First Year Scouts Information

First Year Scouts Program Plan

Our first year program begins when a Scout joins the troop.  At that time we have a program designed specifically for the first year scouts and their parents.  The scouts have an orientation about the troop and some of the differences between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.   At the same time, we run an orientation program with questions and answers for the parents of the new scouts. It is a great way to kick off your experience and answers many of the questions that everyone has.

We also talk about your first camp out(s) which will give the new scouts a very complete introduction to our troop and scouting. There are activities planned for the whole weekend that cover many different requirements for advancement. 

Some of the activities include:

  • Cooking
  • Knife and Axe safety
  • Fire building
  • Introduction to camping stoves
  • Knots & lashings
  • Campsite selection and outdoor code

Almost every troop meeting will cover another of the requirements needed for advancement.  The goal being that if the scout participates in the meetings and outings, that they will have completed the requirements to achieve First Class by the end of their first year.  On each monthly camp out there are many opportunities for rank advancement and requirements sign off.  (**Please note, the only signatures accepted in their books for requirement completion are those of the troop leaders, Parents are not allowed to sign off in their scouts book.)

Troop 21 Scout Advancement Plan

Many new scout parents are mystified by the various Ranks and Merit Badges of the Boy Scout Program. Some think it takes an expert to figure it out - especially at a Troop meeting with 50-60 energetic scouts, 10-20 adults and many activities happening all at the same time. It can all be very confusing. For those who want the “down and dirty”, here is an overview of the Troop 21 “Advancement Plan”. 

There are seven Boy Scout Ranks: Tenderfoot | Second Class | First Class | Life | Star | Eagle


For all Scoutmaster Conferences and Boards of Review, the scout must have the appropriate rank sewn on his uniform, be in the full uniform required by his rank, shirt tucked in, belt and bolo/neckerchief with slide (not knotted).  Scouts not meeting these conditions will not be seen. 

Our goal is for each Scout to achieve the rank of First Class Scout within one year of joining the Troop (many make it sooner). There are no merit badges  required to achieve any of the first four ranks.  That doesn't mean that they can't work and earn them, just that it isn't required for the first four ranks. All of the requirements for each of the first four ranks are contained in the Scout Handbook.

The requirements for any of the first four ranks may be worked on simultaneously, however these ranks must be earned in sequence. The Handbook also contains instructions on “how to” complete each requirement.  [It tells you the answers and how to do it. The Scout Handbook is the scout's bible, almost everything they need to know except for merit badges can be found in the handbook.  It is requested that the scouts always have their Scout Handbook with them at all times.  The handbook is also where the troop leaders and designated senior scouts will sign off on requirements that the scout has completed. 

Advancement requirements are worked on at most troop meetings, campouts and summer camp. If your son is falling behind, due to sports or absences - do not worry - you may work at home with him on the requirements - however an adult leader or designated senior scouts, must then meet with your son at a Troop Meeting or campout, review the item with him and “sign off” the requirements. 

Unlike Cub Scouts, parents are not allowed to sign off on any requirements, only troop leaders.  Even troop leaders may not sign off on their own son's requirments!

Many Scouts periodically “fall behind” and most advance at different rates. Contact the Scoutmaster, Advancement Chair, or any Assistant Scoutmaster and they will help you formulate a plan for your son to catch up if he is behind. However, you must be committed to assist him as well. There are no time requirements for the first four ranks - so advancement can be swift if the scout is motivated and attends Troop outings and activities. If a Scout attends the troop meetings, camp outs and summer camp, the four ranks can easily be obtained in the course of the first year. 

Those scouts who participate in the various school activities and team sports throughout the year, often lag behind, due to demands of the activities.  They can easily catch up in the off-season though. As soon as the requirements for each rank are completed, your son should contact the Scoutmaster to request a Scoutmaster Conference. The scout should review the requirements he has completed for that rank and any preceding rank so that he is confident in the skills learned.  If the Scoutmaster determines that the scout is not properly prepared, he will provide him with some guidance as to what he must study in order to successfully pass his Scoutmaster conference. 

Sometimes, because it is often very hectic at the meetings, the Scoutmaster may be too busy to conduct a conference on that day. In that event, the Scout should telephone him at home and schedule the conference. The Scoutmaster will try to make himself available for conferences, at most any time and any place - he unselfishly conducts many on week nights or weekends at his home, as well as before or after meetings. At certain times, and for some of the lower ranks, he may ask one of the Assistant Scoutmasters to conduct the conferences as well. 

After the Scoutmaster Conference your son should inform the Advancement Chair that he is ready for his Board of Review. They will then schedule a Board of Review. During the Board of Review the Scout is asked questions pertaining to his completion of the rank requirements by a group of registered adults and or committee members. This is an oral review and not a “test”. Upon successful completion and approval of the Board of Review members, he attains the rank.  If there are areas in need of reinforcement or review, the scout may be required to study more and then participate in a follow up review. 

Once a Scout attains the Rank of First Class, he is out of the “beginner” category and trained in the basic scouting skills that he will use for the rest of his life. He can now help the younger scouts learn their requirements and he is ready to assume more of a leadership position as he progresses toward the ranks of Star, Life and Eagle.

The highest three ranks are - Star, Life and Eagle.

There are four achievement areas for each: 

  1. Time served in the previous Rank
  2. Merit Badges
  3. Leadership (for more information regarding approved leadership positions, refer to the scout handbook or contact one of the troop leaders)
  4. Service Hours ( Service hours can be time spent on another scout's Eagle project, council, district or troop service activity.  Any other project must be pre-approved and signed off by the Scoutmaster or Committee Chair for the hours to be counted. It is the scout's responsibility to report all service hours to the Troop Advancement Chair for entry into the database.)

Beneath each of the following three ranks can be found a brief description of the requirements for that rank.

Star Badge


Previous Rank Time: First Class Scout for 4 months. 

Merit Badges: 6 merit badges, 4 of which must be “Eagle required” merit badges. 
Service: 6 hours (earned since joining) 
Leadership: Must hold an approved Leadership position in the Troop for 4 months after attaining the Rank of First Class. 

Life Badge


Scout Time: Star Scout for 6 months. 
Merit Badges: Total of 11 merit badges (the 6 badges earned for Star are part of the 11), 7 must be “Eagle required” merit badges 
Service: 6 hours (Since attaining Star rank) 
Leadership: Hold an approved Leadership position in the Troop for 6 months after attaining the Rank of Star. 

Eagle Badge 

Scout Time: Life Scout for 6 months. 
Merit Badges: 21 merit badges, (the 11 badges earned for Life are part of the 21) 12 must be “Eagle required” merit badges 
Service: Completion of an Approved Eagle Project 
Leadership: Hold a Leadership position in the Troop for 6 months after attaining the rank of Life.
All the Merit Badges, including those that are "Eagle Required" are listed in the Scout Handbook. The actual requirements for each merit badge can be found in the Merit badge pamphlet for that respective merit badge, (purchasable at the scout store), not in the Scout Handbook.  Additionally, the requirements can also be found on-line by going to the merit badge website 

The Troop also has many of the merit badge pamphlets, which you can use for free and some libraries have copies as well. Simply ask the Troop Librarian or the Advancement Chair for the pamphlet. Then obtain a signed merit badge application from the Scoutmaster. Next, ask the Advancement Chair or another leader for the name and number of a counselor that handles that badge. The counselor might ask for an appointment to discuss what is expected.