The Advancement Process

Rank Advancement is a four-step process:

1. The Boy Scout learns. As Scout learns by doing. He learns, he grows in ability to do his part as a member of the troop and patrol. As he develops knowledge and skills he is asked to teach others, and in this way, he begins to develop leadership. A Boy Scout learns at Troop meetings, on outings (camping trips, hikes, etc.), at summer camp, and on his own or with others outside of Troop activities.

2. The Boy Scout is tested. A Scout may be tested on rank requirements by his patrol leader, Scoutmaster, Assistant Scoutmaster, troop committee member, or a member of his troop. Rank requirements are signed off in the Scout’s Handbook, merit badge requirements are signed off on a “blue card” that scouts receive from their Scoutmaster. The following leaders have signing authority:

Scoutmaster / Assistant Scoutmasters – Rank requirements for all ranks
Junior Assistant Scoutmaster – Rank requirements up to Life
SPL, ASPL, Instructor, Guide – Rank requirements up to First Class

The Scout’s merit badge counselor tests on the knowledge for merit badges.

The Scout should be tested and signed off as soon after he has completed a requirement as possible, ideally on a camping trip or other event where the scout demonstrates the skill.

The final requirement before a Board of Review is for the Scout to have a Scoutmasters Conference. The Scout is responsible for scheduling this with the Scoutmaster. The Scout should:

  • Contact the Scoutmaster at least 2 weeks before the Board of Review,
  • Schedule the conference to take place at least a week before the Board of Review,
  • Complete the “Scoutmasters conference worksheet” (on the documents page) in advance. For Scouts completing any of the ranks that require leadership responsibilities, the Scout must get the Senior Patrol Leader to sign the section of the “Scoutmasters conference worksheet” to confirm that the scout has served actively in his leadership position.

(Ideally, the Scout will arrange for a Scoutmasters Conference to be held on a camping trip, rather than wait until the troop meeting just before the Board of Review, when many other Scouts will also be trying to do a Scoutmasters Conference.)

3. The Boy Scout is reviewed. After a Scout has completed all the requirements for rank and has had his Scoutmasters Conference, he has a board of review. For Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle Palms, the review is conducted by the troop committee. The Eagle Scout board of review is conducted by the district advancement committee. The Troop Board of Review is scheduled regularly throughout the year. The Scout should complete the appropriate Board of Review application for the rank he is advancing to. These applications are on the documents page.

4. The Boy Scout is recognized. A boy is considered to have attained a new rank on the day the Board of Review has certified his advancement. He is then recognized at a Court of Honor ceremony at the next Troop meeting. (In the case of Eagle Scouts, a special Eagle Court of Honor is held, and this is usually three to four months following his Board of Review, to allow enough time to prepare a suitable Eagle Court of Honor and invite family, dignitaries, etc.)

Service Hours

For all ranks above Tenderfoot, the Scout is required to perform service to the community, culminating with a significant service project for Eagle. To ensure that the Scout gets credit for service hours, all Scouts must:

    • Speak with the Scoutmaster before performing service, to get the Scoutmaster’s approval that the service project will meet the requirements. The only two exceptions are: If a Scout is contributing to another Scout’s approved Eagle project, then the hours are automatically approved; And if a Scout is working on an established Troop service project (e.g. Project Hammer), that is also automatically approved. All other service hours must be approved in advance.
    • Once the Scout has completed his hours, he must get a signed note from the organization that he is helping, stating the number of hours and date(s) that the service was performed. The only two exceptions are: If a Scout is contributing to another Scout’s approved Eagle project, then the Eagle candidate can sign off on the Scouts service hours; And if the Scout is working on a service project that the Scoutmaster, an Assistant Scoutmaster, or a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster personally observes, then a note is not required. All other service hours must be confirmed by a written note.

