Introduction

The Guide to Advancement is the official source for administering advancement in all Boy Scouts of America programs: Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, Venturing, and Sea Scouts. It replaces the Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures and Advancement and Recognition Policies and Procedures, which are no longer valid.

Be aware that statements or interpretations offered from unofficial websites and other such sources may be out of date or incorrect. They will not be considered in resolving advancement questions and issues. In situations not specifically covered in this guide, advancement chairs, coordinators, or other administrators should make decisions based on the aims and mission of the Boy Scouts of America, as well as the Scout Oath and Scout Law—and common sense.

Regardless the program—Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, Venturing, or Sea Scouts—where advancement takes place, it is nothing more and nothing less than a method. It is a means toward accomplishing the Boy Scouts of America mission. It is not an end in itself. When as advancement administrators—both volunteer and professional—we recognize this, we can expect success. To see it otherwise is to indicate we have forgotten our purpose.

1.0.1.0 Questions and Suggestions

Every effort has been made to provide clear procedures and guidelines for a mission-oriented delivery of advancement. Administration of it, however, largely takes place locally. Therefore, volunteer advancement administrators should always consult first with the district and council—the district advancement chair, district executive, council advancement chair, or the council’s professional staff advisor for advancement. These officials can provide many answers and a certain level of interpretation.

The national Advancement Team is available for recommendations or for questions that cannot be handled locally. Suggested corrections to this publication are also gratefully accepted. Send questions and comments to advancement.team@scouting.org, or mail them to National Advancement Team, Program Impact Department, S209, Boy Scouts of America, 1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, Texas 75015-2079.

Suggestions for new merit badges should be directed to the BSA Innovation Team at merit.badge@scouting.org.

1.0.2.0 Significant Changes

Producing the Guide to Advancement involved many members of the Boy Scouts of America’s national staff and many volunteer advancement administrators at all levels from across the country. The result is an all-new resource intended to more efficiently meet the needs of those who would most often consult it. Because this resource is completely different from its predecessors, it is difficult to cite specific differences. However, a number of sections merit close review.

1. Council, district, and unit advancement committee responsibilities detailed and listed (“Guidelines for Advancement and Recognition Committees,” 3.0.0.1–3.0.0.3)

2. Section on awards and recognitions eliminated for integration into a new publication, the Guide to Awards and Insignia, No. 33066 (“Awards and Recognitions,” 3.0.0.4)

3. Cub Scouting material updated (“Mechanics of Advancement: In Cub Scouting,” 4.1.0.0)

4. “Active participation” and “position of responsibility” requirements approached from unit’s established reasonable expectations (“Active Participation,” 4.2.3.1; and “Positions of Responsibility,” 4.2.3.4)

5. Venturing and Sea Scouts coverage added (“Mechanics of Advancement: In Venturing,” 4.3.0.0; and “In Sea Scouts,” 4.4.0.0)

6. Merit badge section reorganized and expanded (“The Merit Badge Program,” 7.0.0.0)

7. Board of review practices clarified, including wearing the uniform (“Boards of Review: An Overview for All Ranks,” 8.0.0.0)

8. Rank advancement appeals limited to board of review rejections (“Boards of Review: Appealing a Decision,” 8.0.4.0); and new process added (“Initiating Eagle Scout Board of Review Under Disputed Circumstances,” 8.0.3.2)

9. Eagle Scout rank application process clarified and updated (“The Eagle Scout Rank: Application Process,” 9.0.1.0)

10. Eagle Scout service project requirement changed, detailed, and clarified (“The Eagle Scout Rank: Service Project,” 9.0.2.0; see also “Proposal Must Be Approved … Before You Start,” 9.0.2.7)

11. New process for requesting time extensions for earning Eagle Scout rank (“The Eagle Scout Rank: Time Extensions,” 9.0.4.0)

12. Advancement for special-needs youth clarified (“Advancement for Members With Special Needs,” 10.0.0.0)

13. In applying for alternative requirements a qualifying disability need not be permanent (“Advancement for Members With Special Needs: Using Alternative Requirements,” 10.2.2.1; “Alternative Merit Badges for Eagle Scout Rank,” 10.2.2.3; “Working Toward Venturing Awards,” 10.2.3.2; and “Working Toward Sea Scout Ranks,” 10.2.3.3)