Growing up with brothers meant spending a lot of time at Cub Scout pack meetings and courts of honor. I watched my brothers get belt loops, rank advancements, arrow points, and merit badges. As of a few years ago, I watched all six achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Advancement was a big part of my vicarious Scouting experience.
The BSA’s summary of the Aims and Methods of Scouting describes the benefits of advancement as one of the methods of delivering the promise of Scouting to the youth:
Boy Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. The Boy Scout plans his advancement and progresses at his own pace as he meets each challenge. The Boy Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a Boy Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.
This cycle of Scouts facing and overcoming obstacles leads to rewarding experiences that these boys remember forever. In order to make sure the advancement system is as effective as possible, every two years a team of professionals and volunteers updates the Guide to Advancement. This year, there are some pretty significant changes.
For one thing, the new Cub Scout program requirements and advancements are included. These changes coincide with the launch of the new Cub Scout program on June 1st. The guide also lays out the new Venturing awards and program changes.
The new Guide to Advancement also clarifies the use of merit badge worksheets, effective merit badge instruction, Scoutmaster conferences, and more.
When used for its intended purposes of helping boys confront and overcome obstacles and learn new skills, advancement can play a major role in a young person’s development in and through Scouting. Make sure you are using advancement as effectively as possible by studying this guide and other advancement materials.
Check out this post at Bryan on Scouting for a list of the 13 big changes to advancement in this new guide.
You can view or download the full 2015 Guide to Advancement by clicking here.
New to advancement? Here are some links to the most current materials to help you understand and implement this method of Scouting. These and other resources are available at the Advancement Resources page.
How have you seen advancement help your Scouts?