Taughannock District
Baden-Powell Council, BSA
Advancement and Recognition

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Cub Scout | Scouts BSA | Eagle Scout Procedure | Venturing | Unit Recognition | Adult Recognition

For contact information see the Contact Page

Advancement Updates

  • Announced in November 2023, effective January 2024: Changes to Scouts BSA Advancement - see below

  • Announced in November 2023, effective June 2024: Major changes to Cub Advancement - see below  

  • January 2023: A number of changes were made to the requirements for Scouts BSA advancement in 2023. These are summarized below - see the US Scouts Service Project page for complete list and details

  • April 2022: The age for joining Scouts BSA was revised in April 2022. Youth may join Scouts BSA if they are at least 10 years old, currently in the fifth grade and register on or after March 1st; OR have earned the Arrow of Light Award and are at least 10 years old, OR are age 11 but have not reached age 18. Prior to this change, new Scouts had to have completed fifth grade. Now, fifth graders can join in March, allowing the new Scout to have a few month's experience in Scouting before they go to summer camp for the first time. 

  • March 1, 2022: The changes to Scouts BSA advancement which were introduced for Covid-19 expired, and the previous requirements return to effect. 

  • November 1, 2021: Health Care Professions will replace the Medicine merit badge. See the Scouts BSA section below for details.  

  • November 1, 2021:  Citizenship in Society will be required as of July 1, 2022. 

  • January 1, 2021 - Extensions of Time for top ranks:

    • Effective Jan. 1, 2021, local councils will have the authority to grant limited extensions of time to complete Eagle, Quartermaster, or Summit requirements. 

    • Advance copies of the topics and forms are published at https://www.scouting.org/advancement  (Items 2-6 under General Resources). 

District Advancement Committee Meeting Schedule

Note: In-person meetings are suspended during the Social Distancing mandate - e-mail advancement@tcscouts.org if you need a Board of Review or Eagle project approval. 

  • Fourth Thursday in Sep, Oct, Jan-Apr and Jun- 7:00PM 

  • Third Thursday in Nov, Dec, May- 7:00PM 

  • July meeting is usually at Camp Barton 

  • No August meeting  

The monthly District Advancement Committee meetings will be a "one stop shopping" place for prospective Eagle Scouts to get their projects reviewed and approved, meet with mentors, and have their Eagle Board of Review. The Advancement Committee is also charged with encouraging and coordinating advancement at all program levels (Cub, Scout and Venturing). Each unit is requested to send a representative to the District Advancement Committee - for more information, contact advancement@TompkinsCortlandScouts.org 

Questions on Advancement Policy? 

National HQ publishes the Guide to Advancement, which is the official Boy Scouts of America source on advancement procedures at all levels - Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA and Venturing.  

No council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to, or subtract from, advancement requirements. There are limited exceptions relating only to youth members with disabilities. 

This publication clearly identifies mandated procedures with words such as “must” and “shall.” Where such language is used, no council, committee, district, unit, or individual has the authority to deviate from the procedures covered, without the written permission of the national Advancement Team. Recommended best practices are offered using words like “should,” while other options and guidelines are indicated with terms such as “may” or “can.” Refer questions on these to your local district or council advancement chairs or staff advisors. They, in turn, may request interpretations and assistance from the national Advancement Team.

There are lots of other resources on Scouting issues on the internet - but it's important to remember, as the Guide (Section says:

Be aware that statements or interpretations offered from unofficial websites and other such sources may be out of date or incorrect. They will not be considered in resolving advancement questions and issues. In situations not specifically covered in this guide, advancement chairs, coordinators, or other administrators should make decisions based on the aims and mission of the Boy Scouts of America, as well as the Scout Oath and Scout Law, other applicable official and current BSA resources—and common sense.

Every unit should have a copy of the Guide - download it from the National Website (PDF - 12MB)
The Guide to Advancement can also be accessed through the web

Cub Scout Advancement

New Advancement Program for Cub Scout Program
Effective June 1, 2024

It’s official! The Cub Scout program will be updated for the 2024-25 program year. Over the past several years the National Cub Scouting Committee under the leadership of past chair Lisa Wylie and current chair Audrey Oakes has identified four areas to improve the Cub Scout program to ensure that it is fun, simple, and easy.

