Troop 308 Advancement
Advancement is the process by which a youth member’s progress through the ranks of Scouting is obtained by the gradual mastery of scouting skills. Ranks are simply a means to an end, not an end in and of themselves. Everything boys do to advance and earn these ranks, from the day they join until the day they leave the program, should be designed to help boys have an exciting and meaningful experience.
Education and fun are functions of the Scouting movement, and they must be the basis of the advancement program. A fundamental principle of advancement in all of Scouting is the growth a young person achieves as a result of his participation in his program. In Scouting, recognition is gained through leadership in the unit, attending and participating in the activities, living the ideals of Scouting and developing a proficiency in outdoor life, useful skills and career exploration.
The Boy Scout requirements for rank are the basis for a Boy Scout’s advancement. There are four steps in the advancement procedure: learning, testing, reviewing and recognition. Boy Scouts has the following ranks: Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle. The requirements for each rank are authorized by the national Executive Board and set forth in the Boy Scout Handbook and the current Boy Scout Requirements book.
Merit Badge Guidelines:
Did you know that many scouts determine their career paths by working on a merit badge that interested them? Many of Troop 308’s scouts want to work on merit badges on their own time, enabling them to learn about a skill or vocation that interests them. Troop 308 encourages scouts to identify and explore merit badges on their own. The troop is fortunate to have an excellent list of counselors willing to work with the boys on many merit badges.
In Cub Scouting, the program encourages and assists with building ties within the family unit. The goal of Boy Scouting is to begin to build ties within the community. It is essential to the scout and their development to look outside the family unit for their merit badge counselor. This allows the scout the ability to use the parent as a consultant while developing skills acquired from other adults.
The process to work on a new merit badge is as follows:
- To begin work on a merit badge, the scout would consult the Merit Badge Counselor List provided by the troop. He would determine which counselor and badge he wishes to work on. If a troop counselor is not listed for the badge the scout wants to explore, he should contact the Troop Committee Chair for guidance and direction to the district counselors.
- The scout obtains a Blue Card, from the Advancement Chair or Troop Committee Chair, and fills in all his information.
- The scout presents the Blue Card to the counselor of the merit badge he’s interested in and requests any information or guidelines for working on the badge. It is possible that the counselor will require multiple meetings to accomplish the badge.
- The Blue Card is then presented to the unit leader, in our case Dr. Morrison, for his signature. Work on the badge may now begin.
- NOTE: Scouts wanting to work on merit badges ‘on their own’ must have a fellow scout, or parent, with them when meeting with the counselor outside of a troop meeting or activity. This is a guideline written into the BSA policy on Youth Protection, stating that adults may not meet with an individual scout alone. This safeguards not only your scout, but the counselor working with your scout as well.
- The scout works on the requirements as set forth by the badge and the guidelines presented by the counselor. This may incorporate meetings, research, written documents, and projects.
- Once the scout feels he has completed the merit badge, he schedules a final meeting with the counselor to discuss his progress and all documents, projects and research. If it is determined that the requirements have been met, the Blue Card is managed in the following way:
- The counselor signs the Blue Card and fills in his personal information. The counselor retains the Counselor portion of the card for his/her records. He/She returns the rest of the card to the scout.
- The scout presents the remainder of the Blue Card to the Advancement Chair. The Advancement Chair returns the Applicant’s Record portion of the card to the scout for his permanent records.
- The Chair will utilize the last section, Application for Merit Badge, to update the scout’s records and order the badge for presentation.
When a scout attends summer camp or any merit badge earning opportunity (i.e. TSTC Merit Badge Camporee, Baylor Merit Badge College), the Blue Cards or sometimes sheets, are returned to the Scoutmaster in charge. When this happens, the troop takes care of the Blue Card presentation to the Advancement Chair and the subsequent ordering of the badge. Incomplete merit badge information is returned to the scout in a timely fashion.
To work on an incomplete merit badge, the scout should follow the following process:
- The scout needs to engage the services of a counselor to continue work on the badge. This should be done as follows:
- The scout should attempt to contact the original Counselor. Be sure to ask troop leaders if they know the original counselor and how to contact them.
- If this is not possible, then the scout should contact a counselor from the troop list.
- If a counselor is not listed for the badge to be completed, the scout should contact the Advancement Chair or the Troop Committee Chair for further information.
- All work will be reviewed by the ‘new’ counselor and assignments and directions will be discussed.
- Once the scout feels he has completed the merit badge, counselor meetings, etc.; the Blue Cards will be managed as discussed above.
Remember, Blue Cards are a record, either complete or incomplete, of the merit badges he has worked on during his scouting career. By returning the Blue Cards to your son, he now has the knowledge of all of his merit badge work which impacts his Trail to Eagle progress, and if necessary will verify his completions for his Eagle paperwork.
A requirement included in every rank for advancement is for the Scout to meet with the Scoutmaster to discuss the Scout’s progress in the Troop. These conferences are also used to discover why a Scout may not be advancing or attending or to try to correct a Scout’s wayward behavior.
Boards of Review
The next to final step in each review is conducted by the Advancement Chair and at least two other Troop Committee Members. Their purpose is not to retest him, but to make sure he has met all the requirements, to chat with him about how he feels he’s getting along with the Troop and its program, and of course to encourage him to keep advancing. After passing a Board of Review, the Scout is awarded his new badge of rank, usually at a Court of Honor.
Court of Honor
As stated above, when a Scout advances, he should be recognized as soon as possible. The main purpose of the Court of Honor is to recognize the achievement and to provide incentive for other Scouts to advance. All families are asked to attend and relatives and guests are certainly welcome. Every Scout who advances in Scouting deserves to be recognized in front of his family. This ceremony usually takes place in the Family Life Center of First United Methodist Church of Waco.
Eagle Court of Honor
Attaining the rank of Eagle Scout is a significant milestone in the life of the Scout. It is also a reflection of the efforts of the Troop Leaders and Scout Parents. Eagle Courts of Honor are held in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church of Waco and honor those scouts who have acquired this rank.