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Boy Scout Troop 23
(Dormont, Pennsylvania)
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Troop Advancement Contact

(Mrs. Casadai is the  Troop Advancement Chair and Troop contact for all issues related to Advancement and Merit badges.)

Guide to Advancement 2015 - Its available

There are many places to learn about upcoming changes in scouting. One place is called Bryan on Scouting
. Here is his Did you know?

Each year Boy Scouts of America reviews all of the rules/regulations/guidelines around Advancement at all levels. The PDF version is now available online.  This information is for Scouts, their parents and for merit badge counselors and unit leaders (Scoutmaster/Assistant Scoutmaster) Below are a view things that were highlighted follow:

Clarification about Advancement Requirements:
p 23. In Boy Scouting, advancement requirements must be passed as written. If, for example, a requirement uses words like "show," "demonstrate," or "discuss," then that is what Scouts must do. Filling out a worksheet, for example, would not suffice.

p. 28 Fulfilling More than One Requirement with a single activity

From time to time it may be appropriate for a Scout to apply what was done to meet one requirement toward the completion of another....Unit leaders or merit badge counselors should consider the following:

  1. When, for all practical purposes, two requirements match up exactly and have the same basic intent--for example camping nights for second class and first class ranks and for the camping merit badge--it is appropriate and permissible, unless it is stated otherwise in the requirements, to use those matching activities for both the ranks and the merit badge.
  2. Where matching requirements are oriented toward safety, such as those related to first aid or CPR, the person signing off the requirements should be satisfied the Scout remembers what he learned from the previous experience.
  3. Some requirements may have the appearance of aligning, but upon further examination actually differ....have nuances intended to create quite different experiences. (example given was Communication and Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge attending a public meeting.)

p. 53 Unofficial Worksheets and Learning Aids
Worksheets and other materials that may be of assistance in earning merit badges are available from a variety of places including unofficial sources on the Internet and even troop libraries. Use of these aids is permissible as long as the materials can be correlated with the current requirements that Scouts must fulfill. Completing worksheets may suffice where a requirement calls for something in writing, but this would not work for a requirement where the Scout must discuss, tell, show, or demonstrate, etc. Note that Scouts shall not be required to use these learning aids in order to complete a merit badge.

p. 49 The Process of Counseling

Earning merit badges should be Scout initiated, Scout researched, and Scout learned. It should be hands-on and interactive and should not be modeled after a typical school classroom setting. Instead it is meant to be an active program so enticing to young men that they will want to take responsibility for their own full participation....

The sort of hands-on interactive experience described here, with personal coaching and guidance, is hardly ever achieved in any setting except when one counselor works directly with one Scout and his buddy, or with a very small group. Thus, this small-scale approach is the recommended best practice for merit badge instruction and requirement fulfillment....Large group and Web-based instruction, while perhaps efficient, do not measure up in terms of the desired outcomes with regard to learning and positive association with adults.
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For information about changes to the program go to the Changes to Program page on our website.

Trail to Eagle--the workbook

Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook Procedures


How to Download the Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook


Note: Do not attempt to open this workbook in a browser (i.e. Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) or in programs such as Nuance PDF Converter. The workbook was created in Adobe LiveCycle, which must be saved to your computer and opened with Adobe Reader 9 or later. This enables the user to take advantage of the enhancements of expandable text boxes and importing images.

Click one of the following, depending on the computer you are using:

For PC users  (

For Mac user (

Information taken from BSA website:

Be sure to check that you have the most up-to-date booklet by going to the website.     

The Journey from Tenderfoot to Eagle

Transitioning to Boy Scouts from Cub Scouts can be quite difficult. Enabling Scouts to take responsibility for their own advancement involves educating the boys and their parents. The Scoutmaster and registered leaders emphasize that the Scouts need to bring their Boy Scout Handbook to all meetings and camping trips. When a requirement is successfully completed, Scouts must request that it be initialed as completed (this is known as signing off). The Scoutmaster or someone designate by the Scoutmaster signs off. In addition, Scouts take responsibility for their own advancement by requesting from the Scoutmaster a Scoutmaster Conference followed by a request to the Advancement Chair for a Board of Review.

What is the job of the Advancement Chair? Working with the Scoutmaster, Scouts and registered leaders, the Advancement Chair:

  • maintains the Scouts' and registered leaders' records in Troopmaster
  • maintains the list of approved merit badge counselors and recruits, processes the application and trains new merit badge counselors
  • once approved by the Scoutmaster, the Scoutmaster (or person designated by the Troop--usually the Advancement Chair)assigns a Merit Badge Counselor to a Scout
  • processes paperwork for advancements and merit badges
  • arranges Board of Reviews for Scouts who completed requirements for advancement
  • guides Scouts through the Eagle Scout Project process including reviewing all paperwork, requesting approval for the project from the district and submitting completed paperwork to the District Advancement Chair to schedule an Eagle Board of Review
  • when scheduled, provides advancement information to the Court of Honor (COH) Coordinator
  • attends Conestoga District Advancement meetings, as scheduled.

