The Scoutmaster’s Corner: The Methods of Scouting — Advancement
Here at the beginning of the year is a great time to talk about Advancement. First, let me recap the methods of Scouting: Advancement, Ideals, Patrols, Outdoors, Adult association, Personal growth, Leadership development and the Uniform.
Advancement has been of particular interest to me lately as it has been a hot item in the Troop. Those of you that have been at Troop meetings lately, and those of you that have been helping out with Boards of review (BORs) know that we have had MANY rank advancements in the last few weeks. We have consistently had 3-4 boys sitting for a BOR in a night. It has been awesome to call these boys up to the front of the Troop week after week and recognize their accomplishments. We have had a couple instances where boys were going for back-to-back BOR. As a Scoutmaster, this is all very exciting to me.
Scouting provides a series of challenges for each boy in the form of rank advancement. The Advancement process allows every boy to set his own pace, to set short and long term goals and to work to achieve them. Being rewarded at every step along this path helps to build self confidence and a feeling of “I can do it”. The steps in the Boy Scout advancement process are specifically designed to grow self-reliance and an ability to help others.
Look at a Scout book (your own or your sons) and notice that the first couple ranks (Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class) are all very skills based. Learning first-aid, physical fitness, knots, orienteering, etc.). These ranks all build on each other and the individual skills become more challenging at each new rank.
When a boy reaches the rank of Star, I tell them that they are leaving a group that receives scouting and joining a group that gives Scouting. The ranks of Star and Life and Eagle are all about leadership, services to the Troop and to others, and earning of Merit badges (more on Merit badges another day). Notice how the requirements for Star, Life and Eagle all contain the same four requirements (active membership, Demonstrate Scout spirit, Leadership to the Troop , and a certain number of merit badges). Of course the rank of Eagle additional has the Eagle project. By climbing the ranks of Boy Scouts, boys move from learning and applying new skills to leading others to develop those skills and teaching new Scouts.
Advancement is an important part of the Scouting program. It helps boys to set and achieve goals by building from smaller to larger goals as they advance. It also helps them to move into more self-reliance and service to the Troop and others. Take a moment to sit down with your Son and see where he is in his advancement. Ask him what he can do this week to work on that next step; and remember, I am here to help in any way I can with advancement and Scouting in general.
William Schmidt, Scoutmaster – Troop 204