Guide to Advancement

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Guide to Advancement

First edition:2011
Latest edition:2015 PDF HTML
BSA Supply Number:33088



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The Guide to Advancement is available in the following formats:

History and Updates

BSA periodically updates and clarifies advancement policies and procedures. Updates that have occurred subsequent to the last release of the Guide To Advancement are posted and referenced at the Program Updates page on

In 2011, the "Guide To Advancement" replaced the Advancement Committee Policies & Procedures and became the official BSA source for advancement rules, policies and procedures. To reflect the replacement, the new GTA kept the same BSA document number previously held by the ACPP, BSA Supply No. 33088.

Clarification and Interpretations

Advancement News is the official e-letter of the Boy Scouts of America national Advancement Team. Its intent is to support and clarify procedures found in the Guide to Advancement, announce various changes and updates in advancement, and to assist advancement committees in making decisions that can help increase the rate of advancement.
Advancement News, October 2011


The current edition of the Guide to Advancement is the official source for administering advancement in all Boy Scouts of America programs: Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, Venturing, and Sea Scouts. It replaces any previous BSA advancement manuals and previous editions of the Guide to Advancement. -- BSA Guide To Advancement , page 6.

What is Advancement?

What is Advancement?
Advancement is the process by which youth members of the Boy Scouts of America progress from rank to rank. Advancement is simply a means to an end, not an end in itself. It is one of several methods designed to help unit leadership carry out the aims and mission of the Boy Scouts of America. Everything done to advance—to earn ranks and other awards and recognition—is designed to educate or to otherwise expand horizons.
Experiential learning is the key: Exciting and meaningful activities are offered, and education happens. Learning comes from doing. Advancement should be a natural outcome of a well-rounded unit program, rich in opportunities to work toward the ranks.
Advancement is the method by which we promote and encourage the ongoing involvement and commitment that keeps members coming back for more. It works best when it is built into a unit’s program so that simply participating leads to meaningful achievement and recognition—and to a continually improving readiness for more complex experiences.
— [Guide to Advancement] 2015 ed. #33088, Advancement Defined p.10-11
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