do you plan to have the requirements completed for 2nd Class?


2nd Class Rank

Second Class
This is the Scout’s second Board of Review. The process should be familiar, unless it has been some time since the Board of Review for Tenderfoot.
Questions should focus on the use of the Scout skills learned for this rank, without retesting these skills. The Board of Review should try to perceive how the Scout’s patrol is functioning, and how this Scout is functioning within his patrol.
Encourage work on the remaining requirements for 1st Class; many of the easier ones may have already been completed.
The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 15-20 minutes.

Sample Questions:

  1. How many patrol meetings have you attended in the last 3 months?
  2. What did your patrol do at its last meeting?
  3. Tell us about a service project in which you participated.
  4. Where did you go on your last Troop campout? Did you have a good time? Why?
  5. Why is it important to be able to identify animals found in your community?
  6. Tell us about the flag ceremony in which you participated.
  7. What is in your personal first aid kit?
  8. What have you learned about handling woods tools (axes, saws, etc.)?
  9. How are a map of the area and a compass useful on a campout?
  10. Have you ever done more than one “good turn” in a day? Ask for details.
  11. Have you earned any merit badges?

If “Yes”: Which ones? Why did you choose them? Who was your counselor?
If “No”: Encourage getting started, and suggest one or two of the easier ones.

  1. Did you attend summer camp with our Troop last summer?

If “Yes”: What was your best (worst) experience at summer camp?
If “No”: Why not?

  1. Do you plan to attend summer camp with our Troop next summer?

If “Yes”: What are you looking forward to doing at summer camp?
If “No”: Why not?

  1. What suggestions do you have for improving our Troop?
  2. How do you help out at home, church, school?
  3. What class in school is most challenging for you? Why?
  4. One of the requirements for Tenderfoot is to participate in a program regarding drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse. Tell us about the program in which you participated.
  5. How is it possible to live the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life?
  6. What does it mean to say, “A Scout is Trustworthy”?
  7. When do you expect to complete the requirements for 1st Class?


1st Class Rank

FirstClass
By this point the Scout should be comfortable with the Board of Review process.
The Scout should be praised for his accomplishment in achieving 1st Class (particularly if he joined Boy Scouts less than a year ago). In achieving the rank of 1st Class, the Scout should feel an additional sense of responsibility to the troop and to his patrol.
The 1st Class rank will produce additional opportunities for the Scout (Order of the Arrow, leadership, etc.).
Merit badges will begin to play a role in future advancement to the Star and Life ranks. Encourage merit badge work if it has not already begun.
The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 20 minutes.

Sample Questions:

  1. On average, how many Troop meetings do you attend each month?
  2. What part of Troop meetings are most rewarding to you?
  3. What is the Scout Slogan? What does it mean for a 1st Class Scout?
  4. Tell us about your last campout with the Troop. Where did you go? How did you help with meal preparation? Did you have a good time? (If “No”, why not?)
  5. If you were in charge of planning and preparing a dinner for your next campout, what would you select?
  6. As a 1st Class Scout, what do you think the Star, Life, and Eagle Scouts will expect from you on an outing?
  7. Does your family do any camping? What have you learned in Scouts, that you have been able to share with your family to improve their camping experiences?
  8. Why do you think that swimming is emphasized in Scouting?
  9. Why is it important for you to know how to transport a person who has a broken leg?
  10. Why is it important for you to be able to recognize local plant life?
  11. What did you learn about using a compass while completing the orienteering requirement?
  12. What does it mean to say, “A Scout is Courteous”?
  13. Why are merit badges a part of Scouting?
  14. How frequently do you attend religious services? Does your whole family attend?
  15. What is your most favorite part of Scouting? Least favorite?
  16. How does a Scout fulfill his “Duty to Country”?
  17. How do you define “Scout Spirit”?
  18. What is the Order of the Arrow? What is the primary function of OA?
  19. Who was Lord Baden-Powell?
  20. When do you think you might be ready for Star Scout?


Star Rank

Star BadgeWith the Star rank, emphasis is placed upon service to others, merit badges, and leadership. Scout skills remain an important element for the Star Scout; however, the emphasis should be on teaching other Scouts these skills.
Explore how the Star scout can assist with leading his patrol and troop. Attempt to understand how the Scouting philosophy is becoming part of the Scout’s life.
Often the Star rank is a place where Scouts “stall out”. Encourage the Scout to remain active, and participate fully in his patrol and troop. If the Scout appears to be looking for additional opportunities, suggest leadership positions such as Den Chief or Troop Guide.
The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 20 minutes.

