Merit Badge Requirements & A Word on Disability
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU)
Mon, 19 Sep 1994 00:33:56 -0400
Your intuition is right. The Official BSA line is found in Merit Badge
Counseling, Booklet No. 6517, which states, "The Scout is expected to meet
the requirements as stated--no more and no less. Furthermore, he is to do
exactly what is stated. . . ."
Now, I've been signing those little blue cards, since sometime around 1969
and I've almost always found a little room for interpretation, unless the
requirement was extremely specific. I know that I've been reluctant to
sign when a Scout was only putting forth minimal effort and could do much
better. In such cases I've encouraged the Scout to see this as a growth
opportunity where he could get something out of it besides a mere badge.
In a few instances, where a Scout was going all out, I know that I've
interpreted just what would suffice as a "demonstration" or how to show
Since my early days, I've also learned that BSA has an Alternative Eagle
Program for Scouts with disabilities. Under certain circumstances, when a
mental or physical handicap (health care professional certified permanent
disability) prevents a Scout from completing required Eagle Merit Badges,
others may be substituted and an Alternative Eagle Application No.
58-730 submitted with the standard Eagle Application No. 58-728.
In addition, time limits may be waived. However, even here BSA stands
firm that the requirements must be met as set out. Sometimes this means
that reasonable accomodation is dictated in how a report is written (using
special devices) or ideas are communicated (agains special devices for
those incapable of oral expression).
For those of you who are interested, Scouting has the following
Scouting and the Learning Disabled: A Manual for Scouting Leaders
Scouting for the Physically Disabled
Scouting for the Hearing Impaired
Scouting for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Scouting for the Mentally Retarded
Yours in Scouting, Michael F. Bowman, a/k/a Professor Beaver
Deputy District Commissioner Exploring, GW Dist., NCAC, BSA
Speaking only for myself, but with Scouting Spirit . . .
____ mfbowman@CAP.GWU.EDU ____
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City