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Boy Scout Troop 32
(Dickinson, North Dakota)
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Advancement Philosophy

Implementation is the Scout's responsibility. We will be instructing the Scouts on what they must do to advance, but the decision to spend the time and effort earning advancement is 100% up to them. We are working to provide an integrated program from the Monday night Scout meetings to the campouts so that we're teaching skills that can be used on the campout and focusing our attention on a few merit badges that many of the boys may wish to earn (or that may be required for advancement).

In his first year, the new Scout should not be concerned with earning Merit Badges, but can if he wishes to do so. If he has a special skill or interest, and would like to work on a merit badge he certainly can. To start the process, he must simply speak with our Scoutmaster about his desire to work on a specific Merit Badge. He will provide him with a "blue card" that will be used to track his progress.  After he has completed work on the badge and it has been approved by the merit badge counselor, the Scout must turn the "blue card" in to the Scoutmaster, who will sign it prior to turning it in to our Advancement Chair. The Scoutmaster will coach the Scouts on finding a Merit Badge counselor, which is the primary reason that the Scouts must start by talking with the Scoutmaster.  Our Troop policy states that each Merit Badge must be offered to all members of the Troop, and we must follow the BSA guidelines that prohibit one-on-one meetings.  Some restrictions may be placed on the offering, such as age requirements or class size, with prior approval of the Scoutmaster or Troop Committee.

If the Scout regularly attends the Monday night meetings and the campouts he will most likely advance at the appropriate time.  However, attendance in and of itself does not mean the Scout has completed the requirements.  He must participate in the advancement activities to receive credit. We hope to have all the First Year Scouts achieve the rank of First Class by the end of summer. The requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks are all displayed in a easy to read format in the back of the Scout Handbook, along with the links below. Both Scouts and parents should familiarize themselves with the requirements. It is helpful if the parents show an interest in what their son has accomplished and what he should be working to achieve. This is how they can best support their son in Scouts. The adult and youth leaders of the Troop will provide each Scout opportunities for advancement, but the decision to take advantage of the opportunities will be his to make. We do not force the Scouts to work on advancement. It is not a condition for staying in the program. However, we have found that the Scouts who fall behind their peers in advancement typically lose interest and drop out of the program (some sooner than others). Again, the leadership does not place any pressure on Scouts to advance, although we highly encourage and provide recognition for those Scouts who do earn advancement.

The Scouts should bring their Handbooks to every meeting and every camp out. Their book serves as the official record of their achievements, and each requirement for advancement must get signed by an adult leader.  Parents are not allowed to sign their son's book. It is each Scout's responsibility to have their book signed by an adult leader, the leaders will not chase them down to sign their books. If a Scout needs to meet with an adult leader to work on an advancement requirement, he should call a leader and make arrangements to meet. Many of the adult leaders are willing and able to attend the Monday night meeting early and this is often the best meeting time, but the Scouts must initiate the meeting.  Each Scout should present his handbook to the Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, or Advancement Chair on a regular basis so we can update his records on the computer and also sign off requirements in his handbook that the computer program has automatically credited him with, such as activity participation and service hours.

Rank Advancements

The Boy Scouts of America have identified 7 ranks that a boy may earn. Each rank is progressively more difficult than the last. The ranks are divided into 2 distinct groups. After completing the requirements for each rank the Scout will participate in a Scoutmaster Conference and Board of Review, made up of 3-5 adults.

The web site has done an excellent job outlining the advancement program for Boy Scouts.

Merit Badges

Merit Badges are the second main area of the Boy Scout advancement program. Unlike ranks, there is a degree of choice in the merit badge program. A sub-group of merit badges are known as Eagle required merit badges. To earn Eagle Scout, most of these badges must be earned although some are "either/or" badges. The remainder of the badges help with earning ranks as well as Eagle Palms after the Eagle Scout award has been earned.

Boy Scouts may work on merit badges from they time they join a Scout troop until they turn 18 years old. There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18.

Thanks to for the above explanation of merit badges.

The merit badges offer an extremely wide variety of subjects for scouts to explore. With over 120 merit badges, the choices are virtually limitless when it comes to finding a subject of interest.

To learn more about the requirements for all the merit badges, or to get worksheets to help out with the merit badges, CLICK HERE!