Sample Questions:

  1. How many Troop outings have you attended in the last three months?
  2. Tell us about the last service project in which you participated.
  3. What does it mean for a Star Scout to “Be Prepared” on a daily basis?
  4. How have the Scout skills that you have learned helped you in a non-Scouting activity?
  5. How many merit badges have you earned? What was the most difficult (fun, challenging, expensive, etc.)?
  6. Which is more important: Becoming a Star Scout, or learning the skills prescribed for a Star Scout?
  7. Why do you think a Scoutmaster’s Conference is required for advancement in rank?
  8. What is the most important part of a Troop Court of Honor? Why?
  9. What leadership positions have you held outside of your patrol? What challenges did they present? What are your personal leadership goals and objectives?
  10. How would you get a Scout to do an unpleasant task?
  11. What extracurricular activities do you participate in at school?
  12. What responsibilities do you have at home?
  13. What is our “Duty to God”?
  14. What does it mean to say “A Scout is Loyal”?
  15. How are the Scout Oath and Law part of your daily life?
  16. What is the Outdoor Code? Why is it important?
  17. If the Scout is a member of the Order of the Arrow:

When did you complete your “Ordeal”, “Brotherhood”?
What does membership in the OA signify?

  1. Have you received any special awards or accomplishments in school, athletics, or church?
  2. Baden-Powell’s first Scout outing was located on an island off the coast of Great Britain; what was the name of that island? [Answer: Brownsea Island]
  3. When do you plan on achieving the Life rank?


Life Rank

Life BadgeThe Life rank is the final rank before Eagle. The Life Scout should be fully participating in the Troop, with emphasis being placed on leadership in the unit, as well as teaching skills and leadership to the younger Scouts.
Merit Badge work should be a regular part of the Scout’s career. Scouting values and concepts should be an integral part of the Scout’s daily life.
At this point, the Scout is starting to “give back to Scouting” through leadership, training of other Scouts, recruiting, keeping Scouts active in the program, etc.
Explore suggestions for improving the program.
The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 20 – 30 minutes.

Sample Questions:

  1. What is the most ambitious pioneering project with which you have assisted? Where?
  2. What has been your worst camping experience in Scouting?
  3. How many patrol meetings has your patrol held in the last three months? How many of them have you attended?
  4. Have any of the merit badges you have earned lead to hobbies or possible careers?
  5. What are your hobbies?
  6. Of the merit badges you have earned, which one do you think will be of greatest value to you as an adult? Why?
  7. Why do you think that the three “Citizenship” merit badges are required for the Eagle Rank?
  8. What is your current (most recent) leadership position within the Troop? How long have you held that position? What particular challenges does it present? What is Leadership?
  9. Do you have any brothers or sisters who are in Scouts (any level)? What can you do to encourage them to continue with Scouts, and to move forward along the Scouting Trail?
  10. How do you choose between a school activity, a Scout activity, and a family activity?
  11. Why do you think that Star and Life Scouts are required to contribute so much time to service projects? What service projects are most rewarding to you? Why?
  12. Why do you think that a Board of Review is required for rank advancement?
  13. How has Scouting prepared you for the future?
  14. What does it mean to say, “A Scout is Reverent”?
  15. What does “Scout Spirit” mean to a Life Scout?
  16. Why do you think that Scouting for Food is referred to as a “National Good Turn”.
  17. The Scout Oath refers to “Duty to Self”; what duty do we have to ourselves?
  18. If the Scout is a member of OA:

What role does OA play in Scouting?
What honor do you hold in OA?
What is the difference between Scout “ranks” and OA “honors”?

  1. In what year was Boy Scouts of America founded? [Answer: February 8, 1910 – BSA Birthday]
  2. Have you begun to think about an Eagle Service Project? What are you thinking about doing? When?


Eagle Rank

Eagle BadgeThe Board of Review for the Eagle Rank is different from the other Boards of Review in which the Scout has participated. The members of the Board of Review are not all from his Troop Committee. Introductions are essential, and a few “break in” questions may be appropriate.
At this point, the goal is to understand the Scout’s full Scouting experience, and how others can have similar meaningful Scouting experiences. Scouting principles and goals should be central to the Scout’s life; look for evidence of this.
Although this is the final rank, this is not the end of the Scouting trail; “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle”. Explore how this Eagle Scout will continue with Scouting activities, and continued service to his home, church, and community.
The approximate time for this Board of Review should be 30 – 50 minutes.

