Supporting Youth through

Scouting for 109 years 

Boy Scout Troop 31​ 
Rochester, New York

How Does Boy Scout Advancement Work?

If you were in Cub Scouts, each year you set your sights on earning a different badge. In Boy Scouts, all the boys,

regardless of their age or grade, work on the same set of badges.

Scout Badge
All Scouts when joining a troop must pass the joining requirements listed on page 4 of the Scout Handbook to receive the Scout badge.

Scouts who have just crossed over from Cub Scouts will recognize these requirements – they are very similar to the requirements

for the Arrow of Light.

Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class
The first set of ranks - Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class - are designed to teach new Scouts the basic camping, first aid, and safety skills needed to go camping. Some Scouts can do all of the requirements in less than a year; some scouts will take longer. You may pass any of the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class at any time. For example, if you fulfill a First Class requirement before you are a Second Class Scout, you may get the First Class requirement signed off. You may not receive a rank, however, until you have earned the one before it.

Rank requirements are signed off by your fellow Scouts or a Scoutmaster. A Scout who is two ranks above the rank you are working on is allowed to sign off. For example, a First Class Scout (or above) can sign off on all Tenderfoot requirements.

Scoutmaster Conference
One requirement that Boy Scouts have for rank advancement is that whenever you complete the requirements for a rank, you need to have a Scoutmaster Conference. At this meeting, the Scoutmaster will review the requirements with you to make sure that they have been learned correctly. He will help you to set up the goals for the next advancement, and he will have you share your ideas about the troop (how it's going from your viewpoint, what you would like the troop to do more of, any problems you see occurring...).

Board of Review
All rank advancements, except for the Scout badge, also require a Board of Review. The members of a Board of Review are adult leaders in the troop -except for the Scoutmaster or any of his Assistant Scoutmasters. The main purpose of the Board of Review is not to retest the skills a Scout has learned, but to see what the Scout's spirit is, and gauge how the troop is doing in helping the Scout along and meeting Boy Scout objectives.

Court of Awards
When you complete a rank advancement, you may continue to work towards your next rank. Twice a year, Troop 31 holds a special meeting called a Court of Awards; typically once in the Fall and once in the Spring. This is a formal ceremony to recognize you and your fellow Scouts rank advancements and other Scouting achievements. This event is held with an audience of family, friends, Chartered Organization officials, and troop leaders.

Advanced Ranks of Star and Life and Path to Eagle
Once a Scout has reached First Class and learned the basic skills of Scouting, he is ready for the challenge of becoming an Eagle Scout. The Path to Eagle has three ranks: Star Scout, Life Scout, and Eagle Scout. Here the requirements for advancement consist of earning merit badges, doing and participating in service projects to help the community, showing that you can lead other Scouts as a Patrol Leader or some other leadership position, and demonstrating to others that you have Scout spirit.

Useful Eagle Scout Application Documents:
​     -   Eagle Scout Rank Application
​     -   New Expandable Eagle Scout Service Project Workbook: New functionalities for this electronic workbook include expandable text boxes and the ability to insert images in JPEG, GIF, TIF, and PNG formats.

     -  Navigating the Eagle Scout Service Project Information for Project Beneficiaries

Court of Honor
When you have completed all the requirements of Eagle rank, including all of the Eagle-required Merit Badges, the Eagle Service Project, and paperwork, you will sit before an Eagle Board of Review at your local Council. Once you pass the Eagle Board of Review, you will be approved for the Rank of Eagle as of that date, although the Troop will recognize and honor your achievement at a special meeting called a Court of Honor. This is a formal ceremony to recognize you and your fellow Eagle Scouts in front of the Troop, their Families, along with local and state officials.

Merit Badges
A merit badge is an invitation to explore an exciting subject. With more than a hundred to choose from, some merit badges encourage you to increase your skill in subjects you already like, while others challenge you to learn about new areas of knowledge. Many of the merit badges are designed to help you increase  your ability to be of service to others, to take part in outdoor adventures, to better understand the environment, and to play a valuable role in your family and community. Earning a merit badge can even lead you toward a lifelong hobby or set you on the way to a rewarding career. Look for more information about merit badges on our merit Badge page, or visit the National Council website and check out their merit badge primer at  or or

Totin' Chip and Firem'n Chit
These are two Scout awards that are usually of interest to new Scouts.  When a Scout demonstrates that he knows how to handle wood tools (knife, axe, and saw) he may be granted "Totin' rights". Until a Scout has earned his Totin' Chip, he is not allowed to carry a pocketknife. If a scout is found handling wood tools incorrectly, a corner of the Totin' Chip card is often cut off. When all four corners are gone, so are the Scout's Totin' rights. The owner of a Firem'n Chit has demonstrated knowledge of safety rules in building, maintaining, and putting out camp and cooking fires. Until a Scout has earned his Firem'n Chit, he is not allowed to carry matches.