Youth and adults new to Boy Scouting often ask the same questions about the rank advancement program and board of review process. Here is a quick reference guide of answers to some of those frequently asked questions.
Question: What is advancement, and what role does it play in Scouting?
Answer: Education and fun are functions of the Scouting movement—as is the growth of our youth members—and make up the basis of the advancement program. As the Scout meets certain requirements, he may advance in rank. The Scouting program is designed to help young people have an exciting and meaningful experience. A quality Scouting program strives for the following:
- Every young person achieves personal growth.
- Each individual learns by doing.
- Youth members progress at their own rate.
- All young people receive recognition for their individual accomplishments.
- Youth participants are encouraged to embrace Scouting ideals.
Question: For the Star, Life, and Eagle Scout ranks, how is "Be active in your troop and patrol" defined?
Answer: Use the following three sequential tests to determine whether the requirement has been met. The first and second are required, along with either the third or its alternative.
- The Scout is registered.
- The Scout is in good standing - he has not been dismissed for disciplinary reasons.
- The Scout meets the unit’s reasonable expectations; or, if not, a lesser level of activity is explained.
- Alternative to 3: If a young man has fallen below his unit’s activity oriented expectations, then it must be due to other positive endeavors—in or out of Scouting—or to noteworthy circumstances that have prevented a higher level of participation. In this case a Scout is considered “active” if a board of review can agree that Scouting values have already taken hold and been exhibited.
Question: What is a board of review, and what is its primary purpose?
Answer: The troop committee conducts a board of review to periodically review each Scout's progress, from Tenderfoot through Life ranks, to encourage him, to learn whether he is enjoying his Scouting experience, and to evaluate the unit's effectiveness in conducting the Scouting program to benefit him. The review presents a good opportunity to monitor the Scout's advancement and keep him on track. It also gives unit leaders a chance to measure the effectiveness of their leadership. The troop committee appoints three to six individuals to conduct the board of review.
Question: How often is a board of review held?
Answer: Whenever a Scout completes all the requirements for any rank, from Tenderfoot through Life, he appears before a board of review. He does so after having a conference with his Scoutmaster.
Our youth leaders plan the scouting year each summer at a planning meeting. They will incorporate skill instruction into nearly every meeting and campout. A scout that attends every event, including Summer Camp, should earn their first three ranks of Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class in one to two years. Scouts are encouraged to independently study the advancement requirements as they are listed in the handbook, and then ask a youth leader to watch them prove that they have learned the skill in question, so that they can be given credit for their new knowledge.