Over the past five years the National Cub Scouting has been working on these updates. These updates are based on feedback from over 23,000 parents and Cub Scout leaders through various surveys and data. Listening to and identify the key opportunities to improve the program the National Cub Scout committee is excited to finally reveal these improvements. Over the past year these improvements have been socialized to thousands of individuals with overwhelming support.

The four areas of improvement are the Bobcat badge, Cub Scout Adventures, Webelos, and Cub Scout Awards.

Bobcat will no longer be a badge that is earned once when a Cub Scout joins. It will become a required Adventure for each rank and earned each year. The requirements for the Bobcat Adventure are different for each grade to make them age-appropriate.

Cub Scout Adventures have been improved to make it easier to deliver the program to multi-rank dens or as a Pack. To earn each rank in Cub Scouting will require a Cub Scout to earn the six required Adventures and two elective Adventures. Required Adventures reflect the aims and focus areas of the BSA. The number of elective Adventures increases.

Webelos and Arrow of Light will be separated. Webelos becomes the 4th-grade program in Cub Scouting. Arrow of Light becomes a stand-alone badge of rank for 5th graders and will no longer be associated with. Arrow of Light will be the program that prepares Cub Scouts to join Scouts BSA.

Cub Scouts Awards will be reimagined as Cub Scout Adventures. Topics like camping, STEM, and range and target sports will remain and are reimagined into elective Adventures that can be used towards earning a badge of rank.

The changes will take effect officially on June 1, 2024.

To read the full announcement, with graphics, see Cub Scout Program Updates Announced | Boy Scouts of America (scouting.org)

Cub Advancement Requirements:

