By Darryl Alder
Jan 20, 2016

FAQs on Using the New Boy Scout Requirements

Q: Should troops anticipate a major shift in unit programming for 2016?
Our Troop's Advancement BoardThe short answer is no. The Boy Scout rank requirements are being phased in during the year. For example, boys registered in a troop, team, crew, or ship on or prior to Dec. 31, 2015, may choose to switch to new requirements on Jan. 1, 2016. For those who choose not to switch right away, here are the new rules:

  • Boys registered in a troop on or before Dec. 31, 2015, who are working on Tenderfoot through First Class ranks, may continue to use the old requirements through 2016, but they must convert to the new requirements upon attaining the First Class rank. As long as they have started on Tenderfoot requirements, they do not have to “go back” and earn the Scout joining badge or the Scout rank.
  • Boys registered in a troop, team, crew, or ship on or before Dec. 31, 2015, who have completed the First Class rank may complete the rank they are currently working on with the old requirements through 2016, but then must convert to the new requirements for subsequent ranks.
  • Any boy registering in a troop for the first time on or after Jan. 1, 2016, must use the new requirements, beginning with Scout rank.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, new requirements must be used for all ranks earned.

Q: Does that mean that a troop might be juggling two rank requirement programs at the same time for 2016?
Yes, but the changes are very manageable. Most of the new rank requirements are the same or similar to the old ones, just organized in a different manner. So if a youth has been signed-off for a requirement that is now part of a different rank, those sign-offs are still valid unless a new element has been added to the requirement. Since Scout through First Class ranks are worked on simultaneously, changes to troop programming will be minimal, primarily to address only the brand new requirements. There is a side-by-side comparison of the old and new rank requirements at

Q: What are some of the new requirements that might affect troop programming?

  • The camping requirement has doubled for First Class. Previously, three overnight camping trips were required, but six overnight trips will now be required for First Class rank advancement.
  • Tenderfoot fitness requirements have been revised, including a one-mile rather than ¼-mile walk/run.
  • Service hours are required at each rank except Scout. Half of the service hours at Life must be conservation relation
  • GPS navigation is included at First Class in addition to map and compass.

The old rank requirements will be phased out entirely on Dec. 31, 2016. Thus, Jan. 1, 2017 ends the transition, and on that date, all Boy Scouts will be working under the new requirements.

New Boy Scout HandbookQ: Do I need to purchase the 13th Edition, Boy Scout Handbook?
The new 13th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook was released in January. Content supports the new Boy Scout requirements for 2016, including those in the areas of camping, cooking, fitness, outdoor ethics, first aid, citizenship, service, and duty to God (See for a list of 2016 rank requirements as they appear in the new handbook.

A new Boy Scout Handbook, …is not immediately needed for Scouts who will continue to work on their current rank under the old requirements. An insert of new requirements is available for use with the current Boy Scout Handbook when boys begin working under the new requirements. See to download a copy.

Advancement news
Author: Boy Scouts of America | Advancement News

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