The first badge of Boy Scouting can be earned as soon as a boy joins a
troop, especially if he has earned his Arrow of Light as a Webelos
scout. This first recognition is earned by applying and memorizing some
important scouting basics.
Tenderfoot is the first rank earned as a Boy Scout. The requirements
of becoming a Tenderfoot provide basic skills to begin preparing the
scout for higher adventure outings. Earning badges and receiving
recognition can be very satisfying to boys. However, keep in mind that
the badge is only a representation of a valuable set of skills that a
scout has learned and demonstrated. The skills, wisdom, and experience
gained through the activities of the scouting program are of much more
value than a small badge.
Second Class scouts work on building their outdoor survival and
camping skills. Compass work, nature observation, camp tools, and
swimming are areas where new skills are mastered and demonstrated. A
second class scout, having completed all the requirements, should be
able to lead a hike, care for his own equipment, set up a campsite, and
perform basic first aid.
When the First Class rank is attained, a scout has learned all the
basic camping and outdoors skills of a scout. He can fend for himself in
the wild, lead others on a hike or campout, set up a camp site, plan
and properly prepare meals, and provide first aid for most situations he
may encounter. A First Class scout is prepared.
Up through First Class rank, a scout was busy learning skills and
becoming a self-sufficient scout. He now moves from being a learner to
being a leader. The Star rank is attained with participation,
leadership, service, and self-directed advancement through merit badges.
Continuing to develop leadership skills, the Life Scout rank is
earned by fulfilling additional leadership positions, service hours, and
merit badges. A Life Scout is expected to be a role model and leader in
the troop, providing guidance to new scouts and helping the troop
however he can. Being a good leader can only be learned by doing and
troop leadership positions allow the scout to make decisions, lead
discussions, and encourage others.
The Eagle rank is often the end goal of a scout and his parents. It
looks good on a resume and shows commitment to a program over an
extended span of time. But, just like each rank advancement before it,
the Eagle rank is a major advancement milestone, but not the culmination
After reaching Eagle, a scout can continue to earn merit badges and be rewarded with an Eagle Palm for each 5 additional merit badges.