Advancement is one of the ways a Scout grows and become eligible for leadership positions and the badges and patches of advancement are visual reinforcement and reward for accomplishing a series of tasks.
The ranks begin with Scout and continue to Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and finally Eagle. The requirement for all skill awards and rank awards are listed in the back of the Scout Handbook with most advancement work done in troop meetings and on outings or at camp. Early rank advancement (i.e. Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class) consist mainly of earning skill awards, demonstrating scout spirit and participation in the Troop. Skill awards are areas of specific subject (e.g. first air, cooking, camping, citizenship) that are instructed and approved by the senior scouts and adult leaders.
After First Class, advancement to Eagle is very different. Each level requires Merit Badges, Leadership, Service, and Scout Spirit. The Scout has to put forth the effort to make each rank. Following completion of the requirements for each of the ranks, each scout has a Scoutmaster meeting then a board of review.
After a Scout has completed all of the requirements for a rank they must have a meeting with their Scoutmaster. A Scout can request a conference at any time but must schedule one after all of the requirements for a rank have been completed and before their Board of Review (BOR) for rank advancement. The Scoutmaster will determine if the Scout is ready for a BOR.
The Scout must:
- Request the conference themselves.
- Be in the Class A uniform.
- Bring his BSA handbook.
Board of Review
After a Scout has completed their Scoutmaster Conference they must participate in a Board of Review (BOR) before they can be awarded their rank advancement. A Scout might be invited to a BOR if he isn't advancing or if there is another issue that needs to be discussed. The BOR for the Eagle rank is handled by the BSA council.
The purpose of a BOR is:
- To make sure the Scout has completed the requirements for the rank.
- If the Scout held a position of responsibility the review will also verify that the Scout understood and fulfilled the duties of position.
- To see how good an experience the Scout is having in the unit.
- To encourage the Scout to progress further.
- Give the Scout an opportunity to discuss problems with the troop.
The review is handled by at least 3 committee members and cannot include a relative or guardian of the Scout or a Troop Adult Leader.
For a Board of Review, the Scout must:
- Request a BOR from the person in charge of advancement.
- Make sure that all of their requirements are in the troop database.
- Appear in their Class A uniform.
- Bring their Boy Scout handbook