Advancement

Not sure where to go for help? Contact [email protected]

Looking to report Advancement? Login to Internet Advancement.


This site includes contacts for the PTC Advancement Team, guidance for Merit Badge Counselors, instructions for Unit Advancement Coordinators, Eagle Scout process details, Scouter recognition information, assistance on Scouting with Special Needs, STEM/Nova program information, and Religious Emblems info.

Abnaki District

Jeremy Bussiere, Advancement Chair
Phone: 207-577-4051
Email: [email protected]

Jeremy Bussiere, Eagle Coordinator
Phone: 207-577-4051
Email: [email protected]

Jeremy Bussiere, Merit Badge Coordinator
Phone: 207-577-4051
Email: [email protected]

Latest Merit Badge College

Casco Bay District

Brian Hansen, Advancement Chair
Email: [email protected]

Nancy Beaupre, Eagle Coordinator
Phone: 207-892-8587
Email: [email protected]

Melissa Medina, Merit Badge Coordinator
Phone: 207-400-9903
Email: [email protected]

Latest Merit Badge College

K-Valley District

Chuck Mahaleris, Advancement Chair
Phone: 207-400-9850
Email: [email protected]

Chuck Mahaleris, Eagle Coordinator
Phone: 207-400-9850
Email: [email protected]

Randy Hooper, Merit Badge Coordinator
Email: [email protected]

Latest Merit Badge College

York District

Bruce Theriault, Advancement Chair
Email: [email protected]

Bruce Theriault, Eagle Coordinator
Email: [email protected]

Gene Guerin, Merit Badge Coordinator
Email: [email protected]

Latest Merit Badge College

Councilwide Advancement Contacts

Council Advancement ChairMelissa Medina
207-400-9903
Eagle Scout Issues CoordinatorBruce Theriault
207-929-4581
Special Needs Scouting SpecialistKaren Norton
207-319-9476
Asst. Council Commissioner for Special NeedsJames Nirza
Hornaday ChairGreg Solomon
STEM/Nova ChairScott Valcourt
603-380-2860
Asst. Council Commissioner for VenturingJody Hart
VP of ProgramDon Littlefield
Council NESA ChairDr. Don Burgess
Staff AdvisorDistrict Director Matt Mower
207-797-5252 x23
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Merit Badge Counselors

What does a Merit Badge Counselor do?

"As a merit badge counselor, your mission is to join fun with learning. You are both a teacher and mentor to the Scout as he works on a merit badge and learns by doing. By presenting opportunities for growth via engaging activities like designing a Web page (Computers), performing an ollie and a wheelie (Snow Sports), or fabricating rope (Pioneering), you can pique a young man's interest in the merit badge subject. Just think: Your hands-on involvement could inspire a Scout to develop a lifelong hobby, pursue a particular career, or become an independent, self-supporting adult."

-- Guide to Merit Badge Counselors

How do I become a Merit Badge Counselor?

To become a Merit Badge Counselor:

  1. Please note that you may not work with Scouts as a Merit Badge Counselor until you are registered and approved.
  2. Complete Youth Protection Training and print your certificate. Include this with your application.
  3. Complete a BSA Adult Application, either using the fillable PDF or the paper registration form. The position code for this role is "42" - Merit Badge Counselor. This application is required even if you are already registered in another role.
  4. Complete a Merit Badge Counselor info form, and include this with your application.
  5. Submit the application, your Youth Protection Training certificate, and your Merit Badge Counselor information form to Pine Tree Council, 146 Plains Rd, Raymond, ME 04071
  6. Upon completion of your registration, your District Merit Badge Coordinator will be provided your contact information and will let you know you are now able to serve as a Merit Badge Counselor.

Where can I obtain training?

All leaders within Scouting should be trained to deliver excellent program. Merit Badge Counselor Training is offered several times per year. The latest Training offerings for Scout leaders are shown on Training at a Glance.

If you do not see a Merit Badge Counselor training course convenient to you, please contact your District Merit Badge Coordinator to request training.

Online training for Merit Badge Counselors is now available via my.scouting.org. If completing training online, please contact your District Merit Badge Coordinator if you have questions.

Where are the rules and instructions?

The Merit Badge Program is administered according to Chapter 7 of the Guide to Advancement. The Guide to Advancement provides details of the Merit Badge Program for Merit Badge Counselors, Advancement Coordinators, Scoutmasters and the District and Council Advancement teams -- everyone uses this guide.

