By Darryl Alder
Jan 17, 2014

Guide to Advancement: It’s Not Your Old Advancement Guidelines

The first edition of the Guide to Advancement appeared in 2011.  Most Scouters thought of it as a simple replacement of the old Advancement Guidelines that had been written and rewritten many times, but this edition has been totally revamped.

In 2013 the second edition was released, but only after many Scouters had contributed, both volunteers and professionals. This process was repeated for the 2015 edition.  Many new ideas were considered from field, which led to a complete rewrite of previous advancement publications.


For the latest edition to Guide to Advancement always check on online at or if you prefer to purchase a copy, check your local Scout shop or The  Guide to Advancement is is the official source for BSA advancement – and the final word.  Unit leaders, merit badge counselors, district advancement chairmen, and others may not make changes or additions.  Mandated procedures and recommended practices are worded as follows:

  • Must or shall = mandated
  • Should = recommended
  • May or can = flexibility

Furthermore, it has been carefully reviewed to insure the Guide to Safe Scouting applies to all advancement-related activities described in the booklet.

If, after reading the guide, you find you have advancement questions, consult “Advancement News” at or send your questions via Twitter at @AdvBSA.  Locally all twenty districts have an advancement team that can help and, of course, you may contact the Council office at 801.437.6222.  You may also contact the National Advancement Team at

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Author: Darryl Alder | Director of Support Services, Utah National Parks Council


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