Advancement is the process by which youth members of the Boy Scouts of America progress from rank to rank in the Scouting program. Advancement is simply a means to an end, not an end in itself. Everything done to advance and earn these ranks, from joining until leaving the program, should be designed to help the young person have an exciting and meaningful experience. Education and fun are functions of the Scouting movement, and they must be the basis of the advancement program. A fundamental principle of advancement in Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Varsity Scouting, and Venturing is the growth a young person achieves as a result of his/her participation in unit program.
Today’s youth are spending more time than ever using digital media for education, research, socializing, and fun. To help families and volunteers keep youth safe while online, the Boy Scouts of America has introduced the Cyber Chip program. In developing this exciting new tool, the BSA teamed up with content expert NetSmartz®, part of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children® and training experts from many law enforcement agencies.
The Cyber Chip can be earned by any youth in the BSA’s programs. Topics include cyber bullying, cell phone use, texting, blogging, gaming, and identity theft. Material is tailored at each level for age-appropriateness.
- Cub Scouts: Grades 1–3
- Cub Scouts: Grades 4–5
- Scouts BSA, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts: Grades 6–8
- Scouts BSA, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts: Grades 9–12
In June 2012, the Boy Scouts of America launched its new program, the STEM Initiative. This program offers the STEM Nova Awards and STEM Supernova Awards. Within each Scouting program, there are four parallel Nova Awards available, one in each STEM field. These awards recognize completion of fun STEM activities. For those youth who want to take their STEM interests further, BSA offers the Supernova Award, which recognizes completion of independent, more advanced challenges in the STEM fields. Find out information on Jersey Shore Council's STEM Awards program at https://www.jerseyshorescouts.org/STEM
Guide for Merit Badge Counselors
The merit badge counselor is a key player in the Boy Scout advancement program. Whatever your area of expertise or interest—whether it is a special craft or hobby (basketry, leatherwork, coin collecting), a profession (veterinary medicine, aviation, engineering), or perhaps a life skill (cooking, personal management, communications)—as a merit badge counselor, you can play a vital role in stirring a young man’s curiosity about that particular topic. By serving as a merit badge counselor, you offer your time, knowledge, and other resources so that Scouts can explore a topic of interest.
If you are not yet a merit badge counselor, it is easy to become a volunteer. You will need to register with the Boy Scouts of America, through your BSA local council. This entails contacting the local council, then obtaining, completing, and turning in the “Adult Application.” The council will then process the application. (Every applicant is screened.)
In order to register, merit badge counselors are expected to complete BSA Youth Protection. This training can be done through The BSA’s Online Learning Center . The Boy Scouts of America seeks to create a safe environment for young people and adult leaders to enjoy the program and related activities. BSA Youth Protection training helps preserve that environment. All Merit Badge Counselors are entered into Scoutbook where scout families have acccess to contact them.
For more information, consult the Guide for Merit Badge Counseling, No. 512-065 or Merit Badge Counselor Information, No. 34405 . To learn more about the merit badge program, see section 7 of the Guide to Advancement, “The Merit Badge Program.”
Merit Badge Program
Before you can start a Merit Badge, you must verify with your Scoutmaster or Unit Leader who assigns the blue cards that you can start a Merit Badge.
As it is stated at the front of the blue card: "I have discussed this merit badge with this scout and recommended at least one merit badge counselor." If your Unit is allowing you to sign up for a "Merit Badge Fair", that would indicate their approval.
- Introduction to Merit Badges
- Merit Badge List
- Worksheet for Building a Merit Badge Counselor List, No. 4439
- Merit Badge Blue Card Information
- Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns, No. 512-800
MB Counselor List- The most up to date JSC Merit Badge Counselor list can be accessed through your scoutbook account. You can search by town or by badge or you can run an excel file of the entire list(screen shots below).
- National Advancement Committee Webpage
- National Advancement Committee Resources
- Guide to Advancement
- Advancement News Archive
- Advancement Report, No. 34403
- On Increasing Advancement, No. 512-047
- Recommendations for Regional and Area Volunteers Supporting the Advancement Program, No. 512-048
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