Next, you should make sure that you are familiar with the latest advancement requirements and the Guide to Advancement so that you will become the “go-to” source in the unit on all matters pertaining to advancement. Be sure that you understand the advancement procedures, especially those for Eagle Scout. Keep a current copy of the council merit badge counselor list, and work to recruit local merit badge counselors to support the unit’s program. Note that all merit badge counselors must be registered, completed Youth Protection Training (within the last two years) and approved by the council advancement committee.
You can work with youth leadership to make sure the unit has a library of current advancement literature, including an ample supply of up-to-date merit badge pamphlets. Work with the unit leaders to ensure that the program promotes a boy reaching First Class within 12 to 18 months of joining.
You can help by keeping accurate records. Become familiar with and use BSA’s internet advancement tools, including the Scoutbook Web-based application, to track and report individual accomplishments to the local council. You then will be able to regularly brief the unit leaders on the advancement needs of each boy. Schedule regular boards of review, at least monthly, but more often, if required. Be sure to include boards of review during summer camp. Should a boy appear to be having boards less often than his contemporaries, you will be able to alert others to his situation and help in considering what steps to take. For example, a friendly “non-advancement” board of review (GTA 22.214.171.124) may be all that is needed.
To be effective, advancement must be recognized. One way is to publically announce the results of a board of review as soon as possible after it concludes, e.g., if in camp, at that evening’s campfire. Hold timely courts of honor (three are required annually to achieve Journey to Excellence Gold) with the parents and even grandparents in attendance. Some units even hold an annual court of honor where all the troop’s achievements, including a recap of individual advancements, for the year are recognized. Developing an advancement display for rank advancement and helping to make sure that all courts of honor are held with an appropriate degree of ceremony should make the event memorable and help to reinforce the message that advancement is a result of program.
If you help in these ways, your unit will have a strong, supportive advancement program that will help retain Scouts. In this way we will maximize the time we have to influence a Scout’s character. Now isn’t that what we’re all about?
Author: Boy Scouts of America |Advancement News