The Guide for Merit Badge Counselors (at meritbadge.org) may also be a helpful resource for new Counselors, however the Guide to Advancement is the authoritative resource on policy and procedure.

Whose permission is needed for a Scout to begin a Merit Badge?

A Scout will obtain a signed blue card from their Unit Leader (e.g. Scoutmaster) before beginning a Merit Badge. The signed blue card from the Scoutmaster must be presented to the Merit Badge Counselor.

How do I renew my membership as a Merit Badge Counselor?

Youth Protection Training must be refreshed annually by repeating the Youth Protection Training course.

The District Merit Badge Coordinator will reach out to you annually to obtain an updated Youth Protection Training certificate and to coordinate your renewal.

If you have not heard from your District's Merit Badge Coordinator by November 15th, please contact them directly, or contact the Commissioner Team for assistance.

Where can I obtain a list of Merit Badge Counselors?

A list of Merit Badge Counselors is available to Scoutmasters, Venturing Advisors, Skippers and Lone Scout Counselors by District Merit Badge Coordinator.

Merit Badge Counselor lists are not available to parents or Scouts directly; please coordinate needs with your Unit Leader.

While this list has been provided in CD form in the past, as of 2017 Pine Tree Council is pursuing an initiative to move the list to an always-updated online format which is accessible to Unit Leaders directly.

Can a Scoutmaster instruct Merit Badges?

The role of Scoutmaster or Assistant Scoutmaster does not inherently give a leader the credentials to instruct a Merit Badge. All Merit Badge Counselors must register as a Merit Badge Counselor and be approved prior to counseling a Merit Badge.

Can a parent assist with, sign off on, or instruct Merit Badges?

The Merit Badge Program is designed to encourage Scouts to broaden their horizons and make connections with adult leaders within the community. Scouts should be encouraged to reach out and not earn all badges with their own parents, Troop leaders, or in a Troop setting.

The role of the parent in Boy Scouting is to encourage, mentor and support the Scout. Parents may serve as Merit Badge Counselors.

Except as stated in Merit Badge requirements (as in the case of Home Repairs Merit Badge), the role of a parent who is not serving as a Merit Badge Counselor does not permit them to sign off on Merit Badge requirement completion.

What materials are available to support Scouts working on a Merit Badge?

A number of resources are available to Scouts working on a Merit Badge:

  • The Merit Badge Counselor is a subject matter expert, and may be an excellent source for guidance.
  • BSA publishes Merit Badge Pamphlets available through your Troop library, BSA Supply, and the Pine Tree Scout Shop.
  • Unofficial resources on each Merit Badge are available at meritbadge.org

How does group instruction work?

Through a number of events operated at the District and Council level, opportunities to earn Merit Badges are made more accessible to Scouts.

Most Districts run 1-2 Merit Badge Colleges per year, the Council has specific Merit Badge events for Engineering, and other functions such as an Aviation Camporee may present specific Merit Badge opportunities. A Scout should work on Merit Badges independent from these settings, but the District and Council works hard to make the Merit Badge program more accessible.

When Merit Badge instruction is delivered in these group settings, or at a Troop level, it is important that all Scouts complete each requirement as written. Merit Badge requirements are completed per Scout and Merit Badges are earned by each individual Scout.

Where can I get help?

If you have questions about the Merit Badge Program, contact your District Merit Badge Coordinator or the Commissioner Team.

Unit Advancement

What does a Unit Advancement Coordinator do?

"Unit advancement coordinators and those who assist them have the basic responsibility to support the unit’s advancement program, to maximize rank achievement, and otherwise facilitate a smooth implementation of the process. Specific responsibilities are outlined in the leader literature for each program."

-- Guide to Advancement (section 3.0.0.3, Unit Advancement Responsibilities)

How do I become a Unit Advancement Coordinator?

The Unit Advancement Coordinator is a member of the Unit's Committee. The process to fill this role typically occurs when the Unit Committee Chair initiates the process.

  • Complete Youth Protection Training and print your certificate. Include this with your application.
  • Complete a BSA Adult Application, either using the fillable PDF or the paper registration form. The position code for this role is "MC" - Member of Committee.
  • Your Committee Chair will coordinate signatures on your application, including approval from the Chartered Organization, and submit your application to Pine Tree Council, BSA.

