Every activity in Scouting contributes towards accomplishing one or more of the aims of Scouting program: character development, citizenship training, leadership, and mental and physical fitness. Advancement is one of the eight methods used to help Scouts fulfill the aims of the program.
Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. Scouts are rewarded for each achievement, which helps them gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.
Advancement is the process by which youth members of the Boy Scouts of America progress from rank to rank and is the method by which we promote and encourage the ongoing involvement and commitment that keeps members coming back for more. It works best when it is built into a unit’s program so that simply participating leads to meaningful achievement and recognition – and to a continually improving readiness for more complex experiences.
It Is a Method—Not an End in Itself
Advancement is simply a means to an end, not an end in itself. It is one of eight methods designed to help unit leadership carry out the aims and mission of the Boy Scouts of America.
Advancement Is Based on Experiential Learning
Everything done to advance – to earn ranks and other awards and recognition – is designed to educate or to otherwise expand horizons. Scouts learn and develop according to a standard.
Experiential learning is the key: Exciting and meaningful activities are offered, and education happens. Learning comes from doing.
It is important to note, as with any educational opportunity, a rank or award is not the end of the learning process. In Scouting, after a requirement has been passed, the Scout is placed in practical situations that build retention through repeated use of skills.
Personal Growth Is the Primary Goal
Scouting skills – what a young person learns to do – are important, but not as important as the primary goal of personal growth achieved through participating in a unit program. The concern is for total, well-rounded development.
Learning Scout skills and concepts through active participation is a vehicle for personal growth, but it is not the primary goal.
Advancement Requires Mentorship
Though certainly goal-oriented, advancement is not a competition. Rather, it is a joint effort involving the leaders, the members, other volunteers such as merit badge counselors or Venturing consultants, and the family. Though much is done individually at their own pace, youth often work together in groups to focus on achievements and electives at Cub Scout den meetings, for example, or participate in a Scouts BSA camp out or Sea Scout cruise.
The Advancement Program
The Boy Scouts of America provides five programs: Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing, Exploring, and Sea Scouts. Each program has its own tailored advancement program. Additional advancement information for each program can be found in their respective section.
Resources. The following important resources to understand and implement the advancement program can be found in the Advancement information section.
- Guide to Advancement – Published by BSA as the official source for administering advancement in all of the programs.
- Susquehanna Council Policies and Procedures – Published by the Advancement Committee of the Susquehanna Council as the official source of policies and procedures to clarify and standardize aspects of the advancement program. It is a single source compilation of all policies and procedures regarding advancement approved for application in the Susquehanna Council.
- Soaring News, an Advancement Newsletter – The Council Advancement Committee produces a newsletter on a monthly basis to improve the flow of information to leaders in the Council regarding advancement topics for Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA. It provides current information each month on changes regarding advancement, as well as clarifications of advancement requirements, tips, reminders, and guidelines on advancement. It is a resource to encourage and maintain a high-quality advancement program in our Council.
- Special needs Scouts – resources available to plan for and request modifications to assist a special needs Scout in completing advancement requirements.
- Read the Guide to Advancement, Section 10.0.0.0
- Introduction to working with Scouts with special needs and disabilities, No 510-071
- The inclusion toolbox
- Individual Scout Advancement Plan, No 512-96
- Application for alternative Eagle Scout rank merit badges
- See the BSA’s main page for Serving Scouts with disabilities
- A presentation to help unit leaders and parents plan and prepare for Advancement in the Troop for Special Needs Scouts
- Contacts. The council and district advancement and recognition committees (referred to simply as the council or district advancement committee) are responsible for implementing and facilitating advancement within the council and processing most special awards and recognitions for the council. The contact information for key members of those committees is below.
Bald Eagle District
Chuck Mertes Email Chuck Mertes 570-971-1312
Seven Bridges District
Steve Slotter Email Steve Slotter 570-850-6300
Steve Guthrie Email Steve Guthrie 570-768-4170
Council staff advisor
Halia VanKirk Email Halia VanKirk 570-863-8236
Advancement. It is essential that unit leaders regularly report the advancement of the Scouts in their unit. Click here for Internet Advancement 2.0 using Scoutbook.
Service hours. It is important that unit leaders regularly submit the information on service projects completed by the unit and individual Scouts, including basic information on the project and total number of service hours. To report service hours click here.