Advancement

Scout

Scout was previously a joining badge, but is now considered the first rank, and is earned by completing certain requirements. The badge is awarded when the youth demonstrates a rudimentary knowledge of Scouting skills and ideals such as tying a square knot and knowing the Scout oath, law, motto, and slogan.

As of January 2016, the Scout badge has a gold fleur-de-lis on a tan background.

Tenderfoot

Tenderfoot is the second rank a Scout can earn. A Scout can work on the requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks at the same time, but each rank must be earned in sequence. The badge is awarded when the Scout completes requirements in the areas of Scoutcraft, physical fitness, citizenship, personal growth, and Scout Spirit. Considered by many to be one of the most important badges awarded to Scouts because it shows that the Scout has made a solemn promise in front of other Scouts to do their best to obey the Scout Oath and Law. A Tenderfoot Scout has been camping with gear they packed, in a tent they helped pitch and they have assisted with meal preparation while camping. They have basic knowledge of knots and understand the rules of safe hiking. They know how to respect the American flag and can recite from memory, the Pledge of Allegiance, Scout Oath, Law, Motto, and Slogan.

The badge is similar to that of the Scout rank with it adding an eagle and two stars.


Second Class

Second Class proves that the Scout has learned the basic skills of Scouting which form a solid foundation for not only an Eagle Scout but any honest and moral man. At this point, the Scout is given more responsibility to look after themselves and to help younger Scouts. A Second Class Scout knows how to use a compass and map, understands the principles of Leave No Trace and can demonstrate safe usage of knives, saws and axes. He is active in the Troop Meetings and Campouts. He can plan and prepare a balanced camp meal for his patrol. He has demonstrated basic first aid and has prepared his own first-aid kit.

First Class

First Class is the rank above Second Class and below Star Scout. A Scout can work on the requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks at the same time, but must earn them in sequence. The badge is awarded when the Scout completes requirements in the areas of Scoutcraft, physical fitness, citizenship, personal growth and Scout Spirit. At this point, Scouts shift focus from learning physical Scouting method to start developing leadership skills.

Although Eagle is the highest rank and one all Scouts should strive for, the number of Scouts achieving First Class within one year of joining is still one of the key measures of unit effectiveness. Studies purportedly have shown that if a Scout achieves First Class within a year of joining, they typically stay in the Scout program for at least three years. Scouts who do so are purportedly more likely to retain Scout values as an adult and achieve the BSA primary mission of "producing useful citizens".

From 1972 to 1990, the First Aid merit badge was required for First Class rank. After 1990, this was replaced with a series of requirements to demonstrate awareness of advanced first aid techniques, including CPR. A sixth merit badge was added to the requirement for Star rank at that time to maintain its overall requirement of 21 merit badges, and First Aid is still one of the merit badges that is mandatory for Eagle Scout.


Star

Star is the rank above First Class and below Life Scout. It is the third-highest rank. Star is awarded when the Scout serves actively in the troop, team or crew in a position of responsibility for at least 4 months; performs at least six hours of community service; and earns six merit badges(four of which must be among the 13 required for Eagle Scout rank).

Initially, the Life badge was awarded for five merit badges and the Star badge was awarded for ten. The order was reversed in the 1920s when it was decided that the five-pointed star of Star Scout better represented the five merit badges required for first rank above First Class. That symbolism disappeared when the number of merit badges required for Star was increased to six in 1990.

Life

Life is the second-highest rank attainable, above Star and below Eagle. Life is awarded when the Scout serves actively in the troop, team or crew, serves in a position of responsibility for six months, and performs six hours of community service. A Scout must also earn five merit badges (at least three of which must be required for the rank of Eagle) for a total of 11, including the six previously earned. Finally, the Scout must pass a Scoutmaster conference, and board of review.

Life was originally lower than Star, and originally required earning five specific merit badges concerned with health and fitness (First Aid, Lifesaving, Public Health, Personal Health and Athletics). The ranks were switched in the 1920s, following a decision to recognize the five-pointed star as a symbol of the five badges needed to earn that rank. The Life heart came to symbolize achievement in health and fitness, as the First Aid merit badge was required for both Life and Eagle until 1972, when it became required for all ranks above First Class.


Eagle

Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in Scouting. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than two million Scouts.

Requirements include earning a minimum total of 21 merit badges, including all required badges that were not previously earned, and demonstration of Scout Spirit, service and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages.

For a Scout to attain the rank of Eagle Scout is a major point in their lives. Many Eagle Scouts have went on to achieve great things yet most of them will say that Eagle Scout means the most to them.


For more information on Troop 318's Eagle Scouts, check out the Troop 318 Eagle Scouts Page or to read about a few notable Eagle Scouts, check out our Famous Eagle Scouts page!