How many ranks in Boy Scouts?

Scout Badge, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle Palms.

Moderators: Site Admin, Moderators

How many ranks in Boy Scouts?

Postby Bob White » Sun Sep 05, 2004 4:29 am

I was surprised to see the description of this part of the forum on ranks listing "Scout Rank". Scout is not a Rank, its a badge. It represents that recipient has met the joining qualifications for the Boy Scout program.

The first rank in Scouting is Tenderfoot, the last is Eagle (palms are an Eagle embellishment, they are not a rank).

Just thought a clarification was in order.

Bob White
Bob White

Postby optimist » Sun Sep 05, 2004 12:13 pm

Bob, you are correct and you are incorrect. It's true that the BSA does not officially recognize the Scout badge as a rank. However, you will also find instances in official BSA materials where the Scout badge is referred to as the joining rank. It seems they are just as confused as we are.

The BSA created a slighly confusing situation when they created the Scout badge. It is a badge that is worn in the rank position until a Scout earns the Tenderfoot rank. Because of this, most people think of it as a rank. Ignoring how people think only confuses them.

In regards to the description of this forum, instead of Scout Rank I should have said Scout Badge and I will correct that. However, the Scout Badge and the Eagle Palms do belong under Ranks because they are part and parcel of that portion of the program.
Adv Chair
Posts: 947
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 8:25 pm
Location: Atlanta Area Council

Postby Bob White » Sun Sep 05, 2004 12:39 pm

Check your Boy Scout Handbook again. I do not believe you will find the term "Joining Rank" anywhere in the Handbook or the SM Handbook.

Then read the first sentence of Page 31, where it says "The first Rank you will earn as a Boy Scout is Tenderfoot.

Hope this helps,
Bob White

Postby Bob White » Sun Sep 05, 2004 12:41 pm

While ignoring how people think may confuse them, supporting people in a premise we know is incorrect would seem more confusing would it not.

I would hope the way to help eliminate the condfusion is with accurate information and not by supporting the incorrect information.

Something to consider,
Bob White
Bob White

Postby optimist » Sun Sep 05, 2004 12:50 pm

Bob, I won't argue with you and frankly I'm not sure exactly why you are continuing to argue when I agreed with you. You have made it clear in several postings on this web site that semantics is a big deal to you. You may wish to consider that people don't always refer to things in exactly the same way and yet they somehow manage to accomplish the same tasks.
Adv Chair
Posts: 947
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 8:25 pm
Location: Atlanta Area Council

Postby Bob White » Sun Sep 05, 2004 1:28 pm

Semantics are not a big deal to me.

I think that as leaders we have a responsibility to give accurate information regarding the program and its elements and methods so that confusion can be avoided and not fostered.

"Scout" either is or is not a rank in Boy Scouting. The BSA program says it is not. While I understand you agre I do not understand the willingness of others to continue the misinformation for the comfort of those it confuses.

Think of all the misinformation that has been allowed to grow through that kind of approach.

You have one year to finish merit badges..untrue
Your parents can't be mb counselors for you...untrue
All Troop positions of responsibility are elected...untrue
You must be in uniform when traveling for insurance coverage...untrue
ASMs can sit on board of reviews...untrue
The BSA has a Class A uniform...untrue
Units can choose to accept jeans (or camo, or BDUs ) as uniform pants...untrue

All of these grew because those who knew better did not share accurate information with those that were confused.

Forums such as this can promote good scouting or continue supporting misinformation. Let's hope we choose correctly.

Hope this helps,
Bob White
Bob White

Postby RWSmith » Sun Sep 05, 2004 2:11 pm

Well, whilie I was typing this, four more posts were added... So, let me preface my comments with this... "Here is my perspective, my opinion." There's no doubt whatsoever there are, even to this day, misconceptions and even contradictory statements within the written BSA policies, hankbooks, guides, etc. So, again, although it is one of my duties as a Counselor on this board to help educate others and altough I beleive my position to be correct on this matter, I must, in this post, issue this disclaimer... I'm not trying to interpret official BSA policy in this post.

