Interpretation of rank advancement requirements is often an entertaining endeavor. We interpret every word we read. Right now, you are reading and interpreting these words. I was reminded of something this weekend about the Star, Life, and Eagle merit badge requirements. Our council's interpretation of the requirements is what drives our unit's implementation of those requirements.
Requirement #3 for Star Scout is currently: "Earn six merit badges, including any four from the required list for Eagle. (See the Eagle Rank Requirements, number 3, for this list.) A Scout may choose any of the 15 required merit badges in the 12 categories to fulfill this requirement."
Any fairly knowledgable BSA adult volunteer or scout knows the list of Eagle required merit badges:
- First Aid
- Citizenship in the Community
- Citizenship in the Nation
- Citizenship in the World
- Personal Fitness
- Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving
- Environmental Science
- Personal Management
- Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling
- Family Life
We know that an Eagle scout must have one merit badge from each of the 12 categories. But, a Star scout only needs "any four
from the required list". That means if a First Class scout completes Swimming, Hiking, Cycling, First Aid, Art, Archery, and Astronomy, he has completed the required merit badges. This is true, even though he only did merit badges from 2 of the 12 categories.
A Life scout needs to complete 5 more merit badges, including any
3 from the Eagle list. So, adding Emergency Preparedness, Lifesaving, Camping, Athletics, and Aviation fulfills the requirement. The scout has done merit badges from only 4 of the 12 categories, but that's ok for Life rank.
When it comes time to reach Eagle, those Hiking, Cycling, and Lifesaving merit badges get counted as "electives" and the other 8 Eagle-required merit badges need to be earned. It all works out in the end.
Interpreting this requirement correctly may help some of your scouts realize they've met the requirements for rank sooner than they expected. If you have a scout plodding along with one more eagle-required merit badge for Star when he's already done Swimming AND Cycling, let him know he may have already fulfilled the requirement.