Scouts BSA Advancement

Scout Advancement Resources 

Recent Changes to Scouts BSA Advancement Requirements

  • Advancement Changes for 2024: You can download a complete list from this link (PDF)
    • Rank Requirements: 
      • Minor changes to Scout and Star requirement (6), which deletes the reference to CyberChip.
      •  The Cyberchip has been phased out. Scouts should use the Personal Safety Awareness training at https://www.scouting.org/training/youth-protection/scouts-bsa/ for both Scout and Star ranks.
      • Eagle Palms: Scouts BSA will no longer have to wait three months between Eagle Palms. For each palm, they will have to earn five additional merit badges, and live by the Scout Oath and Law, but there is no time requirement.
    • Merit Badges: The following badges have had requirements changed for 2024:
      • Automotive Maintenance – updated to include electric/hybrid vehicles (1c,d,e,f,g,h)
        (2a,b,c,d,e) (3c) (8a,e,f)
      • Backpacking* (11b) 
      • Bird Study (2) (4) (7) (8c) (9d) (11) (12) 
      • Camping* (9c) 
      • Canoeing – major reorganization (3) (4b) (7) (8) (9)
      • Chemistry (2c) (5) 
      • Coin Collecting – reorganization and updated for new/retired coinages (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
      • Cooking (5 a,b,c,d,e) 
      • Digital Technology (1) 
      • Engineering (5) (6c) 
      • Fire Safety – safety updates (1c) (2) (4) (6b,c,d,g) (7a) (9a) (10a) (11)
      • First Aid *– more hands-on (2) (4) (7) (8d) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16)
      • Fly-Fishing (3 b,c) (10)
      • Golf – reorganized and added disc golf option (1) (2)
      • Indian Lore (2) (3) (4) (5)
      • Insect Study – expanded requirements (2) (4) (6a,b) (12)
      • Journalism – included social media (2a1)
      • Law (1) (5) (11)
      • Mining in Society (8c)
      • Nuclear Science – updated, more active options (1a,b,c,d,e) (2b) (3a,b) (4,4c) (6a,b)
      • Photography (1b)
      • Plant Science (8 Option 1: Agronomy E5c)
      • Programming (1a)
      • Radio (9a5)
      • Safety – updated to include natural disasters (1c) (2c,d,e)
      • Scouting Heritage (2b3, b4) (3) (4c)
      • Skating – added skateboarding option (1b)(2) (Skateboarding Option), Ice Skating option (2b1) (2d2), Roller Skating Option (2c1)(2d2)
      • Surveying – added use of drones (2) (3) (4) (5) (6)
      • Sustainability* – major reorganization (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)
      • Swimming* – added correct demonstration of strokes (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9)
  • Advancement Changes for 2023: See the US Scouts Service Project page for complete list and details
    • Rank Requirements: The following requirements have been changed: 
      • Scout: 1(c), 5, 6
      • Tenderfoot: 1(c), 5(a) and (c) 
      • Second Class: 1(b), 2(b) and (c)
      • First Class: 1(b), 2(d)
      • Star:  3 (minor wording change) and 6
      • Life: 3 (minor wording change)
      • Eagle: 3 (minor revision - reordering to move Citizenship in Society with other Citizenship badges in listing)
    • Merit Badges: The following merit badges have had requirements changed for 2023: 
      • American Business (2c) 
      • Animal Science (1, Avian Option a, c, e) 
      • Archery (1a, b, c, d, 3b, 4a, b, c, d, 5ac, 5af1cd, 5bc, 5bf1cd) 
      • Architecture (1b) 
      • Composite Materials (1c 3a) 
      • Cooking (2c, d, 4a, 5b, d, e, g, 6a, f) 
      • Cycling (1a, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Option A a1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, Option B a1, 3, b1, 2, 3, c, d, e) 
      • Digital Technology (3a, 3e, 4a, 5a, 7c) 
      • Disabilities Awareness (6) 
      • Emergency Preparedness (3) 
      • Environmental Science (3, 3f2, 5) 
      • Family Life (6b1, 2, 3) 
      • Farm Mechanics (1d) 
      • Game Design (1b, 5b, 8a, b) 
      • Genealogy (1a, b, c, 4a, b, c, d, e, 8b, c) 
      • Geology (5d2) 
      • Golf (3, 7g) 
      • Hiking (2a, b, c, 4, 5) 
      • Inventing (6b) 
      • Mammal Study (3a, b, c) 
      • Nature (4g2, 4h1, 6a, b) 
      • Personal Fitness (4d) 
      • Plant Science (8 Option 3 Field Botany A2, B, F1d, F3c1, 2, 3) 
      • Programming (1b, 3a) 
      • Reptile and Amphibian Study (3d, 5) 
      • Salesmanship (2b, 2d, 3, 4, 6a3) 
      • Small-Boat Sailing (6i, j) 
      • Snow Sports (2b, 7 Downhill a, h, i; Cross country a, b, d, i; Snowboarding i, k; Snowshoeing e, i, j) 
      • Sports (5) 
      • Swimming (5a)
  • Advancement Changes for 2022: The following changes were announced in June 2022: 
    • Minor Modifications to Scouts BSA Rank Requirements
      • In 2021, all outdoor-related rank advancement requirements were reviewed and realigned based on guidance from the National Outdoor Ethics and Conservation Subcommittee. These adjustments will help more effectively build a Scout’s outdoor ethics knowledge and align with the information in the Scouts BSA Handbook and Fieldbook. The requirements now build in a logical way through the ranks, with Leave No Trace (LNT) and the Outdoor Code (OC) used as references throughout. Beginning August 1, 2022, these modifications to the Scouts BSA requirements for the ranks of Scout through Star will take effect. Scouts may continue using the existing requirements for the rank on which they are currently working, or they may choose to use the new requirements. Scouts must use the new requirements once they advance to their next rank. 
        The specific changes are detailed at  https:// www.scouting.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-Scouts-BSA-rank-requirements-side-by-side
      • On January 1, 2023, all Scouts must use only the new requirements. 
    • New videos were created to support “Personal Safety Awareness” (chapter 13) of the Scouts BSA Handbook. These can be used as an alternative to earning the Cyber Chip. 
  • As of December 31, 2021: Health Care Professions will replace the Medicine merit badge and will feature a new merit badge pamphlet and new requirements, available here. The design of the merit badge emblem will not change, so, yes, if a Scout has earned both Medicine and Health Care Professions two copies of the same emblem can be worn. Scouts who have begun work on the Medicine merit badge may continue working on it until they are finished or turn 18. After Dec. 31, 2021, Scouts may not begin working on the Medicine merit badge and should instead work on the Health Care Professions badge.