Two very good posts... However, here's my perspective... In this PC age, we sometimes forgetful that Scouting's roots are in the military.

WordNet 2.0 defines a recruit as: an enlistee; any new member or supporter (as in the armed forces) -or- a newcomer, fledgling, starter, neophyte, freshman, newbie, entrant; any new participant in some activity.

A Scout is a recruit. And technically, he has no "standing" other than the fact that he is now a member and his advancement consisted of little more than (meeting the joining requirements) going from non-member to new member with the given rank, per se, of recruit (Scout). The rank of Scout is listed, documented (rank card), shaped, awarded and worn exactly like all other ranks, Tenderfoot through Eagle. And for good reasons. All braches of military service do the exact same thing with thier recruits. Also for good reasons... not only is he a bona fide member of the group, even a one-day old recruit is taught that, although he is a servant of the civilian, he olso outranks all civilians (except those within his chain of command) in times of crisis. Although the rank of Scout has nothing to do with "advancement within the ranks," it is a designation of rank for recruits and thus, nontheless a rank, not otherwise different from the rest.

The folks at National aren't confused on this; they just don't bother to explain the history and relavance behind it these days, cuz it ain't PC.

For those who are over-educated ( i.e., officers 8) ), here's another perspective: a freshman in high school or college is a member of the "class" but, like all other freshmen, can carry no "standing" whatsoever.
Last edited by RWSmith on Sun Sep 05, 2004 2:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Site Admin
Posts: 1625
Joined: Wed Aug 11, 2004 8:45 am
Location: Mecklenburg County Council

Postby Bob White » Sun Sep 05, 2004 2:19 pm

Scouting was based on the military 107 years ago in England. In America is was based on the old west and indian lore. From its beginning the BSA was far different than the Scouts of BP, retaining mainly the ideals and the Patrol Method developed by him.

The history of the BSA is not what the BSA is today. We do not use old advancement requirements, all the old methods, or the same ranks.

No matter what we may think scouting was yesterday, our responsibility is to lead scouting today. Scout is still not a rank, nor does the BSA refer to as one in its training or resources.

Do you agree?

Bob White

Postby Guneukitschik » Mon Sep 06, 2004 5:05 pm

Let's say a boy joins the Boy Scouts... he fills out the application and pays his registration, buys his uniform. He officially has no rank within the BSA until he completes the requirements for the rank of Scout. He is a registered member...but has not yet earned the rank of Scout.

If this is not the first rank why are their requirements to earn it?

Granted the requirements are basic...however they are still requirements!

Why then also is there a Scout Rank patch/award to wear on the uniform in the same location as all of the other ranks?

Is it not also possible for a boy to join Scouting at age 10½ or 11 and stay involved until age 18 and never advance if they so choose?

What is a scouts position/rank until they complete the requirements for the Scout Rank?

Scout Badge

Postby Chip » Tue Feb 08, 2005 6:24 pm

Somewhere between the time I left scouting as a boy about 1969 and joined as a leader in 1978, BSA adopted the "Scout" badge. Prior to that time you had nothing on your pocket until you earned Tenderfoot.

About all the boy does to earn his scout badge is tie a square knot. The other things are done by his parents to sign him up in the program. Have we really improved the program by awarding this badge for joining scouts? How do the other leaders feel about returning to the days when the first badge you earned was Tenderfoot?
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 6:12 pm

Postby ICanCanoeCanU » Tue Feb 08, 2005 6:47 pm

Chip - in our troop it's the boy that must repeat and explain the meaning of the oath, law, slogan etc. NOT the parents. But i do know where you're coming from.

Bob - aside from the debate as to what the Scout Badge should be refered to - the reason it's listed under "ranks" in this forum is that is the best subject to put it under. It is also listed on an individual advancement sheet with a date for when the boy earns this, hence part of advancement.