Where can I obtain training?

Advancement Coordinators should build an understanding of the program run by the Unit they support (e.g. Pack or Troop). Please complete the "This is Scouting" training on my.scouting.org.

Advancement Coordinators are members of the Unit Committee and should complete Committee Member training for their Unit type. For Packs this is Member of Committee Training, available via my.scouting.org. For Troops, this is Troop Committee Challenge, available in-person periodically throughout the year.

Additional training for Advancement Coordinators is delivered periodically through the University of Scouting (held each March) and by the Advancement Team. Contact your District Advancement Chair or the Commissioner Team for assistance.

How can I keep up-to-date?

Advancement News is released bi-monthly. Major new programs are announced on Scouting Wire. Requirements changes are typically announced on the Program Updates page, to support flow of information to Unit Leaders..

Where are the rules and instructions?

Advancement is administered as per the Guide to Advancement.

Where should I do if a records problem arises?

Records problems can have impact down the road as Scouts pursue the Eagle Scout rank, so it is important to address problems when they are discovered. Please contact your District Advancement Chair for guidance if you identify a Unit Advancement records problem.

How do I renew my membership?

The Unit Committee Chair will coordinate your annual recharter as part of the Unit's recharter. You will need to refresh your Youth Protection Training annually in order to recharter.

What tools exist to support Advancement tracking?

BSA's Internet Advancement "is an online tool designed to assist unit leaders with recording ranks, merit badges, and awards, and reporting these entries to the council. Pine Tree Council would like all Units to adopt this platform for reporting of advancement, as it helps ensure record durability and accuracy.

Many Pine Tree Council units have adopted Scoutbook, a platform to provide your Unit a complete online presence, including advancement tracking. This National-level platform has been purchased by BSA from an independent developer, and it is expected that it will integrate with Internet Advancement in the future. In the mean time, please see guidance on how to keep Scoutbook and Internet Advancement in sync.

Under limited circumstances it may make sense to use the paper Unit Advancement Form, but this is strongly discouraged.

Pine Tree Council plans to offer online Internet Advancement Training in 2017. In the mean time, review this presentation on Getting the Most from Internet Advancement and contact your District Advancement Chair for assistance.

How do I order awards?

After awards have been recorded in the Internet Advancement portal and the form has been printed, or the triplicate advancement form has been filled out, all signatures must be collected. Once these steps are finished, the form may be brought to the Scout Shop and awards may be purchased.

What awards are available to my Scouts?

The Boy Scouts of America offer an amazing range of Awards and Recognitions. Additional information on many of these awards is available on the unofficial meritbadge.org site.

Pine Tree Council offers additional opportunities including the Four Camps award (for camping at Hinds, Bomazeen, Gustin and Nutter within one year), and the Scout Patriot Award.

Who decides what a Scout has earned?

The rules for signoffs differ by Program.

  • In Cub Scouting, Akela provides sign-offs. Akela is the parent or Den Leader. The Den Leader is responsible for approving rank advancement.
  • In Boy Scouting, "the unit leader authorizes those who may test and pass the Scout on rank requirements. They might include his patrol leader, senior patrol leader, an assistant unit leader, another Scout, or the unit leader himself." (REF)
  • Once all rank requirements for a Boy Scout rank have been completed, the Scout meets with a Board of Review, who approves rank advancement.
  • Approved Merit Badge Counselors provide signoff on individual Merit Badge requirements, and when all requirements have been met will sign off that the Merit Badge has been completed.
  • Certain awards and honors, such as those related to bravery, the Eagle Scout rank, advanced training, and major service projects require Council-level signoff. This is noted in the awards requirements. Contact the Council Advancement Chair or the Commissioner Team with questions on any such awards.

How do I support Scouts with Special Needs?

Please see our Special Needs page.

What is the process for earning the Arrow of Light?

As the Arrow of Light is a factor in when a Scout may begin work toward the Eagle Scout rank, it is particularly important to ensure Arrow of Light requirements have been properly met, and the award has properly been recorded.

See Arrow of Light requirements (courtesy meritbadge.org)

Questions regarding the Arrow of Light award and Cub Scout-to-Boy Scout crossover should be directed to your District Advancement Chair.

What is the process for earning the Eagle Scout Rank?