  • As of July 1, 2022, the Citizenship in Society Merit Badge will be added to the Eagle list, to increase the required list to fourteen badges. The requirements have been released, and can be downloaded from National's website.  

To keep up with the latest changes, see the BSA National Program Updates Page and the US Scouting Service Project page for 2023 changes.

"Serve actively ... in ... positions of responsibility" and "Active Participation"

For many years, these phrases in the requirements for the ranks in the Scouts BSA program has been a matter for dispute and inconsistent application. The Guide to Advancement has sections " Positions of Responsibility" and " Active Participation" discussing and defining what does, and does not, count as satisfying these requirements as well as what a unit can, and cannot, do in defining them. Every troop leader should review these sections, and note that the Guide explicitly points out that "must" means must - waivers from something which "must" be done cannot be given by unit, district or council personnel. 

Eagle Scout 

  • Eagle Scout Forms:  Be sure that you are using the very latest forms. You can find the printing year above the barcode on the back of the application. Better yet, always download a new form before you fill one out - you can find the latest forms on the District Forms page

  • Life-To-Eagle Procedures: The Council Advancement Committee have set up the following required procedure for all of the districts in the Baden-Powell Council. 

    • Life to Eagle Training: All Scouts should attend a "Life to Eagle" training session as soon as they earn their Life rank. These training sessions are offered at Roundtables several times a year - watch the District Calendar or Training Page for upcoming dates. 

    • Find a project and get troop approval: 

      • The Scout, with the help of the Scoutmaster, finds a project. 

      • Complete the Eagle Scout Service Project Proposal, pages A thru E, and Eagle Scout Service Project Fundraising Application, page A, found in the Eagle Project Workbook, making sure to collect all signatures except for the District Advancement Chair's.

    • Schedule a meeting to present the project: The Scout then schedules his first meeting with the District Advancement Committee. He should contact the District Advancement Chairman at advancement@TompkinsCortlandScouts.org no later than two weeks before the next Roundtable and make an appointment for that month's Advancement Committee meeting (see District Calendar for times and place).

    • Present the Project Proposal:

      • A Scout should Be Prepared to: 

        • Arrive on time in full uniform with a notebook and pen/pencil to take notes.

        • Bring the completed and signed Eagle Scout Service Project Proposal, pages A thru E, and Eagle Scout Service Project Fundraising Application, page A.
        • Bring enough details, sketches and photos to help the Board fully understand the Service Project concept.
        • Be able to discuss the details of the Service Project Proposal in enough depth that you show the Board the Five Test of an Eagle Scout Service Project, page A, can all be met.
    • Project will be discussed with board

      • Any problems are discussed and explained to the Scout

      • Chairman gives go ahead with project and signs workbook.

      • A Mentor is assigned to Scout.

      • Now - and only now - the Scout can begin work on the project. Don't jump the gun and start work before you get approval!

    • Execute the Project - The Mentor should stays in contact with the Scout, calling every once in a while if they have not heard for the Scout in a while.

    • Once the Project is finished - The Scout should:

      • Collect required signatures for the rest of the packet.

      • Finish project write up and after-action pictures

      • The Troop Committee or Scoutmaster, not the Scout, contacts three of the six references listed on the Eagle Application, secures a sealed confidential letter of recommendation from each of those individuals, and includes them in the Eagle Scout Application package.

      • Once all merit badges are completed, collect all needed signatures on the Eagle Scout Application up to and including Baden-Powell Council certification.

      • Make an appointment for final project review at the next monthly District Advancement Committee meeting

    • Final Project Review (by District Advancement Committee)

      • The Scout should bring all complete project materials as well as blue cards for all merit badges, and be in complete uniform

      • Board gives tentative approval if acceptable, if not the Scout gets feedback and fixes issues and makes new appointment with board

      • If project is acceptable, merit badges are completed, and all paperwork completed the Scout is given his final board of review

    • Final Paperwork Processed - District Advancement Chairman delivers all paperwork to office including Eagle Application  (link to National site) and Eagle Scout Biography and Project Summary (Locally updated form)

    • Eagle Court of Honor - once the Eagle application is approved by BSA National, the troop should schedule a Court of Honor to present the award to the Scout. Don't forget to invite anyone who had any part in the Scout's progress to Eagle!

