Merit Badge team serves up some reminders about Cooking merit badge

Cooking-EagleAvid readers of this blog have been hearing about changes to Cooking merit badge since October 2012.

But new Scouters or new blog readers might not know about the exciting, important changes to this now-Eagle-required merit badge.

The basic facts are these:

  • Cooking merit badge became required to earn the Eagle Scout Award on Jan. 1, 2014.
  • A revised Cooking merit badge pamphlet and new requirements were released last year. A Scout may use either the old or the new requirements in 2014. Whichever one he chooses will count toward Eagle.
  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, Scouts who have not started working on the Cooking merit badge must use the new requirements and supporting pamphlet.

Here are more details and reminders, courtesy of Frank Ramirez and the Merit Badge Maintenance Team. Continue reading

How many Eagle Scouts earned Eagle palms in 2013?

expertlogo1Not content at the 21 merit badges required for Eagle, some Scouts go beyond and earn additional merit badges, making them eligible to receive Eagle Scout palms.

An Eagle Scout who earns five merit badges beyond the minimum amount (and meets other requirements) will receive a Bronze Palm. He’ll get a Gold Palm for 10 extra merit badges and a Silver Palm for 15. He can wear multiple palms if he gets to 20, 25, 30, etc.

And now, for the first time ever, the BSA’s National Council knows exactly how many Eagle Scout palms were earned in the previous year. Last year was the first year National BSA started tracking the numbers it receives from local councils.

Before I reveal the numbers, a few caveats:

  1. These numbers are from 2013 only, which, as I mentioned above, is the first and only year for which numbers are available.
  2. There is no way to determine whether a palm earned by a Scout was his first, second, or third Bronze palm; first, second, or third Gold palm; or first, second, or third Silver palm. That’s not the way the database is set up.

(By the way: Yes, Bronze, Gold and Silver is the correct order. Read more about why.)

These numbers are courtesy of Michael Lo Vecchio, program assistant in the BSA’s content management team. Without further ado, here’s the grand total of Eagle palms earned in 2013:

Continue reading

Ask the Expert LIVE: Your advancement questions answered in real time


Updated, Nov. 22 | The chat is over, but the transcript remains. See below. And stay tuned for future Ask the Expert: LIVE events!

You’ve got advancement-related questions. He’s got answers.

At 11 a.m. Central Time on Friday, Nov. 22, Chris Hunt, the BSA’s Advancement Team leader, will join us for an hourlong live chat, which you can access at the link below. (That’s noon Eastern, 10 a.m. Mountain and 9 a.m. Pacific.)

I’ll moderate, and Chris will answer your queries live. If you’d like a head start, feel free to comment below with your questions, and I’ll try to incorporate them into the live chat if there’s time.

And if you can’t make the chat, don’t fret. I’ll update this post with a transcript soon after we’re done.

If this Ask the Expert: LIVE experiment succeeds, I’ll find other BSA experts to answer your questions about other topics, including Health and Safety, the Eagle Scout Award and more.


Click Here for the transcript (opens in a new window)

Five big takeaways from today’s release of the 2013 Guide to Advancement

2013-Guide-to-AdvancementHere’s one for your browser’s bookmarks bar: The newest edition of the Boy Scouts of America Guide to Advancement released today.

The PDF version contains answers to pretty much any advancement question that might come up, and it’s essential reading for your unit’s advancement chair and others who like to be kept in the loop on all things advancement.

You’ll want to spend some time with this user-friendly guide. Consider downloading the PDF to your tablet for portable reading. Or print off a copy on recycled paper and keep it handy.

There’s so much inside the guide that it’s pointless for me to go into too much detail here. But I did want to draw your attention to five takeaways I gathered from a first look at the guide: Continue reading