848 Policy – Advancement Rate

For parents with a son in scouting, you most likely are looking for him to achieve the rank of Eagle.  Unlike some troops, in Troop 848, you will not see any 13-14 year-old Eagle Scouts.  To get all the way through at that age, before you’re even allowed to participate in High Adventure activities (BSA requires 14 years old before Philmont, Sea Base, Northern Tier, etc.) just seems like doing an injustice to the scout – he won’t value it enough and he will not have the maturity to be able to fully benefit from most of the Eagle required merit badges.  Many of them direct the scout to consider future employment options within the subject matter of the merit badge.  This is very challenging for most younger aged scouts.  For those of you who are content to let your son just come to meetings and camp outs to have fun, that’s okay, too, but this might come in handy in the event he ever gets eager for more…

There are seven ranks in boy scouting:

  1. Scout
  2. Tenderfoot
  3. Second Class
  4. First Class
  5. Star
  6. Life
  7. Eagle

To achieve each rank, there are several requirements that must be met.  The last two requirements in each rank are the Scoutmaster Conference (SMConf) and the Board of Review (BOR).  Those are detailed in other “848 Policies”.  Apart from those two, the rest of the requirements should be attainable with regular active participation in troop activities (meetings, camp outs, and service projects).  The later ranks include requirements for leadership, as well.  This can be tough to accomplish in a troop as large as ours, but we work to structure the organization such that all who are willing to step up and lead get the opportunity.

Timing of ranks:  This section will give you some generic rules of thumb for what your son should be accomplishing by what age.

  1. Scout – This is achieved within the first three months of your son joining.  He will be required to have some basic understanding of the history of scouting and be able to recite the Scout Law, Oath, Motto, Slogan, and the Outdoor Code plus some new requirements that BSA has recently added.  
  2. Tenderfoot
  3. Second Class
  4. First Class

Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class requirements are all eligible to be worked on at the same time.  They are to be earned in sequence, but the scout can work on all of the tasks simultaneously.  (If he claims to be overwhelmed by it, tell him it’s simpler than the average video game!).  There are roughly two dozen requirements in each of these three ranks.  Completion of these requirements will provide a boy with a mastery of the basic scout skills.  Ideally, the majority of the requirements can be knocked out in your son’s first summer camp.  Boys that miss that wonderful opportunity will need to do a bit of reminding/nagging/pushing to get their needs tended to by the troop.  We typically have an “Advancements Camp Out” or “Advancement Day” in November or January where the older boys lead the younger ones through most of the requirements.  Additionally, at each troop meeting, the patrols meet together as units for the first 10-15 minutes – during that time, the Patrol Leader has the opportunity to get a listing of what his patrol members need in order to advance.  Those needs are to be compiled by the student leadership and worked into the agendas of the troop meetings and camp outs.

Ideally, these three ranks are completed within the first year your son is in scouts, however more often the First Class Rank is eventually completed after 18-24 months with the troop.

  1. Star – The Star rank is earned roughly a year and a half after 1st class.  Six merit badges are required including 4 from the required list for Eagle.  There are Service Hours which must be performed (see Service Hours Policy) and four months of leadership.  The Scout will need to bring his completed Leadership Record to his Scoutmasters Conference and be prepared to discuss it.
  2. Life – The Life rank is earned roughly a year and a half after Star.  Five more merit badges are required, 3 from the list for Eagle.  There are Service Hours which must be performed (see Service Hours Policy) and six months of leadership as well as teaching skills to younger scouts.  The Scout will need to bring his completed Leadership Record to his Scoutmasters Conference and be prepared to discuss it.
  3. Eagle – The Eagle rank is earned roughly a year and a half after Life.  There are extensive leadership requirements including an Eagle Project.  The Scout will need to bring his completed Leadership Record to his Scoutmasters Conference and be prepared to discuss it.

Note: IT IS HIGHLY ADVISABLE to photo copy your scout’s handbook on a regular basis.  This is their formal record of advancement and they will need it for each rank advancement.  If the scout loses his book, the easiest way to recover is from a photo copy.