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Effective Troop Advancement

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Presentation on theme: "Effective Troop Advancement"— Presentation transcript:

1 Effective Troop Advancement
Begin with a simple opening ceremony such as the Pledge of Allegiance and the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Then welcome everyone and thank them for attending. They could be doing something else with their time, but they chose to be at this presentation. Challenge participants to ask questions and encourage them to join in the discussions. This presentation provides new and prospective unit advancement committee members with the basic knowledge and skills needed to get started, and can serve as a refresher to veterans. Participants will learn about the advancement process, their unique role in it, and the related BSA national policies and procedures. The session takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes depending on the experience level of those attending. Like all the educational experiences produced by the National Advancement Committee and its Webinars and Education Task Force, this presentation has an expiration date, after which it is not to be used. Upon that date a replacement session will be available at the URL shown on the first slide. This will provide unit, district, and council volunteers with the latest information. We encourage presenters to have at least one copy of the following publications for use during the presentation: The Guide to Advancement, No Any issue of Advancement News Boy Scout Requirements, No A few merit badge pamphlets (at least one that is Eagle-required) Application for Merit Badge (blue card), No Merit Badge Counselor Information form, No BSA Adult Application, No We also encourage presenters to have copies of their latest council newsletter and a handout with key council contact information, and any instructions about special certifications or training that the council advancement committee requires in order to approve counselors for specific merit badges. A flip chart or white-board, and pens may come in handy. The National Advancement Team welcomes any and all feedback through but would ask that questions and concerns first be shared with local district and council volunteer or professional advancement administrators. Expiration Date This presentation is not to be used after December 31, 2015. Obtain an updated version at

2 Why Advancement? Mission Statement
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. The Aims of Scouting Character development Citizenship training Mental and physical fitness [Presenter Notes: Hold up your copy of the Guide to Advancement, opening it to the inside of the front cover. Point out the BSA Mission Statement found there. The BSA mission and aims appearing on this slide represent our desired outcomes. Everything we do in advancement and in the Scouting programs as a whole, should contribute to achieving the aims or the mission. If your class includes people who are learning about Scouting, spend a few minutes discussing the importance of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Advancement is one of the eight methods of Scouting used by Scout leaders to fulfill the aims of the BSA.

3 Advancement is… A method ( Not an end in itself
Based on experiential learning ( ) Designed to educate or expand horizons A means for personal growth ( ) Age-appropriate, surmountable hurdles that allow Scouts to learn and gain confidence Advancement is simply a means to an end, not an end in itself. It is one of several methods designed to help unit leadership carry out the aims and mission of the Boy Scout of America. Everything done to advance—to earn ranks and other awards and recognition—is designed to educate or to otherwise expand horizons. Members learn and develop according to a standard. This is the case from the time a member joins, and then moves through the programs of Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Venturing or Sea Scouts. Scouting skills—what a young person learns to do—are important, but not as important as the primary goal of personal growth achieved through participating in a unit program. The concern is for total, well-rounded development. Age-appropriate, surmountable hurdles are placed before members, and as they face these challenges they learn about themselves and gain confidence.

4 Four Steps of Advancement (
Learn Test Review Recognize A Scout advances by doing things with his patrol and troop, with his leaders, and on his own. A well-rounded and active troop program that generates advancement as a natural outcome, should take boys to First Class within months of joining. Using the four steps in advancement establishes a flow that will support this outcome and also our primary goal of personal growth. Let’s spend a minute exploring the steps.

