Advancement FAQ's: Roads Less Traveled

How Scouts with disabilities can earn the Eagle Scout rank.

Not all Boy Scouts look as if they stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Some have obvious, or not-so-obvious, disabilities that might prevent them from reaching the Eagle Scout Award. So to make Scouting’s highest rank achievable for boys with disabilities, the BSA offers alternate requirements.

What accommodations does Scouting make for boys with disabilities?

A disabled Scout may request permission to pursue alternate requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks and/or to substitute merit badges for some of those required for the Eagle Scout rank. He may also request permission to work toward the Eagle rank past his 18th birthday.

Which disabilities qualify for accommodations?

Any permanent physical or mental disability that prevents a Scout from completing advancement requirements may qualify. Temporary disabilities, such as a broken leg, do not.

Where are the alternate requirements outlined?

Every case is different, so the BSA has no fixed set of alternate requirements.

Who decides if a Scout qualifies for alternate requirements?

The council advancement committee.

What’s the procedure for pursuing alternate rank requirements?

First, the Scout completes as many standard requirements as possible. Second, the unit submits to the council advancement committee a request detailing which standard requirements the Scout has completed and suggests alternates for those he can’t complete. A statement from a licensed health-care provider must accompany the request, and, in the case of a mental disability, an evaluation statement from a certified educational administrator must be filed, as well.

What about alternate merit badges?

Before the Scout begins pursuing alternate merit badges, the unit should submit an Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges (No. 58-730) and attach a medical statement.

Say a Scout can complete all but one requirement for Swimming merit badge. What should a leader do?

Merit badges must be completed in their entirety. If the Scout can’t complete Hiking or Cycling (the standard alternatives to Swimming), submit an Application for Alternate Eagle Scout Rank Merit Badges. Possible alternates include Archery, Athletics, and Snow Sports.

How should a leader choose alternate merit badges?

Each alternate badge must be equally as demanding as the required badge it replaces. Ideally, the alternate should provide a similar learning experience.

Where can leaders find more information?

Contact the council advancement committee or see “Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures” (No. 33088).


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