The Boy Scout Advancement Program is a system of accomplishments and rewards. When a specific number of accomplishments have been completed, the Scout advances in rank. The Troop recognizes the accomplishments at the Court of Honor. The specific requirements, along with the detailed information on achieving the rewards, are all contained in the Scout Handbook. It is recommended that parents review the requirements for each rank so they will be familiar with their Scout’s objectives.
In general the Scout:
Completes the requirements listed in the Scout Handbook
Demonstrates Scout Spirit by his participation in the Troop
and Patrol, his conduct, and wearing the uniform
Completes a Scoutmaster Conference
Completes a Board of Review
To the extent possible, Troop meetings and outings will be geared toward Scout rank requirements and Merit Badges (MB). However, a Scout cannot and should not, plan on meeting all the requirements simply by attending meetings and outings. Parents can help their Scouts by being familiar with the requirements, offering encouragement and suggesting resources.
Advancement from Scout, to Tenderfoot, to Second Class, and to First Class in the first year is very desirable. This goal takes much parent encouragement, and usually provides a Scout with a strong desire to continue toward Eagle.
There are four steps in the Scout advancement procedure:
The Boy Scout learns. A Scout learns by independent participation with other scouts, reading the Scout Handbook, instruction at meetings, campouts, and summer camp, practicing skills (knots, first aid). Scouts can study and practice with parents. As he learns, he grows in ability to do his part as a member of the Patrol and the Troop. As he develops knowledge and skill and earns the First Class rank, he is asked to teach others; and in this way he begins to develop leadership.
The Boy Scout is tested. Once he feels comfortable that he has the knowledge and skill(s) needed for a requirement, a Scout must demonstrate his ability, independent of his peers and parents. The Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, a Troop Parent Committee member, designated leaders, or any combination thereof, may test a Scout on rank requirements. With regard to Merit Badges (MB), the Scout's Merit Badge Counselor (MBC) objectively teaches and tests on the requirements for MBs, much like a teacher does in school. The tests can be in the form of demonstration, tests, reports, or combination.
The Boy Scout is reviewed. After a Scout has completed all requirements for a rank, he has a board of review. For Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle Palms, members of the Troop Parent Committee conduct the review. For Eagle, the Scout appears before a Troop Eagle Board of Review and a District Board of Review. All reviews are conducted in accordance with local council procedures.
The Boy Scout is recognized. When the board of review has certified a boy's advancement, he deserves to receive recognition as soon as possible.
When a Scout has completed all of the requirements for a rank, the Scout must schedule a Scoutmaster conference with the Scoutmaster, and a Board of Review by contacting the Troop Advancements Chair. The Board of Review normally consists of three adults from the Troop who will ask the Scout a series of questions regarding their current rank, Scouting, and their plans for the future. Boards of Review are both an opportunity for the Scout to practice composure and public speaking in eventual preparation for their Eagle Scout Board of Review (with adults from throughout the Council), and a chance for parents in the Troop to assess how well the Boy Scout Program is being administered by adult and youth leadership as well as encouraging Scouts to progress further in rank.
The Troop offers help for advancements through:
TTFC campouts—Troop 59 holds two Trail to First Class weekends a year. These weekends concentrate on helping younger Scouts meet the requirements needed to advance to First Class. After achieving First Class, Scouts are expected to attend TTFC campouts to pass on their knowledge and skills to others.
Troop parents serving as Assistant Scoutmasters and Merit Badge Counselors.
Troop Meetings and events, where the Scout Skills requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class are often covered. The first Wednesday meeting of every month is Advancement Night.
Summer Camp—Scouts can often earn 3-4 merit badges during the week of camp.
Tracking each boy’s progress and reminders in advance of each Court of Honor.
Troop 59 offers many opportunities for Scouts to advance and participate in Merit Badge courses. Encourage your Scout to sign up for as many as he can.
The Boy Scout Merit Badge program allows Scouts to learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers. There are more than 100 merit badges - any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time. You don't need to have had rank advancement to be eligible. As you progress in rank, Merit Badges become important requirements for advancement.
Merit Badges can be earned several ways:
Boys attending Summer Camp usually earn 3 - 5 Merit Badges during the week.
Scouts can attend the annual Advance Camp to work or complete pre-arranged Merit Badges.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a boy can take the initiative to contact a Merit Badge counselor who is qualified for a Badge he is interested in.
Before starting a Merit Badge, the boy must contact the Scoutmaster to get a “blue card”. When the Scout has completed the Merit Badge, the counselor will sign the blue card and the Scout will return it to the Scoutmaster. One part of the card is retained by the counselor, one by the Troop, and the third by the Scout. Merit badges are awarded twice a year at the Court of Honor ceremony. When the boy is awarded the Merit Badge, that portion of the blue card belonging to the Scout will be returned.
Important Note: You must save the blue card—it will be required as proof of the merit badge to earn the Eagle rank. A ring binder with plastic inserts or a card protector is a great idea to help you and your Scout keep track of the blue cards.
Before starting a Merit Badge, it’s a good idea to review the requirements—these can either be found in the Boy Scout Requirements book (available at the Scout Store or check with the Troop Librarian) or online at www.meritbadge.org. Rank requirements are also available online at the same website. Once the requirements have been reviewed, a Scout should look through the BSA Merit Badge book for the badge in question and print out a copy of the workbook for the merit badge. Workbooks can also be found at www.meritbadge.org. In many cases, work should be accomplished on the merit badge prior to meeting with the merit badge counselor.
There are many other BSA Awards that a Scout can earn. A comprehensive list of the “special opportunities” that exist can be found on the BSA website.
“In Scouting, a boy is encouraged to educate himself instead of being instructed.”
– Lord Baden-Powell