1. What ranks are there in scouting?
Boy Scouts has the following ranks (in the order in which they are earned
  • Scout
  • Tenderfoot
  • Second Class
  • First Class
  • Star
  • Life
  • Eagle
2. How does a scout get requirements signed off?
Rank requirements are signed off when the scout completes the particular requirement. The scout is responsible for presenting himself to a member of the troop that is permitted to sign the requirement. He needs to satisfy the signer that he has successfully completed the requirement.
3. Can a scout work on requirements from more than one rank at a time?
Yes, in fact this is the normal way to work on advancement. The only rule is that you must complete the ranks in order. That is, you can't earn first class until you earn second class. But you may have completed all requirements (except the scoutmaster conference and board of review in first class before you actually complete second class
4. Who can sign off on requirements?
In general, the scoutmaster, asst scoutmasters, and any scout that is at least first class and is at least one rank past what is being signed. This means that a first class can sign off on tenderfoot and second class requirements. Star and above can sign off on first class as well. In our troop, the senior scouts have specialties so you need to see particular senior scouts depending on what you want signed off. The scoutmaster and asst scoutmasters can sign off on anything.
5. What opportunities are there for working on advancement?
We offer the following opportunities for rank advancement
  • advancement nights at troop meetings
  • advancement workshops. Usually once per month, these are outside the normal troop meetings
  • camping trips. These are great times for advancement, especially for those skills that say "on a camping trip ..."
  • summer camp. Another great time for rank advancement (and merit badge work)
Note that, in general, we expect the scouts to be able to demonstrate the skill they want to get signed off with little prompting from the tester. This generally means that the night a scout is taught a skill they will not get it signed off. They need to come back and demonstrate it. That can be done during any troop meeting/gathering. This is not intended to make it difficult for rank advancement. But we do want to know that the scout has actually learned the skill.
6. Why don't all scouts advance at (nearly) the same rate?
Unlike Cub Scouts, advancing through the ranks is the responsibility of the scouts themselves. We provide lots of opportunities for advancement and encourage the scouts to take advantage of them. But in the end, it is up to the scout to attend the sessions/camping trips, learn and demonstrate the skills. Some scout pursue these goals harder than others.
7. What are Merit Badges?
Merit badges are another form of advancement. Each merit badge is for a particular area and represents the mastering of advanced skills in that area. There are over 100 different merit badges that can be earned. See the FAQ on merit badges for more information.
8. What are Blue Cards?
Blue cards are the record of the scouts progress towards earning a particular merit badge. Once complete and signed by a counselor, they are the scouts record that they completed the badge. These are important records that should be kept in a safe place.
9. What is a scoutmaster conference and board of review?
Scoutmaster conferences and boards of review are the last 2 steps that a scout must take prior to earning each of the ranks in scouting (except the Scout rank). When the scout has completed all the other requirements, they should request a scoutmaster's conference (with the scoutmaster). This is a one on one conversation between the scout and the scoutmaster during which they discuss the scouts progress in scouting, their views of scouting and the troop, among other topics.
 Once the scoutmaster has signed off, the scout is ready for their board of review for the rank they are trying to earn. A board of review is a meeting between the scout and at least 3 members of the troop committee. This meeting does not include the scoutmaster and is a chance of the committee to meet with each of the scouts, assess their development, discuss the troop and the scouts experience in scouting.
 These meetings are not "tests" but they are assessments of how well the scout has learned the skills required for the rank being sought.