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.

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