The Boy Scout Advancement Program is subtle. It places a series of challenges in front of a Scout in a manner that is fun and educational to a boy. As Scouts meet these challenges, they achieve the aims of Boy Scouting.
A boy advances and grows in the Boy Scout phase of the program in the same way a plant grows by receiving nourishment in the right environment. The job of adults concerned with advancement is to provide the right environment.
One of the greatest needs of boys is confidence. There are three kinds of confidence that boys need: in themselves, in peers, and in leaders.
Educators and counselors agree that the best way to build confidence is through measurement. Self-Confidence is developed by measuring up to a challenge or a standard. Peer Confidence develops when the same measuring system is used for everyone � when all must meet the same challenges to receive equal recognition. Confidence in Leaders comes about when there is consistency in measuring � when leaders use a single standard of fairness.
No council, district, unit or individual has the authority to add to or subtract from any advancement requirement. A Boy Scout badge recognizes what a boy is able to do; it is not a reward for what he has done. See APPENDIX "H" for the Advancement Report form.
Standards for joining a Boy Scout troop and for advancement are listed in the latest printing of the Boy Scout Handbook and the Boy Scout Requirements book.
Advancement accommodates the three aims of Scouting: citizenship, growth in moral strength and character, and mental and physical development.
The advancement program is designed to provide the Boy Scout with a chance to achieve the aims of Scouting. As a Scout advances, he is measured and grows in confidence and self-reliance.
When a badge and certificate are awarded to a Boy Scout to recognize that he has achieved a rank, they represent that a boy has:
� Been an active participant in his troop and patrol.
� Demonstrated living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Law in his daily life.
� Met the other requirements and/or earned the Merit Badges for the rank.
� Participated in a Scoutmaster conference.
� Satisfactorily appeared before a board of review.
In the advanced ranks (Star, Life and Eagle), the badge represents that the boy has also:
� Served in a position of responsibility in the troop.
� Performed service to others.
Four Steps of Advancement: A Boy Scout advances from Tenderfoot to Eagle by doing things with his patrol and his troop, with his leaders and on his own. It�s easy for him to advance, if the following four opportunities are provided for him.
- The Boy Scout learns. A Scout learns by doing. 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, he is asked to teach others; and in this way he begins to develop leadership.
- The Boy Scout is tested. A Scout may be tested on rank requirements by his patrol leader, Scoutmaster, assistant Scoutmaster, a troop committee member or a member of his troop. The Scoutmaster maintains a list of those qualified to give tests and pass candidates. The Scout�s merit badge counselor teaches and tests on the requirements for merit badges.
- 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, the review is conducted by members of the troop committee. The Eagle Scout board of review is 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 recognitions soon as possible. This should be done at a ceremony at the next troop meeting. The certificate for his new rank may be presented later at a formal court of honor.
AGE REQUIREMENTS. Boy�s awards are for boys. Merit Badges, badges of rank, and Eagle Palms are for registered Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, or qualified Venturers (youth that are registered in Cub Scouting cannot earn awards in the Boy Scout program). Any registered Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may earn these awards until his 18th birthday. Another common misconception concerns "bridging" Cub Scouts into Boy Scouts before they are 10 and half years old. The Arrow of Light award is awarded based upon age or academic grades. However a youth must still meet the 10 and a half age requirements if he is academically advanced. Earning the arrow of light award at an early age is not an automatic advancement into the Boy Scouts Program!
TROOP ADVANCEMENT GOALS. The Scoutmaster must be the spark plug of the troop. It is necessary that he understand the purpose of the advancement program and the importance it has in the development of the Scouts in his troop. The troop�s program must provide advancement opportunities. By participating in the troop program, the Scout will meet requirements for rank advancement.
The troop�s unit commissioner and the district advancement committee can play an important part in explaining advancement and helping the Scoutmaster utilize the advancement program in the troop program, making it exciting to the boys in his troop.
It is important that the troop committee and the Scoutmaster set an advancement goal for the year. A basic goal should be for each boy to advance a rank during the year. New Scouts should earn the First Class rank during their first year in the troop. By doing so, these new Scouts become net contributors to the troop and are able to care for themselves and others. When reviewed monthly by the troop committee, Scouts will recognize the importance of the advancement. Troops should conduct boards of review for boys who are not advancing. A minimum of four formal courts of honor a year (one every three months) should be held to formally recognize the boys in the troop.