    Merit Badge Counselors

    • How to become a merit badge counselor: 

      • Check the Merit Badge Counselor List - you'll need to ask someone with access to ScoutBook if you don't have it yourself. Please don't sign up for a badge just because your child or a Scout in your child's troop wants to take a badge. If there's already a Counselor in your town who is listed for one of the badges, encourage the Scout to call them first. This serves two purposes: (a) it has always been a part of the Merit Badge program to encourage Scouts to meet with outside experts in the area of the badge; and (b) recruiting many duplicate Counselors in the same area weakens the system (if there are too many Counselors for a badge, none of them gets contacted very often, and we wind up losing most of them).  There are over 100 merit badges - why not pick some for which there aren't already Counselors in your area? 

      • Qualification: A Merit Badge Counselor must be at least 21 years old, and must meet the requirements for any BSA adult member, including taking Youth Protection Training (YPT) and keeping that training current. A Counselor should be proficient in the merit badge subject by vocation, avocation, or special training - as the purpose of the Merit Badge system is to allow Scouts to meet people who are well informed in a given area, please do not apply for badges unless you are very familiar with the field. 

      • Choose your badges: While there is no specific limit for how many badges any one person can sign up for, as a general rule the District would prefer that Counselors limit themselves to five or six badges. Pick the ones you're most qualified for or which are most needed. You can find a complete list of merit badges, with requirements, on the US Scouts Service Project website

      • Register and Apply: (Two Options): 

        • Register online: for the renewal of current Merit Badge Counselors only. All new applicants need to use the "register on paper" option. 

        • Register on paper: 

          • Fill out and sign the following forms: Be sure to include your e-mail address and phone number on both forms. 

            • Merit Badge Counselor Application (fillable PDF form) 

            • Adult Membership Application (Note: you must fill out a new application if you were not previously registered as a Merit Badge Counselor, even if you are already a registered BSA leader. There is no fee for registering as a Merit Badge Counselor. If you are not already a registered BSA leader, then you must take Youth Protection Training before registering and enclose the completion certificate with your application - see the Training page)

          • Send the original signed forms to the Council Office (you can drop them off or mail them to the office at  2150 NYS Route 12, Binghamton NY 13901, or give them to our District Executive or District Advancement Chair at Roundtable)

          • Send a copy of the Counselor Application form (only) to the District Advancement Chair - scan and e-mail it to advancement@TompkinsCortlandScouts.org or hand it in at Roundtable or an Advancement Committee meeting (See the District Calendar for times and places). Do not send the Adult Application to the District Advancement Committee, which neither wants nor needs it. Please be sure the counselor's e-mail address is on the form. 

      • Approvals: 

        • The Council will do the routine background check, as for any adult application. 

        • The District Advancement Committee will review the application at its next monthly meeting

      • Listing: If approved by the District and Council, the counselor is notified, and listed on the Merit Badge Counselor list on this website. 

    • Baden-Powell Council Merit Badge Counselor List: At the request of the council, the Merit Badge Counselor list has been removed from this web page. Unit leaders should be able to locate merit badge counselors through ScoutBook. If you have any questions about this, or need any help locating the information on ScoutBook, contact the Baden-Powell Council.

    • Merit Badge Counselor Training  is available through My.Scouting.org as is most BSA training. Log in to My.Scouting.org, go to "My Dashboard", then select "Training Center". Click on "Scouts BSA" and you should find Merit Badge Counselor training on the list. Click "+Add Plan" next to the training, and take the course.

    • Merit Badge Resources: see our Forms and Links page

    Most Recently Added Scouts BSA Merit Badges

Health Care Professions Merit Badge

Health Care Professions will replace the Medicine merit badge and will feature a new merit badge pamphlet and new requirements, available here. The design of the merit badge emblem will not change - so, yes, if a Scout earns both Medicine and Health Care Professions, he or she can wear two copies of the same emblem. Scouts who have begun work on the Medicine merit badge may continue working on it until they are finished or turn 18. After Dec. 31, 2021, Scouts may not begin working on the Medicine merit badge and should instead work on the Health Care Professions badge. 

