Effective January 1, 2010
When there is a conflict between two published lists of requirements, such as Boy Scout Requirements (BSA Publication No. 34765) and a Merit Badge Pamphlet or the Boy Scout Handbook, the requirements book should be considered to be the controlling document, until a newer edition of Boy Scout Requirements is issued.
A new edition of Boy Scout Requirements (34765) was released in mid January, 2010, and new pamphlets were issued in 2009 for 9 merit badges, including the new Scuba Diving merit badge. The new Boy Scout Requirements booklet has revised requirements for all of the ranks (including a correction to one of the requirements listed in the new Boy Scout Handbook for one item for Eagle Scout), major revisions to 5 merit badges, minor changes to 12 merit badges, and the requirements for the new merit badge. In addition, the book now includes a specific definition of "ACTIVE" that clarifies some of the information previously published in other locations.
A new 12th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook (34622) was issued in the summer of 2009. That book contains new requirements for each rank listed below, which did not officially take effect until January 1, 2010. Scouts working toward ranks in 2009 could use the new requirements, or could continue to use the old requirements, at their option. If a Scout started work toward a rank before January 1, 2010, using the requirements that were current before January 1, 2010, he may complete THAT RANK ONLY using the old requirements. Any progress toward a rank that is begun after January 1, 2010, must use the requirements as they are presented in the Boy Scout Handbook (34622) or in the 2010 Boy Scout Requirements book (34765). The fact that a Scout can work on the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class simultaneously does NOT mean that he is "working toward all three ranks". He can NOT use the old requirements for all three. Similarly, if a Scout has multiple merit badges, he is NOT "working toward Star, Life, and Eagle". He may only use the old requirements for the NEXT rank he completes.
Scouts starting work on any of these badges at this point must use the new requirements.
BSA issued new editions of ALL of the merit badge pamphlets on August 1, 2008. The primary change to most of the pamphlets was the introduction of color photographs and diagrams, and new covers. The actual text and requirements, in most cases did not change from the previous editions. In some cases, however, the new editions do contain new information, and new requirements. If the copyright date in the new pamphlet is not 2008 or later, the text in the pamphlet, including the requirements, did not change, only the cover and illustrations. In addition, two of the old pamphlets, for the Architecture and Landscape Architecture Merit Badges were combined into a single pamphlet, although the Merit Badges remain separate and distinct from each other. Also, one Merit Badge, Auto Mechanics, was renamed to Automotive Maintenance, (and the emblem on the badge was changed). Although a new edition of the Lifesaving merit badge pamphlet was issued, the requirements did not change. However, the footnote relative to alternative requirements for the Second Class and First Class rank swimming requirements was deleted.
A NEW merit badge, for Scuba Diving, was released and made available to Scouts as of December 1, 2009. In addition, BSA has announced that four other new merit badges will be released later in 2010. These will include Inventing in the first quarter, Scouting Heritage and Geocaching in the 2nd quarter, and Robotics in the fourth quarter. We'll add those as soon as they are released.
BSA had also announced a special program in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the BSA, toincludes the reintroduction, for ONE YEAR ONLY, of four Historical Merit Badges - Carpentry, Pathfinding, Signaling, and Tracking. However, that program has been placed on HOLD.