Rank Advancement

The Boy Scouts of America believe that a Scout should receive recognition for his achievements.

Advancement sets a pattern of setting positive goals and reaching them throughout life. Even though it’s not one of the primary aims of Scouting, advancement is a natural byproduct when your Scouting experience is acquainting you with the BSA ideals, the patrol method, the outdoors, association with adults, personal growth, leadership development, and the Scout uniform. It’s easy to advance by following these four basic steps: Learning, Testing, Review, and Recognition.

First, the Scout learns
Much of his learning comes from other boys in his patrol or troop and by active participation in troop program. His patrol activities are directed toward the skills he needs. Every troop hike, camping trip, or other activity offers potential learning experiences. A Scout learns to pitch a tent by pitching one, to use a compass by finding directions, and to cook a meal by having to prepare and eat it.

Second, the Scout is tested
The specific requirements determine the kind of testing. Verbal testing is sufficient in some instances. In other instances, a Scout must demonstrate his skills by doing.

Third, the Scout is reviewed The purpose of the review is to ensure that all requirements for advancement have been met. This includes a check of the Scout’s attitude and practice of the ideals of Scouting, in addition to his Scoutcraft skills. The decision regarding whether a Scout has met the required standards to qualify for rank advancement begins with the troop and, for the Eagle Scout rank, is approved by the district, local council, and finally, the National Council.

Fourth, the Scout is recognized The final step in advancement involves presentation of the badge at a Troop Court of Honor.

Rank Advancement

The requirements for the ranks of Tenderfoot through First Class prepare you to take full advantage of all that Scouting has to offer. Star, Life, and Eagle requirements focus on service to others and developing leadership skills.

Requirements for each rank are outlined in the Boy Scout Handbook. Scout skills cannot be mastered by performing them just once. You will have many opportunities to practice each skill, and you will be thoroughly tested on each requirement before it is “signed off”. In addition, expect to practice each skill repeatedly, even after it has been signed off. As you progress, you will also have opportunities to teach these skills to less experienced Scouts, which will further reinforce your knowledge and skill.

As you complete each requirement, you will be tested and “signed off” in the back section of your handbook by the Scoutmaster or by someone he designates. In Boy Scouts – troop leaders, rather than parents, sign off advancement requirements.

It’s up to you to take advantage of the advancement opportunities available to you, and to take initiative to ask for someone to test you when you are ready. You are responsible for keeping your own personal advancement record updated in your handbook. You should also record your service hours, campouts, troop activities, and leadership positions in your handbook.

You must earn the ranks in order, but you may complete any requirement for Tenderfoot through First Class at any time. (For example, you may complete a First Class requirement before finishing your Tenderfoot requirements, but you must earn Tenderfoot rank before you are awarded Second Class and First Class ranks.)

Scoutmaster Conference
The Scoutmaster conference is used to discuss your goals and accomplishments and is required for each rank advancement. You do not have to wait until you have completed the requirements for a rank in order to ask for a Scoutmaster conference. You may talk with the Scoutmaster at any time that is convenient to both of you. However, for a Scoutmaster conference to count toward rank advancement it must take place after all other requirements are complete and before the Board of Review. At this required conference the Scoutmaster will also help you determine whether or not you are ready to go before the Board of Review.

Board of Review
After the Scoutmaster conference, you should arrange for your Board of Review. The purpose of the Board of Review is not to retest you but rather to ensure that you have completed all of the requirements, to determine the quality of your troop experience, and to encourage you to advance toward the next rank. Board of Review is generally conducted on the third Thursday of the month for any Scout who is eligible for advancement. The Board consists of three adult leaders from the Troop.

You need to have your Boy Scout Handbook and should be in your full class A uniform when you appear before a Board of Review. At the beginning of the review, Advancement Chairman will bring you into the room, introduce you to the board, and invite you to be seated. During the review the board will discuss your development along your trail to Eagle, ask you questions about skills that were required for your particular rank, and evaluate you in terms of troop activities and readiness for the next rank. It is also a time for you to ask any questions you might have and to give feedback to the troop committee about activities and your Scouting experience in your troop and in your patrol. At the end of the review you will be asked to leave the room while the board discusses your qualifications. The board will then call you back into the room and inform you either that you have been approved for the next rank or what additional actions you must take to qualify.

Court of Honor
After passing the Board of Review, you will be formally recognized for your rank advancements and merit badges in front of family and friends during a Troop Court of Honor ceremony.