Troop 197 Rank Advancement Procedures
From the Scoutmaster Handbook, 2010 edition:
The Boy Scouts of America uses eight fundamental methods to meet boys' hope for fun and adventure, and to achieve Scouting's aims of encouraging character development, citizenship, and mental and physical fitness. One of those eight methods is advancement. The BSA believes that a boy should receive recognition for his achievements. The requirements for the ranks of Tenderfoot through First Class prepare boys to take full advantage of all that scouting has to offer. Earning merit badges allows them to explore many fields, helps them round out their skills, and perhaps introduces them to subjects that will become lifelong interests and rewarding careers. In addition, advancement sets a pattern of setting positive goals and reaching them throughout life. Star, Life, and Eagle requirements focus on service to others and developing leadership skills.
When a Scout believes he has completed all requirements (except Scoutmaster Conference and Board of Review), he should:
- The Scout should contact one of the Scoutmasters for his current rank to schedule his conference (SMC). (See the list of Scoutmasters on the Leadership page.)
- The Scout himself should take the initiative to arrange the conference. Doing so allows the Scout to develop skills in communicating with adults, advocating for himself, and scheduling. It is perfectly fine for parents to provide impetus and guidance in the background, especially for younger Scouts, but the Scout should be the one to communicate with the Scoutmaster.
- At the conference, the Scoutmaster will inspect the Scout's handbook, sign off on needed requirements that are now satisfied, and sign and date the SMC requirement. The conference may be held at any time and location that is mutually agreeable to the Scout and the Scoutmaster (subject to the BSA Youth Protection requirements). The Scoutmaster will review with the Scout to determine if he has met the leadership and service requirements. If the Scoutmaster determines that any requirements are incomplete, he/she and the Scout will make a plan to fill in the gaps and arrange a follow-up conference to verify completion.
- Once the Scoutmaster is satisfied that all requirements have been met, the Scoutmaster will sign and date the SMC requirement in the Scout's handbook and will notify the Troop Advancement Coordinator that the Scout is eligible for his Board of Review (BOR).
- The Scout next requests a BOR for the desired rank by emailing email@example.com. The Scout should not request a BOR until after the SMC is completed and all rank requirements are met. Scouts must email by Wednesday in order to get on the docket for the next upcoming Sunday meeting.
- For younger Scouts, its perfectly fine for parents to help. As Scouts get older (e.g. 1st-class and above), Scouts should take on the primary responsibility for communication, not his parents.
- The Committee Chair checks with the advancement chair to see if that Scout is indeed ready for a BOR.
- Committee Chair puts the scout on the BOR list. Committee Chair recruits adult volunteers, community members, committee members for Sunday BORs.
- If the Scout is not able to have a BOR due to resource limitations (e.g. run out of time, not enough BORs finish), the Scout moves up in the queue for the following week.
Scouts may request a conference at any time during their work on a particular rank. A Scoutmaster will be happy to sit with him and review his progress and help him plan a path to finishing the requirements for the rank he is working on.
Notes, Guidelines, and More Rules:
- Scoutmaster conferences and Boards of Review have been de-coupled and cannot be held on the same Sunday.
- There is no artificial deadline for Courts of Honor since rank advancement can happen continuously throughout the year.
- BORs will typically be held during regularly schedule meetings and occasionally on an ad-hoc basis.
- No BORs shall be conducted at summer camps and on camping trips. Scoutmaster conferences, for lower ranks however, can be held on campouts and at summer camps. We prefer to hold SMCs for Star and Life outside of camp as well due to the more intensive nature of those ranks. SMCs for Eagle Rank require a good bit of paperwork and BOR preparation and are not held at summer camp.
- Scouts are highly encouraged to wear their complete Class-A uniform to their BOR.
- BORs must be composed of adult committee members, adult volunteers, and community members.
- Scout should bring his handbook to BOR.
- Troop guides will hold mini-conferences, periodically, to review younger Scouts' handbooks and help them plan their advancement. The troop will usually set aside 15-minutes during each meeting for patrol meetings and mini-conferences.
Leadership Requirements and Attendance
Rank requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle require scouts to serve in leadership roles and be active in the troop. This section provides guidelines as to what active means and how leadership roles are recognized.
- Troop activities include meetings, summer camps, high adventure, weekend campouts, COHs, troop fundraising events, and troop eagle projects. The key requirement is that an activity must be a troop activity to count.
- SPLs, ASPLs, PLs, Scribe, and other PLC members must maintain a 75% attendance level to be considered active.
- Troop guides, Historian, APLs, and other leadership positions must maintain a 50% attendance level to be considered active.
- Credit for fulfilling a leadership position will be at the discretion of the scoutmaster for a Scout's rank.
- The Troop will maintain attendance records to help Scouts with record keeping. Scouts are encouraged to keep their own records as well.
- Troop leadership positions (SPL, ASPL, PL, Troop Guides, Chaplains Aid, QM, etc.) typically start at the PLC retreat end of August and end at the May Court of Honor.
- Non-PLC leadership positions start once the Scout has sat for a brief interview/discussion about the leadership position and understood and accepted the responsibilities of that position. A leadership contract is then signed by the Scout and his parents. The Scout's leadership position then starts.
- Summer leadership positions start after the Court of Honor and end before the August PLC retreat. Scouts that desire to be active over the summer must request a leadership position from the Scoutmaster.
- While we understand occasional schedule conflicts, consistent absence and/or leaving meetings early impacts your leadership, the troop, and detracts from the Scouting spirit. As a leader preparing to advance to the next rank, a key question you must be able to answer is "have you not only served in your leadership role for the required time period, but have you been active and engaged during this period with those you are leading?" One indicator of your active engagement is your record of attending meetings from start to finish. To help Scouts and Scoutmasters with this question, to strengthen our patrols, and to help Scouts learn to be accountable to each other, our Senior Patrol Leaders have begun taking roll. Scouts who are consistently absent or not attending the entire meeting will be asked to continue in their leadership position until the Scoutmasters overseeing the specific rank feel the leadership requirement has been adequately met. Alternatively, the Scout may be removed from his position of leadership and assigned another once he starts attending meetings regularly.
Leadership Position Requirements
In addition to position-specific requirements as specified by the BSA, the following leadership positions have troop-specific requirements.