Sample Questions:

  1. What would you suggest adding to the Scout Law (a thirteenth point)? Why?
  2. What one point could be removed from the Scout Law? Why?
  3. Why is it important to learn how to tie knots, and lash together poles and logs?
  4. What is the difference between a “Hollywood hero” and a real hero?
  5. Can you give me an example of someone who is a hero to you? (A real person, not a character in a book or movie.)
  6. Why do you think that the Family Life merit badge was recently added to the list of required merit badges?
  7. What camping experience have you had, that you wish every Scout could have?
  8. Have you been to Philmont or a National (International) Jamboree? What was your most memorable experience there?
  9. What is the role of the Senior Patrol Leader at a troop meeting (campout, summer camp)?
  10. If you could change one thing to improve Scouting, what would you change?
  11. What do you believe our society expects from an Eagle Scout?
  12. The charge to the Eagle requires that you give back to Scouting more than Scouting has given to you. How do you propose to do that?
  13. As an Eagle Scout, what can you personally do to improve your unit?
  14. What will you be doing in your unit, after receiving your Eagle Rank?
  15. Tell us how you selected your Eagle Service Project.
  16. From your Eagle Service Project, what did you learn about managing or leading people? What are the qualities of a good leader?
  17. What part of your Eagle Service Project was the most challenging? Why?
  18. If you were to manage another project similar to your Eagle Service Project, what would you do differently to make the project better or easier?
  19. What are your future plans (high school, college, trade school, military, career, etc.)?
  20. Tell us about your family (parents, siblings, etc.). How do you help out at home?
  21. What do you think is the single biggest issue facing Scouting in the future?
  22. How do your friends outside of Scouting react when they learn that you are a Boy Scout? How do you think they will react when they learn that you have become an Eagle Scout?
  23. Why do you think that belief in God (a supreme being) is part of the Scouting requirements?
  24. How do you know when a Scout is “active” in his unit?
  25. You have been in Scouting for many years, sum up all of those experiences in one word. Why?
  26. What one thing have you gained from your Scoutmaster’s conferences over the years?
  27. How does an Eagle Scout continue to show Scout Spirit?
  28. If the Scout is a member of the Order of the Arrow:

Positions of Responsibility

Have you ever wondered about all those different patches you see our scouts wearing? They are more than a patch, they represent a position of responsibility. Positions of responsibility are integral to the running of our Boy led Troop. Read about each position of responsibility below:

SPL | ASPL | Quartermaster | Scribe | Troop Guide | Instructor | Bugler | Librarian | Historian | Webmaster | Leave No Trace Trainer | OA Rep | Den Chief | Chaplain Aide | JASM | PL | APL

Senior Patrol Leader (SPL)

Job Description:

The Senior Patrol Leader is elected by the Scouts to represent them as the top junior leader in the troop.

Reports to: Scoutmaster

Senior Patrol Leader duties:

  • Preside at all troop meetings, events, activities, and the annual program planning conference.
  • Chair the Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC) meeting once a month.
  • Appointed other boy leaders with the advice and consent of the Scoutmaster.
  • Assign duties and responsibilities to other junior leaders.
  • Assists with Scoutmaster in training junior leaders.
  • Delegates task to the ASPLs. Makes sure an ASPL attends any meeting/function he will not be able to attend (Troop Meeting, PLC, Committee Meeting, campout/outing etc.)
  • Oversees the planning efforts of Scouts for all Troop campouts (whether he attends these outing or not).

Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL)

Job Description:

The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader is the second highest-ranking junior leader in the Troop. He is elected by the troop membership to serve a six-month term as ASPL. The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader acts as the Senior Patrol Leader in the absence of the Senior Patrol Leader or when called upon. He also provides leadership to other junior leaders in the Troop.

Reports to: Senior Patrol Leader

Assistant Senior Patrol Leader duties:

  • Help with leading meetings and activities as called upon by the Senior Patrol Leader.
  • Take over troop leadership in the absence of the Senior Patrol Leader.
  • Be responsible for training and giving direct leadership to the following appointed junior leaders: Scribe, Librarian, Troop Historian, Instructor, Quartermaster and Chaplain Aide.
  • Perform tasks assigned by the Senior Patrol Leader.
  • Serves as a member of the Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC).

Troop Quartermaster

Job Description:

The Troop Quartermaster keeps track of troop equipment and sees that it is in good working order.

Reports to: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Troop Quartermaster duties:

  • Keep records on patrol and troop equipment.
  • Keep equipment in good repair.
  • Issue equipment and see that it is returned in good order.
  • Suggest new or replacement items.
  • Work with the troop committee member responsible for equipment.

