You have read your son’s handbook cover to cover. You have spoken with a number of folks in your unit and district. Yet, you still have more than a few questions: What is the difference between a “rank” and an “award”? What does “tenure” really mean? How do we manage the requirement that a Scout be “active”? You have these, and countless more questions to which everyone but you seem to know the answers.
No one comes to Scouting knowing all of the answers. However, whether you are a new Scout parent, Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, Skipper, committee member or chair, advancement coordinator, or even a member of a district- or council-level advancement committee, the BSA’s Guide To Advancement-2015 (or “GTA” for short) is the best place to look for them.
The Guide to Advancement is indeed a guide. Yes, it does contain Scouting’s “rules” for advancement across all youth programs, but it provides much more than that. For example, it provides insights into why the rules are as they are, as well as assistance about how to assess a youth’s correct completion of requirements.
The GTA is organized into 11 easy-to-find sections and includes an appendix of useful forms. The GTA’s contents cover all aspects of the advancement process, from “Advancement Defined” to “The Mechanics of Advancement” to “The Eagle Scout Rank” to “Advancement for Members with Special Needs.” To help you navigate the full spectrum of advancement-related topics, each section is further subdivided by topic. For example, in Section 5—Special Considerations, you will find: Advancement in Camp Settings, Extended Absence from Scouting, Lone Scouting, Using Technology-Based Tools, and other topics.
Whether the GTA is an old friend or it is the first time you have opened its pages, be sure to start in Section 1 -Introduction. There, under topic 184.108.40.206: Significant Changes (page 7), you will find a summary of the latest changes in methods, mechanics, camp settings, reporting, the merit badge program, managing boards of review, Eagle-specific areas, members with special needs, etc. Although the GTA is an advancement resource that is always at your fingertips online (www.scouting.org/ advancement.aspx), you may want to make an investment of $11.99 for a hard copy of this book (SKU 620573) in which you can write your own notes, underline or highlight sections of text, or insert a fistful of “yellow stickies.” When it comes to finding the answers you are seeking, or when you are helping someone else, the purchase of your very own hard copy of the Guide to Advancement from your local Scout shop or via www.scoutstuff.org may prove to be worth many times its purchase price.