What is advancement, and what role does it play in Scouting?
Education and fun are functions of the Scouting movement—as is the growth of our youth members—and make up the basis of the advancement program. As the Scout meets certain requirements, he may advance in rank. The Scouting program is designed to help young people have an exciting and meaningful experience. A quality Scouting program strives for the following:
- Every young person achieves personal growth.
- Each individual learns by doing.
- Youth members progress at their own rate.
- All young people receive recognition for their individual accomplishments.
- Youth participants are encouraged to embrace Scouting ideals.
How is Scout spirit defined and determined?
Scout spirit applies to how a Scout lives and conducts his daily life. He shows Scout spirit by being a role model to his peers, living by the Scout Oath and Law. The concept of Scout spirit is not based on how many Scouting events or outings a Scout attends, but rather by how he helps bring out the best in others as a reflection of his own character and attitude in his daily life.
Boy Scout Advancement
Scout Badge – All Scouts when joining a troop must pass the joining requirements listed on page 4 of the Scout Handbook for the Scout Badge. Scouts who have just crossed over will recognize these requirements – they are very similar to the requirements for the Arrow of Light.
Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class. The first set of ranks - Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class - is designed to teach the camping, first aid, and safety skills needed to go camping to new Scouts. Some Scouts can do all of the requirements in less than a year, some will take longer. All Scouts go through the same advancement program no matter how old they are or when then join.
You may pass any of the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class at any time. For example, if you fulfill a First Class requirement before you are a Second Class Scout, you may check off the First Class requirement as completed. You may not receive a rank, however, until you have earned the one before it.
Scoutmaster Conference – One requirement that Boy Scouts have for rank advancement is that whenever you complete the requirements for a rank you need to have a Scoutmaster Conference. At this meeting the Scoutmaster will review the requirements with you to make sure that they have been learned correctly, he will help you to set up the goals for the next advancement, and he will have you share your ideas about the troop (how its going from your viewpoint, what you would like the troop to do more of, problems you see occurring…)
Board of Review – All rank advancements, except for the Scout badge, require a Board of Review. The members of a Board of Review are adult leaders in the troop except for the Scoutmaster or any of his Assistant Scoutmasters. The main purpose of the Board of Review is not to retest the skills a Scout has learned, but to see what the Scout’s spirit is and how the troop is doing is helping the Scout along and meeting Boy Scout objectives.
Court of Honor – When you complete a rank advancement you will usually be given the badge at the next troop meeting. Two times a year, the troop will hold a special meeting called a Court of Honor. This is a formal ceremony to recognize you and your fellow Scouts for rank advancement and other Scouting achievements. This event is held with an audience of family, friends, chartered organization officials, and troop leaders. The one in the spring is the Ice Cream Social and the fall one is the Tureen Dinner.
The Path to Eagle – Once a Scout has reached First Class and learned the basic skills of Scouting, he is ready for the challenge of becoming an Eagle Scout. The Path to Eagle has three ranks, Star Scout, Life Scout, and Eagle Scout. Here the requirements for advancement consist of earning merit badges, doing service projects to help the community, showing that you can lead other Scouts as a patrol leader or some other leadership position, and demonstrating to others that you have Scout spirit.
Merit Badges – A merit badge is an invitation to explore an exciting subject. With more than a hundred to choose from, some merit badges encourage you to increase your skill in subjects you already like, while others challenge you to learn about new areas of knowledge. Many of the merit badges are designed to help you increase your ability to be of service to others, to take part in outdoor adventures, to better understand the environment, and to play a valuable role in your family and community. Earning a merit badge can even lead you toward a lifelong hobby or set you on the way to a rewarding career. You can visit the website at USscout.org.and check out their merit badge information.
Other Awards –There are two other Scout awards that are usually of interest to new Scouts: The Totin’ Chip and the Firem'n Chit.
When a Scout demonstrates that he knows how to handle wood tools (knife, axe, saw) he may be granted totin’ rights. Until a Scout has earned his Totin’ Chit he is not allowed to carry a pocketknife. If a scout is found handling wood tools incorrectly, a corner of the Totin’ Chip card is often cut off. When all four corners are gone, so are the Scout’s totin’ rights. The Scout will need to re-earn the totin chip.
The owner of a Firem'n Chit has demonstrated knowledge of safety rules in building, maintaining, and putting out camp and cooking fires. Until a Scout has earned his Firem'n Chit, he is not allowed to carry matches.
One requirement that Boy Scouts have for rank advancement is that whenever you complete the requirements for a rank you need to have a Scoutmaster Conference. At this meeting the Scoutmaster will review the requirements with you to make sure that they have been learned correctly, he will help you to set up the goals for the next advancement, and he will have you share your ideas about the troop (how its going from your viewpoint, what you would like the troop to do more of, problems you see occurring…)
Scout's Guide to a Board of Review (BoR)
In order to advance along the ranks in Boy Scouts, each scout must participate in a Board of Review. This is a meeting with three members of the Troop Committee. For lower ranks, if there are not enough committee members available, troop parents can help out.
A scout should come to his Board of Review in full uniform, with his neckerchief and merit badge sash (for Star and Life), looking sharp. He should have his book with him. The review is NOT a test - the board will ask about the scout's experiences in the troop. It is basically a two way conversation, a time for the adults to get to know the scout, and for the scout to connect with some adults who are interested in him.
So, bring your book, dress well, and come ready to share your experiences and your opinions.