LDS Boy Scouting

Training for LDS Boy Scout Leaders



National BSA Policies on Advancement

Clause 5 – Basis for Advancement. The Boy Scout requirements for ranks shall be the basis for the Scout’s advancement. There shall be four steps in Boy Scout advancement procedure: learning, testing, reviewing, and recognition.

Clause 6 – Ranks. There shall be the following ranks in Boy Scouting: Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle. The requirements shall be authorized by the Executive Board and set forth in official Scouting publications. Eagle Palms may also be awarded on the basis of requirements authorized by the Executive Board and set forth in official Scouting publications.

Clause 7 – Responsibility of the Troop Committee. It shall be the responsibility of the Troop Committee, under the leadership and guidance of the local council, to make sure that the program of the Troop is conducted in such a way that Scouts have an opportunity to advance on the basis of the four steps outlined in Clause 5.


Four Steps of Advancement

A Boy Scout advances from Tenderfoot to Eagle by doing things with his Patrol and on his own. He advances by taking advantage of opportunities provided him.

  1. The Boy Scout learns. A Scout learns by doing. He grows in ability to do his part as a member of the Patrol and the Troop. As he develops knowledge and skill, he teaches others; and in this way he begins to
    develop leadership.
  2. The Boy Scout is tested. A Scout is tested on rank requirements by his Patrol Leader, Scoutmaster, assistant Scoutmaster, a Troop Committee member, or a member of his Troop. The Scoutmaster maintains a list of those qualified to test and to pass-off.
  3. The Boy Scout is reviewed. After a Scout has completed all requirements for a rank, he has a board of review. For Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle Palms, the review is conducted by members of the Troop Committee. The Eagle Scout board of review is conducted in accordance with local council procedures.
  4. The Boy Scout is recognized. When the board of review has certified a boy’s advancement, he deserves to receive recognition as soon as possible. This should be done at a ceremony at the next Troop Meeting. The certificate for his new rank may be presented later at a formal court of honor.

The Boy Scout advancement program is subtle. It places a series of challenges in front of a Scout in a manner that is fun and educational. As Scouts meet these challenges, they achieve the aims of Boy Scouting.

One of the greatest needs of young men is confidence. There are three kinds of confidence that young men need: in themselves, in peers, and in leaders.

Educators and counselors agree that the best way to build confidence is through measurement. Self-confidence is developed by measuring up to a challenge or a standard. Peer confidence develops when the same measuring system is used for everyone — when all must meet the same challenge to receive equal recognition. Confidence in leaders comes about when there is consistency in measuring — when leaders use a single standard of fairness.

No council, district, Unit, or individual has the authority to add to or subtract from any advancement requirement. A Boy Scout badge recognizes what a young man is able to do; it is not a reward for what he has done.

Standards for joining a Boy Scout Troop and for advancement are listed in the latest printing of the Boy Scout Handbook and in the current Boy Scout Requirements book.

Advancement accommodates the three aims of Scouting: citizenship, growth in moral strength and character, and mental and physical development.

The advancement program is designed to provide the Boy Scout with a chance to achieve the aims of Scouting. As a Scout advances, he is measured and grows in confidence and self-reliance.

When a badge and certificate are awarded to a Boy Scout to recognize that he has achieved a rank, they represent that a young man has:

  • Been an active participant in his Troop and Patrol
  • Demonstrated living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Law in his daily life
  • Met the other requirements and/or earned the merit badges for the rank
  • Participated in a Scoutmaster conference
  • Satisfactorily appeared before a board of review

In the advanced ranks (Star, Life, and Eagle), the badge represents that the young man has also:

  • Served in a position of responsibility in the Troop
  • Performed service to others

Age Requirements

Boy Scout awards are for young men not yet 18 years old. Any registered Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may earn Merit badges, badges of rank, and Eagle Palms until his 18th birthday. Youth members with special needs may work towards rank advancement after they are 18. (See section titled “Advancement for Youth Members with Special Needs.”)

Troop Advancement Goals

The Scoutmaster is in charge of advancement in the Troop. It is necessary that the Scoutmaster understand the purpose of the advancement program and the importance it has in the development of the Scouts in the Troop. The Troop’s program must provide advancement opportunities. By participating in the Troop program, the Scout will meet requirements for rank advancement.