Updated 3/18/12, 4/9/12, 9/11/12

Merit Badge Counselors

The following counselors are available in Troop 5 to sign off on Merit Badge requirements:


  • Camping: V. La Vecchia, J. Denfeld, A. Anderson
  • Cit. in the Community: C. Cushman, D. Weir, T. Schnier, N. Jackman, A. Anderson
  • Cit. in the Nation: C. Cushman, D. Weir, T. Schnier, N. Jackman, A. Anderson
  • Cit. in the Society: N. Merluccio, K. Sullivan, D. Solomon
  • Cit. in the World: D. Weir, R. Mager, A. Bender, N. Jackman, A. Anderson
  • Communication:  J. Mehler, V. La Vecchia, A. Anderson
  • Cooking:  M. Rohr, J. Denfeld, A. Anderson
  • Cycling: C. Cushman
  • Emergency Preparedness: A. Bender
  • Environmental Science: B. Weir, A. Bender
  • Family Life: T. Schnier, G. Tarwala, N. Jackman, M. Cyr
  • First Aid: C. Cushman, G. Tarwala, A. Anderson, S. Sullivan
  • Hiking:  R. Mager, V. La Vecchia, A. Anderson
  • Lifesaving: A. Bender
  • Personal Fitness: T. Schnier, M. Rohr
  • Personal Management: V. La Vecchia, C Cushman, M. Cyr
  • Sustainability: R. Mager, A. Anderson
  • Swimming: J. Mehler


  • American Cultures: D. Weir
  • American Heritage: D. Weir
  • Architecture: P. Dallendorfer
  • Aviation: A. Bender
  • Basketry: G. Tarwala
  • Canoeing: C. Cushman
  • Chemistry: B. Weir
  • Chess: G. Tarwala
  • Coin Collecting: V. La Vecchia
  • Disabilities Awareness: J. Mehler
  • Dog Care: M. Rohr
  • Engineering: B. Weir
  • Fishing: A. Bender
  • Fly Fishing: M. Crinieri
  • Genealogy: V. La Vecchia
  • Geocaching: C. Cushman
  • Golf: M. Crinieri,
  • Horsemanship: C. Cushman
  • Leatherwork: G. Tarwala
  • Mammal Study: G. Tarwala
  • Medicine: M. Rohr, G. Tarwala, S. Sullivan
  • Music: Kevin Taylor
  • Nuclear Science: B. Weir
  • Orienteering: B. Weir
  • Public Health: M. Rohr
  • Railroading: J. Denfeld
  • Theater: J. Mehler
  • Water Sports: M. Rohr
  • Weather: R. Mager

A list of council merit badge counselors is available from our Advancement Chair at

For information on the requirements for all Merit Badges, see

There are counselors outside of our own Troop for every merit badge offered. Scouts are encouraged to contact these merit badge counselors to work on badges that interest them. A list of merit badge counselors is available from the Scoutmaster.


The Troop library is maintained by the Troop Librarian. (See the Leadership page for the name of the current Librarian.) Scouts who want to check out a copy of a merit badge book or other materials should contact the Troop Librarian.

The Library current contains the following:

Merit Badge Books:


Eagle Rank

Eagle is the highest rank earned in Boy Scouts, and the most prestigious. It is therefore also the most difficult to earn. Some useful sites to consult for Scouts planning their Eagle rank include:


One of the major requirements for Eagle is to demonstrate leadership, which means that the Eagle candidate must take the initiative to plan and complete his project, arrange for letters of recommendation, and all of the steps leading to Eagle. This is not something his parents or the Troop adult leaders can do for him. If his parents have to do all the planning, that is evidence that the scout is not qualified to be an Eagle!

It is never too early in your scouting career to begin thinking about an Eagle Project. Discuss it with older scouts and adult leaders. Assist Life Scouts with their projects. Remember: All of your Eagle application paperwork must be submitted to Council before your 18th birthday.

