Advancement is the process by which youth members of the Boy Scouts of America progress from rank to rank.
Every Scout activity moves a youth toward three basic aims: character development, citizenship training, and mental and physical fitness. Advancement is one of the eight methods used by Scout leaders to help Scouts fulfill the aims of the Boy Scouts of America.
Refer to the Guide to Advancement for the most current advancement policies, procedures, and resources.
Cub Scout Advancement
The Cub Scout advancement program is designed to encourage the natural interests of your youth. Each of the ranks and awards in Cub Scouting (Lion, Bobcat, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos, and Arrow of Light) has its own requirements. As a boy or girl advances through the ranks, requirements get progressively more challenging, matching the increased skills and abilities of your youth as they grow older.
Cub Scout Learning Library – Access Cub Scouting tools, including detailed information on the Cub Scout advancement program and requirements.
Scouts BSA Advancement
Scouts BSA provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. Scouts plan their advancement and progresses at their own pace. Scouts are rewarded for each achievement, which help them gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help Scouts grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.
Scouts BSA Advancement Awards - Access Scouts BSA specific resources, requirements and forms.
On September 8, 2020, the National Venturing Committee announced that, effective immediately, the Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder, and Summit awards will be referred to as Venturing ranks to improve consistency among the different programs within Scouting. The Quest, Ranger, and Trust Awards will remain as part of the Venturing program as specialty awards and are not considered Venturing ranks.
Additionally, certain restrictions regarding prior credit for Venturers have been changed. Effective immediately, Venturing Advisors have the discretion to give a Venturer credit toward Venturing rank and award requirements for work previously completed by the Venturer while a registered member of a Scouts BSA Troop or a Sea Scout Ship. As explained in more detail below, this change aligns the Venturing advancement program with the Scouts BSA and Sea Scouting advancement programs.
Under the current edition of the Guide to Advancement and the latest printed edition of Venturing Awards and Requirements, a Venturer was required to complete all work on Venturing awards while registered as a Venturer, and Venturing Advisors were not permitted to give credit toward Venturing award requirements for work previously done by a youth in Scouts BSA or Sea Scouts. Neither Scouts BSA nor Sea Scouts have these same restrictions. Except as stated in the temporary transition rules covering first-time members entering Scouts BSA after February 1, 2019, in both Scouts BSA and Sea Scouts, unit leaders are currently able to consider work done in any program when giving credit toward completion of rank or award requirements. To improve consistency within the three programs and to encourage membership in Venturing Crews, Venturers may now receive credit toward Venturing ranks and specialty awards for work completed while registered in a Scouts BSA Troop or a Sea Scout Ship.
The next editions of the Guide to Advancement, Handbook for Venturers and Venturing Awards and Requirements will be revised to reflect the two changes to the Venturing advancement program described in this update.
Venturing Awards – Learn more about available awards within the Venturing program.
Advancement FAQ Related to COVID 19
Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts - Important Update
The window for Eagle boards of review of the Inaugural Class of Female Eagle Scouts is from October 1, 2020, to February 8, 2021. As such, all Eagle Scout credentials will be dated February 8, 2021, so that we commemorate this milestone alongside the recognized “birthday” of the Boy Scouts of America.
This adjustment was implemented so that Scouts were not unfairly prohibited from being part of the Inaugural Class due to COVID-19; however, we recognize that the extended window means that participating Scouts could experience a delay in receiving their Eagle Scout credentials if we waited to process all of the applications as originally planned.
After receiving significant feedback confirming that concern, we have decided to administratively adapt the plan so that the national organization will process the credentials of the Inaugural Class in batches on a rolling basis starting in October as they are received. Due to reduced staffing and to ensure timely response to the Eagle application, only electronic applications will be accepted.
Council Advancement Committee
|Council Advancement Committee Chair||Travis Andersen||(701) 240-0766|
|Member at Large||Tyler Scott||(701) 388-7534|
|Prairie Fire District Adv. Chair Co-chair||Ivan Maas||(701) 899-1087|
|Prairie Fire District Adv. Chair Co-chair||Mike Henning||(320) 491-9095|
|Northern Sky District Adv. Chair||Rodger Schmidt||(701) 200-3719|
|Lake Agassiz District Adv. Co-Chair||Bobby Dusso||(218) 230-4325|
|Lake Agassiz District Adv. Co-Chair||John Erickson||(218) 289-5064|
|Roughrider District Adv. Chair||Brian Schock||(701) 290-5685|
|Tomahawk District Adv. Chair||Les Malnaa||(701) 720-6274|
|Frontier Trails District Adv. Chair||Wayne Hermann|
|Great Plains District Adv. Chair||Misty Falcon||(701) 774-0320|
|Staff Advisor||Darin Steindl||(701) 499-0646|
Online Resources for District Advancement Chairs
Registering Merit Badge Counselors (see below)
Reports Required for Rank Advancements
This is a reminder to Scouting leaders that Advancement Report forms are required to purchase rank advancements in the Scout Shops.
If your unit is using ScoutBook (which we encourage all packs and troops to use), or Internet Advancement (which will be phased out soon), you can print the report directly from your computer. The report must be turned in when rank advancements are purchased.
The alternative to the computer reports is manually completing the form (available below).
Without these reports, the council may not be able to have accurate records of what the Scouts have earned. This is especially important for the Scouts as the move through the program as dates of ranks earned and time requirements require accurate records.
When you send someone to the Scout Shop to pick up awards, make sure they bring along the Advancement report!
Scouts BSA Merit Badge Program
There is more to merit badges than simply providing opportunities to learn skills. There is more to them than an introduction to lifetime hobbies, or the inspiration to pursue a career – though these invaluable results occur regularly. It all begins with a Scout’s initial interest and effort in a merit badge subject,
Followed by a discussion with the unit leader or designated assistant, continues through meetings with a counselor, and culminates in advancement and recognition. It is an uncomplicated process that gives a Scout the confidence achieved through overcoming obstacles. Social skills improve. Self-reliance develops. Examples are set and followed. And fields of study and interest are explored beyond the limits of the school classroom.
Boy Scouts of America Merit Badge Program Information - click here
Merit Badge Requirements – View the official listing of merit badge requirements
Merit Badge Management with Scoutbook
A look at what Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Scouts, Parents and Merit Badge Counselors can do using Scoutbook for Merit Badge tracking.
Merit Badge Counselor Registration
BSA policy requires Merit Badge Counselors to be registered adult members. There is no annual membership fee for Merit Badge Counselors. To be registered, all adults (whether they are already registered as a leader in a Pack or Troop), must submit the following items:
Note about fillable pdf files:
Attach the three files to an email message sent to Fargo@nlc.bsa.org. Once the 3 documents have been received, they will be reviewed by the Council Advancement Committee. This may take up to 30 days - if there is an urgent need to review the forms, note that in the email.
Once approved, the Merit Badge Counselor's information will be uploaded into Scout Book and made available to troop leaders.
On an annual basis (in December) all Merit Badge Counselors must renew their membership with the BSA. In October or early November, current Merit Badge Counselors will receive an email and letter reminding counselors to renew their membership. Counselors must have an unexprired Youth Protection Training certificate and respond by the end of December to remain a registered Merit Badge Counselor. There are three ways to respond: