Advancement

Youth with physical disabilities and youth and adults with developmental or cognitive challenges are welcome in the Boy Scouts of America. The basic premise of Scouting for youth with special needs is that every boy wants to participate fully and be respected like every other member of the troop. While there are, by necessity, troops exclusively composed of Scouts with disabilities, experience has shown that Scouting usually succeeds best when every boy is part of a patrol in a regular troop. Various accommodations exist to facilitate advancement.  The severity of disability will indicate how members should be registered.

The BSA’s policy has always been to treat members with disabilities and special needs as much like other members as possible.  But the BSA's policy also stipulates that a local council may make some accommodations in advancement requirement, if necessary. Some specific examples are as follows:

Alternate Tenderfoot, Second Class or First Class Requirements

A Scout who has been designated as having a disability may request changes in the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks. Full guidelines and procedures are described the NEPA Council's Application for Approval of Alternate Tenderfoot, Second Class or First Class Rank Requirements. Once completed, this application should be forwarded to the Scout Service & Training Center to the attention of the Council Registrar, who will forward it to the Council Advancement Committee for review and approval.

Alternative Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges

A Scout with a permanent physical or mental disability may select an alternative merit badge in lieu of a required merit badge if his disabling condition prohibits the Scout from completing the necessary requirements of a particular required merit badge. This substitute should provide a “similar learning experience.” Full guidelines and explanations are provided on the Application for Alternative Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges, No. 512-730.  Once completed, this application should be forwarded to the Scout Service & Training Center to the attention of the Council Registrar, who will forward it to the Council Advancement Committee for review and approval.

CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD the Application for Alternative Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges, No. 512-730

Registration Beyond The Age of Eligibility

Youth and adults who are developmentally disabled, or youth with severe physical challenges, may be considered for registration beyond the age of eligibility for their program.  A disability, to qualify an individual for registration beyond the age of eligibility, must be permanent and so severe that it precludes advancement even at a rate significantly slower than considered normal.  If ranks can be achieved under accommodations already provided in official literature, or with modification, then the disability probably does not rise to the level required.  Note that registration beyond the age of eligibility is intended as a permanent arrangement to allow ongoing participation as a youth member in the Scouting program.  This is different from a "time extension," which is available to a young man working toward the Eagle Scout rank should circumstances not due to his choice or fault arise that preclude achievement before his 18th birthday.

CLICK HERE for more information about Registering Qualified Members Beyond The Age of Eligibility.

For More Information

​For more information on Advancement for Special Need Scouts, CLICK on the link below, or contact the NEPA Council Scout Service and Training Center, the Council Program Director, your District Executive, or any member of the Council Advancement Committee.

CLICK HERE to view the BSA's Information Sheet for Special Needs Scouts