All the information needed for advancement is found in the Boy Scout Handbook. Scouts should review the Handbook whenever working on Advancement. The Handbook is used to verify that Scouts successfully completed all the requirements for rank advancement. Scouts must present their Boy Scout Handbook at every Scoutmaster Conference and every Board of Review.

Chapter 1 of the Boy Scout Handbook includes the basic information needed to begin the Boy Scout Journey, including the joining requirements. The Scout Oath, Law, Motto and Slogan are in this section as well as the basic requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class ranks. The page numbers where you can find the information to understand and complete each requirement are included next to each requirement.

Tenderfoot is the first rank earned as a Boy Scout. The requirements for becoming a Tenderfoot provide basic skills to begin preparing the Scout for higher adventure outings.

Second Class Scouts work on building their outdoor survival and camping skills. Compass work, nature observation, camp tools and swimming are areas where new skills are mastered and demonstrated. A second class Scout, having completed all the requirements, should be able to lead a hike, care for his own equipment, set up a campsite and perform basic first aid.

A First Class Scout has learned all the basic camping and outdoors skills of a Scout. He can fend for himself in the wild, lead others on a hike or campout, set up a campsite, plan and properly prepare meals and provide first aid for most situations he may encounter. A First Class Scout is prepared.

Scouts are not required to complete any merit badges to advance from Tenderfoot through First Class. Scouts are required to complete merit badges for Star, Life and Eagle Rank. However, most Scouts choose to work on Merit badges while on the Trail to First Class. Merit badges vary in the degree of difficulty. Before beginning any Merit Badge, the Scout must discuss it with the Scoutmaster.

A Scout attains the Star rank with participation in the Troop, leadership, service and self-directed advancement through merit badges. Before beginning any merit badge, the Scout must obtain approval from the Scoutmaster.

The Life Scout rank is earned by fulfilling additional leadership positions, service hours and merit badges. A Life Scout is expected to be a role model and leader in the troop, providing guidance to new Scouts and helping the troop however he can. Becoming a good leader can only be learned through working as a leader. Troop leadership positions allow the Scout to make decisions, lead discussions and encourage other.

After the Scout has achieved Life Rank, he can begin taking the steps to becoming an Eagle Scout. His first step is to download the Eagle Scout Workbook and review the information. This workbook must be used by all Scouts planning Eagle projects beginning January, 2012. Like each rank advancement before it, the Eagle rank is a major advancement milestone. (see The Eagle Scout Requirements To become an Eagle Scout, 21 merit badges must be completed. Of these 21, eleven (11) are Eagle required.

Prior to any planning, fundraising or work on a project, the Scout must schedule a conference so that the Scoutmaster is aware of the Scout's intention and so that the scout is aware of requirements (including merit badges, project guidelines, required approvals, etc.) that must be completed, the procedures that must be followed and the paper work that must be completed. For an Eagle Project, a scout must plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community. (The project must benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.) The organization benefiting from the effort must approve the project idea. Actual work on fundraising or the project cannot begin until final approval is given by the District Advancement Chairperson.

Do you want to learn more about early rank advance

The BSA has made available podcast that you can listen to that briefly describe the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class rank.

With your parent's permission, go to the BSA website page Early Rank Requirements. You can either listen to the requirements on the web or download them. Again, do this only with your parent's permission.

Are you a Star or Life Scout and think this does not apply to you? Not so, it is always a good idea to keep fresh on things you have learned as well as learning new things. Are you a parent or registered leader? You may find listening to the the podcast gives you a new insight into one or more requirements.

You are never too old (or too young) to learn.

The Trail to Eagle - A valuable trail to travel.


  In Troop 23:
  • All Scoutmaster Conferences: Scheduled on the first Tuesday of the month or by appointment with the Scoutmaster. Scouts should be in Class A uniforms and bring their Scout Handbook.
  • Boards of Review: Second Tuesday of the month or by appointment with the Advancement Chair. Scouts should be in Class A uniforms and bring their Scout Handbook  (First class uniforms include wearing either hiking shoes or dress shoes; scouts should not wear tennis shoes to Boards of Review.)
The first and best source for information is the Scout handbook. Make sure the Scout's name is in the book in case it gets lost. There are many resources about rank advancement on the web. For example, scouts, parents or leaders can review and/or download videos about rank advancement for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class rank at the Boy Scouts of America web. BSA regularly reviews and updates requirements so when a scout begins to work on something check to make sure it is the most up-to-date requirement(s).
Information on all requirements is found in the Scout handbook. You can also get literature from the Scout Shop located in the Laurel Highlands Council headquarters, Flag Plaza, or through BSA Online Shop. Before beginning work on advancement make sure you tell the Scoutmaster or designated leader (assistant scoutmaster or advancement chair) what you are doing and be sure to get your Handbook signed off after you completed a requirement.

