milominderbinder2 wrote:The BSA Advancement Polices #33088 are very clear on this.
"Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time."
True. Very true.
milominderbinder2 wrote:We can't add an age or any other requirement or prerequisite to a merit badge. We can't remove requirements either.
Ah! Now, there's the rub. We
needs to be defined... It is very true that "We"
(individuals, i.e., SM, MBC, UL, etc.) can not
(and should not) prevent any
Scout from earning any
MB due to his age, with one notable exception: a parent. (That last part is not in the 33088; nonetheless, it remains a fact.)
, as in an entity, i.e., the District or Council, can impose age restrictions at Summer Camp or other (District- or Council-level) group events in the interest of risk management
. This frequently involves adopting certain, established BSA guidelines, i.e., BSA's Age-appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities
, or BSA's COPE standards
, as prerequisites for participation in certain "activities"
... even MB classes.
FWIW, I'm a purist of the worst kind. Barring any safety reasons adopted (or recognized) by National (and there are a couple), I say a kid should be able to take (and fail, miserably) any MB he isn't ready for, as long as the MBC doesn't allow that failure to dissuade the Scout from trying again, later. Besides, that's what mamas and daddys, and SMs are for... to guide
that 11-y/o, 67 lb. lad to (maybe) wait a couple of years before trying out that Lifesaving MB, at Summer Camp, esp. considering he might knock a 16-y/o out of his last opportunity to take it. So, I can see where it goes both ways. So, if young lad wants to take the MB, I say, "let him!" And though I prefer to see such decisions made on a case-by-case basis, program directors, e.g, Summer Camp or COPE, should be (and are) allowed some prudence in setting restrictions (age, size, etc., as appropriate) for certain group activities/events, in line with those guidelines/safety standards.