Troop Scribe

Job Description:

The Troop Scribe keeps the troop records. He records the activities of the Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC) and keeps a record of dues, advancement, and Scout attendance at troop meetings.

Reports to: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Troop Scribe duties:

  • Attend and keep a log of Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC) Meetings and distributes copies to PLC Members and Adult Leaders.
  • Record attendance at troop functions.
  • Record advancement in troop records.
  • Work with the troop committee member responsible for finance, records, and advancement.

Troop Guide

Job Description:

To work actively with new Scouts in the Baden-Powell program. The Troop Guides introduce new Scouts to troop operations and helps them feel comfortable in the troop.

Reports to: The Assistant Scoutmaster of the New Scout Patrol

Troop Guide duties:

  • Help new Scouts earn advancement requirements through First Class.
  • Advise patrol leader on his duties and responsibilities at Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC) meetings.
  • Attend Patrol Leaders Council (PLC) meetings with the New Scout Patrol Leader.
  • Prevent harassment of new Scouts by older Scouts.
  • Help Assistant Scoutmaster train new Scouts by older Scouts.
  • Guide new Scouts through early troop experiences to help them become comfortable in the troop and the outdoors.
  • Teach basic Scout skills.

Instructor

Job Description:

The Instructor teaches scouting skills.

Reports to: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Instructor duties:

  • Instruct Scouting skills as needed within the troop or patrols.
  • Prepare well in advance for each teaching assignment.

Bugler

Job Description:

The Bugler plays the bugle at troop ceremonies.

Reports to: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Bugler duties:

  • Plays bugle as requested by troop leadership.
  • Plays taps during evening closing ceremony.

Librarian

Job Description:

The Librarian takes care of troop literature.

Reports to: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Librarian duties:

  • Establish and take care of the troop library.- Keep records on literature owned by the troop.- Add new or replacement items as needed.- Keep books and pamphlets available for borrowing at troop meetings.

    – Keep a system for checking books and pamphlets in and out.

    – Follow up on late returns.

  • Show Scout spirit.

Historian

Job Description:

The Historian keeps a historical record or scrapbook of troop activities.

Reports to: The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader

Historian duties:

  • Gather pictures and facts about past troop activities and keeps them in scrapbooks, wall displays or informational ( historical ) files.
  • Take care of troop trophies, ribbons, and souvenirs of troop activities.
  • Provide reports about troop campouts and activities to Troop Newsletter Editor and WebMaster.
  • Keep information about former members of the troop.
  • Show Scout spirit.

Webmaster

Job Description:

Reports to: Senior Patrol Leader

Webmaster duties:

  • Maintain Troop Website.
  • Update Troop Website in a timely manner.
  • Work with Patrols on developing Website content.
  • Work with Troop Historian and Scribe on maintaining information on Troop Information.
  • Work with Scoutmaster and Troop Committee Chair on Website content.

Leave No Trace Trainer

Job Description:

Reports to: Senior Patrol Leader

Leave No Trace Trainer Duties:

  • Youth must have completed the 16 hour Leave No Trace Trainer Course approved by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and the Boy Scouts of America, from any recognized Leave No Trace Master Educator PRIOR TO ASSUMING THE POSITION.
  • Age: The BSA Leave No Trace Trainer Course Manual restricts training to youth ages 14 and higher. Youth who have completed the required training would be eligible -if they can do the job.
  • Eligible youth must exhibit a high degree of maturity and responsibility to successfully complete the training and before assuming the position.
  • For youth who are not old enough or cannot find a Trainer Course, the Task force recommends that the Senior Patrol Leader and Scoutmaster consider appointing them an instructor. For Instructors, the Task force recommends, but it is not required, that the youth go through the BSA Leave No Trace 101 Course. This is a three hour intensive, hands-on work shop conducted by any recognized Leave No Trace Trainer or Master Educator.
  • Job Description: The Leave No Trace Trainer teaches troop and patrol members the principles of Leave No Trace, improves Scouts’ outdoor ethics decision making skills, and helps the troop and patrol to prevent avoidable impacts and minimize unavoidable impacts from their use of the outdoors. The senior patrol leader may appoint a Scout who has successfully completed the 16-hour minimum nationally recognized Leave No Trace Trainer training course to serve as a Leave No Trace Trainer. A Scout who has not completed Leave No Trace Trainer training may serve as an Instructor teaching Leave No Trace skills until he obtains the necessary training.
  • Recognition: New Leave No Trace Trainer position of responsibility patch presented upon completion of the Trainer Course (See patch above); a certificate of recognition as a Leave No Trace Trainer by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, and the LNT Trainer patch,

OA Troop Representative

Job Description:

An Order of the Arrow Troop Representative is a youth liaison serving between the local OA lodge or chapter and his troop. In his troop, he serves as a communication and programmatic link to the Arrowman and adult leaders and Scouts who are not presently members of the Order. He does this in a fashion that strengthens the mission of the lodge and purpose of the Order. By setting a good example, he enhances the image of the Order as a service arm to his troop.

