Advancement Guidelines

To the Parents: 

We believe that Scouts should receive recognition for their achievements. Advancement sets a pattern of setting positive goals and reaching them throughout life. Even though it's not one of the primary aims of Scouting, advancement is a natural byproduct when the Scouting experience is acquainting boys with the BSA ideals, the Patrol method, the outdoors, association with adults, personal growth, leadership development, and the Scout uniform. It's easy to advance by following these four basic steps:

  • Learning
  • Testing
  • Review
  • Recognition

To the Scouts: 

Rank Advancement

The requirements for the ranks of Tenderfoot through First Class prepare you to take full advantage of all that Scouting has to offer. Star, Life, and Eagle requirements focus on service to others and developing leadership skills.

Requirements for each rank are outlined in the Boy Scout Handbook. You can work on advancement requirements with your parents or other family members, with other Scouts, and with adult Scout leaders. This can be done on your own, in Patrol and Troop meetings, and during other troop functions such as campouts. A good rule of thumb is to try to complete one or two rank requirements at each Troop meeting or event.

Scout Badge Scout skills cannot be mastered by performing them just once. You will have many opportunities to practice each skill, and you will be thoroughly tested on each requirement before it is "signed off". In addition, expect to practice each skill repeatedly, even after it has been signed off. As you progress, you will also have opportunities to teach these skills to less experienced Scouts, which will further reinforce your knowledge and skill.

As you complete each requirement, you will be tested and signed off in the appropriate section of your Handbook by the Scoutmaster or by someone he designates. This person may be an Assistant Scoutmaster, a Troop Committee Member, or another, more experienced Scout. (Parents: In Boy Scouts, Troop leaders, rather than parents, sign off advancement requirements. In order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, Troop leaders will not sign off rank requirements for their own sons. Infrequent exceptions may be made in the case of a leader who is teaching skills to several Scouts at once at a Patrol or Troop meeting of other Scouting function, but every effort should be made to have another leader sign off the instructing leader's sons if possible.)

It's up to you to take advantage of the advancement opportunities available to you, and to take the initiative to ask for someone to test you when you are ready. You are responsible for keeping your own personal advancement record in your Handbook. You should also record you service hours, campouts, Troop activities, and leadership positions in your Handbook. Tenderfoot Badge

You must earn the ranks in order but you may complete any requirement for Tenderfoot through first class at any time. (For example, you may complete a First Class requirement before finishing your Tenderfoot requirements, but you must earn Tenderfoot rank before you are awarded Second Class and First Class ranks.)

You will be meeting regularly with a Scoutmaster to discuss your activity in the Troop and about your understanding and practice of the Ideals of Scouting. This Scoutmaster Conference is also used to discuss your goals and accomplishments and is required for each rank advancement.

First Class Badge You do not have to wait until you have completed the requirements for a rank in order to ask for a Scoutmaster Conference. You may talk with a Scoutmaster at any time that is convenient for both of you. However, for a Scoutmaster Conference to count toward rank advancement it must take place after all other requirements are complete and before scheduling a Board of Review. At this required conference the Scoutmaster will also help you determine whether or not you are ready to go before the Board of Review.

After your Scoutmaster Conference, you should arrange for your Board of Review by filling out the proper paperwork and turning it in to a Scoutmaster. Boards of Review for all ranks except Eagle Scout, are normally held once a month and are usually composed of three to six registered members of the Troop Committee. (Eagle Scout Boards of Review are arranged through the Arrowhead District Advancement Committee.) Your Board of Review may not include the Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmasters, or your family members. Second Class Badge

Star Badge The purpose of the Board of Review is not to test you but rather to ensure that you have completed all of the requirements, to determine the quality of your Troop experience, and to encourage you to advance toward the next rank.

You will need to have your Boy Scout Handbook with you and be in Class "A" uniform when you appear before a Board of Review. At the beginning of the review, a Scoutmaster will bring you into the room, introduce you to the Board, and invite you to be seated. During the review the Board will discuss your development along your trail to Eagle, ask you questions about skills that were required for your particular rank. It is also a time for you to ask any questions you might have and to give feedback to the Troop Committee about activities and Scouting experience in your Troop and in your Patrol. At the end of the Review you will be asked to leave the room while the Board discusses your qualifications. The Board will then call you back into the room and inform you either that you have been approved for the next rank or what additional actions you must take to qualify.Life Badge

After passing the Board of Review, you will be recognized in front of the Troop as soon as possible. You will receive your new rank patch shortly after, usually at the same Troop meeting. You will be formally recognized for your rank advancements and Merit Badges in front of family and friends during a ceremony at a Court of Honor. Troop 456 schedules two normal Courts of Honor each year. Your parents, other family members, and friends and invited and encouraged to attend all Courts of Honor.

Eagle Badge After reaching the rank of Life Scout, you will meet with one of the adult leaders in the Troop, usually the Scoutmaster. At this meeting you will receive your Life to Eagle Packet and discuss ideas and suggestions for your Eagle Service Project. This project must conform to special guidelines that have been outline by the Boy Scouts of America. Your Scoutmaster, Troop Advancement Chairperson, and a representative of the District Advancement Committee must approve your project before you begin carrying it out.

Record Keeping


Your advancement records, as well as your Merit Badge records, are kept in three places- your Council office, the Troop Advancement Chairperson, and yourself. The Council office keeps records supplied to them by the Troop Advancement Chairperson, who also keeps copies of these records for the Troop. There are three types of documents that you need to KEEP IN A SAFE PLACE UNTIL AFTER YOU REACH AGE 18, or receive your Eagle Scout Award, whichever happens last. These documents are: your Boy Scout Handbook with requirements signed off, your sections of completed blue Merit Badge cards, and the wallet-sized certificate cards for rank advancement and Merit Badge completion. Make sure all of them are signed or initialed by the appropriate Scout leader. All of the cards are the same size and can be safely kept in plastic protector pages designed for sports cards. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU KEEP THESE DOCUMENTS IN A SAFE PLACE AND DO NOT LOSE THEM!!!! If it should happen that there is a discrepancy or missing records, your personal records are your most important ally in proving what you completed and when.