There are seven ranks in Boy Scouts. Each rank challenges to the scouts to learn new skills and then meet with Scoutmaster for a review. Rank progression gives a sense of accomplishment as each rank becomes more difficult to achieve. The requirements for each rank are in the Scout Handbook. Scouts move up in rank according to their own motivation. The ranks are as follows:
- Scout – This rank is very easy to achieve. Most get to this rank within the first few months. Usually earned on the first campout along with the Totin’ Chip and the Fireman Chit.
- Tenderfoot – This is usually achieved after the first summer camp. Attending Summer Camp is very important for first year scouts.
- Second Class – More focus on camping and navigation skills. Recommend achieving within the first 9 months.
- First Class – Focus on cooking skills, safety, map reading and citizenship. Recommend achieving within the first 12 months. Statistics show that scouts who achieve 1st Class within 12 months tend to reach Eagle Scout. 1st Class scouts can bring their own tent, can be troop leaders and can teach younger scouts.
- Star – Heavy focus on merit badges and service projects.
- Life – More focus on merit badges, service projects with an emphasis on leadership
- Eagle – Must complete 21 merit badges including 12 Eagle-required ones. Eagle scout candidates must demonstrate leadership and initiative by completing a service project for the community. The scout must convince the troop leaders the project is worthwhile and meaningful, complete the project and explain the results to the troop leaders. This must be completed by the scouts eighteenth birthday.
- Each scout is required to have a Boy Scout Handbook.
- Each rank has a list of requirements identified in the handbook.
- Scouts should record campouts, service hours, and training in their handbook (specific areas can be found in the handbook for these items).
- It is the scout’s responsibility to get older scouts to sign books for rank requirements, campouts, and service hours. Adult leaders (unless otherwise specifically stated) do not sign books (especially dads).
- Book signers expect the scout to be able to demonstrate knowledge of the requirement before signing.
- Handbook is required on campouts for scouts below 1st class rank.
First Year Scouts
- New scouts are urged to attend summer camp so that they can earn rank and some key important merit badges (Swimming, First Aid).
- New scouts typically earn the rank of Scout on their first campout (usually the Family Campout).
- New scouts typically earn their Totin Chip (allows them to carry a pocket knife and use a saw or axe responsibly) on their first campout.
- New scouts typically earn their Fireman Chit (allows them to build a fire responsibly and know how to extinguish it properly) on their first campout.
- New scouts do not typically work on merit badges until their first summer camp so that they can focus on rank requirements. Exceptions include merit badges earned from specific camping activities such as Canoeing, Astronomy, Aviation, etc.
- New scouts are urged to earn Tenderfoot by their first summer camp. This is only possible by coming on campouts, not just coming to meetings.
Scoutmaster Conferences (SMCs)
To be prepared for a Scoutmaster Conference, use the following checklist.
- The scout should review the rank requirements in the Scout Handbook. The scout should his own handbook and not another scout’s handbook.
- Once a scout has completed the requirement, a 1st Class scout (or higher) needs to sign the handbook. Any 1st Class scout (or higher) can sign the book.
- Once all requirements are signed off, email or text the Scout Master asking to schedule a Scout Master conference.
- Arrive at the Scoutmaster conference prepared.
Some tips for the Scoutmaster Conferences are:
- The Scoutmaster will check the scout’s uniform. Scout should be in full uniform. No jeans with holes. Wear socks and a belt. Look neat and professional. Patches must be in the correct place.
- The scout should be able to recite the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Outdoor Code.
- If the scout is not properly dressed or cannot recite, the Scout Master conference will be postponed until the scout is able to demonstrate being properly prepared.
- The scout should be prepared to discuss his progress, campouts, service hours, and future plans as part of the conference.
- Think of this as a job interview and prepare accordingly.
Boards of Review (BORs)
The final step to achieving rank is for the scout to meet with a board of committee members once he has completed the Scout Master conference. As with the Scout Master conference, the scout must:
- Be in proper Class A uniform.
- Be able to recite the Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Outdoor Code.
- Be prepared to discuss leadership roles and next steps as well as give feedback on his opinion about the troop, what he gets out of it, and what he contributes.
Boards of Review are available from 7:30 – 8:30 on the 2nd Monday of each month during troop meetings or by scheduled appointment.
Hopefully, through these processes the scouts learns how to achieve ranks, request help, schedule meetings, perform interviews, and follow through.