5 A Scout Learns ( Explain Demonstrate Guide Enable
Scout learns by doing, he grows, and then teaches -Boy Scout Handbook The EDGE method is a four step teaching method: Explain Demonstrate Guide Enable A Scout learns by doing, and as he learns, he grows in his ability to do his part as a member of the patrol and troop. As he develops knowledge and skills, he is asked to teach others; and in this way learning is reinforced and he develops leadership. A good way to teach something is to use the EDGE method. It works well with the four steps of advancement, and has proven to increase retention of material learned. More details concerning EDGE can be found in Woodbadge, National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT), and the Boy Scout Handbook. 5

6 A Scout is Tested ( ) The unit leader authorizes those who may test. These might include patrol leaders, the senior patrol leader, an assistant unit leader, another Scout, or the unit leader. Merit badge counselors teach and test the requirements for merit badges. Testing is an important part of any type of learning. First, we need to know that the Scout has learned what he is supposed to have learned, and second, we need to know that the methods used to teach the skills or knowledge are effective. If not, changes need to be made.    Once a Scout has been tested and signed off by someone approved to do so, the requirement has been met. The unit leader is accountable for ensuring correct advancement procedures are followed. A part of this responsibility includes the careful selection and training of those who approve advancement in the unit. If a unit leader believes a boy has not learned the subject matter for a requirement, he or she should see that opportunities are made available for the Scout to practice or teach the requirement, so in this way he may complete his learning and further develop his skills. Note that all merit badge counselors must be registered as merit badge counselors and approved by the council advancement committee. Unit leadership has no role in this process, except perhaps to recommend qualified counselors and to support the registration requirement for counselors serving their unit. 6 6

7 A Scout is Reviewed ( ) After completing all requirements for a rank, the Scout meets with a board of review. For Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle Palms, the board of review is comprised of members of the unit committee. Local councils determine the level at which Eagle Scout boards of review are held. The purpose of a board of review is to determine the quality of a boy’s experience and decide whether he has fulfilled the requirements for a rank or Palm. If he has, the board approves his advancement and encourages him to continue the quest for the next rank or Palm. For all ranks (other than Eagle) and for Eagle Palms, the board is made up of three to six unit committee members. The review should take approximately 15 minutes, but no longer than 30 minutes. Boards of review for the Eagle Scout rank are held in accordance with national and local council procedures. Councils decide if these will be done at the council, district, or unit level. Reviews for Eagle should last between 30 and 45 minutes. More information on boards of review can be found in section 8 of the Guide to Advancement and in the Board of Review and Eagle Board of Review videocasts on the national advancement Web page.

8 A Scout is Recognized (
Recognition builds confidence and leads to additional advancement. Rewards the Scouts for their hard work Helps motivate them to continue Provides a reminder for other Scouts to advance Recognition should be immediate and repetitive. Public recognition helps to reward Scouts for their effort while motivating them to continue along the Scouting trail. Recognition also helps to provide an example to other Scouts of what can be accomplished. This is a tremendous factor in encouraging others to get to work. Today’s young people are used to immediate gratification in the form of cell phone, game applications, video games, text messages, or . Their attention span can be short; and they may only connect their work with the badge if they receive recognition soon after the requirements are completed. A Scout should be recognized at least three times for each advancement: By an announcement and handshake in front of the troop at a unit meeting or campfire, etc., soon after a rank is achieved. By presenting the badge as soon as it is available. This should be at a meeting within a week or two. At a formal court of honor in front of family and friends. A Scout should also recognize his parent or guardian support with a parent pin. 8 8

9 Unit Advancement Responsibilities (
The unit advancement coordinator’s responsibility is to support the unit advancement program, maximize rank achievement, and facilitate a smooth process. Some troops may also organize an advancement committee chaired by the advancement coordinator. Advancement administrators must know and understand advancement procedures. The responsibilities involved in the unit advancement function can be found in section 3 of the Guide to Advancement. It lists there, 13 typical items that a unit advancement coordinator should work toward. In some troops there may be enough going on that a subcommittee might be formed to make fulfilling all of the responsibilities a reality. But either way, those adults involved in the administration of advancement in a unit need to have a full understanding of how advancement works. This understanding is achieved through study of the policies and procedures described in the Guide to Advancement. It is essential to have this book available for reference as needed. 9 9

