The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Every Scouting activity moves boys toward three basic aims: character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical fitness. Rank Advancement is one of the eight methods used by Scout leaders to help boys fulfill the aims of the BSA.
Troop 44's rank advancement includes the following three programs.
Trail to First Class
The Trail to First Class program is where the Scout learns the fundamentals of scouting by completing the requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks. These skills are needed during a Scout's time in scouting and are designed to help the Scout grow into a self-sufficient, confident, and able person. A Scout can master a skill by practicing.
First to Life
After a Scout has earned the First Class rank, he enters the First to Life program. This is where the Scout can really set his goal on reaching the rank of Eagle. As a Star and Life Scout, the Scout takes on leadership within the troop. When a Scout accepts a leadership role for rank advancement, he is agreeing to a list of responsibilities for carrying out that role. The Scoutmaster will provide feedback to the Scout so that the Scout can know how he is doing while holding the leadership position and what he can do differently to improve on his leadership skills. It is always the responsibility of the Scout to fully understand what is expected of him when taking on a leadership role. If a Scout is unsure if he is performing his leadership requirements adequately for rank advancement, he should speak with the Scoutmaster. If a Scout is not performing his leadership requirements because he wishes not to or does not have the time, the Scoutmaster will ask him to give up the leadership position.
Road to Eagle
The rank of Eagle Scout is the highest rank that can be earned in the Boy Scouts of America. It requires considerable perseverance to get there. Requirements include earning a minimum total of 21 merit badges, including all required badges that were not previously earned, and a demonstration of Scout Spirit, service and leadership. All requirements except the Board of Review must be finished before a Scout's 18th birthday.