You advance through the ranks from Scout through Life by completing the requirements for each rank, as specified in your Boy Scout Handbook. Completion of each requirement is indicated by having it signed off in your Scout Handbook. Once all the requirements for a rank are signed off you have a Scoutmaster Conference, and then a Board of Review. Here are the National BSA Advancement Resources.
Rank & Merit Badge Cutoff: Due to the paperwork involved, Troop 35 cannot accept rank advancement and merit badge requests less than two weeks before a Court of Honor. Please make sure you have your ducks in a row a few weeks before the Court of Honor, including any Scoutmaster Conferences or Boards of Review.
Most requirements can be signed off by any registered adult leader or another Scout who is First Class rank or above. (Usually it will be your Patrol Leader, the Senior Patrol Leader, or the Assistant Senior Patrol Leader.) The person signing must both understand the requirement and have personally witnessed your accomplishment.
Both Second Class and First Class have a requirement for participation in a certain number of Troop or Patrol activities. These requirements can only be signed off by the adult Trail-to-First-Class Coordinator, or another adult leader approved by the coordinator.
The requirement for demonstrating Scout Spirit can only be signed off by the Scoutmaster. (He'll only sign if he believes that you live by the Scout Oath and Scout Law.) He'll do this during your Scoutmaster Conference.
Your parent cannot sign off on any requirement.
Items must be dated and initialed in your Scout handbook by the person who is signing off.
When all requirements for a rank are completed (other than Scout Sprit, Scoutmaster Conference, and Board of Review) you must bring your Scout Handbook to the Advancement Chairman, who will review your handbook and notify the Scoutmaster for your Scoutmaster Conference.
You then contact the Scoutmaster to arrange a time for a Scoutmaster Conference. (These are usually after a Tuesday Troop meeting, or at the end of a campout.)
Wear your complete and correct Class A uniform to the Scoutmaster Conference!
If you meet his standards, the Scoutmaster will sign off in your Scout Handbook for the Scout Spirit and Scoutmaster Conference requirements.
Once you have passed your Scoutmaster Conference, go back to the Advancement Chairman, who will work with you to schedule a Board of Review. Boards of Review are typically held before or after a monthly during the Troop meeting, while the other Scouts are otherwise occupied.
Wear your complete and correct Class A uniform to the board of review.
A Board of Review is a meeting with a group of at least three members of the Troop Committee. (The Troop Committee is a subset of the adult leaders.) Your review is not a test, it is an opportunity for you and the troop committee to discuss your advancement progress, your plans and goals, any issues you have with the troop and it's members, any suggestions you have for improvements. It provides a way for you to influence the direction of the troop outside of the normal patrol and troop environment. The meeting will probably last 15-20 minutes.
At the end of your Board of Review the adults will initial your Scout Handbook. You've completed your Rank advancement!
Contact the Advancement Chairman, who will update the Troop's advancement records and arrange the awarding of your rank insignia.
In addition to the practices of Troop 35, advancement procedures for Eagle are set by the District, Council, and Boy Scout National Office. The details of these procedures change occasionally, so they're not described here. Here are the National BSA Advancement Resources.
Once you've earned Life rank you should talk to the adult Eagle Advisor in our Troop. They can explain the current Eagle advancement procedures.
Normally, before beginning work on a merit badge your must:
Get a three-part merit badge card ("blue card") and fill out your personal information and the name of the badge you want to earn. You'll find blank blue cards in the white cabinet in our meeting room, or you can get them from the Advancement Chairman.
Fill in your name and the name of the badge you want to earn on the card.
Have the Scoutmaster sign where indicated for "Unit Leader".
Contact the adult Merit Badge Coordinator to obtain the name of an officially registered Merit Badge Counselor for the badge.
Talk to the Counselor so that you understand what they will want to see as proof that you have completed the requirements of the badge.
The procedure is different for starting on badges at our week-long Summer and Winter camps.
The camps offer formal Merit Badge classes. You sign up for and attend merit badge classes usually without a blue card.
At the end of the week the camp provide forms to the Troop which document the badge requirements that you completed in class.
The Troop 35 Merit Badge Coordinator will transfer this information to Troop Records and provide a copy to you.
If you have more work to do on a badge you'll need to contact the Merit Badge Coordinator to locate a counselor to work with you on the remaining requirements, using a Blue Card to complete the process.
Once you've completed all the requirements for a badge to the their satisfaction, the Merit Badge Counselor will sign the blue card in two places and tear off one piece for their records.
You must then bring the "Application For Merit Badge" portion of the card, along with your Scout Handbook, to the Advancement Chairman so he can properly record the completed badge and arrange for it to be awarded to you at the next Court of Honor.
Keep the "Applicant's Record" portion of the blue card in a safe place! Occasionally a question will come up about when a Scout earned a specific badge. (This can happen when your Eagle application is being reviewed.) The Advancement Record is what you'll need to prove you earned the badge. Many Scouts keep all of their advancement records in plastic pocket pages in a zippered binder.