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:

  1. The scout should contact one of the Scoutmasters for his current rank to schedule his conference (SMC).
    • 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.
  2. 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). A Star or Life candidate must bring a brief writeup of his leadership position and a summary of his service hours. The Scoutmaster will review these with the Scout to determine if the leadership and service requirements have been met. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. The Scout next requests a BOR for the desired rank by emailing The scout cannot 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.
  5. The Committee Chair checks with the advancement chair to see if that Scout is indeed ready for a BOR.
  6. Committee Chair puts the scout on the BOR list. Committee Chair recruits adult volunteers, community members, and possibly other Scouts (for lower ranks) for Sunday BORs.
  7. 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.

Notes, Guidelines, and More Rules:

  1. Scoutmaster conferences and Boards of Review have been de-coupled and cannot be held on the same Sunday.
  2. There is no artificial deadline for Courts of Honor since rank advancement can happen continuously throughout the year.
  3. BORs will typically be held during regularly schedule meetings and occasionally on an ad-hoc basis.
  4. No BORs shall be conducted at summer camps and on camping trips. Scoutmaster conferences, however, can be held on campouts and at summer camps.
  5. Scouts are highly encouraged to wear their complete Class-A uniform to their BOR.
  6. BORs for lower ranks (through and including 1st class) have at least one adult and two Scouts.
  7. BORs for higher ranks have a written requirement and must be composed of adult committee members, adult volunteers, and community members. Scouts must bring to their BOR a write-up describing their leadership role.
  8. Scout should bring his handbook to BOR. A candidate for Star or Life should also bring his leadership and service write-up.


  • 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.
  1. Troop activities include meetings, campouts, COHs, troop fundraising events, and troop eagle projects. The key requirement is that an activity must be a troop activity to count.
  2. SPLs, ASPLs, PLs, Scribe, and other PLC members must maintain a 75% attendance level to be considered active.
  3. Troop guides, Historian, APLs, and other leadership positions must maintain a 50% attendance level to be considered active.
  4. Credit for fulfilling a leadership position will be at the discretion of the scoutmaster for a scout's rank.
  5. The troop will maintain attendance records to help scouts with record keeping. Scouts are encouraged to keep their own records as well.
  6. Troop leadership positions (SPL, ASPL, PL, Troop Guides, Chaplains Aid, QM, etc.) start at the PLC retreat end of August and end at the May Court of Honor. Therefore, if a leadership position is not active over the summer, then the months of June, July, and August do not count.
  7. Summer camp leadership counts at the Scoutmaster's discretion.
  8. Star, Life: Summer camp SPL and ASPL count for rank requirement; 3 months only at discretion of the scoutmaster.
  9. Unfortunately, summer camp PL does not satisfy rank requirements for leadership positions. Being a summer camp PL, however, is a great place to learn the duties and responsibilities of being a PL in a low-pressure environment.
  10. 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.

Leadership Position Requirements

In addition to position-specific requirements as specified by the BSA, the following leadership positions have troop-specific requirements.

  1. Scribe
  2. Chaplain Aide
  3. Troop Guide
  4. Patrol Leader
  5. Quartermaster
  6. Patrol Advisor
  7. Parent Camper