Q: How does advancement occur? Scouts need to complete the requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class, the requirements are more or less miscellaneous, but for Star, Life, and Eagle, the requirements are generally the same. Usually it's service hours, merit badges, and a position of responsibility. At Manypoint, they have a program called "First Class Adventure" which is where scouts at any rank lower than First Class can come and complete the requirements to become a First Class Scout.
Q: When can scouts work on merit badges? Scouts can work on merit badges at troop meeting as well as at Manypoint. If the scout would like, he may do merit badges on his own time. More information on this is here.
Q: Can a scout take merit badges courses before completing 1st Class rank? Technically, a scout can start earning merit badges before completing the 1st Class rank (or 2nd Class or Tenderfoot for that matter). However, it is best to concentrate on completing those ranks before getting too worried about merit badges.
Q: Can a scout work on merit badges on their own time? Scouts can work on merit badges as part of our troop meetings (which typically require some work outside of troop meetings). Or, a scout can work on merit badges indepently. If he does that on his own, he needs to be working with a merit badge counselor that is guiding his work and signing off on his activities. The Scoutmaster can help pair a scout with a merit badge counselor. The Scout can also choose to take merit badges through an organization called Scoutmaster Bucky (http://www.scoutmasterbucky.com/). They provide weekend merit badge courses and it is a great way to make some solid progress.
Q: What are Service / Volunteering Hours? Service / Volunteering Hours are simply hours that a scout volunteered for something. It must be approved by your scoutmaster or troop leader. For Star and Life scout, you need 6 hours for each rank. For Life, at least 3 hours must be conservation-related. For Eagle scout, you must plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community.
Q: What qualifies as Service / Volunteering Hours? Anything can qualify for service / volunteering hours as long as it is approved by your Scoutmaster. Scouts can sign up to volunteer with other scouts as part of a scout sponsored activity or with their families. Scouts can provide a signed note from their parent or the service organization to show their service hours outside of scout sponsored events. Some service / volunteering hours that qualify are:
- Volunteering at a non-profit or church
- Feed My Starving Children
- ARC stores / Goodwill / Habitat ReUse Stores - restocking shelfves, moving and sorting items, etc.
- Local Library
- Eagle Scout Project volunteer
- Minihaha Creek Cleanup
- Habitat ReUse Store, etc.
Q: What are positions of responsibility? Positions of responsibility are leadership positions taken by the scouts. They are requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle scouts. A list of the positions of responsibility:
- Senior Patrol Leader
- Assistant Senior Patrol Leader
- Troop Guide
- Patrol Leader
- Leave No Trace Trainer
- Chaplain Aide
- Order of the Arrow Representative
- Junior Assistant Scoutmaster
For more information on the Positions, go here.