Citizenship In Society Merit Badge

Citizenship in Society Merit Badge (originally called "Diversity", then "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion") has been officially released on November 1, 2021. The badge will become Eagle Required as of July 1, 2022. The requirements can be downloaded from National's website. There will not be any pamphlet for this badge - it is intended to be an open-ended discussion between the Scout and the Counselor. The official announcement can be found on National's website

The Scouts BSA recommends that anyone wishing to become a merit badge counselor for this takes the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training, available through the BSA Learn Center at my.scouting.org, and also released this video last month to help guide prospective Citizenship in Society merit badge counselors: https://vimeo.com/613861523 

Troop 43's Scoutmaster Mike Martinez notes, "I look forward to working with Scouts on this merit badge soon, and would encourage all units to develop a plan to offer this merit badge as soon as possible so prospective Eagle Scouts will Be Prepared and not face a delay when it becomes required next summer!" He can be contacted at scoutmastermike43@gmail.com 

For the latest information on changes to the merit badge list see the Scouting Magazine blog

Your Scouts, Explorers and Venturers, 14 years old and older,
can earn the Duke of Edinburgh Award!

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award and the Boy Scouts of America have joined forces to expand the internationally renowned DofE Award into the world of Scouting. This year, the BSA national office launched the pilot program in five councils nationwide: Baden-Powell, Circle 10, Los Angeles Area, National Capital Area, and Yocona.

Founded in 1956 in the UK by Her Majesty The Queen's husband, HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is a non-competitive, self-development program for youth ages 14 to 25. Dedicated to achievement in community service, physical fitness, special skills, and adventurous journey, the Award aims to build self-esteem and promote character development within every participant.

The Award is an exciting, non-competitive experience that cultivates and instills confidence and self-worth within every participant. Through its proven and trusted quality framework, participants enjoy an unparalleled experience that hones their talents and skills and instills within them a crucial sense of belonging and achievement.

Over 7 million people have received the Duke of Edinburgh's Award since its inception. The Award's fundamental philosophy and Four Tenant operational format have proved resilient, attractive, and adaptable to many cultures, languages, and environments, and it remains as relevant today as ever before, experiencing record levels of interest annually. Last year, more than 140,000 participants from around the world earned a Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award.

A letter introducing the Pilot Program can be downloaded here in PDF format. 

For more information or to get involved, please contact Tim Woods,
Baden-Powell Council DofE coordinator, at 607-844-3921 or
Email wwwoodsw@earthlink.net

Venturing Advancement

As a quick summary, there are four ranks, going from the joining-level Venturing Rank to the Summit Rank, the highest honor in Venturing. The ranks blend adventure, leadership, personal development and service to give Venturers a structure for developing their own personal vision into manageable goals. That’ll translate into recognition by peers, mentors and the larger community. Each rank has a focus. For the Venturing award, it’s joining; for Discovery, it’s participation; for Pathfinder, it’s leadership; and for the Summit rank, it’s mentoring. 

Each patch incorporates the Venturing logo, and the design gets progressively more intricate as a young man or young woman progresses in Venturing.  

Recipients of the Summit Award get an awesome patch but also receive a medal. Plus, as adults, Summit Award recipients may wear the green, white and silver square knot pictured. It’s the same knot worn by recipients of the old Venturing Silver Award, which was retired at the end of 2014.

There are also Specialty Awards and Leadership Awards for Venturers to earn. 