Please see our Eagle Scout rank page.

How does advancement work for the Venturing and Sea Scouting programs?

For information on Venturing advancement, please see the Venturing BSA website.

For information on Sea Scouting advancement, please see the Sea Scouts BSA website.

Questions on these programs may be directed to the Asst. Council Commissioner for Venturing, who will respond with answers or help route your inquiry.

Where can I get help?

Advancement Coordinators should contact either their District Advancement Chair or the Commissioner Team for assistance. Please seek guidance from an authoritative District- or Council-level Advancement resource on all Advancement questions.

Eagle Scout Advancement

Who is eligible to become an Eagle Scout?

Generally, registered male youth in the Boy Scouting, Varsity Scouting, Venturing and Sea Scouting programs who complete the necessary requirements before their 18th birthday. There are some exceptions to this. Please contact your District Advancement Chair or Eagle Coordinator with questions.

Where do I obtain a Project Workbook?

Please see the above process guidance for your District. The workbook is downloadable.

Where do I obtain the Eagle Scout Rank Application?

Please see the above process guidance for your District. The Eagle Scout Rank Application is downloadable.

How do I apply for an Eagle Scout Palm?

Please contact your District Advancement Chair for instructions. The Eagle Palm Application is downloadable.

How do I apply for duplicate Eagle Scout credentials?

Please see this page for more information.

Do I need to have my fundraising form approved before I start raising money?

Yes.

Is crowdfunding a permitted method of fundraising for Eagle projects?

Please see Pine Tree Council's Eagle Scout Serivce Project Crowdfunding Guidelines. Crowdfunding of Eagle Projects for Pine Tree Council Scouts must adhere to these guidelines.

What should I bring with me to my Eagle Scout Board of Review?

What resources are available for Scouts with Special Needs?

Please see our Special Needs Scouting page.

How do I request an Eagle Scout Extension?

Please see the Request for Extension of Time to Earn Eagle Scout Rank form.

How do I verify an Eagle Scout?

Please contact the Eagle Scout Service for verification that a person seeking employment is actually an Eagle Scout.

What is NESA?

NESA is the National Eagle Scout Association. NESA "is an alumni association for Eagle Scouts of all ages. Members receive a membership packet and four issues of Eagles’ Call magazine each year. NESA membership fees help fund the NESA scholarship program, which awards over 200 scholarships to Eagle Scouts each year. Membership is a great way for alumni to stay in touch with fellow Eagle Scouts around the world and mentor the next generation of Scouts who aspire to reach Scouting’s highest rank."

For more information contact Pine Tree Council's NESA Chairman.

Where can I get help?

Questions regarding the Eagle Scout Rank should be directed to your District Advancement Chair. Where issues have arisen, Pine Tree Council's Eagle Scout Issues Coordinator may be of additional assistance.

Scouter Recognition

District Award of Merit

The District Award of Merit is presented for rendering service of an outstanding nature at a District level. See the District Award of Merit nominating form for instructions. This form may be submitted to the District Advancement Chair for routing.

Silver Beaver

Silver Beaver Award is presented for distinguished service to young people within a BSA local Council. See the 2017 Silver Beaver Packet for nominating instructions. The nomination form is downloadable.

Veterans Award

See the Veteran Application for recognition as a Scouter with 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25+ years of Scouting service.

Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Awards

Please see the Lifesaving and Meritorious Action Award page. Inquiries regarding these awards should be directed to the Council Advancement Chair.

Adult Religious Emblem

Religious emblem programs exist for Adult Leaders of most religions (though not all). See the Religious Emblems page for details.

Wood Bagde and Powderhorn

Pine Tree Council offers a number of supplemental and advanced training opportunities. Wood Badge delivers advanced leadership training every other year, consisting of 2 three-day weekends and a six-to-eighteen month practicel project. Powderhorn provides training on how to deliver high adventure program, offered annually. See the Council site for more information on these opportunities.

Knot Recognitions

BSA provides a number of awards for Adult Leaders which are recognized by knot awards worn on the uniform.

May I wear youth awards as a Scouter?

Generally no, but there are exceptions. Youth religious emblems, Arrow of Light, Eagle Scout Award, Venturing Silver Award, Sea Scout Quartermaster Award and bravery awards are worn by adults as knot awards. Youth rank insignia, Merit Badges, and other youth awards are not worn by adults.