Reports to: The Senior Patrol Leader

OA Troop Representative duties:

  • Serves as a communication link between the lodge or chapter and the troop.
  • Encourages year round and resident camping in the troop.
  • Encourages older Scout participation in high adventure programs.
  • Encourages Scouts to actively participate in community service projects.
  • Assists with leadership skills training in the troop.
  • Encourages Arrowmen to assume leadership positions in the troop.
  • Encourages Arrowmen in the troop to be active participants in the lodge and/or chapter activities and to seal their membership in the Order by becoming Brotherhood members.

OA Troop Representative Qualifications:

  • Under 18 years old
  • Appointed by SPL with SM approval
  • OA Member in good standing

Den Chief (optional)

Job Description:

The Den Chief works with the Cub Scouts, Webelos Scouts, and den leaders in the Cub Scout pack.

Reports to: The Den Leader in the pack and the Assistant Scoutmaster for the New Scout Patrol in the troop.

Den Chief duties:

  • Serve as the activities assistant at den meetings.
  • Meet regularly with the Den Leader to review the den and pack meeting plans.
  • If serving as a Webelos Den Chief, prepare boys to join Boy Scouting.
  • Project a positive image of Boy Scouting.
  • Know the purposes of Cub Scouting.
  • Encourage Cub Scouts to join a Boy Scout troop upon graduation.
  • Help out at weekly den meetings and monthly pack meetings.
  • Be a friend to the boys in the den.
  • Live by Scout Oath and Law.

Chaplain Aide

Job Description:

The Chaplain Aide works with the Troop Chaplain to meet the religious needs of the Scouts in the troop. He also works to promote the religious emblems program.

Reports to:the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (and works with the Chaplain)

Chaplain Aide duties:

  • Keep troop leader appraised of religious holidays when planning activities.
  • Assist Chaplain or religious coordinator in meeting the religious needs of troop members while on activities.
  • Encourage saying grace at meals while camping or on activities.
  • Tell Scouts about the religious emblem program of their faith.
  • Help plan for religious observance in troop activities.

Junior Assistant Scoutmaster(optional)

Job Description:

The Junior Assistant Scoutmaster serves in the capacity of an Assistant Scoutmaster except where legal age and maturity are required. He must be at least 16 years old and not yet 18 and be an Eagle Scout. He is appointed by the Scoutmaster because of his demonstrated leadership ability.

Reports to: The Scoutmaster

Junior Assistant Scoutmaster duties:

  • Function as an Assistant Scoutmaster (except for leadership responsibilities reserved for adults 18 and 21 years of age or older).
  • Accomplish any duties assigned by the Scoutmaster.
  • Attends at least 5/6 of the PLC meetings occurring during his service period.

Patrol Leader

Job Description:

The Patrol Leader is elected by the patrol and leads the patrol.

Reports to: The Senior Patrol Leader

Patrol Leader duties:

  • Plan and lead patrol meetings and activities.
  • Keep patrol members informed.
  • Assign each patrol member a job and help them succeed.
  • Represent the patrol at all Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC) meetings and at the annual program planning conference.
  • Prepares the patrol to take part in all troop activities.
  • Develop patrol spirit.
  • Work with other troop leaders to make the troop run well.
  • Know what patrol members and other leaders can do.
  • Set the example.

Assistant Patrol Leader (APL)

Job Description:

The Assistant Patrol Leader is appointed by the Patrol Leader and leads the patrol in his absence.

Reports to: The Patrol Leader

Assistant Patrol Leader duties:

  • Assist the Patrol Leader in:- planning and leading patrol meetings and activities.- keeping patrol members informed.- preparing your patrol to take part in all troop activities.
  • and steer patrol meetings and activities
  • Take charge of the patrol in the absence of the Patrol Leader.
  • Represent the patrol at Patrol Leaders’ Council (PLC) meetings in the absence of the Patrol Leader.
  • Work with the other troop leaders to make the troop run well.
  • Help develop patrol spirit.