Scout advancement

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Scouts BSA Advancement policies cover Merit Badges, Summer Camp,
Scout Spirit, Active, Special Needs, Eagle Projects, Scoutmaster Conferences,
Boards of Review, Appeals, Courts of Honor, Time Extensions, and more.


The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Guide To Advancement, 2011 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #N/A)
See also: Boy Scouting for program information


Contents

Boy Scout Advancement

(Quoted from: Advancement Policies #33088, pages 23-26)

"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. As Scouts meet these challenges, they achieve the aims of Boy Scouting."

"The Scout 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 young men is confidence. There are three kinds of confidence that young men 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 challenge 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 young man is able to do; it is not a reward for what he has done."

"Standards for joining a Boy Scout troop and for advancement are listed in the latest printing of the Boy Scout Handbook and in the current 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 young man 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 young man has also:"

  • Served in a position of responsibility in the troop.
  • Performed service to others.
New in 2007 Printing

A Scout will be considered "active" in his unit if he is:
1. Registered in his unit (registration fees are current)
2. Not dismissed from his unit for disciplinary reasons.
3. Engaged by his unit leadership on a regular basis

(informed of unit activities through Scoutmaster
conference or personal contact, etc.)

Four Steps of Advancement

(Quoted from: Advancement Policies #33088, pages 24)

"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."

1. 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."

2. 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 to pass candidates. The Scout's merit badge counselor teaches and tests on the requirements for merit badges."

3. 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."

4. 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. 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

(Quoted from: Advancement Policies #33088, pages 24)

"Boy Scout awards are for young men not yet 18 years old. Merit badges, badges of rank, and Eagle Palms are for registered Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, or qualified Venturers. Any registered Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may earn these awards until his 18th birthday. Any Venturer who achieves the First Class rank as a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout in a troop or team may continue working for the Star, Life, and Eagle Scout ranks and Eagle Palms while registered as a Venturer up to his 18th birthday."

"Youth members with special needs may work toward rank advancement after they are 18. (See section titled Advancement for Youth Members With Special Needs page 39.)"

Time Extensions

A Scout who foresees that, due to no fault or choice of their own, it will not be possible to complete the Eagle Scout rank requirements before age 18, may apply for a limited time extension. See “Process for Submitting and Evaluating an Extension Request,” 9.0.4.1, item No. 1. These are rarely granted and reserved only for work on Eagle. When a time extension is requested, the Scout should continue working on the requirements as processing occurs. In most cases, for a request to be considered the following five tests must be met.
  1. The member joined or rejoined—or became active again after a period of inactivity—in time to complete all requirements before turning 18. That is, the time remaining between joining, or rejoining, and when the Scout turns 18 is more than the total of the active-time requirements for the ranks left to achieve.

  2. A circumstance came to exist that now precludes completion before the deadline. Examples might include a health-related incident requiring a hospital stay, a disabling injury, a significant employment conflict, a family relocation, a family emergency, a natural disaster, severe unseasonable weather that could not have been anticipated, or unforeseen actions of others affecting the youth’s ability to complete the requirements. It is extremely unlikely an extension will be granted if resolution of the circumstance—such as recovery from an injury, for example—still allows enough time for an adequate service project, or for completing the position of responsibility, active participation, or merit badge requirements if they have not already been met.

  3. The circumstance is totally beyond the control of the youth member. Injuries, unanticipated family incidents, or various mistakes or omissions by adults, for example, could be legitimate causes. The Boy Scouts of America assumes anyone working on Scouts BSA ranks has a Scouts BSA Handbook and has read the requirements. Despite this, misinformation from unit leadership is often cited as grounds for extensions. These cases will be considered, but they should be very rare and would point to a need for basic training and assistance.

  4. The circumstance is severe and not the norm of the Scout’s life. In most cases, Scouts are expected to overcome life’s ordinary trials. Cause for an extension normally requires an extraordinary circumstance uncommon to the youth. For example, known circumstances such as moderate learning disabilities or ADD/ADHD that the Scout has faced over many years and has coped with in the past, should not suddenly become an issue shortly before the Scout’s 18th birthday.

