Advancement in Scouting is demonstrated most visibly by the ranks of Scouting, beginning with the rank of Scout and culminating with the rank of Eagle. A Scout progresses through advancement at his own pace and is rewarded for each achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence, self-reliance, and the ability to help others. All rank requirements can be found in your Boy Scout Handbook. The ranks of Scout through First Class prepare you for all that Scouting has to offer. Star, Life, and Eagle requirements focus on service to others and developing leadership skills.
You can work on advancement requirements at Troop meetings, during other Troop activities and trips, or on your own. It is your responsibility, not your parents’ or the Troop leaders, to take advantage of advancement opportunities and to take the initiative and ask for someone to test you when you are ready. A good suggestion is think of at least one rank requirement you can work on at each Troop meeting or camping trip. Scouting skills cannot be mastered by performing them just once. Take advantage of the many opportunities to practice your skills repeatedly, even after it has been signed off. As you progress, you will have opportunities to be the veteran Scout to teach these skills to less experienced Scouts, which will further strengthen your knowledge and skill.
As you complete each requirement, you will be tested and signed off in the appropriate section of your Handbook by a registered unit leader. (Parents: In Boy Scouts, Troop leaders, rather than parents, sign off advancement requirements. To avoid the appearance of impropriety, Troop leaders typically will not sign off requirements for their own sons, with infrequent exceptions.)
You must earn the ranks in order, but you may complete any requirement through First Class rank at any time; for example, you can complete a First Class requirement before finishing your Tenderfoot requirements, but you must earn Tenderfoot before Second Class and First Class ranks.
A Scoutmaster Conference is a meeting with a Troop leader, arranged when you have all the requirements for a rank completed and signed off. During the Scoutmaster Conference, you and the leader will discuss your activity in the Troop, your goals and accomplishments, and your understanding and practice of the Ideals of Scouting.
The Board of Review is the final step in rank advancement, occurring after your Scoutmaster Conference. They are composed of three members of the Troop Committee and are held on the third Wednesday of each month, during our weekly meeting. To arrange your Board of Review, fill out the Advancement Request Form (found on the Cart) and turn it in to a Troop leader. The Board of Review is not a test, but rather a discussion of your Troop experience and your development along your trail to Eagle. The Board may ask you questions about your skills and experiences, and you can ask questions and give feedback about Troop activities and the Scouting experience. You need your Handbook and to be in Class “A” uniform for a Board of Review. At the end of the Review, you will be asked to leave the room while the Board discusses your qualifications. They will then call you back and inform you either of your approval to the next rank or of any additional actions you must take to qualify.
After the Board of Review, you will be recognized in front of the Troop and receive your new rank patch, typically at the Troop meeting that night. You will also be formally recognized for your rank advancement (and any merit badges earned) at a Court of Honor. Troop 456 holds a Fall and a Spring Court of Honor each year, and parents, family, and friends are always invited to attend.
Life to Eagle
After reaching the rank of Life Scout, you will choose and meet with an Eagle Coach, an adult leader knowledgeable in the Eagle Scout process who will guide you. The first task will be to discuss ideas and suggestions for your Eagle Service Project. Your project must conform to special guidelines and get several approvals before you can begin carrying it out.
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. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you keep your signed Boy Scout Handbook and all completed merit badge Blue Cards in a safe place until after you turn 18! The Troop Committee also maintains advancement records for each Scout, but it is critical that you maintain your own personal records if there is ever a discrepancy or missing records.
Adapted from usscouts.org and scouting.org