District Advancement Meeting Information

The District Advancement Committee meets every other month at Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church beginning at 6:00 pm. Typically this meeting is for Unit Advancement Chairs. It often involves some training but also can be an opportunity for questions to be answered, suggestions made and resources shared. This week is Conestoga District Advancement meeting.

We are lucky because our Committee Chair is also the District Advancement Chair. She has a great deal of knowledge that she is willing to share with those who want to learn more about the program that their son is involved.

Why not take some time to join Millie and the other unit advancement chairs to learn more about Advancement in Scouting. If you plan to attend or if you have any questions, please contact Millie Rutkowski.

Following the District Advancement meeting there may be another opportunity for you to learn even more about advancement and scouting. Typically the third Sunday of the month is "Eagle Board Night." Eagle Boards are held at Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church. If you ask Mrs. Rutkowski, you may be able to sit and observe an Eagle Board -- it is really quite astounding to see an Eagle Candidate handle himself at their Board of Review.

It will be worth your time.

Scoutmaster Review & BOR Steps in Advancement


Unit Leader (Scoutmaster) Conference (Section of the BSA Guide to Advancement)

The unit leader (Scoutmaster) conference, regardless of the rank or program, is conducted according to the guidelines in the Scoutmaster Handbook, No. 33009. Note that a Scout must participate or take part in one; it is not a “test.” Requirements do not say he must “pass” a conference. While it makes sense to hold one after other requirements for a rank are met, it is not required that it be the last step before the board of review. This is an important consideration for Scouts on a tight schedule to meet the requirements before age 18. Last-minute work can sometimes make it impossible to fit the conference in before then, so scheduling it earlier can avoid unnecessary extension requests.

The conference is not a retest of the requirements upon which a Scout has been signed off. It is a forum for discussing topics such as ambitions and life purpose, goals for future achievement, and also for obtaining feedback on the unit’s program. In some cases, work left to be completed—and perhaps why it has not been completed—may be discussed just as easily as that which is finished. Ultimately, conference timing is up to the unit. Some leaders hold more than one along the way, and the Scout must be allowed to count any of them toward the requirement.

Unit leaders do not have the authority to deny a Scout a conference that is necessary for him to meet the requirements for his rank. If a unit leader conference is denied, a Scout—if he believes he has fulfilled all the remaining requirements—may still request a board of review. See “Boards of Review Must Be Granted When Requirements Are Met,” If an Eagle Scout candidate is denied a conference, it may become rounds for a board of review under disputed circumstances. See “Initiating Eagle Scout Board of Review Under Disputed Circumstances,”


Purpose of a Board of Review


A periodic review of the progress of a Scout is vital in the evaluation of the effectiveness of the Scouting program in the unit. The unit committee can judge how well the Scout being reviewed is benefiting from the program. The unit leader can measure the effectiveness of his or her leadership. The Scout can sense that he is, or is not, advancing properly and can be encouraged to make the most of his Scouting experience.

Not only is it important to review those Scouts who have learned and been tested for a rank, but also to review those Scouts who have shown no progress in their advancement over the past few months.

Participants in a Board of Review must keep these objectives in mind:

  • Ensure the Scout has completed requirements for the rank.
  • Evaluate the experience the Scout is having in the unit.
  • Encourage the Scout to progress further.

The Board also provides an opportunity for the Scout to develop and practice skills needed in an interview situation, and it is an opportunity for the Scout to review his accomplishments.

The Board of Review is not a retesting of requirements - the Scout has already been tested on the skills and activities required for the rank. However, the chairman of the Board of Review should ensure that all the requirements have been signed off in the Scout's handbook. Additionally, the chairman should ensure that leadership and merit badge records are consistent with the requirements for the rank.

The Board of Review is a time to determine the Scout's attitudes, accomplishments, and acceptance of Scouting Ideals. Scout Spirit is defined as living the Scout Oath and Scout Law in a Scout's everyday life. The board should make sure that good standards have been met in all phases of the Scout's life. A discussion of the Scout Oath and Scout Law is in keeping with the purpose of the review, to make sure that the candidate recognizes and understands the value of Scouting in his home, unit, school, and community.