    It is important for council and district advancement committees to keep unit leadership informed of this so it does not become a surprise. An exception might be considered for Scouts with significant disabilities that do not meet the level of severity or permanence required for registration beyond the age of eligibility, but are such that they essentially preclude advancement within the timeframe allowed.

  5. The circumstance could not have been planned for or anticipated. If it is health-related, it should have been unforeseen and of recent onset, or a complication or intensification of an ongoing issue.
Guide To Advancement § 9.0.4.0 Time Extensions.



Troop Advancement Goals

(Quoted from: Advancement Policies #33088, pages 25)

"The Scoutmaster must be in charge of advancement in the troop. It is necessary that the Scoutmaster understand the purpose of the advancement program and the importance it has in the development of the Scouts in the 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 Scouts in the 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 Scout 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 advancement. Troops should conduct boards of review for Scouts 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 Scouts in the troop."

"Presentation of merit badges and rank badges should not await these courts of honor; awards and badges should be presented at the next meeting after they have been earned. Scouts are recognized again at a formal court of honor."

Scoutmaster Conferences

The unit leader (e.g. Scoutmaster) conference, regardless of the rank or program, is conducted according to the guidelines in the Troop Leader Guidebook, No. 33009 (volume 1). Note that a Scout must participate or take part in one; it is not a "test." Requirements do not say he must "pass" a conference. While it makes sense to hold one after other requirements for a rank are met, it is not required that it be the last step before the board of review. This is an important consideration for Scouts on a tight schedule to meet requirements before age 18. Last-minute work can sometimes make it impossible to fit the conference in before then, so scheduling it earlier can avoid unnecessary extension requests.

The conference is not a retest of the requirements upon which a Scout has been signed off. It is a forum for discussing topics such as ambitions, life purpose, and goals for future achievement, for counseling, and also for obtaining feedback on the unit’s program. In some cases, work left to be completed—and perhaps why it has not been completed—may be discussed just as easily as that which is finished. Ultimately, conference timing is up to the unit. Some leaders hold more than one along the way, and the Scout must be allowed to count any of them toward the requirement.

Conferences are meant to be face-to-face, personal experiences. They relate not only to the Scouting method of advancement, but also to that of adult association. Conferences should be held with a level of privacy acceptable under the BSA’s rules regarding Youth Protection. Parents or guardians and other Scouts within hearing range of the conversation may influence the Scout’s participation. For this reason, the conferences should not be held in an online setting.

While it is intended that the conference be conducted between the unit leader and the Scout, it may sometimes be necessary for the unit leader to designate an assistant unit leader to conduct the conference. For example, if a Scoutmaster is unavailable for an extended period of time or in larger troops where a Scout’s advancement would be delayed unnecessarily, then it would be appropriate for an assistant Scoutmaster (21 years old or older) to be designated to conduct the conference.

Unit leaders do not have the authority to deny a Scout a conference that is necessary for him to meet the requirements for his rank. Unit leaders must not require the Eagle Scout Rank Application, statement of ambitions and life purpose, or list of positions, honors, and awards as a prerequisite to holding a unit leader conference for the Eagle Scout rank. If a unit leader conference is denied, a Scout—if he believes he has fulfilled all the remaining requirements—may still request a board of review. If an Eagle Scout candidate is denied a conference, it may become grounds for a board of review under disputed circumstances.


Record Keeping


Reporting Advancement

All Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout[Note 1], and Sea Scout ranks, and all Venturing advancement awards must be reported to local councils.[Note 2] The best and most accurate method is through the BSA’s internet portal for reporting advancement (see “Electronic Advancement Reporting,” 6.0.0.0, for more detail on reporting). At the council’s discretion, the paper form, Advancement Report, No. 34403, may also be submitted.[Note 3]

Council advancement committees may elect to accept a completed Eagle Scout Rank Application that is signed by the board of review chair and the Scout executive, in lieu of an advancement report form.

Units should report advancement monthly. This assures member records are complete. Missing reports are a serious issue, for example, when it comes to documenting advancement for boards of review, the Eagle Scout rank, the Summit Award, the Quartermaster rank, and membership transfers or reinstatements. To reflect an accurate count in the Journey to Excellence performance recognition program, it is also important that all advancement for a calendar year be recorded during that year.

