BSA Updates to “Service Project Checklist” and “Safe Project Tool Use”

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

The safety of our Scouts, volunteers, employees, and communities is the top priority for the Boy Scouts of America. BSA revised two forms that should be used for conducting service projects, including Eagle Scout service projects. These two forms were mentioned recently in the Scouting Wire Newsletter. The SAFE Service Project Planning Checklist is intended to help with planning all types of service projects. Although this checklist should be used for planning Eagle Scout service projects, it is not an added requirement.

The SAFE Project Tool Use form is an updated version of the previous “Age Guidelines for Tool Use and Work at Elevations or Excavations” form. It provides age-appropriate guidelines for tool use by Cubs, Scouts BSA, Venturers, and Sea Scouts.

To better understand the BSA’s approach to SAFE Scouting, please review the following links. The first discusses the BSA’s approach to the four points of SAFE Scouting (Supervision, Assessment, Fitness and Skills, and Equipment and Environment) to ensure the safety of all participants when delivering the Scouting program. The second includes some real incidents in Scouting where at least one of the four SAFE Scouting points was not followed, and tragedy ensued.

Finally, if it has been a while since you visited the BSA’s Scouting Safely webpage, please spend a few minutes checking out the wealth of material found there that helps us ALL deliver a Safe Scouting Program.

Request for Extension of Time to Earn Eagle, Summit or Quartermaster Ranks

Revised: Mar 29, 2021

Effective January 1, 2021, local councils have the authority to grant limited extensions of time beyond a Scout’s 18th birthday to complete Eagle, Summit*, or Quartermaster* rank requirements. These extensions are available to youth members who qualify under the three tests recently updated in Guide to Advancement,,, and Forms and to be published in the 2021 Edition of the Guide to Advancement (GTA).

Extension of Time Requests must explain why or how the situation necessitates an extension and provide specific information regarding the circumstance, including dates, individuals or organizations involved, length of the circumstance, and its impact on the Scout’s daily life. Details on rank requirements to be completed should include progress-to-date and estimated completion dates. GTA, Time Extensions, and GTA, Process for Requesting and Reviewing a Time Extension, should be carefully reviewed before filing an Extension Request. Requests with incomplete or missing information will delay consideration of the request.

Council Advancement Committees have been advised that after December 31, 2020, there is no plan to authorize COVID extensions as had been allowed during 2020. However, it is possible that as of January 1, 2021, COVID could still be a circumstance that warrants an extension if it qualifies under the three tests listed in GTA Note that existing COVID extensions granted between October 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, will expire three months after they were granted.

When completed, submit Form and all attachments to the Pacific Skyline Council to the attention of Stephen Smith, Staff Advisor to the Council Advancement Committee Stephanie Schwarz, and PSC Administrative Assistant at the Foster City Service Center. If electronically submitted, documents should be in .pdf format and emailed to Stephen Smith and Stephanie Schwarz. Electronic documents uploaded to other sites/ servers to be subsequently downloaded will not be considered.

The 2021 Edition of the Guide to Advancement (GTA). will be officially published in 2021. Advanced copies of GTA – and their Forms can be found at:

The three tests are laid out in GTA, Time Extensions.

The process for requesting and reviewing a time extension is in GTA, Process for Requesting and Reviewing a Time Extension and uses Form, Request for Extension of Time to Earn the Eagle Scout Rank. Please follow instructions on how to complete the form as incomplete submittals will delay consideration.

If a council denies an extension, An Appeal Process has been established. It is outlined in GTA, Appealing a Time Extension Denial, and Form, Appeal of Extension Request Denial, is used to appeal an extension denial.

The 2021 Guide to Advancement will be published in 2nd Quarter 2021.

* 21st birthday

2021 Scouts BSA Requirement Changes

Update: Feb 9, 2021

Recently, BSA announced changes to First Class (4b) to require demonstrating GPS unit proficiency while on a campout or hike and modified wording on Life rank regarding earning the 3 additional merit badges from the list required for Eagle rank. In addition, the COVID-19 FAQs update on 01/14/2021 continues to allow Second Class (5b) and First Class (6a) swimming requirement to be deferred until each Scout’s next rank, as necessary, through Life rank, but the requirements must be completed by Eagle rank. When conditions warrant, BSA will reinstate these requirements and communicate via BSA sites such as Bryan on Scouting and ScoutingWire with 30 days’ notice. Units will be responsible for tracking deferred requirements. The current release of COVID-19 FAQs can be found here.

Changes to the following Merit Badges also have been made: Archaeology, Collections, Digital Technology, Disability Awareness, Electricity, Electronics, Fish and Wildlife Management, Fishing, Fly-Fishing, Lifesaving, Motorboating, Photography, Public Health, Rowing, Sports, Theater, and Woodwork. Please see this article which identifies the updated requirement number and the revision in the merit badge.

