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Advancement

Meaningful Recognition

Advancement is the process by which youth members of the Boy Scouts of America progress from rank to rank and is the method by which we promote and encourage the ongoing involvement and commitment that keeps members coming back. 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 improved readiness for more complex experiences.

Advancement Is Based on Experiential Learning

Everything done to advance — to earn ranks and other awards and recognition — is designed to educate or to otherwise expand horizons. Members learn and develop according to a standard. This is the case from the time a member joins and then moves through the programs of Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scouts.

Experiential learning is the key: Exciting and meaningful activities are offered, and education happens. Learning comes from doing. For example, youth may read about first aid, hear it discussed, and watch others administer it, but they will not learn it until they practice it. Rushing a Scout through requirements to obtain a badge is not the goal. Advancement should be a natural outcome of a well-rounded unit program, rich in opportunities to work toward the ranks.

Policy on Unauthorized Changes to Advancement Program

No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited exceptions relating only to youth members with disabilities.

Unit Advancement Reports

Are you buying awards for your Scouts? Then you must have a Unit Advancement Report. Visit this page to learn more.

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Advancement Resources

Advancement Changes Related to COVID-19

General questions and answers about COVID-19’s impact on BSA advancement
2020 special extension for Eagle Scout candidates due to COVID-19
2020 special extension for Venturing Summit Award or Quartermaster rank due to COVID-19

Changes by BSA to rank advancement/camping requirements due to social distancing guidelines:

BSA has implemented temporary changes, detailed below, to allow Scouts to complete rank requirements, detailed below, by video conferencing through September 1, 2020. This deadline will be re-evaluated as needed.

The goal when using video conferencing must be to preserve the ideals and intent of each requirement as best as possible. Scoutmasters or their designee(s) should remain mindful of the Methods of Scouting, such as the Patrol Method, before implementing the modified requirements listed below. Some advancement activities can be completed by video conferencing but not all. For example, virtual visits to a city council meeting, national historic landmarks, museums, and art galleries may be acceptable, but swimming, rifle shooting, and motorboating merit badges cannot be completed virtually.

Even when using video conferencing, all virtual campouts and activities should consist of as many elements found on a normal outdoor campout or activity as possible. The most significant difference is that patrol or troop members are not all in the same location. All existing youth protection policies and digital safety guidelines must be followed.

Tenderfoot rank requirements
1b. – Virtual patrol or troop campouts via video conferencing will be permitted.
2a. – During the same day as your virtual patrol or troop campout, assist in preparing one meal with the help of those with whom you live. Tell your patrol or troop why it was important for each person to share in meal preparation and cleanup.
2b. – During the same day as your virtual campout, demonstrate the appropriate method of safely cleaning items used to prepare, serve and eat a meal.
5a. – Explain the importance of the buddy system as it relates to your personal safety on outings and in your neighborhood. Verbally commit to following the buddy system on your next troop or patrol outing.
7a. – Tell how to display, raise, lower, and fold the U.S. flag.

Second Class rank requirements
1a & 1c. – Virtual patrol or troop activities via video conferencing will be permitted.
3b. – Using a compass and map together, plan a 5-mile hike approved by your adult leader.
4. – Evidence of wild animals can be demonstrated with information or photos of your local area found online.
5c. – May be completed virtually via video conferencing on dry land.
7c. – Learn about the dangers of using drugs, alcohol and tobacco and other practices that could be harmful to your health. Discuss what you learned with your family and explain the dangers of substance addictions. Report to your Scoutmaster or other adult leader in your troop about which parts of the Scout Oath and Scout Law relate to what you learned.
8a. – May be completed virtually using video conferencing.
8d. – May be completed by comparing costs at three (3) online sites or locations.

First Class rank requirements
1a – Virtual patrol or troop activities via video conferencing will be permitted.
2e. – On the same day as your virtual campout, serve as the cook. Supervise your assistant(s) in using a stove or building a cooking fire. Prepare the breakfast, lunch, and dinner planned in First Class requirement 2a. Supervise the cleanup.
4a. – By drawing, computer software, or other virtual methods, plan an orienteering course that would cover at least one mile. Explain why measuring the height and/or width of designated items (tree, tower, canyon, ditch, etc.) is helpful. Explain how you would complete your course using a real map and compass.
4b. – Scouts do not need to follow their route.
5a. – Evidence of native plants can be demonstrated with information or photos of your local area found online.
6e. – May be completed on dry land.
9a. – Visit may take place virtually or by phone.
9c. – Outings can include past or future plans.
10. – Invite the potential new member to a virtual meeting or future activity using video conferencing. 

Eagle Scout Boards of Review may be conducted by videoconferencing but must have prior council approval. Read the BSA rules for this here, then contact our council Advancement Chair by email stating you have read the rules and agree to follow them.

For more on BSA’s Advancement policies in regard to Covid-19, please visit this page on Scouting.org.

General Information

BSA Advancement Guide
BSA Advancement Forms
BSA Advancement Resources
Unit Advancement Reports

Council Policies and Procedures

Eagle Scout Applicant Information
Merit Badge Counselor Registration Procedure
Merit Badge Counselor Registration Form

Other Helpful Materials

“Essentials of Merit Badge Counseling” Training Presentation
Merit Badge Counselor Training Presenter’s Notes

Internet Advancement

Internet Advancement allows you to enter youth advancements, awards, and merit badges and perform the following actions:

  • Select members from your existing roster,
  • Review, update, or add ranks, merit badges, and/or awards,
  • Access an online Review Unit Roster feature and the Unit Advancement Summary,
  • Print an Advancement Report with a Unit Awards Summary to assist in purchasing.

When you upload your unit’s advancement information through Internet Advancement, your updated information is synced to your Scouts’ membership records with the Boy Scouts of America’s database (usually within 48 hours). This is the database of record that the national organization will use to cross-check your Scouts’ information when/if they apply for the rank of Eagle Scout.

Internet Advancement Login
Getting Started with Internet Advancement
More Internet Advancement “How To” Help
Additional Internet Advancement Help

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Contact the Advancement Committee

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