Troop 1109 – Advancement Guidelines/FAQ’s

Updated March 1, 2017

Scouting provides a boy with a series of challenges in a fun and educational manner. As he completes the requirements for each rank, he achieves the three aims of Scouting: to develop character, to train in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and to develop physical and mental fitness.

It is important to remember that in the end, a badge recognizes the Scout has gone through an experience of learning something he did not previously know. As a result, through increased confidence, he discovers or realizes he is able to learn similar skills or disciplines. Advancement is thus about what a young man is now able to learn and to do, and how he has grown.

Retention of skills and knowledge is then developed later by using what has been learned through the natural course of unit programming; for example, instructing others and using skills in games and on outings.

Advancement, thus, is not so much a reward for what has been done. It is, instead, more about the journey: As a Scout advances, he is measured and he grows in confidence and self-reliance, and he builds upon his skills and abilities. The badge signifies that a young man—through participation in a series of educational activities—has provided service to others, practiced personal responsibility, and set the examples critical to the development of leadership; all the while working to live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

Rank Advancement FAQ’s

1) How does a Boy Scout advance in rank? – There are four basic steps…Learn, Test, Review, and Recognized.

“A Boy Scout advances from Tenderfoot to Eagle by doing things with his patrol and his troop, with
his leaders, and on his own. It’s easy for him to advance if the following four opportunities are
provided for him…

The Boy Scout learns. “A Scout learns by doing. As he learns, he grows in ability to do his part as a member of the patrol and the troop. As he develops knowledge and skill, he is asked to teach others; and in this way he begins to develop leadership.”

  • There are many opportunities to learn…personal study of the material in your handbook, various
    online resources, working with other Scouts, by reading the merit badge booklet and then meeting
    with a merit badge counselor, attending merit badge events such as Advance-O-Rama, and Summer camp.

The Boy Scout is tested. “A Scout may be tested on rank requirements by his patrol leader,
Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, or a member of his troop. The Scoutmaster maintains a list of
those qualified to give tests and to pass candidates. The Scout’s merit badge counselor teaches and
tests on the requirements for merit badges.”

  • At Troop 1109, only the Scoutmaster and the designated Assistant Scoutmasters can sign off a completed. Usually, the Patrol Advisor (the ASM assigned to the Scout’s patrol) will perform the sign off. These include…
  • Troll Patrol – Mr. Rose
  • Shiba Patrol – Mr. Klein
  • Flying Pig Patrol – Mr. Gjorvad
  • Irish Patrol – Mr. Weber

Additionally, Mr. Edwards, our Troop Advancement Chairman, can sign off on requirements. Any of the above can sign off on requirements if the others are not available.

  • If the Troop has designated “Troop Advancement Guides”, they can test and sign off rank requirements through First Class but the ASM must sign off on the requirement as well.
  • Rank requirements done at summer camp (as part of 1st or 2nd year program) are signed off by
    SM/ASMs, but not retested.

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.”

  • The date of your Board of Review is the official date your rank was completed.
  • You must have all of your requirements sign off for that rank and have had a SM conference before
    you can have the Board of Review.

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.

  • At Troop 1109, we strive to recognize the Scout’s rank advancement by announcing it to the entire
    Troop when he completes his Board of Review. The rank patch is ordered as soon as possible by the
    Advancement Coordinator and then delivered to the Scout at which time he can put it on his uniform.
    The Scout’s rank achievements along with any new Merit Badges will be formally recognized at the
    next Court of Honor.

2) How do I get a meeting with an ASM? – Once you feel ready to be signed off on requirements, have your parents email the ASM or ask him at a meeting for an appointment. Remember, any ASM or the SM can sign off, so if your patrol’s Advisor is not available, any one of the other uniformed leaders will be happy to help.

3) How do Scouts keep track of the rank requirements they have completed? – Rank requirements completion should be recorded in the Scout’s handbook including requirements completed at Summer Camp such as through the TNT program. Once the rank is completed, it is recorded in our web software (Troop Web Host) for permanent record keeping purposes. The handbook is important as we don’t always have access to a computer when in meetings or on outings. Plus, your handbook is your
key resource for learning the various skills each rank requires.


  • Take digital photos of your completed requirements pages as a backup measure!
  • Keep the rank and merit badge certificate cards in a safe place. Should you lose a badge, the card is the official record of that achievement and it can be used to get a replacement. Keep it in a 3 ring binder using vinyl trading card sleeves. This way all of your cards will be in one place.

4) Can my parents sign off on a requirement? No. Only the Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmasters, the Troop Advancement Chairman, or a Troop Advancement Guide can sign off a requirement as completed.

5) Can a Scout sign off on a requirement then “check” with the SM/ASM for approval? No. Only the appropriate leaders should sign off on requirements. You can check it as done using the check box on the left margin of the page but you need to be prepared for testing by the leader.

6) Can a SM/ASMs sign off on their own son? It is best if another adult leader do the sign-off if possible.