The following changes were announced in August, 2020: 

  • Certain restrictions regarding prior credit for Venturers have been changed. Effective immediately, Venturing Advisors have the discretion to give a Venturer credit toward Venturing award requirements for work previously completed by the Venturer while a registered member of a Scouts BSA Troop or a Sea Scout Ship. This change aligns the Venturing advancement program with the Scouts BSA and Sea Scouting advancement programs.  Under the current edition of the Guide to Advancement and the latest printed edition of Venturing Awards and Requirements, a Venturer was required to complete all work on Venturing awards while registered as a Venturer, and Venturing Advisors were not permitted to give credit toward Venturing award requirements for work previously done by a youth in Scouts BSA or Sea Scouts. Neither Scouts BSA nor Sea Scouts have these same restrictions. Except as stated in the temporary transition rules covering first-time members entering Scouts BSA after February 1, 2019, in both Scouts BSA and Sea Scouts, unit leaders are currently able to consider work done in any program when giving credit toward completion of rank or award requirements. To improve consistency within the three programs and to encourage membership in Venturing Crews, Venturers may now receive credit toward Venturing ranks and specialty awards for work completed while registered in a Scouts BSA Troop or a Sea Scout Ship.

  • Another recent update to the Venturing Program is also intended to improve consistency among the different programs within Scouting. Since the adoption of the ALPS model, the Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit awards have been referred to as core awards and not as ranks. The National Venturing Committee is also pleased to announce that effective immediately the Venturing, Discovery, Pathfinder and Summit awards will be referred to as Venturing ranks. The Quest, Ranger, and Trust Awards will remain as part of the Venturing program as specialty awards and are not considered Venturing ranks.

  • Venturing Advancement Requirements: 

    Unit Recognition
    "Scouting's Journey to Excellence"

    “Scouting’s Journey to Excellence” is the BSA’s performance recognition program designed to encourage and reward success and measure the performance of our units, districts, and councils. It replaced the Quality Awards Program as a means of encouraging excellence in providing a quality program at all levels of the BSA. 

    "Journey to Excellence" marks a change in emphasis from year-end numbers to year-round quality. Rather than set numeric targets for results, the program tries to help units judge their performance on those factors which create quality program for the youth members, which in turn helps units retain members and grow. 

    Units earn points in a number of areas (13 areas for Packs and Troops, 11 for Crews and Ships). In most of the areas, there are three levels - Bronze, Silver and Gold. The Bronze level is supposed to represent those things which are a minimum for a quality program, a unit which earns all Gold would be one of the best of the best. To earn the annual "Journey to Excellence" award at the Bronze Level, a Pack or Troop has to be at least at Bronze Level in a specified number of objectives, and must also have a total number of points at the Bronze level (see the worksheet for the specific requirements for your type of unit). If they have met the Bronze requirements, units can progress to Silver Level with more points and more objectives, and to Gold Level with still more points (again, see the worksheet for the specific number for your type of unit). 

    Click on the links in this table for forms and information specifically for your type of unit: 

    Unit Type 2023 Requirements Scorecards 2023 Tracking Spreadsheets 2023 Guidebooks 2024 Requirements Scorecards
    Scouts BSA Troop PDF XLSX PDF PDF (n/a yet)
    Venture Crew PDF n/a n/a PDF
    Sea Scout Ship PDF n/a n/a PDF
    Explorer Post PDF n/a   PDF

    JtE Support Documents and Information

  • JtE Unit Frequently Asked Questions (MSWord)

  • End of Year Journey (website link)

  • What's in it for me? (PDF)

  • Definitions / Glossary (PDF)

  • How to get Unit Training statistics for JtE (PDF)

  • JtE Award Order Sheets (website link)

Service Projects

The following awards will be given at the Annual District Awards Event:

National or B-P Council Awards: 

  • Training and other Recognition Knots: Ever wondered about all those knots you see on other leaders' uniforms? Here's a page giving the meanings and requirements for all of the square knots (offsite link to The US Scout Service Project) (also see this web page from boyscouttrail.com).  Training knots are available for Cub, Webelos, Scouts BSA and Venturing Leaders as well as Commissioners and District Committee members - you can apply for those yourself. Contact Kathlene Gross recognition@TCScouts.org to apply for the knots. 

  • Veteran Scouter Recognition - Veteran year pins are awarded every 5 years (5, 10, 15, 20...). Note that pins up to 20 years are awarded by Council, 25 years and up have to be obtained from BSA National HQ. Submit this form (fillable PDF from National website) to the Council office for all veteran awards. 

  • National Unit Leader Award of Merit - This award is presented at the request of the unit to the unit leader - Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Venturing Crew Advisor or Varsity Coach. The unit committee chair completes the Unit Leader Award of Merit Nomination Form on behalf of the unit committee. For Scout troops, Varsity Scout teams, and Venturer crews, the nomination must include endorsement by the senior patrol leader, team captain, or crew president, respectively (Cub packs, being adult led, do not have this requirement). The unit or district commissioner certifies that the form is complete. The unit submits the nomination form to the council for approval by the Scout executive and council commissioner or president.
  • District Award of Merit - The highest award a District may give. Each year, Taughannock District gives one or two awards. To nominate someone for the District Award of Merit, use the nomination form on the National website, or get a copy from District Recognition Chair. There are no specific hard-and-fast requirements for the District Award of Merit, but a general rule of thumb is that someone should have been active at least five years and have done at least some Scouting service outside the unit in which he or she is registered (although long service unit leaders will be considered). You can download a complete list of previous recipients of the District Award of Merit (PDF).
  • Silver Beaver - The Silver Beaver is the highest award a Council may give. Each year, the Baden-Powell Council gives about four Silver Beaver awards to deserving Scouters from around the Council. To nominate someone for the Silver Beaver, use the nomination form on the National website, or get a copy from the Baden-Powell Council or the Taughannock District Recognition Chair (recognition@TCScouts.org ). There are no specific hard-and-fast requirements for the Silver Beaver Award, but a general rule of thumb is that someone should have been active at least ten years and have done at least some Scouting service at the Council level (although long service district- or unit-level leaders will be considered). You can download a complete list of previous recipients of the Silver Beaver (PDF).

Taughannock District Awards

These "unofficial" awards are given by the District, among others which pop up from time to time. If you know someone you think would deserve one of these awards, nominate them! Download the Nomination Form  MS Word - PDF - and send it to  recognition@TCScouts.org or give it to our DE.

  • Spark Plug Award - Does your unit have a leader who gives real "Spark" to the unit and its activities? Give leaders the recognition they deserve and tell them "Thank You!" The Spark Plug recipients are selected by the Unit, and confirmed by the District. No more than one Spark Plug per unit per year, please, and no one can get the Spark Plug twice in the same unit. 

  • The District may award one or more of the following each year, as selected by the Key 3 (Chair, DE, District Commissioner). If you know someone who should be considered for one of these awards, send an e-mail to recognition@TCScouts.org

    • Rising Star - may be presented to "newish" leaders who have done special service, either at the District or unit level.
    • Old Guard- may be presented to an Old F... we mean, "Distinguished Elder Scouter" who has been serving the District and/or units for many years. 
    • Patriot Patrol - a group of current Scouters who have done outstanding service for the District over the past year.
    • Taughannock 76'er - as a youth leader parallel to the Patriot Patrol, this will be awarded annually to a group of  outstanding youth leaders in the District.  
    • Old Scout - given occasionally to repeat members of the Old Guard
    • Founders Award - awarded from time to time to Scouters with especially long and distinguished service - download a list of recipients of the Founders Award (PDF)
    • Good Turn - awarded to a non-Scouting individual or organization who has done particular service to Scouting or to youth in general.
    • Outstanding Unit - awarded from time to time to Scouting units - Packs, Troops, Crews, Posts - who have delivered outstanding program to their youth members. 
    • Gorget Award - presented to an outstanding youth leader nominated by unit or district leadership.
    • Unit Service Award - presented to a unit which has provided outstanding community service during the previous year. 

    Masonic Scouting Awards

    The Masons have two awards available for Scouts and Scouters. 

    The General Douglas MacArthur Youth Award recognizes distinguished or outstanding voluntary community service by non-Masonic orgaiznations or individuals. It is given to "those who have given of themselves, that ultimate goal in life, serving our youth."  Download a nomination form here (PDF).

    The Eagle Scout Award "recognizes the dedication of a Scout to the pursuits of Scouting and of his achievement leading to Eagle Scout. The recipient will get a special personalized commendation certificate and letter from the Grand Master, along with a medallion. Download a nomination form here (PDF). 

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