Advancement Committee

Chairman: Steve Fisher

updated 10/07/2016

Footnote to Scouts:  As a reminder, BSA Social Media Guidelines require that you copy at least one other adult in your emails, so openly “copy” your parent and Scoutmaster on all emails you send to Scout Leaders and other adults.

The Onondaga District Advancement Committee meets at the DeWitt Community Church, Erie Boulevard East across from the entrance to Shoppingtown in DeWitt. These sessions are usually conducted in the Church Library beginning at 7:00 PM normally on the 3rd Thursday of each month, except in July and August.

The Advancement Committee schedule for the 2016 – 2017 is as follows:

2016: September 15, October 20, November, 17, December 15
2017: January 19, February 16, March 16, April 20, May 18 and June 15

Additional sessions may be held as required to meet the needs of our District Scouts.

The District Advancement Committee conducts Eagle Boards of Review, Eagle Project Reviews, and administrates the District’s Merit Badge Counselor approval process.

Policies and Procedures of the Advancement Committee are issued by the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America and can be obtained from the BSA National Website by clicking on this link:

This guidebook covers all aspects of the Advancement Process from Cub Scouts through to Venturing and should be used by all units.

Attention:  New Eagle Applications – Reference Letter Policy

To create a measure of consistency throughout the Council,  a new procedure is being implemented effective immediately, in accordance with the 2013 “Guide to Advancement”.  To view the  new reference letter policy from the Longhouse Council please click here.

New Merit Badge Requirements for Eagle

 Cooking Merit Badge will be required for all Scouts who have not completed all Eagle requirements (except those who only have left the Board of Review), beginning Jan. 1, 2014.  In addition, Sustainability Merit Badge is now a “Required-for-Eagle Option” to Environmental Science.  The new Eagle Application shall be used, as appropriate.

Eagle Application and Projects

As of January 2011: Attention Life Scouts and Unit Leaders:

A new Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook has been issued by National. All prospective Eagle Service Projects must use this version of the Workbook. The format is significantly different from the previous Workbook, which has been in use for many years, and should make the project execution easier.

A “PDF fillable” version of this document is now available,as is the new Eagle Scout Rank Application. You will find them both at the following links:”

The Eagle Scout Application:

The Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook: 

All projects must be approved by the District Committee prior to starting the actual work.

The project review, as conducted by the District Advancement Committee, is a process to determine if the project is “Eagle” caliber and if the candidate has an understanding of what he is undertaking and what steps are required for implementation.

Much emphasis is placed on the fact that the role of the Eagle Candidate is to Plan the work, Organize the personnel needed, and Direct the project to its completion. His job is to give instructions, provide guidance and encouragement, assure the work is conducted safely, adjust schedules and requirements, and document the whole process.

Documentation means maintaining detailed records of activities, manpower and expenses, plus a photographic record that will be used in his Project Write-up. There is no specific time (man-hour) requirement. However, the amount of time spent carrying out the project must be sufficient for the Eagle Candidate to clearly demonstrate his Leadership skills.

Eagle Board of Review

The Board of Review for an Eagle Candidate is composed of at least three but not more than six members of the District Advancement Committee. One member serves as chairman. The candidate’s unit leader may remain in the room, but does not participate in the Board of Review. In no case should a relative or guardian of the candidate attend the review, even as a unit leader.

There are no set questions that an Eagle candidate is asked. However, the Board must be assured of the candidate’s participation in all aspects of the Scouting program. This is the highest award that a boy may achieve and, consequently, a thorough discussion of his experiences and successes in Scouting should be considered. The decision of the Board of Review must be unanimous.I f the candidate does not meet the requirements, he is told the reasons for his failure to qualify and asked to return at a later date.

Life to Eagle Seminar

Periodically the District Advancement Committee conducts a Life to Eagle Seminar.

The next Life to Eagle Seminar will be announced through all of our media as it becomes scheduled. Life Scouts should attend this informative session with their Eagle Scout advisor to learn what is expected to become an Eagle Scout.

Merit Badge Counselor Program

There are three things you must do to become a Merit Badge Counselor:

1. Submit a Merit Badge Counselor Information Sheet. This form is available at the Scout Office or on the Council Web Site.

2. Submit an Adult Application. This Application is required even if you are currently registered as an Adult Scouter. It is available on the Web at:

3. Complete the Youth Protection Training and submit the certificate of
completion along with the other documents. The training is available on-line at:

Submit these documents to the Longhouse Council, 2803 Brewerton Road, Syracuse, NY 13211

If you are already an approved Merit Badge Counselor and are in the approved counselor database, then the only form that is required is the Merit Badge Counselor Information sheet. If you are not in the approved counselor data base, your request to be a Merit Badge Counselor will be returned with a letter explaining the registration requirements and an adult application for you to complete. If you have a question on your status as a merit badge counselor please contact:

Rob Fredricks

Requirements for each Merit Badge are available at the Scout Office or on the Web at:

This site has Merit Badge work sheets, links for background and research, and guidelines for merit badge counselors.

Merit Badge Counseling guidelines and requirements are available
at the Scout Office, or on the Web at:

Important Information for Merit Badge Counselors:

Never meet alone with a Scout. Have at least one other person present (either another Scout or another adult) with each Scout at all
instructional sessions.

Follow the requirements of the merit badge, making no deletions or additions (no more / no less), ensuring that the advancement standards are fair and uniform for all Scouts.

The Scout is to do exactly what is stated. If it says “show or demonstrate,” that is what he must do. Just telling about it isn’t enough. The same thing holds true for such words as “make,” “list,” “in the field,” and “collect, identify, and label.”

Talk with the Scout rather than examine him. There is a big difference, yet you can find out what the boy knows. Express honest enthusiasm for the things he has done, particularly if projects are involved. Your approval will give confidence to the Scout.

The skills of a subject can be taught to several Scouts at one time. This
has a time advantage for you. However, the completing of the requirements
 always must be done on an individual basis.