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BSA Troop 571 - Sammamish Washington

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Troop 571 Advancement Program

The Boy Scout Handbook– Both boys and parents should become familiar with the contents of the official Boy Scout Handbook, as it will provide answers to many questions. Descriptions of the requirements for each Scout rank, Scout Skill Awards and several key merit badges are covered in the book. As your son advances in rank, Instructors or Scout Leaders will sign off on the completion of each requirement in the handbook. Over time this book will become a valuable record of your son’s achievements. First year Scouts should bring their book to each weekly meeting. Encourage your son to take good care of his book as he will need it for a long time.

Boy Scout Ranks - The first four ranks (Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class) must be obtained in sequence, but can be worked on simultaneously. A detailed list for each rank is listed in the handbook. The boys will have many opportunities to learn basic skills as they advance through the first four ranks. . They will also learn to work together which is often more essential than rank advancement.

Signing Off Requirements- To have the requirements signed off, the Scout needs to ask someone to sign it. Older Scouts with First Class and above are authorized to sign the requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, and Second Class. If an older scout is unavailable to test and sign off for the requirement;then an adult leader may sign for the Scout. An adult leader may be an Assistant Scoutmaster. (In Boy Scouts troop leaders, rather than parents, sign off advancement requirements. In order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, in most troops, troop leaders will not normally sign off rank requirements for their own sons.. Your son will be introduced to the adult and scout leaders during his first months in the Troop.

Scout Spirit- In addition to the skills and Merit Badges required for each rank, Scouts must also show Scout Spirit. Scout Spirit includes a number of elements such as participation, contribution, leadership and maturity relative to rank. It also includes making effort to live by the Scout Law in their daily lives.

Scoutmaster Conference- At the completion of each rank, the Scout is required to schedule a Scoutmaster conference and these are often held during the regular troop meetings. The Scout has the responsibility to request a conference and then the Scoutmaster or an Assistant Scoutmaster will meet with the scout to talk over and check that the Scout has fulfilled all rank requirements and also measure the Scout’s readiness for advancement. Boys should dress neatly in uniform for their conferences. The exact parts of the uniform required are different for the lower and upper ranks, see uniform section below.

Board of Review- Boards of Review are also a part of rank advancement. Committee members interview boys who have passed their Scoutmaster conferences to both formalize their achievements and to obtain feedback about the troop and the boys experience in it. The Board of Review is an opportunity to engage in conversation. It is not intended to be an examination or a retesting.

Court of Honor– The purpose of a Court of Honor is to recognize the accomplishments of the boys. It is to acknowledge and appreciate the ranks, Merit Badges and leadership roles earned by the Scouts since the last Court of Honor. They are usually held quarterly in the church sanctuary.

BSA References to Advancement:

The Troop is governed by the BSA Guide to Advancement  that can be found here:

Advancement and Recognition Literature and Resources - 

Merit badges
- The Scout is also free to work on individual Merit Badges which are required for the higher ranks of Star, Life and Eagle. Earning merit badges allows the Scout to explore many fields and introduces them to subjects that may become lifelong interests or a rewarding career.

There are more than 100 merit badges to choose from and a Scout does not need to reach a certain rank to earn merit badges. At any time a scout finds interest in working towards a merit badge they just need to contact a Merit Badge Councelor.Our Troop has many Merit Badge Councelors and can be found on the attached list.

There is no limit to the number of merit badges a Scout can work on at any one time, but it is suggested that Scouts pace themselves and not become overwhelmed by working on too many at one time.

Here are the steps a Scout takes to earning a merit badge:

1.Get a blue merit badge card from the Merit Badge Leader, Merit Badge Councelor or Scoutmaster.Then fill in your name, address, and the name of the badge, and ask the Scoutmaster to sign it (if not already signed).

2.Call the counselor and set up an appointment. This can be at any place that is suitable to both of you. Along with a buddy (another Scout, a family member, or a friend), meet with the counselor. The counselor will explain the requirements for the merit badge and help you get started.

3.Work on the badge requirements until you complete them, meeting with the counselor (along with your buddy) whenever necessary. You must complete the stated requirements and satisfy the standards of each merit badge. It is your responsibility for keeping the blue card.If you lose this card, you will have to start the badge over.

4.After you complete the merit badge and the counselor signs your blue card, he or she will keep the counselor’s section and return the rest of the card to you. Bring the rest of the card to the Merit Badge Leader.

5.You will be honored at the next Court of Honor for the work you accomplished in earning the merit badge.

During the year the Troop conductsMerit Badge workshop series in the Fall, Winter and Spring that provide opportunities to work towards earning merit badges.Also, for many scouts, summer camp is a fine opportunity to earn several Merit Badges.


Resources for Merit Badge Counselors

Merit Badge Counciler List .

Link to List of Merit Badge books.

Link to Merit Badge Workbooks

Link to Merit Badge Counselor Application



Guide for Merit Badge Counselors

Frequently Asked Questions

MBC Resources on

Supplemental Training - Merit Badge Counselor Instructors Guide


The advancement records are kept by the troop Advancement Chair, the Council office, and most importantly by the Scout. The Council office keeps records supplied to them by the troop Advancement Chair, who also keeps copies of these records for the troop in a software program called Troopmaster

If a Scout passes their Board of Review for rank advancement, the Advancement Chair will ask to take the scout’s handbook in order to record the rank requirements that have been met.The book will be returned at the next Troop meeting.

It is also recommended that the Scout create a binder to contain all their scout history records.A well maintained history would include:

·completed and signed blue merit badge cards

·wallet-sized certificate cards for rank advancement

·Scout participation log:include dates and title of the scouting event, number of camping nights, and miles hiked.

·any certificates or special awards earned

Make sure all history items are signed or initialed by the appropriate Scout leader. It is advised to make copies of signed rank requirement pages in the scout handbook in case the book is lost during an outing.It is also suggested organize the binder by keeping blue cards and rank certificates in plastic protector pages which are designed for baseball and other sports cards.

Please keep all scouting records in a safe place. If it should happen that there is a discrepancy or missed record, your personal records are your most important ally in proving what you completed and when.


Advancement Committee Policies & Procedures, October, 2009 Edition (BSA Supply No. 33088)

BSA National Advancement Resources