Alternative Requirements

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Youth with physical disabilities and youth and adults with developmental or cognitive challenges are welcome in the Boy Scouts of America. As outlined in this section, various accommodations exist to facilitate advancement. These youth do not need to join a special unit oriented to serving members with disabilities, although those exist and may be beneficial in some cases. The severity of disability will indicate how members should be registered. See “Registering Qualified Members Beyond Age of Eligibility,” 10.1.0.0.

When knowledgeable parents, guardians, or volunteers are able to provide assistance and oversight, most anyone can be a member. While leaders should be enthusiastic about helping those with special needs, they should also recognize the demands that will be placed on their patience, understanding, and skill in working on advancement.
Guide To Advancement § 77.

Contents

Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class Ranks Alternative Requirements


The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
2018 Boy Scout Requirements, No. 33216, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

From: Boy Scout Requirements pg. 16

A Scout who has a permanent physical or mental disability (or a disability expected to last more than two years or beyond the 18th birthday) and is unable to complete all of the requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, or First Class rank may, with his parents or guardian, submit a request to the council advancement committee to complete alternative requirements. Below are the procedures for applying for alternative requirements. To help facilitate this process, use the Individual Scout Advancement Plan, No. 512-936, which can be found at www.scouting.org/advancement. For more detailed information about alternative requirements, see the Guide to Advancement.

  1. Do as Many Standard Requirements as Possible. Before applying for alternative requirements, the member must complete as many of the standard requirements as his ability permits. He must do his very best to develop himself to the limit of his abilities and resources.
  2. Prepare a Request for Alternative Requirements. Once the Scout has done his best to the limit of his abilities and resources, the unit leader or a troop committee member submits to the council advancement committee a written request for alternative requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks. It must show what has been completed and suggest the alternatives for those requirements the Scout cannot do.
  3. Secure a Medical Statement and Provide Supporting Documents. The request must be accompanied by supporting letters from the unit leader, a parent or guardian, and the member (if possible), as well as a written statement from a qualified health professional related to the nature of the disability. This may be a physician, neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc., or an educational administrator as appropriate. Statements must describe the disability; cover the Scout’s capabilities, limitations, and prognosis; and outline what requirements cannot be completed. Additional information such as Individualized Education Plans (IEP) provided to parents by schools, and various treatment summaries and reports, may help an advancement committee make an informed decision.
  4. The Advancement Committee Reviews the Request. The council advancement committee reviews the request, utilizing the expertise of professional persons involved in Scouts with disabilities. The committee may want to interview the Scout, his parents, and the unit leader to fully understand the request and to make a fair determination. The committee’s decision should be recorded and delivered to the Scout and the unit leader.

Eagle Scout Rank Alternative Requirements


The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
2018 Boy Scout Requirements, No. 33216, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

From: Boy Scout Requirements pg. 24

The Eagle Scout rank may be achieved by a Boy Scout or a qualified Venturer or Sea Scout who has a physical or mental disability by completing the Application for Alternative Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges, No. 512-730, and by qualifying for alternative merit badges. This does not apply to individual requirements for merit badges. Merit badges are awarded only when all requirements are met as stated. See the Guide to Advancement, topic 10.2.2.3, for details.

The physical or mental disability must be of a permanent rather than of a temporary nature (or a disability expected to last more than two years or beyond the 18th birthday). The application must include a written statement from a qualified health-care professional related to the nature of the disability. This person may be a physician, neurologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc., or an educational administrator as appropriate.

Before applying, he must earn as many of the Eagle-required merit badges as possible. However, where a permanent disability clearly precludes completing specific merit badges, a Scout who has earned at least First Class may apply for an alternative merit badge without waiting until all other Eagle-required merit badges are complete. Any alternatives must present the same challenge and learning level as those they replace, and must be completed by the 18th birthday unless the member is registered beyond the age of eligibility (reference Guide to Advancement, topic 10.1.0.1–10.1.0.2).

  1. Obtain a clear and concise statement related to the nature of the disability from a qualified health-care professional.
  2. The unit leader meets with the candidate and his parent or guardian to determine the alternative merit badges to replace those impeding his progression.
  3. The unit leader, parent or guardian, and the Scout (if possible) prepare supporting letters to accompany the application.
  4. The district and council advancement committees, in turn, review the proposed alternative merit badges. They may choose to speak with the Scout, his parent or guardian, or unit leader. If the council advancement committee approves, then the candidate may start work on the merit badges.

Age Exception for Youth With Special Needs

Youth members with severe and permanent mental or physical disabilities may work toward ranks, Eagle Palms, or Venturing awards even after they have passed the chronological age of eligibility for a program. For details, see, “Registering Qualified Members Beyond Age of Eligibility,” 10.1.0.0.
Guide To Advancement § 18.

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