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Scoutmaster Conference – Adding Requirements

A reader sent in this question:

I am wondering where to find information or guidelines on Scoutmaster Conferences. My sons current Scoutmaster will not let him advance The Scoutmaster says that during a review he can ask anything from Scout to Star or anything from any merit badge he has earned, has to erect a tent and sleep in it, can have no wrinkles in any tarps, not lose scouts paperwork or patches, plus several other things My son is discouraged and is talking about quitting My son is a Star scout wanting to rank to Life.

Thanks for the question. I find this unfortunate, but it probably happens more often than I think.  A Scoutmaster cannot add or take away from the requirements for a rank. There is nothing in the requirements for Life which mention paperwork or erecting a tent or wrinkles in tarps.

But what I find even more disheartening is that it sounds like the relationship between the Scoutmaster and Scout is not one of a mentor and a youth. I agree that it is good to push a youth to be the best person he or she can be, but I also think that adult leaders have to be helping the youth. We should want them to succeed and offer every opportunity. We should not be erecting roadblocks.

If this is a problem with a personality conflict between just your son and the Scoutmaster, it might be time to find a different troop. If this is his attitude with all of the Scouts, maybe it could be discussed by the committee. You could also talk to your district advancement chair or your local council. But if the relationship between your son and the Scoutmaster become strained, then the program will not be what it should for him.

Readers, what do you think? Add your comments below.


One response to “Scoutmaster Conference – Adding Requirements”

  1. Dustin Tarditi Avatar
    Dustin Tarditi

    As a Scoutmaster this sort of thing bugs me to no end… nobody can add/edit/alter requirements outside of the guide to advancement. That said, too many times I’ve heard of tasks being performed on demand “but it’s not a retest” or “to demonstrate scout spirit”
    Look, if you have to split hairs about it you’re probably not truly serving the scouts. This is not the military where you drill the candidates until they perform lock-step. This isn’t Boot Camp and it’s not RANGER school. Quit taking everything so seriously or you’ll end up with zero scouts.
    You can ask a scout when they would use (or have used) a skill or what they would do in a particular circumstance, but you CANNOT retest. If a scout tested and passed, they can, technically, never have to perform that particular requirement again for that rank/badge.

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