Why are the old versions of Lifesaving and Emergency Preparedness marked as (Retired) while older versions of badges like Cooking are marked as “(before 2014)”? The designation “Retired” makes some people feel that the badge has been eliminated or something. Is there a reason for the difference between the way the these badges are marked?
When a badge has been officially “Retired” by the BSA, we mark it as retired. If it has not, we indicate the differences in dates.
Thanks for asking!
So doing some basic googling I don’t see that either merit badge has been eliminated. Which makes sense to me. Scouting.org shows them both. Plus TroopTrack shows both with an non-retired version.
So based on that, I still don’t understand why these would be handled differently than a badge like cooking. Is it because BSA handled the changes to cooking in a different way than how they handled these two badges?
If boys earned the badge pre-2016, should I just show them with the non-retired version even though they earned it under different rules?
Being retired may have more to do with requirements. We don’t retire anything unless the BSA has retired it.
If a scout has earned a retired version (when it was valid) then it is still valid and you should take no action to change it. If a scout is starting the merit badge for the first time, they should use the latest version.
The Lifesaving MB as not been “retired” by the BSA as in “no longer exists” (like “Bookbinding” which was officially retired in the 1980s). The only thing that changed was that the requirements for this very intense and fantastic MB changed very slightly–far less so than the rank advancement requirements did in 2016. Would you state First Class rank as “retired” for pre-2016 requirements?..or state “pre-2016 requirements?”
To avoid confusion I highly recommend that you change the Troop Track software, under a scout’s achievements summary, to state “pre-2016 requirements” or something like that next to current-but-slightly-changed MBs (such as Lifesaving). As it is your listing of “retired” makes it look like a casual throwaway designation without much thought put into it.