7) How will I be tested on a rank requirement? Should I study? Many of the requirements require demonstrating, showing, explaining, etc. so once you feel like you know the requirement, either from study or instruction at summer camp, meet with your ASM for testing. If you pass the test, the ASM will initial and date the requirement in your book. If you don’t pass right away, don’t worry!
The ASM will give you as many chances as you need and he may suggest you practice that skill a little more.


  • Ask a buddy or a parent to help you practice or test you so you can be prepared to meet with the ASM again.
  • Even if you have just learned a few requirements, get tested by an ASM as soon as possible. Time at meetings can be limited and other Scouts are also trying to get sign offs done as well.

8) Where do I find the specific requirements for each rank? Use the Boy Scout Requirements book for the most current requirements. Scouts should use their Boy Scout Handbook to log the appropriate signatures when they complete each requirement for the basic ranks. Also refer to the BSA website (see Appendix).

9) Where can I complete rank requirements? At troop or patrol meetings, on campouts, at home, within the community – almost anywhere you can think of. The troop’s monthly outdoor activities are a great place to complete requirements, especially those that require camp craft (cooking, knots, nature study, first aid, flag ceremonies, and other camping skills).

10) What is “Scout Spirit”? Throughout the Scout ranks, you will see a requirement for “Scout
Spirit”. Scout spirit is a combination of “things”…how you live your life, your participation in
Troop activities, how you live by the Scout law, motto, and oath. Evaluating Scout spirit will
always be a judgment by the leader which is accomplished by getting to know the Scout.

11) When should I get a Scoutmaster conference? Any time while you are working on your next rank advancement requirements, but most scouts wait until after they have completed all the rank requirements and have had them signed off in their book. Email the Scoutmaster for an appointment or ask him at the weekly troop meeting for an appointment.

12) When should I get a Board of Review? After you have completed all the rank requirements and the Scoutmaster conference, then you can contact Mr. Edwards to schedule a Board of Review. In some cases, we have been able to schedule both the Scoutmaster conference and the Board of Review during regular Troop meetings, but this puts a strain on everyone involved. It’s best to do your BOR on a night other than your Scoutmaster Conference.

13) Should I wear my uniform to Scoutmaster Conferences and the Board of Review? Yes. Rank achievement is an honorable time in your life as a Boy Scout especially when you are going before the Scoutmaster and the Board of Review. There may be some exceptions when a Scoutmaster conference is done on an outing in which case, the Class B uniform may suffice.

Merit Badge FAQ’s

1) What is the process for earning a Merit badge? There are five steps to earning a Merit badge…

  • Find a counselor for the merit badge you are interested in
  • Obtain a blue card from the Advancement Chairperson or the Scoutmaster
  • Schedule a time to meet with the merit badge counselor
  • Complete the requirements and get sign-off on your blue card by the merit badge counselor
  • Secure signatures on your blue card from the Advancement Chairperson or the Scoutmaster

• Note – You must have another person with you at each meeting with the merit badge counselor such as a scout, friend or relative.

2) Where do I get a Merit Badge booklet? Contact Mr. Edwards, the Advancement Chairperson. He maintains a library of Merit Badge booklets or you can purchase them at Outside World and the local Scout stores.

3) Where do I get a blue card? Contact Mr. Edwards or the Scoutmaster for a blue card. BSA rules require that the card be signed by the Scoutmaster prior to meeting with a Counselor.

4) How do I complete a blue card? See below for a sample blue card.

blue card explained          Sample_BSA_Blue_Card

5) How do I find a Merit Badge Counselor? A list is posted on the Troop website. Go to
( where you will find a list of Merit Badge
counselors by clicking the link at the top of the page. If you don’t see a Counselor for the merit
badge you are working on, contact Mr. Edwards for a list of Counselors outside of Troop 1109.

6) What do I do once the Merit badge requirements are completed? First, make sure your counselor
has completed the blue card and signed it. Then, turn in the card to the Troop Advancement
Coordinator, Mr. Edwards.

7) What if I didn’t finish all of the Merit badge requirements? You should follow up with your
counselor to complete the remaining requirements. If you cannot follow up with that counselor,
contact another counselor for that Merit badge to complete it. The last Merit badge counselor to
help you should be the one signing the card.

8) I earned a bunch of Merit Badges at summer camp (or Pathfinders, etc.) but I didn’t get any blue cards for them. Now
what? A blue card is not needed in this situation as any completed or partial requirements for summer camp earned Merit badges are documented in the reports provided by the camp (i.e.- Camp Rainey Mountain). A copy of this report should have been provided to you at the end of Summer camp. If not, contact Mr. Edwards. For completed Merit badges, Mr. Edwards will update the Troop records
on the website. If you have a “partial” merit badge, follow the steps explained in the prior question to finish the badge.

Portions of this document are from the Guide to Advancement which may be found at:

Appendix – BSA policies & other info about advancement.

You may also find these links useful:

How To Earn a Merit Badge

Scheduling a Scoutmaster Conference or Board of Review