This topic has caused many problems and IMHO, nationals should declare it a rank and make it simple for everyone. No harm in just giving it a clear title as a rank, since (as already discussed) requirements need to be met and the BADGE is worn like a rank.
Posts: 487
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 6:12 am
Location: Otetiana Council, NY

Postby commish3 » Tue Feb 08, 2005 6:59 pm

Chip, maybe I can explain.

The first rank you earn is still Tenderfoot (see page 31 of the Boy Scout Handbook) . The first badge you earn is Scout. Scout shows that you understand the basic elements of scouting, the Law, the Oath, the handshake, the sign the parts of the emblem, etc.. It is an acknowledgement that a boy understands and accepts the ideals of the organization he is joining.

All the ranks are based on skills, activity, service, and personal growth.

The scout badge is based soley on understanding the foundations of the program.

Do you remember in Cubs when Bobcat wasn't a rank it was an award? If so you remember how excited and motivated you were when it was presented to you at your first Pack meeting.

In a troop that understands the program, most new scouts will spend the first Troop meeting completeing the requirements for the Scout Badge.

They will get to go home the first night with their first earned Scout badge to put it on their uniform to replace on of the last vestiges of Cub Scouting, the Webelos Badge. Now they are Boy Scouts.

Used correctly the lessons of the Scout Badge are an important tool for getting a New Scout off on a firm foundation.

I hope this helps you to understand the use and the importance of the Scout Badge.


Postby Starscout2009 » Mon Mar 07, 2005 6:01 pm

in order to get the scout badge all you have to do is is, like previously mentioned, know the scout oath, law etc. its not really a rank more of a state of being, until you get tenderfoot

Postby ICanCanoeCanU » Tue Mar 08, 2005 12:14 am

What is a scouts position/rank until they complete the requirements for the Scout Rank?

A member of troop ###, until they earn the scout badge, on the path to earning their first rank of Tenderfoot.
Posts: 487
Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 6:12 am
Location: Otetiana Council, NY

Postby cescout » Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:55 pm

I think that it is a rank,

As simple as it sounds they did have to work to complete this badge:

Meet age requirements: Be a boy who has completed the fifth grade and be at least 10 years old, or be 11 years old, or have earned the Arrow of Light Award and be at least 10 years old, and be under 18 years old.
Complete a Boy Scout application and health history signed by your parent or guardian.
Find a Scout troop near your home. (To find a troop, contact your local Boy Scout Council. The Council name, address and phone number can be found on BSA's Council Locator Page.)
Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance.
Demonstrate the Scout sign, salute, and handshake.
Demonstrate tying the square knot (a joining knot).
Understand and agree to live by the Scout Oath or Promise, Law, motto, and slogan, and the Outdoor Code.
Describe the Scout badge.
Complete the Pamphlet Exercises. With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet "How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse: A Parent's Guide".
Participate in a Scoutmaster conference. Turn in your Boy Scout application and health history form signed by your parent or guardian, then participate in a Scoutmaster conference.
Posts: 90
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:03 pm
Location: Atlanta Area Council, CPDS

Postby pipestone1991 » Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:09 pm

optimist wrote:
In regards to the description of this forum, instead of Scout Rank I should have said Scout Badge and I will correct that. However, the Scout Badge and the Eagle Palms do belong under Ranks because they are part and parcel of that portion of the program.

And are just as important IMO.
Eagle ScoutGold Palm2007
Philmont 801-E2 2006
Bronze Palm
Posts: 840
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:45 am
Location: Buckeye Council

Postby mhjacobson » Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:28 pm

The scout badge is very similar to the Bobcat badge in Cub Scouting -- it is the way of making sure that new scouts in the program understand some of the basic tenits of the program. It also gives the new scout the opportunity to receive some recognition prior to the month that it now takes to earn the Tenderfoot rank.
50 year+ scouter -- have held almost all adult leader positions in Cubs, Scouts, & Venturing, currently serving as Council Scouting for Youth with Disabilities Chair.
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:39 pm
Location: DesPlaines Valley Council - Illinois

Return to Scout Badge, Tenderfoot through Life, and Eagle Palms

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest