Northern Ridge District
Atlanta Area Council, BSA
Northern Ridge District
Atlanta Area Council, BSA

Methods of Scouting: Advancement

Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. The Scout plans his advancement and progresses at his own pace as he meets each challenge. The Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.

Cub Scout Advancement:

First graders, and anyone beyond that grade who is new to Cub Scouting, completes the Bobcat Badge prior to working on their grade-specific badge of rank. Kindergartners, who are Lions, do not work on the Bobcat Badge.



Tiger Badge

First Grade


Second Grade


Third Grade


Fourth Grade


Fifth Grade

Arrow of Light

On the advancement trail, a Cub Scout progresses towards a badge of rank based on their grade. They need not have earned the previous rank in order to earn the next.  Each of the ranks in Cub Scouting has its own requirements that are age-appropriate, so earning a rank below a Cub Scout’s current grade is not permitted. As a Cub Scout advances through the ranks, the requirements get more challenging, to match the new skills and abilities they have learned

Scouts BSA Advancement:

There are four basic steps in Scout advancement, and they apply to all seven ranks.

  • Step 1: The Scout learns. They learn Scouting skills by taking an active, hands-on part in troop and patrol meetings and outdoor programs. this learning, as we said above, is the natural outcome of their regular Scouting activities — their “on-the-job” training.
  • Step 2: The Scout is tested. When their leaders see that the Scout has mastered a given skill and satisfied a given requirement, they tell them so — and record the achievement.
  • Step 3: The Scout is reviewed. When a Scout completes all requirements for a rank, they appear before a “board of review” composed of members of the troop committee. Their purpose is not to retest the Scout, but to make sure the Scout has met all the requirements, to chat with the Scout about how they feel they are getting along with the troop and its program, and of course to encourage them to keep advancing.
  • Step 4: The Scout is recognized. When a Scout is certified by the Board of Review, they are awarded the new badge of rank as soon as possible, normally in a ceremony at the next troop meeting. The Scout should be recognized again at the troop’s next court of honor.

Venturing Advancement:

The ALPS Model:

Getting the most from your adventure is not always easy. To help you succeed, Venturing uses four areas of emphasis to help the crew plan and carry out its program. Venturing’s areas of emphasis are the four pillars around which the crew will construct a fun and rewarding program.


What is ALPS?


The Venturing acronym for the areas of emphasis is A-L-P-S: Adventure, Leadership, Personal Growth, Service. The Venturing ALPS model is a guide to getting the most out of your adventures as you prepare for your future, regardless of if that may be in college, the workforce, or elsewhere.

Adventure is the key to Venturing, and developing outings with a sense of adventure is the key to the crew having fun and learning something new about themselves. As a Venturer, not only will you participate in outings and adventures, but you will also lead them. As your leadership skills develop, you will become a mentor to other Venturers as they take on the role of leading an adventure or activity. What the adventure looks like is up to you and the crew.


Leadership is the tool you will use as you help the crew plan its adventures. As a Venturer, you will learn to lead the crew through the adventures of their choice. Leadership in Venturing is not just a position— it is an action, captured in the Venturing motto, “Lead the Adventure”. Even as you begin your Venturing experience, you learn leadership skills by observing crew officers and more experienced members of the crew as they lead the adventure.


Personal Growth comes when you learn from your experiences as a Venturer. Conversations with crew members and your Advisor will help you appreciate what you have learned. Personal growth helps you identify and develop your talents and abilities so you can be prepared for life’s challenges and opportunities.


Service is the gift we give to others. It allows us to sustain our communities by identifying needs and targeting them. Venturing’s commitment to community service will allow your crew to develop a program full of opportunities to serve others— and to have fun while doing so!