How Does a Scout Advance?


Troop Philosophy - A scout advances in the troop at his own pace. It is our troop philosophy that advancement is a journey and not a race. We will always encourage a boy to advance, but we also want to be sure that a scout learns the skills and becomes the citizen and man that we all dream our sons will become. The process is actually very straight forward:

  1. A scout learns a skill
  2. The scout is tested on the skill
  3. The scout has the requirement signed off

All requirements for the scout are listed in his scout handbook and we will keep a record of the accomplishments of the scout in his handbook (and in the Troopmaster Software). Adult leaders of the Troop sign off these requirements (i.e.they may not be signed by parents or other scouts, with the exception of the requirements where a boy must spend some time with his parents on drug awareness, where the scout meets with an elected official or lawyer about his rights and responsibilities as a citizen, and in cases where the boy is working on merit badges).

Lets start with some understanding about the ranks. Once a scout has earned a rank, we will work very hard to recognize that rank at the next meeting (or very soon thereafter) by awarding the rank patch to the scout at the meeting. We will also recognize the scout at the next potluck supper.

Scout - A boy joins the troop, learns some of the basics (such as the pledge of Allegiance, Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout Sign, Scout Salute, and Scout Handshake), ties a square knot, describes the scout badge, agrees to live his life to the best of his ability in accordance with the Scout Oath and Law, and then complete's a Scoutmaster Conference. A Scoutmaster Conference is when a scout and either the Scoutmaster or one of the Assistant Scoutmasters sit together and talk. This meeting usually takes place on camp outs, but we can also accomodate Scoutmaster Conferences at meetings most nights. The conference is maybe 20-30 minutes long (except for Eagle...) and always takes place out in the open. It is a time when the adult will devote uninterrupted time to this scout. In Troop 777, we ask that the scout always sit with a different adult leader for each Scoutmaster Conference. The adult and scout will talk to learn a bit about each other, and then the scout will attempt to set some goals for the near future with regards to Scouting, School and Personal. These goals are always set by the boy, with some guidance from the adult leader as to the reality of working on these goals, how it is important to set and reach for goals, and also the reflection at the next rank as to how the work towards the goals went. We will also always give the scout some time at the end of the conference to lead the conversation. Too often a boy is only spoken to by adults and does not often have the chance to lead the conversation. This time helps bild a boys confidence in speaking with adults and also is useful for building a personal relationship with the scouts so that they will always feel they have a safe place to talk.

Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class are all ranks where the scouts learn skills. First aid, knots, camping, cooking, wilderness, navigation and many other skills are learned. In each rank, we will ask the scout how he is living the Scout Oath and Law in his daily life and how he shows Scout Spirit. We will also have a Scoutmaster Conference with each rank. Scouts must request the Scoutmaster Conference and again, we tend to only do these at campouts. After earning Scout, each rank is followed by a board of Review. The scout schedules this board of review by personally asking one of our advancement chairs for this Board of Review. Scouts are not allowed to phone or e-mail this request - it must be in person. The Board of Review is an interview with a Scout after completion of a Scoutmaster conference and is conducted by 3-6 parents or members of the Troop Committee (not adult troop leaders). This is not a test, but a last check to ensure that all requirements have been met, and an opportunity for the Committee and Scout to visit about the Troop's programs and the Scout's perception of his personal scouting experience. When a scout goes to a board of review, he is required to be in uniform and have his signed-off book with him.

Star, Life and Eagle are all ranks where leadership is learned, practiced, and tested. Scouts must complete service time, merit badges and be elected troop leaders to advance. In each rank, we will ask the scout how he is living the Scout Oath and Law in his daily life and how he shows Scout Spirit. Again there is the Scoutmaster Conference the the Board of Review.

There is a slight difference with the Eagle rank ...There will be a project involved with Eagle instead of just doing service time... Readers are encouraged to visit the Eagle section of our website when getting close to Eagle to understand fully the project. Also, the troop tradition is to have the Eagle Scoutmaster Conference at a dining place agreed upon by the Eagle Candidate and the Scoutmaster, who will do the Eagle Scoutmaster Conference. Also, Eagle candidates may phone call to request a Board of Review (rank has some privileges...).

Check here for all of the requirements of each rank.

Merit Badges are the second main area of the Boy Scout advancement program. Unlike ranks, there is a degree of choice in the merit badge program. A sub-group of merit badges are known as Eagle required merit badges. To earn Eagle Scout, most of these badges must be earned although some are "either/or" badges. The remainder of the badges help with earning ranks as well as Eagle Palms after the Eagle Scout award has been earned. Boy Scouts may work on merit badges from they time they join a Scout troop until they turn 18 years old. There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18. Some merit badges have prerequisites, most do not. ONLY A REGISTERED MERITBADGE COUNSELOR MAY SIGNOFF ON MERIT BADGES! Mr. York has a list of all registered Merit Badge Counselors and this list is at every troop meeting. Ask him or drop him a line if you are looking for a counselor.

Scouts are encouraged to go after merit badges with a friend. If a scout is going to use a parent or relative who is a registered merit badge Counselor, then that scout MUST complete the merit badge while working with other scouts. Scoutmasters reserve the right, and have used it, to refuse to accept a signed merit badge card based on this requirement. Scoutmasters also reserve the right to question the work that a scout has done for a merit badge and ask that the scout meet with a different merit badge Counselor in cases where the scout has gone to a questionable merit badge Counselor (e.g. - we once had a scout a long time ago that turned in 13 merit badge cards, all signed by his dad, all done by himself - and they were rejected...).

Click here for all of the merit badges and their requirements.

Scouts can also work on religious awards, service awards and can also be awarded for acts of heroism or bravery. Religious award requirements are set by the authority of each scout's religion, and scouts are encouraged to visit the leader of their church to learn more. There are many more scout awards. To learn more, click here.

All work for ranks, awards and Merit badges must be completed before the scout turns 18