When it becomes clear that a Scout may complete a significant rank advancement, a question may be raised as to whether he is or has been "active." Fortunately the Boy Scouts maintain clear rules as to when a Scout is "active."
A Registered Scout is an Active Scout
Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures #33088 © 1989, 2007 Printing p. 24
A Scout will be considered "active" in his unit if he is:
Only Active Scouts Can Be Rechartered
Commissioner Fieldbook for Unit Service #33621 © 1990, 2007 Printing p. 44
Youth Member Listing
"Ghost units" puts membership in the spotlight
- Boy Scouts Suspected of Inflating Rolls Washington Post
- "...Federal subpoenas have been flying around...the latest in a string of at least five bogus-membership scandals in Boy Scout councils around the country since the 1990s.."
- Leaders Falsified Participation by Inner-City Youth, Audit Finds Associated Press
- "...The audit led to the resignation Tuesday of the Atlanta Area Council's executive director, David Larkin, who said he took full responsibility for his organization's actions..."
- "...In Dallas, former council employees say the Scout count was inflated 20 to 30 percent. In Birmingham, some believe the numbers were hyped 30 to 40 percent..."
- "...Boy Scouts of America declined an interview, but in a statement said, "Accurate reporting of membership is essential. Falsifying records is unacceptable..."
Ranks Requiring that the Scout be Active
- Star Rank 1: Be active in your troop and patrol for at least 4 months as a First Class Scout.
- Life Rank 1: Be active in your troop and patrol for at least 6 months as a Star Scout.
- Eagle Scout Rank 1: Be active in your troop, team, crew, or ship for a period of at least six months after you have achieved the rank of Life Scout.
- Eagle Palms 1: Be active in your troop and patrol for at least 3 months after becoming an Eagle Scout or after the award of your last Palm.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can we add a requirement that the Scout was active in the immediately preceding 4 or 6 months?
- "No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to or subtract from an advancement requirement." (p. 3, 23, 26, 34, etc.) 
Does a Scout need to be active the entire time since their last rank?
- No. The requirement for Star, Life, Eagle, and Eagle Palms are that the Scout be active for at least 4, 6, or 6 months respectively since their previous advancement. 
If a Scout was inactive (dropped), does previous time while he was active count?
- Yes. "...His previous verifiable service time in that rank applies toward qualification for the next rank..." (p. 44) 
- Advancement Committee Policies #33088
- Boy Scout Requirements #33215
- Commissioner Fieldbook for Unit Service #33621