10 Unit Advancement Coordinator (
Supports unit leader’s vision for advancement Educates parents, Scouts, and unit leaders to stimulate advancement within the troop Helps plan, facilitate, and conduct regularly scheduled courts of honor Obtains necessary badges and certificates As said on the previous slide, unit advancement coordinators and those who assist them have the basic responsibility to support the unit’s advancement program, to maximize rank achievement, and to otherwise facilitate a smooth implementation of the process. It’s important for parents and Scouts to understand the advancement process, the requirements for each rank, and the importance of making First Class within 12 to 18 months. Studies show that if boys are progressing steadily then they are more likely to remain in the program, and thus, we are more likely to achieve the aims and mission of Scouting. Courts of honor should be scheduled to meet the advancement needs of the unit, and should be held quarterly at a minimum. Advancement coordinators are often involved in planning ceremonies presented at courts of honor. Internet searches on “courts of honor” can be very helpful in this effort. As part of the support for recognition and courts of honor, the unit advancement coordinator is usually responsible for reporting advancement to the local council and for purchasing rank badges and awards. 10 10

11 Unit Advancement Coordinator (
Assists unit leader in establishing practices that will help each new Scout achieve First Class within 12 to 18 months, and Star rank soon thereafter Arranges for timely (monthly suggested) boards of review, and invites Scouts ready for them As mentioned, it’s important for Scouts to make First Class within 12 to 18 months, but it’s more important to understand that signing off a skill or requirement is not the "be all and end all." We want Scouts to have learned; and to be able to continue using their skills and knowledge, and even go beyond the basics. But we don’t do this through retesting. We do it through the entirety of the troop experience: practice in games and activities, teaching others, and having fun. A well planned troop program that incorporates these opportunities for repetitious practice is essential to retention. And a unit advancement coordinator who can support the establishment of this sort of a program is valuable indeed. Boys need to know that there are regular troop routines that will help them with the advancement process. Such things would include not only an active program that allows them to learn and practice skills, but also readily available Scoutmaster conferences, and regularly scheduled boards of review. 11

12 Unit Advancement Coordinator (
Keeps advancement records and submits advancement reports to the unit committee Keeps a current copy of the district or council provided merit badge counselor list With youth leadership, helps maintain a library of advancement literature Learns about and promotes other BSA awards and recognitions The unit committee needs regular updates on how Scouts are doing, and the youth need their records of progress for transfers, encouragement, parent information, and related Eagle issues that may occur. Youth must have access to current and properly registered merit badge counselors who are available to help them. Current copies of merit badge literature, requirement books, and other related BSA materials should be available—perhaps in a troop library. Many non rank awards and recognitions are available to the youth, but sometimes they are not well promoted or understood. A good resource for this is the Guide to Awards and Insignia. 12

13 Unit Advancement Responsibilities: Reporting (
Units must report all advancement to the local council. Advancement should be reported monthly. All advancement for a calendar year must be recorded during that year to count for Journey to Excellence. All rank advancement awards must be reported to local councils. This isn’t an option; the BSA requires reporting. To make sure the troop’s records are current, it is important to report advancement at least monthly. This practice ensures that the unit committee and youth have up to date records and that all advancements will count for the Journey to Excellence scoring. 13

14 Unit Advancement Responsibilities: Reporting (
It is strongly recommended that units utilize the BSA’s Advancement Manager tool available at All badges of rank, merit badges, and Eagle Palms are restricted items, not to be sold without a filed advancement report. The Advancement Manager tool is the best method for effectively accomplishing the reporting mandate. It allows for tracking individual requirements, encourages Scouts to set and achieve advancement goals, and shows the percentage of requirements that have been fulfilled for each rank. It also allows unit leadership to review advancement in the troop in a number of different ways. At the council’s discretion, the paper form, Advancement Report, No , may also be submitted as an alternative. For questions about Advancement Manager keep your eyes on Advancement News. If you would like to subscribe to this helpful—and official—publication send a SUBSCRIBE message to 14

15 Unit Advancement Mechanics (
Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class requirements can be passed at any time after the joining requirements have been met. Star, Life, and Eagle rank requirements must be fulfilled after the successful completion of a board of review for the previous rank. Example: a scout working toward Tenderfoot may fulfill, and be signed off on, all of the first aid requirements for all three of the lower ranks. This can be done at sequences of meetings or outings as the skills are taught and tested. Thus, it is possible to have completed all of the skill requirements for more than one rank at a time, needing only separate Scoutmaster conferences and boards of review. With the exception of merit badges—which may be earned at any time and in any order—the last three ranks must be pursued and completed one after the other. 15