      • From the day you enter the troop, keep all records of rank advancement dates, merit badges (keep all of your blue cards), and make note of the day you joined the troop. Keep all Court of Honor programs. You must earn a total of at least 21 merit badges, 12 of which are “Eagle Required.” Check with your Scoutmaster.
      • Keep a log of any time spent thinking about, planning, and executing your project. Those hours will be included in your total project time.
      • Have your Scoutmaster get an Eagle Scout application book for you.
      • Carefully review the requirements (in your Scout Handbook) for your Eagle Project, and look at examples of “good” Eagle projects. There are many web sites with great ideas. Your project can benefit almost any group except the BSA.
      • When you have a project in mind and you are a Life Scout, discuss it with your Scoutmaster to make sure it is appropriate. Write a proposal and get signatures from the group benefiting from your project, your Scoutmaster, the Advancement Chairman from the Troop Committee, and the Council or District advancement chairman. The approval of all of these people is required to determine if your project is acceptable.
      • When the project has been accepted by all of the above people and you have the signatures, you may begin the project. Don’t come to your Scoutmaster after you have started your project or made commitments to other people.
      • Keep a detailed account of your project, complete with photographs.
      • The main objective of an Eagle Project is for you to demonstrate leadership and organization. That means that you must lead other people and organize their activity. You can’t do all or even most of the work yourself. You should consult your parents and leaders for advice, but it must always be your project, not theirs.
      • Use the manpower of your troop, your friends, relatives, and other volunteers. All of their individual service hours are counted in your combined project hours.
      • At some point you must check your records with the Troop. There must be paperwork accounting for all your rank advancements and merit badges. First check with the Troop’s own records (using ScoutManage, our online database.) If the Troop records are not correct, speak to the Scoutmaster to get them corrected. Then, after you are sure that the Troop records are accurate, go to the Council with an adult to check the Council’s records. These must be correct when your Eagle application is submitted. If rank advancements are missing a day or date, or if you are missing records for a merit badge, you must contact your ScoutMaster and have him submit the appropriate advancement forms to correct the situation. This may take some time to do, so do not wait until the last minute!
      • After your project is completed and you have filled out all the necessary information on the Eagle application, the next step is your Scoutmaster Conference. You will make an appointment with him and discuss the entire process and your experience in scouting up until this point. If he accepts your completed project and form then you are ready for the next step.
      • After your Scoutmaster has signed off your form, then you must go back to the Council office and have the person in the records department sign off that all of the rank and merit badge records are correct.
      • During the entire process you have been contacting individuals who will write letters of recommendation on your behalf. Follow the guidelines in the Eagle Application. The recommendations must be sent to the Troop Advancement Chairman or another adult leader in the Troop. You are not to see them, however you must keep a record of who has actually sent these letters. This could take months, so leave plenty of time. The letters must be presented to the Advancement Chairman at the Board of Review and then included in the application when it is sent to the Council and to National.
      • You are now ready for your Eagle Board of Review, which you must set up with the Council Advancement Chairman and two or three adults other than the Scoutmaster and your own parents. Wear your full uniform. Bring your completed application with all project records and photos, which should be placed in a three-ring binder.
      • If you pass your Board of Review, an adult leader will deliver your application to Council. If Council accepts it, it will then be sent to BSA National Headquarters. If they accept it then the Council will notify you through your Scoutmaster that you are now an Eagle Scout. (You are officially an Eagle on the day of your Board of Review.) A package will be sent to your Council with all the appropriate documents and pins.
      • Once your Board of Review is completed, you should start working with the Scoutmaster to plan your Eagle Court of Honor. This may be the same evening as a Troop Court of Honor, but usually, the Troop will schedule a special Eagle Court of Honor with your fellow Scouts who have also just earned their Eagle, or you may have your own Eagle Court of Honor on a separate day. Leave enough time to invite friends and relatives, and for them to make plans.

These guidelines are intended to facilitate the daunting process of completing the Eagle process. They are guidelines only, and they are secondary to the application itself, so they must be reviewed for any changes to the Council and National protocol. Where there is any conflict, the Council and National protocol is the official process. To guide candidates through the process, Westchester Putnam Council has a “Life to Eagle” web page that all Eagle candidates should read:

(Special thanks to Victor La Gamma, Bronxville Troop 2, who wrote the original document from which most of this material has been borrowed.)