Where can I get help?

Contact the Council Advancement Chair or the Commissioner Team for assistance.

Special Needs

Can a Scout with Special Needs be successful?

Yes.

About terminology

In various places within Scouting you may see this program referred to as "Scouting with Special Needs", "Scouting Unlimited", and other names. For purpose of this site, we use the term "Special Needs" as it is the prevailing terminology today and we want this information to be found readily.

When should presence of Special Needs be escalated?

When a Scout with Special Needs registers, please get in touch with the Special Needs Scouting Specialist and Asst. Council Commissioner for Special Needs as that they can provide important information about the best way to support the needs of the Scout. If an existing Scout is identified to have Special Needs, make contact at that time.

One of the reasons to make early contact with our Council-level resources is to ensure that point of contact is provided should questions arise later.

What accommodations are provided to Scouts with Special Needs?

Level of accommodation is tied to severity of need. Where warranted, the high end of accommodation is that the age limits of the program are eliminated. Where deemed necessary, it is possible for a Scout with Special Needs to continue participating as a Cub Scout or Boy Scout throughout their life. Where as lesser degree of impact exists on the Scout's ability to participate, no program adjustments are made, or very limited program adjustments are made.

How is a Scout with Special Needs supported?

The need to adjust advancement requirements is assessed, and an Individual Scout Advancement Plan (ISAP) is formed (similar to an IEP in an educational setting). District and Council-level Advancement Chairs, and Council-level Special Needs resources can be of assistance in navigating approvals.

What is an ISAP?

An ISAP is an Individual Scouting Advancement Plan, a document that helps chart the path forward for a Scout, similar to an IEP (Individual Education Plan) in a school setting. An ISAP documents how alternative requirements will be applied.

May individuals with Special Needs register as a Cub Scout over age 11 or a Boy Scout over 18?

Please see "Registering Qualified Members Beyond Age of Eligibility. A request form must be submitted to the Council Advancement Chair for review.

Where can I get help?

For help supporting a Scout with Special Needs, contact the Special Needs Scouting Specialist and Asst. Council Commissioner for Special Needs.

STEM/Nova

What is STEM?

STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Recent uses of this term sometimes add an 'A' to make STEAM, adding Art, as is often a component of these disciplines within the Maker community.

What does STEM have to do with Scouting?

Since the early days of Scouting, the Merit Badge Program has included badges related to STEM disciplines and general scholarship. Many boys and girls introduced to STEM disciplines through Scouting have gone on to careers in STEM disciplines and pursued hobbies as citizen scientists, such as participating in the Audubon Society's annual bird count.

What is Nova?

BSA has developed the Nova Awards program "to excite and expand a sense of wonder in our Scouts. By working with an adult counselor or mentor, the various modules allow them to explore the basic principles of STEM and discover how fun and fascinating STEM can be. The Supernova awards are offered for those who enjoy a super challenge."

How can I support the Nova Program?

Adults may register as Nova Counselors and Supernova Mentors as detailed on the Volunteer Support page.

Where do I obtain a list of registered Nova Counselors?

Contact your District Merit Badge Coordinator for assistance.

Where do I obtain a list of registered Supernova Mentors?

Contact the Council's STEM/Nova Chair for assistance.

Where can I get help?

Please contact the STEM/Nova Chair or the Commissioner Team for assistance.

Religious Emblems

Who can earn Religious Emblems?

Duty to God is an important concept for all Scouts. The Boy Scouts of America does not administer a religious emblems program, but recognizes Scouts who earn a religious emblem through programs offered by representatives of their religion.

Programs exist for all ages and for all religions. In most religions, programs exist at the Cub Scout, Boy Scout and Adult Leader levels.

See the Religious Emblems Programs page for details.

How do I earn a Religious Emblem?

See the Chart of Religious Emblems for contacts and program sites.

Religious Emblems Coordinators

Local coordinators exist for various Religious Emblems programs. Your religious leader or the Council Commissioner Team can help you get in touch.

How is a Religious Emblem worn?

Youth and Adult religious emblems are worn as a square knot above the left pocket, one of the few cases where a Youth member wears a knot award on their uniform. For formal occasions (not field or indoor activities) and when in full uniform, the medallion is pinned over the square knot.

Where can I get help?

Contact your District Advancement Chair or the Commissioner Team for assistance.