16 Unit Advancement Mechanics (
All rank requirements must be passed exactly as written. All boy Scout rank advancements must be completed by age 18 unless special needs circumstances apply. (See section 10 of the GTA for further information.) This means that if a requirement says “show,” “demonstrate,” or “discuss,” then that is exactly what the scout must do. Age is a finite issue for the Scouting program. To earn the Boy Scout ranks, from Scout through Eagle with its Palms, youth must not yet be 18 years old. There are exceptions for Scouts who have special needs—see section 10 of the Guide to Advancement—and for those who apply for and are granted time extensions to earn the Eagle Scout rank. See topic for more information on extensions, but please understand they are rarely granted. 16

17 Merit Badges ( Merit badge counselors must be BSA registered.
Merit badge counselors must be approved by the local council. The council or district furnishes the merit badge counselor lists to the units. The unit advancement coordinator maintains the current list (accessible). People serving as merit badge counselors, including those working at summer camp, must maintain registration with the Boy Scouts of America as merit badge counselors, and must be approved by the local council advancement committee for each of their badges. See “Counselor Approvals and Limitations,” topic Units may establish their own lists of counselors, who may or may not opt to work with youth in other units. This may be necessary in wide geographic areas. It can also be helpful to have ready counselors for the most popular badges. Recognize, however, that Scouts learn from the perspectives of counselors outside their own troop. Note that all merit badge counselors, including those serving only one unit, must be registered and approved by the council, or by a district, if so authorized. It is important to check merit badge counselor lists for accuracy and updates at least yearly. 17

18 Merit Badges Merit badge counselors must complete Youth Protection training every two years.) Merit badge counselors must be men or women of good character, age 18 or older, and have recognized skills. The buddy system must be used. A youth member must not meet one-on-one with an adult. ( ) Youth protection is a very serious issue in the BSA. It is required of ALL adults before they are allowed to register, or meet or work with our boys in any capacity. Besides the Youth Protection, registration, character, and age components of the qualifications for counselors, to meet the purpose of the merit badge program we need counselors who have a recognized level of expertise in a subject and can serve as adult role models. A youth member must not meet one-on-one with an adult. Sessions with counselors must take place where others can view the interaction, or the Scout must have a buddy along with him: a friend, parent, guardian, brother, sister, or other relative—or better yet, another Scout working on the same badge. When a Scout meets with a counselor, he should take any required projects with him. If these cannot be transported, he should present evidence, such as photographs or adult verification. His unit leader, for example, might state that a satisfactory bridge or tower has been built for the Pioneering merit badge, or that meals were prepared for Cooking. If there are questions that requirements were met, a counselor may confirm with adults involved. Once satisfied, the counselor signs the Application for Merit Badge (blue card) using the date upon which the Scout completed the requirements. In the case of partials, the counselor simply initials the individual requirements passed. 18

19 In Summary, Advancement…
Encourages Scouts to learn new skills and explore new subject areas Provides a tangible reward for hard work Helps build confidence Facilitates a Scout’s personal growth Provides a method to further the aims of Scouting Advancement is about education and personal growth. Experiential learning is the key and should result in rank advancement as the reward for successful efforts and learning. As the scout grows we know we are on the right track when we see youth accepting responsibilities, demonstrating self reliance, and caring for themselves and others—in other words, achieving the aims of Scouting: development in character, citizenship, and personal and mental fitness.

20 Other advancement presentations available at:
For More Information Other advancement presentations available at: Resources • Guide to Advancement, No • Boy Scout Requirements, No • Boy Scout Handbook, No • Merit Badge Counselor Information, No Thank you for attending our session. You can find other helpful presentations on the Web page on the screen. And, again, we encourage you to subscribe to Advancement News, and to follow us on Twitter for even quicker updates. 20

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