Progress Toward Ranks
Scouts work their way toward Eagle by meeting the requirements of each rank. The ranks, in order, are:
- Second Class
- First Class
Scouts can complete the requirements to make progress toward ranks by:
- Particapating in advancement activities during troop meetings,
- Participating in advancement activities during campouts and excursions, and
- Through individual initiative by the scoout.
- In order to progress to each rank, the scout will follow these general steps:
Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class
The Scout Handbook lists the specific skills and experiences (e.g. camping, first aid) to achieve each of these ranks. Requirements for all three ranks can be worked on simultaneously, however lower ranks must be completed before a scout can earn a higher-level rank (Tenderfoot must be completed before a scout is elligible to receive first class, etc.). The scout must complete each of these requirements under the direction of a scout leader as follows:
- The scout reviews the requirments and how to complete them in the Scout Handbook.
- The scout tests himself alone or during a scouting function until he is confident he knows the skill.
- A member of the Program or Advancement department tests the scout on the requirement. Scouts can ask for this testing at all troop meetings and campouts.
- Upon completion the scout should ask the person who has tested him to sign off on the requirement in the scout handbook and to update the official advancement record.
Once a scout has completed all of the requirments for a given rank he must request and complete a scoutmaster conference and board of review. These can be requested from a member of the Advancement department.
Star, Life and Eagle
Once a scout has earned First Class he has learned all of his basic scout skills. He is now ready to take on leadership roles in the troop and to become a teacher of younge scouts. Star, Life, and Eagle are earned through a combination of requirements such as community service, merit badges (see below), and leadership. Each rank requires a certain number of merit badges, a community service project, and several months of leadership experience. Like with the earlier ranks, upon completion of all requirements, the scout must request a scoutmaster conference and board of review from the Advancement department.
Advancement is the responsibility of the scout. While parental encouragement is helpful,personal initiative is necessary for successful advancement. Scouts can track their advancment in their Scout Handbooks. It is the scouts responsibility to make sure that he has his requirements signed off when he is tested. The troop also tracks advancement in the computer at the cabin. Official advancement records are periodically submitted to council, where they are maintained in a central database.
Boards of Review and Scoutmaster Conferences
The Board of review is a meeting between a scout and two members of the troop committee that is held after the scout has completed all of the requirements for his next rank. During the Board of Review the requirements for the rank will be discussed and the scout will be asked to demonstrate some skills.
The Scoutmaster Conference is a meeting between the scout and the scoutmaster that is also held after all requirements for the scouts next rank are complete. During the Scoutmaster Conference the scoutmaster discusses the scout's advancement progress, troop involvement, scouting goals, and potential leadership opertunities.
Boards of Review and Scoutmaster conferences are only held during certain meetings and must be scheduled in advance with the Advancement department.
Merit badges are an integral part of scout advancement, particularly once the scout has reached the rank of First Class (though a scout can start earning merit badges at any point in his scouting career). There are over 100 different merit badges available in many different topic areas, designed to help build a scouts character by introducing him to a variety of topics and skills. To earn Eagle, a scout must complete a total of 21 merit badges. Of these, 12 are prescribed as "Eagle required" and the scout is free to select any of the remaining ones to make up the diference. Many scouts are led to careers and lifelong hobbies because of activities completed in the merit badge program.
To earn a merit badge, a scout must:
- Decide which badge(s) he wishes to earn. Remember to review the current list of Eagle-required badges in the Scout Handbook.
- At the next scout meeting, ask a member of the advancement department for:
- A merit badge booklet (optional). The troop has several available to borrow, others can be purchased at the council scout shop for a nominal fee.
- A list of merit badge councelors.
- A blue merit badge application card. The counselor will use this card to report your progress on and verify completion of the requirements for the badge. *Another scout seeking the same merit badge (counselors use the buddy system).
- Contact the counselor to discuss how you will acheive the the requirements.
- Upon completion of the requirements, obtain the signature of the counselor on the blue card and return it to the Advancement department for recording and processing.
Courts of Honor
Three times a year Tay House holds courts of honor to celebrate the accomplishments of our scouts in leadership and advancement and to acknowledge the special contribuions of troop members. At the courts, scouts are presented with newly earned ranks, merit badges, and other awards. Parents and family members are invited and encouraged to attend.
The scout handbook lists all of the requirements for each rank and for each Eagle-required merit badge. Requirements for non-required merit badges are available in several places online including MeritBadge.com. The National Council also publishes a book that lists all of the requiremnents for all BSA awards which cna be purchased at the council scout shop.
There is a merit badge booklet published for every merit badge that can be helpful in meeting requirements. The troop has several of these booklets available for loan at no charge. If the troop does not have a booklet for a particular merit badge, the book can be purchased at the council scout shoop for a few dollars. To inquire about borrowing booklets, please see the advancement department.