BSA also announced that they will no longer publish the annual Scouts BSA Requirements book with current year rank requirements and merit badge requirements. All Scouts BSA rank and merit badge requirements, including changes, will be listed here.

UPDATE – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Merit Badge Timing

Update: Jan 7, 2021

The BSA announced that the proposed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion merit badge, scheduled to be required for Eagle Rank effective May 1, 2021, is being delayed to allow careful consideration and evaluation of feedback received from a wide variety of commenters on the draft requirements.

Until further notice, all Scouts working on the Eagle Scout rank should continue to use current rank requirements. Once the Eagle-required Diversity, Equity and Inclusion merit badge is introduced, Scouts in the process of earning the rank of Eagle Scout will be given adequate time to earn it. Updates regarding the merit badge will be shared with councils directly and via Scouting Wire.

TEMPORARY Advancement rules for Cubs, Scouts BSA, Venturers, and Sea Scouts

Temporary Advancement Rules for Cubs, Scouts BSA, Venturers, and Sea Scouts can be viewed here.

TEMPORARY Procedure to submit Eagle Scout rank application, statements of ambitions and life purpose, and Eagle Scout Project Workbook

Update: October 10, 2020

During the Shelter-at-Home Order, the following will be our Eagle binder submission procedure.

1) Ensure all Eagle Rank requirements have been completed and your application is completed in full.

2) Submit your Eagle Scout Rank Application, Statements of Ambitions and Life Purpose, list of leadership positions held and honors and awards received, and Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook (including supporting documents and photographs), as separate .pdf files with your last name, first initial and document name as the file name; i.e., Smith J Eagle Application.pdf. Eagle Rank items uploaded to other sites for subsequent download will not be considered.

3) Email all materials to Please copy your District Advancement Chair in the same email, names are listed below. For Stanford District, Eagle materials must be submitted by the 1st day of each month, to be included in that month’s boards of review.

  • Always include a second adult on every email to comply with Youth Protection policies.

4) You will be contacted by your District Eagle Board Chair, contact info below.

Virtual Camping for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class Ranks and Camping Merit Badge

UPDATE: August 30, 2020

BSA has allowed virtual Camping to continue through December 31, 2020. In addition, Camping Merit Badge requirement 9b is temporarily suspended as a requirement to earn this badge. All other requirements must be completed to earn this badge. Upon direction from the National Council, requirement 9b will be reinstated with 30 days’ notice to our Scouting community through national channels.

* * * * * * * *

July 12, 2020

On April 13, 2020, the Boy Scouts of America permitted “virtual camping” for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class Ranks to ensure Scouts could continue their advancement while shelter-in-place restrictions generally prevented troop and patrol activities. The BSA will allow “virtual camping” to be considered as an organized Scout activity until September 1, 2020.

Questions have been asked about counting virtual camping nights towards Camping Merit Badge requirements. The BSA has not provided a definitive statement regarding this issue. However, BSA’s Guide to Advancement (GTA Fulfilling More Than One Requirement With a Single Activity) allows that “When for all practical purposes, two requirements match up exactly and have the same basic intent — for example, camping nights for Second Class and First Class ranks and for the Camping merit badge — it is appropriate and permissible, unless it is stated otherwise in the requirements, to use those matching activities for both the ranks and the merit badge.” *

Can “virtual camping nights” be counted towards the 20-night Camping Merit Badge requirement? The answer is yes, as long as they meet the INTENT of the Camping Merit Badge. Could a Scout earn all 20 camping nights for Camping MB with virtual camping? The answer is no because requirements 8(d), 9(b) and 9(c) must be fulfilled while on a camping trip. The intent of the Camping Merit Badge is to develop a Scout’s camping skills and it allows one long-term camp (up to six nights) plus 14 additional camping nights to fulfill the 20-night requirement. Additionally, if a troop camps two nights a month excluding summer camp, could 4 virtual camping nights in a month count towards the 20 nights? Probably not, as it would not meet a troop’s philosophy on camping.

In the final analysis, it is up to the Camping Merit Badge Counselor and the Scoutmaster to determine which virtual camping nights meet the intent of Camping Merit Badge and would count towards the 20-night requirement**.

*Includes Tenderfoot camping.

**See article below for recording Camping Merit Badge nights.

Got questions on how to approach Advancement during COVID-19?

Lots of other questions answered here (goes to National BSA’s website)

Recording Unit Advancement Data in the BSA National Database

After a Scout has done the hard work to earn her/his next rank or merit badge or other award, it is important to record that achievement in the BSA National database. This can be done in one of two ways: (1) if your unit is using ScoutBook to track advancement, this recording is ‘automatic’ as long as ScoutBook is properly utilized; or (2) the recording can be done using the on-line Internet Advancement 2.0 feature found under the Legacy Tools menu at the website.

