Advancement is the process by which youth members of the Boy Scouts of America progress from rank to rank in the Scouting program. Advancement is simply a means to an end, not an end in itself. Everything done to advance and earn these ranks, from joining until leaving the program, should be designed to help the young person have an exciting and meaningful experience. Education and fun are functions of the Scouting movement, and they must be the basis of the advancement program. A fundamental principle of advancement in Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, and Venturing is the growth a young person achieves as a result of his/her participation in unit program.
Council and district advancement committees implement procedures that help achieve the following advancement principles. Personal growth is the prime consideration in the advancement program.
Scouting skills—what a young person knows how to do—are important, but they are not the most important aspect of advancement. Scouting’s concern is the total growth of youth. This growth may be measured by how youth live the Scouting ideals, and how they do their part in their daily lives.
Learning by doing. A Cub Scout, Boy Scout, or Venturer may read about fire building or good citizenship. He/she may hear it discussed, and watch others in action, but he/she has not learned first aid until he/she has done it.
Each youth progresses at his or her own rate. Advancement is not a competition among individual young people, but is an expression of their interest and participation in the program. Youth must be encouraged to advance steadily and set their own goals with guidance from their parents, guardians, or leaders. Just because a group of youth join at the same time, not everyone will earn the same awards at the same time. Let all members earn the awards at their own pace.
A badge is recognition of what a young person is able to do, not merely a reward for what he or she has done. The badge is proof of certain abilities, and is not just a reward for the completion of a task.
Advancement encourages Scouting ideals. Scouting teaches a young person how to care for himself/herself and help others. Advancement should reflect the desire to live the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, or Venturing Oath in his/her daily life. No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to or subtract from advancement requirements.
The following resources provide additional information about advancement. Links are provided to materials that are available online.
Resources from the National Advancement Committee
Resources from the Ventura County Council Advancement Committee