IMPORTANT! Before you start the rank advancement process:
- Check that you have signoff in your scout handbook for all rank requirements.
- Check that you have met your service hour requirement and that it is recorded in your scout handbook. See "The Service Hour Requirement" below.
- Check that you have met the activity participation requirement and that it is recorded in your scout handbook. See "The Activity Participation Requirement" below.
- Check with the Scoutmaster that he is satisfied you have been active in the troop. See "Being Active" below.
Rank Advancement Procedure
Step 1: Apply for Rank Advancement
Once you believe that you have met all the requirements for a rank, go to the Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster of your patrol and let him know that you are ready to advance to the next rank.
Step 2: Records Check
At a time convenient for the Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster, meet with him and remember to take your Scout Handbook. The Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster will check your records for attendance, service hours, number of overnights, and level of participation in troop activities. Service hours are an important part of this check. Make sure you have completely and properly recorded your required service hours in the back of your Scout handbook.
Step 3: Scoutmaster Conference
Have your Scoutmaster Conference. The purpose of the Scoutmaster Conference is to provide an opportunity for you and the Scoutmaster to have a conversation. The Scoutmaster will be able to better identify your scouting interests including potential leadership roles. It is also an opportunity for you to provide feedback to the Scoutmaster on your scouting experience so far. At the end of your Scoutmaster Conference, you are ready for your Board of Review.
Step 4: Board of Review
Your Board of Review Chairperson will be coordinated for you. On your scheduled review date, wear your Class A uniform, look clean and neat in appearance, and have your Scout Handbook. The review typically lasts between 20 and 30 minutes. After the Board of Review is completed, you are considered "advanced". The Board of Review Chairperson will record your achievement.
The Service Hour Requirement
Page 84 of the Boy Scout Handbook states: “A service project is a special Good Turn that puts Scout spirit into action. Projects can take many forms. You might take part in a community cleanup; repair a place of worship, a museum, or the home of an elderly person; improve a wildlife habitat; volunteer at a hospital or with a public safety group; organize a recycling effort; or conduct a clothing pickup or food drive.” Service hours are not restricted to only troop-sponsored events or projects. Service hours are also not cumulative. In other words, an hour of service used for Tenderfoot only counts toward Tenderfoot and can't be applied for Second Class.
Here's the official language for each rank regarding the service hour requirement:
Tenderfoot: One hour of service
- Participate in a total of one hour of service in one or more service projects approved by your Scoutmaster. Explain how your service to others relates to the Scout slogan and Scout motto.
Second Class: Two hours of service
- Participate in two hours of service through one or more service projects approved by your Scoutmaster. Tell how your service to others relates to the Scout Oath.
First Class: Three hours of service
- Participate in three hours of service through one or more service projects approved by your Scoutmaster. The project(s) must not be the same service project(s) used for Tenderfoot requirement 7b and Second Class requirement 8e. Explain how your service to others relates to the Scout Law.
Star: Six hours of service
- While a First Class Scout, participate in six hours of service through one or more service projects approved by your Scoutmaster.
Life: Six hours of service
- While a Star Scout, participate in six hours of service through one or more service projects approved by your Scoutmaster. At least three hours of this service must be conservation-related.
Eagle: The Eagle Scout service project
- While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project must benefit an organization other than the Boy Scouts of America.)
The Activity Participation Requirement
Participating in activities that the troop offers helps Scouts to remain active in their troop. Camping activities allow Scouts to enjoy the outdoors. It is in the outdoor setting that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with one another. Additionally, the skills and activities practiced in troop meetings come alive in the outdoors. For these reasons, all rank advancement includes an activity participation requirement.
Here's the official language for each rank regarding the camping requirements:
- Spend at least one night on a patrol or troop campout. Sleep in a tent you have helped pitch.
- Since joining, participate in five separate troop/patrol activities, three of which include overnight camping. On at least two of the three campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch
- Since joining, participate in 10 separate troop/patrol activities, six of which include overnight camping. On at least five of the six campouts, spend the night in a tent that you pitch
Star, Life, Eagle Scout
- There is no camping requirement for these ranks because the camping merit badge is Eagle required and will require that the Scout attend campouts to fulfill the requirements for the badge.
The "Being Active" Requirement
To earn the top three ranks (Star, Life, Eagle) a Scout must be "active” in his troop and patrol for a specified number of months and “serve actively” in a position of responsibility. For the troop as a whole the "being active" requirement is important because the troop can best achieve it's mission (character development, citizenship training, and personal and mental fitness) when Scouts participate in meetings, outings, and service projects, and hold positions of responsibility.
A standard for attendance is set to 75% of meetings and outings. This is a reasonable standard and recognizes the many worthwhile opportunities beyond Scouting. It is important for the scout to understand that certain leadership positions require a higher level of active participation, such as Senior Patrol Leader. A Scout who falls short of the standard will be given the chance to offer an acceptable explanation. Medical, educational, family, and other issues may prevent higher levels of participation. If a Scout would have been more active if he could have been, then he is deemed active. A board of review should also provide the Scout an opportunity to demonstrate how non-Scouting activities have contributed to his growth. This option is only available if the board of review members can agree that the Scout has already exhibited Scouting values. For example, he might have missed a campout to attend a church youth retreat. The advancement program isn’t about what a Scout has done; it’s about what he’s able to do and how he has grown.
Expectations such as uniform compliance, payment of dues, and parental involvement are not considered when evaluating the “being active” requirement. Also, active participation does not have to be continuous. A Scout may piece together any periods he has been active and still meet the active requirement. And his active months don’t expire if they are followed by inactive months.
Here's the official language of "being active" for rank advancement:
- Be active in your troop for at least four months as a First Class Scout.
- While a First Class Scout, serve actively in your troop for four months in a position of responsibility.
- Be active in your troop for at least six months as a Star Scout.
- While a Star Scout, serve actively in your troop for six months in a position of responsibility.
- Be active in your troop for at least six months as a Life Scout.
- While a Life Scout, serve actively in your troop for six months in a position of responsibility.