Boys work at their own pace to show skills through Merit Badges and Rank Advancement. Ranks are at the back of the Boy Scout handbook and refer to pages throughout the handbook for the specific skills. The ranks are Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle. There is lots of guidance through adults and older boys within the troop, but it is up to the boy to work through these ranks at his own pace. Achieving First Class is a milestone for the boys because many High Adventure trips, among other things, require a rank of First Class.
Troop 370 provides a great opportunity for the boys to progress through the many requirements for the early ranks leading up to First Class through the Fast Track Program. Boys will work with the Fast Track Adviser at Monday scout meetings and during work periods at summer camp to learn these advancement skills. These specific ranks do not require merit badges, so the focus is on more general and basic boy scout skills. These requirements can be worked on in any order and as they are completed, the counselor will sign off on them in the scout's handbook. It is important to keep track of the handbook as this is the only record for the scout to prove he has completed these requirements (needed for the Eagle application). Some parents make photo copies of these important handbook pages that are signed off prior to losing opportunities, such as summer camp.
When a scout has completed all the requirements for a particular rank, he will notify the scoutmaster and request a scoutmaster conference. This is a one on one meeting with the scoutmaster to review how the scout is doing. It is a fabulous opportunity for the scout to ask questions and is a nice way for the scoutmaster to get to know the boy more personally. They will likely review the progress the scout is making and has made on the rank achievements.
Following the Scoutmaster conference for any rank, the scout will appear before a Board of Review. This is a meeting with several troop adults who will also review the boy's completion of his requirements, ask the scout questions about things he's done or looking ahead to do, and also ask him to perform some tasks such as tying a knot.
The ranks after first class have more of a merit badge focus. The requirements ask for a certain number of merit badges, some leadership, and some service.
You might think of rank advancements in relation to the Cub Scout ranks of Bear, Wolf, etc. except in Boy Scouts the rank does not come with age, but with completing the requirements.
The scout will receive recognition of any rank advancement and a patch for his shirt at the Court of Honor following his Board of Review. We hold these Court of Honors quarterly.