Saturday, April 18, 2015

Preparing for the New Boy Scout Rank Requirements

The BSA is releasing new rank requirements, effective January 2016. These new requirements will be released sometime in Summer/Fall 2015.

We won’t be leaking the new requirements here (a Scout is honest). However, it always pays to “Be Prepared” and after reviewing an advance copy of the new requirements here are a few ideas for Scoutmasters looking for a head start:

1. PATROL METHOD - Refocus your efforts on the patrol method. Be ready (or continue) to leverage older boys to teach younger ones (using the EDGE method). The new requirements demonstrate a recommitment to the patrol method and boy led troops.

2. LEAVE NO TRACE - Step up your ‘Leave No Trace’ knowledge. The new requirements have a LNT theme woven throughout. Look for LNT teaching moments in all Scouting activities – especially camp-outs. Consider using the Leave No Trace trainer troop position if you aren’t already. Also memorize the ‘Outdoor Code’.

3. NEW SCOUTS - If you don’t already have one, consider the use of a brief introductory presentation for new Scouts. In addition to answering logistical questions about your Troop, this presentation might cover:

  1. How the Scouts in the troop provide its leadership. 
  2. What merit badges are and how they are earned. 
  3. The four steps of Boy Scout advancement.  
  4. What the ranks in Boy Scouting are and how they are earned. 

4. EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY - Become familiar with how a GPS works (including Smart phone apps). Be ready to use this as a navigation tool.

5. TEACH SAFETY - Consider reviewing the Emergency Preparedness merit badge pamphlet – especially as it relates to first aid. Think about how you’ll teach Scouts about common emergencies that might occur in your community and on a backcountry hike. Take (or retake) Hazardous Weather training and be familiar with its content.


  1. I hope you still check comments because I have an issue I hope you can help me with. I've been Scoutmaster for almost a year in an LDS troop and I still have a lot to work on, of course. One thing that is troubling me is the lack of a physical space in the building dedicated to Scouts. The cubs go to the Primary room and sometimes use the gym. The Activity Days use the Relief Society room. The YW use their room. Varsity uses the gym or take field trips. We've been using the foyers and the high council room. Neither is ideal. The High Council room is great for badges but sometimes we need to demonstrate things and need to spread out. So then we go out in the foyer. It just feels like we have no space just for us. We'd use the stage, but there is always someone in the gym. The gym is just too big. We need something somewhat intimate so the boys can focus. A space that we can decorate (patrol flags, etc.). What do you think?

    1. Is there a home/garage in the ward that would work? Might be less chaotic than the ward house. Does your ward have an opening exercise for mutual and then split up? That might make it more difficult to use a home, unless it is extremely close to the chapel.