If your unit is using the Internet Advancement method, this can only be done by someone assigned the role of “Unit Advancement Chair,” an assignment that is made annually by one of the Unit Key 3 in the “Organization Security Manager.” This role (as are all other roles) must be reassigned each year (even if the same person is fulfilling the role) as the prior year’s assignments are cleared at the time the unit’s recharter is posted.

Detailed instructions for recording unit advancement data through either method can be found at

Camping Merit Badge and Camping Nights

It is important to understand how camping nights apply to completing the 20 camping nights for Camping Merit Badge.

For requirement 9a, a Scout must camp in a tent or under the stars at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities and events, which may include one long-term camp experience of up to six consecutive nights, such as spending a week at Camp Oljato. (By BSA definition, a long-term camping experience consists of five or more consecutive days and nights in the outdoors.) A Scout then must complete an additional 14 nights camping, which can be done with 7 two-night weekend camping trips. If a Scout has attended a long-term camp, he/she cannot receive credit for attending a camp designated as a long-term camp even if attended only for a night or two. If a Scout has received the long-term credit and then participates on a 50-mile pack back trip or canoe trip lasting 5 or more nights, even though each night is spent at a different campsite, the Scout cannot earn credit towards camping nights since by definition the trip is a long-term camping experience. In all camping experiences, it is expected that the Scout is sleeping under the stars or in a tent (or teepee or snow cave) he/she pitched/built or helped pitch/build. If a camp provides tents that are already pitched, then the Scout does not have to pitch a tent.

Questions? Please contact your District Advancement Committee Chair, or email Council Advancement Committee Chair Brian Boggs.

Merit Badge Counselor Lists

As a reminder, the list of approved Merit Badge Counselors is now maintained electronically via ScoutBook in the Pacific Skyline Council.

Updated 6/30/20

In accordance with BSA’s Guide to Advancement, access to web-based Merit Badge Counselor Lists is restricted to Scouts BSA unit leaders and selected unit assistants with merit badge related responsibilities. An important part of the Merit Badge program requires the Scout to discuss his/her interest in earning a merit badge when obtaining a ‘Blue Card’ from the unit leader. The unit leader then recommends a merit badge counselor to the Scout from names on the electronic list. This ensures that the counselor is properly approved, registered, and his/her Youth Protection Training is current. In addition, access to these lists shall be limited as the lists contain personal information about each Merit Badge Counselor. For these reasons, access to web-based Merit Badge Counselor lists is limited to designated individuals in each unit and printed/electronic copies must not be produced or distributed because merit badge counselor privacy cannot be maintained and the lists may not be current as Scoutbook updates can occur at any time.

Advancement is an integral part of a quality program, helping young people make commitments to achieve higher goals while building character in the process.

Internet Advancement 2.0

For those units who are not using Scoutbook, the proper tool to quickly input advancement data is Internet Advancement 2.0 (previously known as Scoutbook Lite). This capability replaced the previous Internet Advancement platform, which was retired on June 10, 2019 (for all programs except Exploring). Internet Advancement 2.0 features a clean user interface and is optimized to whatever device you use: desktop, tablet or smartphone. It can be accessed by persons assigned the role of “Unit Key 3”, “Unit Key 3 Delegate”, and “Unit Advancement Chair”, roles which are assigned through the Organization Security Manager at the web site. These users can access Internet Advancement 2.0 via one of the following links using their login at any of these portals:

The BSA IT team continues to add additional features on a regular basis. Updates and new features will be communicated as they are implemented.


Visit for answers to commonly asked questions

The Advancement System of the Boy Scouts of America is intended to be an EDUCATIONAL PROCESS that will help a youth better understand and be prepared for numerous life circumstances such as religious commitment, civic responsibilities, leadership, career development, social skills, values, personal ethics, etc. The requirements become more detailed and sophisticated as the youth matures. This is the same experience a young person has as he goes through the educational system in school.

There are strict guidelines that BSA has set forth that need to be followed. In normal circumstances, a boy should do what is required, no more, no less. If the topic piques the boy interest, he will on his own do more than what is required.

As adults, it is our obligation not to shortchange a youth’s education or development of skills by allowing shoddy or incomplete work. Please allow a boy to LEARN by requesting that he fulfill all requirements. “All requirements” includes the very important show Scout Spirit which means the boy is living the Scout Oath and Law in his every day life!!

How to Order Advancement Items While Scout Shops are Closed
  • Unit Leader will email in the Advancement report to
  • Please include contact phone number so the Customer Service team member can contact you for payment.
  • Customer Service Rep will contact Unit Leader for credit card information, ship to and bill to address, and verify the correct Council along with the actual advancement needed.
  • Customer Service team will send via FedEx all original reports to the Council’s Registrar once a week.
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