Boy Scout Program
Boy Scouting is a program of the Boy Scouts of America. It is available to boys under the age of 18 who meet any of the following qualifications:
- boys at least 10 years old who have earned the Arrow of Light
- boys at least 10 years old who have completed the fifth grade
- boys who are at least 11 years old.
- Prior participation in Cub Scouting is not required.
The Boy Scout program is designed to develop a boy's character, citizenship, and personal fitness using the following methods: a structured advancement program, high ideals, the patrol method, outdoor activities, adult association, personal growth, leadership development, and uniforming. This program and development structure is referred to as the Aims and Methods of Scouting.
Structured advancement and recognition
The Boy Scout advancement program is divided into three main areas. The first and primary advancement area is a series of Ranks that the Scout progresses through known as the Eagle Scout trail. The rank system occurs in two distinctly different phases.
After earning the Scout Badge (which is simply the way boys join Boy Scouts, not a rank), boys work on the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks. During this phase, all three ranks may be worked on at the same time. These ranks focus on Scouting skills - the outdoors, physical fitness, citizenship, patrol/troop participation, and personal development. After completing these ranks, a Scout should be adept at participating in all of the activities in the Boy Scout program, literally a First Class Scout.
During the second phase, Scouts work on the Star Scout, Life Scout, and Eagle Scout ranks. These ranks are worked on one at a time and must be earned in order. Here the focus of advancement switches from Scouting skills to personal development and community service. Merit badges are an integral part of this part or rank advancement.
After earning the Eagle Scout award, a Scout still has the opportunity for advancement recognition by earning Eagle Palms.
Merit badges are the second main area of the Boy Scout advancement program. Unlike ranks, there is a degree of choice in the merit badge program. A sub-group of merit badges are known as Eagle required merit badges (listed in bold in the table below). To earn Eagle Scout, most of these badges must be earned although some of them are optional. The remainder of the badges help with earning ranks as well as Eagle Palms after the Eagle Scout award has been earned.
Boy Scouts may work on merit badges from they time they join a Scout troop until they turn 18 years old. There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18. Merit badges currently available to Boy Scouts include:
List of current Merit Badges
The following are all the Merit Badges currently offered by the Boy Scouts of America:
Note: Merit badges shown in bold italics are Eagle-required merit badges.
Awards are the third area of the advancement. Unlike the first two areas or advancement, awards are completely optional. However, they are still an important part of the program providing opportunities not available in the other areas. Awards currently available to Boy Scouts include:
- Amateur Radio Operator Rating Strip
- Boardsailing BSA
- BSA Lifeguard
- Den Chief Service Award
- Donor Awareness Patch
- Emergency Preparedness Award
- Firem'n Chit
- Hometown U.S.A. Award
- Historic Trails Award
- International Activity Badge
- Interpreter Strip
- Kayaking BSA
- Leave No Trace Award
- Mile Swim BSA
- National Honor Patrol Award
- National Medal for Outdoor Achievement
- National Outdoor Badges
- NOVA Awards
- Paul Bunyan Woodsman
- Physical Fitness Award
- Recruiter Strip
- Religious Emblems
- Scuba BSA
- Snorkeling BSA
- Totin' Chip
- William Hornaday Conservation awards
- World Conservation Award
- Venture Patrol
- Honor Awards