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General Information

This page provides some general information regarding the mechanics of the Boy Scout Advancement program. Information on specifics components of the program are provided on other pages in this section.

A Boy Scout advances from Tenderfoot to Eagle by doing things with his patrol and his troop, with his leaders, and on his own. The steps are:

  1. The Boy Scout learns
  2. The Boy Scout is tested
  3. The Boy Scout is reviewed
  4. The Boy Scout is recognized

Merit badges, badges of rank, and Eagle Palms are for boys who are registered Boy Scouts or Varsity Scouts. Any registered Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may earn these awards until his 18th birthday.

Any Venturer who achieved the First Class rank as a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout in a troop / team may continue working for the Star, Life, and Eagle ranks and Eagle Palms while registered as a Venturer up to his 18th birthday.

If a Scout or Venturer foresees that he will be unable to complete the requirements for the Eagle rank prior to his 18th birthday, he may file a petition in writing with the National Advancement Team through the local council. The petition must show good and sufficient evidence and detail the extenuating circumstances that prevent the Scout from completing the requirements prior to his 18th birthday. Extenuating circumstances are defined as conditions or situations that are totally beyond the control of the Scout or Venturer.

More information can be found in the Guide to Advancement, Section 9.0.4.

The Scoutmaster is in charge of advancement in the troop. The troop’s program must provide advancement opportunities so that, by participating in the troop program, the Scout will meet requirements for rank advancement.

The Scoutmaster may delegate various activities to others, such as a troop advancement coordinator, Eagle advisor, assistant Scoutmasters, etc. References to “Scoutmaster” in the official resources generally includes those to whom the Scoutmaster has delegated specific duties.

A basic troop advancement goal should be for each Scout to advance rank during the year. New Scouts should earn the First Class rank during their first year in the troop. Research has shown that First Class in one year aids in retention. This is one of the items in the Journey to Excellence.

Presentation of merit badges and rank badges should not await courts of honor; they should be presented at the next meeting after they have been earned (and after the advancement report is filed with the Council Service Center). Scouts are recognized again at a formal court of honor.

A Scoutmaster conference is an opportunity for the Scoutmaster and each Scout to sit down and visit together. A good conference should be unhurried. It helps the Scout evaluate his accomplishments and set new goals with his Scoutmaster. This is one duty that should generally not be delegated to others (except for the Scoutmaster's son).

The requirement for advancement is that the Scout participates in a Scoutmaster conference, not that he “passes” the conference. When advancement is going to be deferred, the Scout should not come to the Scoutmaster conference thinking that everything is OK and then be surprised that his advancement is deferred. He should have had plenty of warning and guidance prior to the Scoutmaster conference. This is not a time to shut the door on advancement, but rather to work with the Scout to create goals that will allow him to succeed. However, if the Scout desires a board of review even after a negative Scoutmaster conference, he must be granted his request.

Additional Resources:
Guide to Advancement
, Section 4.2.3.5
Scoutmaster Handbook
, Chapter 10

Each troop is responsible for keeping its own records and reporting advancement to the local council service center on a Unit Advancement Report form. Awards cannot be purchased or presented until the advancement report has been filed with the council office. Computer-generated advancement reports may be used.

Cradle of Liberty Council encourages all units to use Internet Advancement for submitting advancement reports.  Internet Advancement gives the Troop more control over the accuracy of each Scout's advancement records; this can be a particular benefit when the Scout submits his application for Eagle Scout.

There are various resources available for tracking advancement at the unit, including a Troop/Team Record Book, No.34508; Individual Scout Record, No. 34518; My Trail to Eagle (advancement chart), No. 3418; Troop/Team Advancement Chart, No. 34506; First Class – First Year Tracking Sheet, No. 34118.

In addition, there are non-BSA software programs available, such as TroopMaster, which will track advancement and produce advancement reports. TroopMaster can also interface directly with Council’s software (ScoutNet) using Internet Advancement.

There are no special procedures or advancement requirements for summer camp. While classes may be held for rank requirements and for merit badges, each Scout must be tested (for rank) or reviewed (for merit badges) individually. Camp staff must maintain the exact standards as outlined in the requirements – nothing deleted, nothing added.

Partial completion of merit badges should be credited to a Scout on the Application for Merit Badge and given to the Scoutmaster at the end of the week. The Scout may then contact a merit badge counselor in his home area to finish the requirements. There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18.


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