The Troop’s Unit commissioner and the district advancement Committee can play an important part in explaining advancement and helping the Scoutmaster utilize the advancement program in the Troop program, making it exciting to the Scouts in the Troop.

It is important that the Troop Committee and the Scoutmaster set an advancement goal for the year. A basic goal should be for each Scout to advance a rank during the year. EYOS should earn their First Class rank during their first year in the Troop. By doing so, these new Scouts become net contributors to the Troop and are able to care for themselves and others. When reviewed monthly by the Troop Committee, Scouts will recognize the importance of Scout advancement. Troops should conduct boards of review for Scouts who are not advancing. A minimum of four formal courts of honor a year (one every three months) should be held to formally recognize the Scouts in the Troop.

Presentation of merit badges and rank badges should not await these courts of honor; awards and badges should be presented at the next meeting after they are earned. Scouts are recognized again at a formal court of honor.

Court of Honor

The Boy Scout Troop including EYOS holds a minimum of four formal courts of honor a year (one every three months) to recognize the Scouts in the Troop. Presentation of merit badges and rank badges should not wait for a court of honor; awards and badges should be presented at the next meeting after they are earned, then Scouts are recognized again at a formal court of honor. Families attend the Courts of Honor just as they did the Cub Scout Pack Meeting.

Scoutmaster Conferences

One of the most enjoyable experiences of being an Scout Leader is the opportunity for a Scout and his leader to sit down and visit together.

In large Troops, Scoutmasters occasionally assign this responsibility to assistant Scoutmasters or members of the Troop Committee; but this is unfortunate, because most Scoutmasters feel that this is truly the opportunity to get to know the Scout and help him chart his course in life.

The EYOS Leader holds Scoutmaster Conferences with the Scouts in the EYOS Patrol. A good conference should be unhurried. It helps the Scout evaluate his accomplishments and to set new goals with his Leader. This can be accomplished at a Troop Meeting, camping trip, or in the Scout’s home.

Goal setting by the Scout makes it possible for the Leader to help the Scout with his weaknesses and encourage him to use his strengths.

All through the ranks, it is rewarding for the Leader to observe the Scout grow in responsibility and maturity. It is through this association and example that a young man grows and matures, and the conference accomplishes that aim.

Record Keeping

Each Troop is responsible for keeping its own records and reporting advancement to the local council service center. This is done on an Advancement Report form. One copy is kept by the Troop and two are sent to the council with an order for badges and awards. It is best that this form be submitted at least monthly so that Troop records remain current and Scouts are able to receive their awards quickly after earning them. Awards cannot be purchased or awarded until the Advancement Report has been filed with the council office.

A Troop / Team Record Book, maintained by the Troop scribe, is available.

At the discretion of the local council, computer-generated Advancement Reports may be used. If used, two copies of the computer-generated report must be submitted to the council service center.

Flag Allegiance and Ceremony

It is important for the Den Leader to know that during the pledge of allegiance the boys who are in uniform are to salute the flag with the Cub Scout salute, while the boys out-of-uniform are to place there hand over their heart. This is the same for the Den Leaders. Caps and hats that are NOT part of the Cub Scout uniform are to be removed before the pledge of allegiance.

The following is what is said and done by the Cub Scouts during the “presentation of colors” (opening flag ceremony) and the “retrieval of colors” (closing flag ceremony).

Flag Opening Ceremony

Prior to the Pack Meeting the Cub Scouts need to put flag stands in place at the front of the room. Looking to the front, the U.S. flag stand should be placed on the left and Pack flag stand (if you have one) is placed on the right. Also prior to the meeting, the Cub Scouts that will be part of the Color Guard(s) are chosen (24 for each Color Guard). The U.S. Flag Color Guard lines up in single file at the back of the room on the right. The Pack flag color guard does the same only they are positioned at the back on the left. (See example shown below).

A Cub Scout is chosen to conduct the ceremony and stands at the front of the room. This Scout begins the ceremony by announcing, “Color Guard, attention” and then proceeds with each command as shown below. Each of the Color Guard lines march forward – the Pack flag will come up the left side of the room and the U.S. flag will come up the right side.

They will pass each other as they march to their proper position in front of their respective flag stand. When the Color Guard reaches their positions they are commanded to halt. The command to “Post colors” is given and the boy holding the U.S. flag places it in the stand first and then the boy holding the Pack flag places it in the stand second. They then both return to their respective color guard Unit. They then turn and face the flag and salute. The audience is asked to repeat the pledge of allegiance. After the pledge of allegiance the salute ends with the command of “Two” and the Color Guard is then dismissed.