Guide To Advancement § 4.0.0.2 Reporting Advancement.


Electronic Advancement Reporting

Reporting advancement is a requirement of the Boy Scouts of America, and entering it directly into the BSA system through an internet portal is the most straightforward way to get it done.
Guide To Advancement § 6.0.0.0 Electronic Advancement Reporting.


Internet Advancement has been the BSA information system available for electronic reporting Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Sea Scout ranks; Venturing advancement awards; merit badges; and many other awards available across the BSA programs. In 2015, the BSA acquired Scoutbook[1], a web application designed to aid in advancement recording, reporting, and recognition. Units that use Scoutbook have their approved advancement records automatically synchronized with ScoutNET[2], which means they do not need to use Internet Advancement. Units that do not use Scoutbook for tracking and reporting advancement continue to use Internet Advancement. However, Internet Advancement is to be retired and replaced by a new online tool called Scoutbook Lite.[3][4]

Unit Advancement Responsibilities

Unit advancement coordinators and those who assist them have the basic responsibility to support the unit’s advancement program, to maximize rank achievement, and otherwise facilitate a smooth implementation of the process.
Guide To Advancement § 3.0.0.3 Unit Advancement Responsibilities.


Unit advancement coordinators have the following advancement reporting responsibilities:

  • Maintain advancement records and submit reports to the unit committee. It is appropriate in Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting[Note 1], Venturing, and Sea Scouting to involve youth leaders in this process.
  • Use the BSA’s internet portal to report advancement to the local council.
  • Obtain necessary badges and certificates, etc., and arrange for timely presentation of ranks, adventure belt loops and pins, merit badges, awards, and other recognitions. It is best to obtain and present these as soon as possible after they are earned. They can then be re-presented in more formal settings.

Mechanics of Advancement in Cub Scouting

The Role of the Pack Committee

The responsibility for Cub Scout advancement administration ... belongs to a pack committee .... The pack committee collects den advancement reports, compiles and maintains them in pack records, reports advancement to the council ..., purchases awards and ensures their prompt presentation, and helps plan and facilitate various ceremonies.
Guide To Advancement § 4.1.0.2 The Role of the Pack Committee.


Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Effective December 31, 2017, BSA ended the Varsity Scouting program
  2. An advancement report is not required to purchase adventure loops or pins. However, to ensure that each Cub Scout’s record is complete and accurate, all adventures—required and elective—should be posted in the BSA system using the internet portal for reporting advancement.
  3. All badges of rank, merit badges, Eagle Palms, and Venturing awards are restricted items. Unit leadership may not purchase these insignia for presentation without having filed an advancement report with the local council.

References

  1. Circelli, Gina (9 April 2015) "Scouting Goes Mobile with Scoutbook". Scouting Wire. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  2. Wendell, Bryan (7 December 2017). "Scoutbook now automatically syncs with BSA national advancement database". Bryan on Scouting. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  3. Randles, Rochelle (20 December 20 2017). "Scoutbook Lite to Replace Internet Advancement in 2018". Scouting Wire. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  4. Wendell, Bryan (21 December 2017). "BSA’s Scoutbook Lite, which will replace Internet Advancement, debuts in early 2018". Bryan on Scouting. Retrieved 16 April 2018.

See also

External Links

Obsolete documents:

Training

(Quoted from: Advancement Policies #33088, pages 26)

"A unit of training, Boy Scout Advancement, is available for instruction in how to carry out the advancement program."

Buddy System

(Quoted from: Advancement Policies #33088, page 26)

"A Scout must have a buddy with him at each meeting with a merit badge counselor. A Scout's buddy could be another Scout, or be a parent or guardian, brother or sister, relative or friend. From his Scoutmaster, the Scout obtains a signed merit badge application and the name of the appropriate merit badge counselor. The Scout sets up his first appointment with the counselor. The counselor should explain the requirements to the Scout. The Scout and his buddy then meet as appropriate with the counselor until the Scout completes the badges requirements."


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