Advancement is a basic part of Scouting and is essential to continued participation in the program. It offers increasing challenges and rewards those scouts who meet them.
Fundamentals of Advancement
All steps for rank advancement must be undertaken by the scout. It is his responsibility, with troop and parental encouragement, to start and complete the needed task. The function of the troop leadership and program is to provide the opportunities for him to do this.
The tasks involved consist of participation in troop activities, understanding and consistently exhibiting Scout Spirit, learning and demonstrating certain Scoutcraft skills, successfully providing leadership to his patrol or the troop and contributing time and effort to community service projects.
The requirements for all ranks, and for the critical merit badges, are given in the Boy Scout Handbook. It also provides spaces for keeping track of the approvals received for each requirement. Accordingly, every First Year Scout should bring his Handbook to every meeting and activity.
Any boy who advances in 2016 (who attained their last rank in 2015 or earlier) will use the old requirements for that rank advancement and will proceed to their next rank using the new 2016 requirements. Ex: a boy who made First Class in 2015 who is goes for Star in 2016 would use the old Star requirements. He would then use the new requirements for Life.
The exception to this will be all Trail to First Class scouts will use the old (edition 12) requirements until they reach the rank of First Class.
To be most beneficial to the Scout, advancement should be neither too rapid nor too slow. Although it is possible for a scout to complete all the requirements from Tenderfoot through Eagle rank in two years, the troop leaders believe that the levels of knowledge, leadership and maturity expected for the higher ranks are rarely reached in such a short period of time. The following ages are offered as guidelines:
Tenderfoot 11 years
Second Class 11-12 years
First Class 12-13 years
Star 13-14 years
Life 14-16 years
Eagle 15-17 years
Skills and Activities
After he has mastered a requirement, the scout demonstrates that skill to one of the Assistant Scoutmasters who then initials the appropriate line in the scout’s handbook. Many of the scoutcraft requirements can be completed in the First Year Camper Program at summer camp. Similarly, when the scout has participated in the needed activities for service work, he also takes his handbook to an Assistant Scoutmaster for approval.
Merit Badge Blue Cards
- Decide on a merit badge either from the list in your scout book or MeritBadge.com.
- Request a Blue Card from the Scoutmaster to start the merit badge. Requirements cannot be started on / completed prior to obtaining a Blue Card.
- Scoutmaster will help identify a counselor from the Troop list of MB Counselors.
- When requirements have been completed:
- Have the Counselor Sign the Merit Badge and keep their portion of the Card.
- Have the Scoutmaster sign the completed card.
- Turn in the remainder of the card to the Troop Advancement Chairman.
- Retain the last of the 3 parts of the Blue Card for your records.
Second Class, Star, and Life ranks and several merit badges require the scout to complete various types of service projects.
Community Service Projects
A minimum of six hours of community service work is required for each of the Star and the Life ranks. This work can be done as part of another scout’s Eagle project or troop project for the community or work done for the scout’s religious organization, school, PTA or other community organization. The work must be approved by the Scoutmaster in advance.
The troop regularly performs service work that benefits the overall scout organization, such as conservation projects or cleanup at camps, providing staff for Cub Scout events and so forth. We allow up to three hours of this type of service work to be applied to each of the Star and Life requirements. The remaining service work must benefit the non-scout community.
Special Troop Service Projects
The Star and Life rank requirements include either periods of troop leadership or, if that is not possible, the completion of a special service project benefiting the troop. If a scout needs such a project, he should talk to the Scoutmaster.
Eagle Service Project
The requirements for the rank of Eagle specify that the Life scout must complete a work project of substantial benefit to the community. He must develop the idea (with Scoutmaster approval); submit a detailed plan for Council approval before work is begun; obtain the necessary funds, equipment and manpower; supervise the actual work through completion and present a report on the project.
Presentation – Courts of Honor
Rank advancement is presented to the scout at a troop meeting as soon as possible after he completes the requirements. The troop also holds formal ceremonies recognizing these achievements, called Courts of Honor, three times each year: in January, May and September. Parents are included in the activities for the rank advancements. The Senior Patrol Leader or other junior leader is usually the master of ceremonies at Courts of Honor.
Courts of Honor for the presentation of Eagle rank are usually held separately, depending upon the wishes of the families involved.
Other Achievement Awards
Scouting provides recognition for numerous other areas of achievement that are not part of the advancement program. These include conservation awards, heroism awards, religious awards, the Order of the Arrow and others, as discussed in the Boy Scout Handbook.
Every scout is encouraged to earn the religious award for his faith. These are worked on with and awarded by his religious organization.
Order of the Arrow
This is a national service organization of honor scout campers. Its purpose is to recognize scouts and leaders who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Laws, to promote good camping practices and to crystallize the scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service.
Scout candidates are elected in the spring by all the scouts in the troop, and “tapped out” in a special ceremony at summer camp. To be eligible for election, a scout must be First Class rank, have 15 nights of scout camping (including six nights of long term camping) within the past two years and be approved by the adult leaders. Adult candidates must satisfy the camping requirement above; they are elected by the adult leadership of the troop.