When it’s OK to complete two advancement requirements with one activity

Double Dipping: Two requirements, one activity? Here’s when that’s OK.

To earn the Eagle Scout Award, a Boy Scout must complete dozens of requirements over a period of several years. Not surprisingly, many of those requirements cover similar topics, such as camping and first aid, which raises questions about when and whether to let one activity satisfy more than one requirement.

Is it permissible to give dual credit for a single activity?

Yes, if the two requirements match up exactly and have the same basic intent. A good example involves First Class requirement 1a (“participate in 10 separate troop/patrol activities”) and Camping merit badge requirement 9a (“camp a total of at least 20 nights”). Nights spent on troop campouts might count toward both requirements, so long as other parts of each requirement are met. (For example, noncamping activities can count for up to four of the First Class activities, but not for the merit badge activities.)

What about the first-aid requirements in most merit badges?

A merit-badge counselor doesn’t need to reteach the basics of first aid. However, he or she should be satisfied that the Scout remembers what he learned from previous experience. Also keep in mind that the requirements are rarely identical. For example, requirement 1b of the Water Sports merit badge focuses on hazards like hypothermia, sunburn and concussions, while requirement 1b of Welding talks about risks like electric shock, eye injuries and exposure to hazardous chemicals.

Can a single city council meeting count for both the Citizenship in the Community and the Communication merit badges?

It can, but remember that the Scout must do more than simply attend the meeting. For Communication, he is asked to practice active listening skills during the meeting and present an objective report that includes all points of view. For Citizenship in the Community, he is asked to examine differences in opinions and then to defend one side.

What about service hours?

In some cases, the requirements are clear. For example, Life requirement 4 clearly states a Scout must complete at least three hours of conservation-related service while a Star Scout (out of a total of six hours). There’s no prohibition on applying those same hours to requirement 7 of the Soil and Water Conservation merit badge.

How does dual credit work when a Boy Scout is also a Venturer?

With the exception of the Eagle, Quartermaster and Summit Award service projects, any work done while a Venturer or Sea Scout can count toward both Boy Scout and Venturing or Sea Scout advancement at the same time. The Eagle, Quartermaster and Summit Award projects must be separate and distinct from one another.

Can two Boy Scouts get credit for planning and leading a single Eagle Scout service project?

No. Eagle Scout service projects are individual matters, and no more than one candidate may receive credit for working on the same project. With that said, two Scouts could complete complementary projects benefiting a single beneficiary. Also, Scouts who participate in but don’t lead an Eagle project can count their service hours toward other ranks.

For more on this topic, see section of the Guide to Advancement.


  1. So is it OK for a scout to use service hours from an OA weekend ie. Ordeal weekwnd, and use those same hours to satisfy rank advancement service hours or conservation service hours depending on want the scout participated in during his ordeal weekend?

    • I don’t see why not. You can check with your council to make sure, but I would approve it if it were up to me. I never participated in OA as a boy, but it’s my understanding that participation in OA is optional. I would think that if the project meets the same criteria as service hours towards a rank advancement that it would be fine.

    • We have been discussing this. The problem is the Ordeal weekend was an initiation, not a planned service project by the scout. Should they count one project for OA ordeal, Life Rank req, and Camping MB conservation project req?

    • Ultimately it is up to the person approving the requirement….ie the Scoutmaster or the Merit Badge Counselor.

  2. In the case of giving dual credit specifically with campouts,isn’t part of the purpose of going on the trips to gain experience so as to be a better leader? By letting them use the same trip for multiple ranks requirements isn’t that reducing their experience level? It seems like a short cut.
    I don’t know if I would want a SPL leading my new scout when he has only really been on half if the required trips to earn his rank.

  3. The question of double-dipping is answered in Guide to Advancement “Counting service hours for school or elsewhere
    in the community and also for advancement is not considered double counting since the hours are counted only once for advancement purposes.” (page 28). It is NOT up to the person approving the requirement, who is making sure that the service project satisfies the duration and intention (e.g., Life Rank #4 “While a Star Scout, participate in six hours of service through one or more service projects approved by your Scoutmaster. At least three hours of this service must be conservation-related.” If a service project satisfies these criteria, the Scoutmaster should accept them– otherwise, s/he is adding to the requirement, which is specifically prohibited. “No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited exceptions relating only to members with special needs” (page 2).

  4. So, can Eagle project hours (conservation project, of course) be counted towards the 25 conservation hours needed for the National Outdoor Achievement Award for Conservation?

  5. So my question is, wouldn’t the three months of tracking in the Personal Fitness merit badge count for the rank requirements of Tenderfoot (6a – 6c), Second Class (7a, 7b), and First Class (8a – 8b)? Similar question with the Cooking, Fist Aid, and Emergency Preparedness merit badge requirements with Rank requirements for various ranks? They all want you to learn and know the same skills and have the same intent.

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