Flag Opening Ceremony

  • “Color Guard, attention.”
  • “Will the audience please arise.”
  • “Color Guard, present colors.”
  • “Salute.”
  • “Color Guard, halt!”
  • “Color Guard, post colors.”
  • “Please repeat the pledge of allegiance.” (Audience joins in the pledge of allegiance.)
  • “Two” (means that the salute can end)
  • “Color Guard, dismissed.”
  • “The audience will please be seated.”

Flag Closing Ceremony

The closing ceremony is done in like manner – the boys start in the rear of the room and march forward on command and then are halted. On command, they salute the flag. Then a single boy retrieves the U.S. flag first and then falls back into line with the other boys. The Pack flag is then retrieved and that boy falls back in line. The salute ends with the command “Two.” The Color Guard with the U.S. flag then marches off followed by the Pack flag Color Guard.

  • “Will the audience please arise.”
  • “Color Guard, advance.”
  • “Color Guard, salute.”
  • “Color Guard, retrieve colors.”
  • “Two.”
  • “The audience will please be seated.”

The U.S. Flag

When displaying the flag in a manner other than on poles and in flag stands it is important to know the proper way to display it. The following shows how a flag should be hung when placed on a wall or hung from a rope.

Folding the Flag

Patrol and Troop Flags

The following are examples of official Pack and Den Flags (Webelos Flag has Webelos patch centered in flag – not shown). Pack and Den Flags can add some additional interest to the Pack activities and Pack Meetings. They are also a source of pride when taken to Cub Scout District events. The “official” flags can be purchased from the BSA store or create by the Den or Pack.

Service Projects

“To help other people at all times”

Here are some suggestions for Unit Community Service Projects

Below are some suggestions of local events and organizations that are in need of enthusiastic volunteers. The list is local to Northeast Illinois but similar organizations are in most local areas.

Leaders are advised to contact the organization for specifics on the minimum age requirements, pre-training and other pertinent information. As with any Scouting activity, apply the Scouting Motto “Be prepared” and take all safety precautions.

Scouts should wear their uniforms while working a service project. If there is the possibility they may damage their uniform, due to the type of work they will be doing, a Scout T-Shirt can be worn.

Adopt a Highway Program – Lake County: Adopt a Highway is a public service program for volunteers to pick up litter. Phone: (847) 362-3950

American Cancer Society: Phone: (847) 328-5147 Uwww.cancer.orgU

American Red Cross, Lake County: Phone: (312) 729 – 6100 UEmail: elmorem@usa.cross.orgU

Food Pantry, Waukegan (Other Townships also have programs): Phone: (847) 662-1340 or local Township Office, Food Pantry and home maintenance/ repair.

Coastal Cleanup, Illinois Beaches – Join hundreds of volunteers in cleaning our local beaches. Phone: (847) 939-0838 x321 / Uemail: cforst@lakemichigan.orgU

Habitat for Humanity, Waukegan: Opportunities for 16 years old and older. Phone: (847) 632-1020 Uwww.habitatle.orgU

Highland Park Hospital, Highland Park UPhone: (847) 480-2648 / (847) 480-3919 www.enh.orgU

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation: Provide assistance: set up, unpacking materials, hanging signs. Scouts must wear uniforms. Phone: (312) 670-0313 Uwww.jdrfillinois.orgU

Lake County Forest Preserve: Phone: (847) 968-3329

March of Dimes: Annual Walkathon in April. Scouts must wear their uniforms. Phone: (312) 435-4007 Uwww.marchofdimesillinois.orgU

MS Society – Greater IL Chapter: Cycle for MS, set up, and load materials for the event. Scouts must wear uniform. Phone: (312) 423 – 1136 Uwww.msillinois.orgU

Muscular Dystrophy Association: Summer camp opportunities for volunteers 16 years and older to facilitate programs for youths with neuromuscular disease. Phone: (847) 520-6329 Uwww.mdausa.orgU

Open Lands Associations, Lake Forest: Clear/ maintain trails, restore land, and other conservation activities. Phone: (847) 482-1928

Safe Place, Waukegan: Teen Volunteer program that supports shelter for battered women and their children Phone: (847) 249-5147

United Way Lake County / Volunteer Center : Phone: (847) 775

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