Advancement is one of the ways that keep the Scouts engaged in the program. Advancement lets the Scoutmasters, and the committee, know the health of the program, since Scouts will naturally be given opportunities for advancement throughout the course of a well-planned scouting program year. The Scouts’ patrol leader and the Scoutmaster will be meeting with each Scout regularly to look through his book and see what requirements he needs for his next rank, so Scouts should bring their books to every meeting, especially as they work through their Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks


Scouts can work on rank requirements at any time – at home, during meetings, or on outings. Some rank requirements specifically say that the Scout should demonstrate the skill they have learned “Demonstrate how to display, raise, lower, and fold the American flag;” and others are more easily done by themselves. Once they feel they have completed the requirements, they should talk to a Scout who is at least First Class rank to get their achievements signed off. The Scoutmaster will sign off on the requirements to “Demonstrate the Scout spirit...” and “Participate in a Scoutmaster conference...” Scouts can work on requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class at the same time, but they can only be awarded in order once all of the requirements for that rank are signed off. As a Boy Scout, the troop’s adult and youth leadership sign off requirements, rather than the parents.

Scoutmaster Conferences

Once the Scout has completed the requirements for his rank, he should request an advancement form from the advancement chair. He should then schedule a conference with the Scoutmaster and bring the form with him. After the conference, the advancement form is used to schedule the board of review.

The conference will be an informal meeting and will likely happen at a troop meeting or outing. It’s an opportunity for the Scoutmaster to discuss the Scout’s progress toward advancement, ask some questions about how the Scout views the troop and the Scouting program, and ensure that the Scout has met all of the requirements for the rank before he goes in front of the board. The Scout should be in full uniform and prepared to discuss the requirements for the rank he is completing.

Occasionally, the Scoutmaster will schedule conferences with Scouts who are not necessarily ready for the next rank, just as a way to keep in touch with the Scout and discuss his Scouting experience. A Scout can also schedule a conference at any time, even if he is not ready for advancement. These conferences can be used to make suggestions for the troop, discuss difficulties that he is having in advancement or with another Scout, or any other reason that he feels that a one-on-one conversation is needed.

Boards of Review

The next step is to schedule the board of review. They are generally held once a month during a troop meeting. The Scout should be in full uniform and bring his book, binder and signed advancement form with him. It will be a more formal meeting of the Scout with some of the members of the troop committee, where they will discuss the advancement requirements, the Scout’s Scouting progress and experience, and get to know the Scout and become familiar with the Scout’s experience with the troop. The purpose of the board of review is “to determine the quality of his experience and decide whether he has fulfilled the requirements for the rank.” Once it has been determined that he has done so, the date of the board of review will become the effective date for the new rank that he has earned. While the board of review will not retest him on advancement requirements that he already has signed off, they will discuss the circumstances surrounding the requirement and ask him to discuss some of the things that he learned from completing it. This gives them an opportunity to determine the quality of the program that the Scoutmaster is delivering to the boys so that recommendations for improvement can be made if needed.

Court of Honor

Once the Scout has earned a rank he will receive the patch as soon as possible so that it can be sewn to his uniform. He’ll receive additional recognition at the next troop court of honor. Courts of honor occur approximately 3-4 times a year. They are a chance for the boys to be recognized for their achievement and show off their recent activities. Parents and family members are encouraged to attend these ceremonies