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Advancement Chair

I am just starting my adventure as an Advancement Chair for my son’s Pack. The CubMaster said to get online and do the training. I have sat through all of the training for the Pack Committee Member, as I was told to do, but I still have no idea how to “do” advancements. Am I missing where the training is at? What do I need to do?

Hi Heidi - I am the Advancement Chair for our pack and most certainly Welcome Aboard. I am not exactly sure what you mean by “do” advancements, but for the most part it happens on its own and you have the pleasure of shopping and reporting things to Council. One item I would recommend is to get a copy of the Guide to Advancement. Beyond that if you have a list of… “Hey what the heck is this…” I may be able to get you started.

Hi, Heidi. My experience is, you just go through the Pack Committee training and then you are considered “TRAINED” for BSA purposes.

That said, you still won’t know much about how to be advancement chair, even if you are familiar with the programs and advancement.

If your pack had a good advancement chair previously, can you get together with that person and have them walk you through what they know? That is what I am planning to do this year as our pack will need to train up someone to replace me in 2020.

As far as I understand, the den leaders are supposed to let me know when their scouts have accomplished something and then I’m supposed to be the person who keeps track of everything and puts it in the system?? I have seen my son’s den leader keep track on what looks like an printed excel sheet and then they’ve handed that in to the advancement chair.
I don’t really have access to the previous advancement chair, so I have no idea where to start or what to do.

Heidi - what typically happens in our pack is that the den leaders enter and approve items in scoutbook for their scouts and I add them to the Purchase Order in Needs purchasing, then once per month, usually a week before a pack meeting I head to the shop with my PO and Advancement Report.


Yes - if your unit is using Scoutbook it is an honest one hour a week job. Den leaders enter and approve the stuff for Scouts - you ten go buy it. Den Leaders dont enter the stuff then their Den gets no awards, not your fault as Advancement chair, theirs for not doing their job.

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Scoutbook is your friend when it comes to cubscout advancements. Let me list out an example of the steps I go through.

  1. Parents or Den Leaders enter what is completed into scoutbook.
  2. Den Leader approves.
  3. You go to the “needs purchasing” report and create a purchase order.
  4. Print out the Advancement Report and take it to the scout shop /council (for me it’s the same place) and make your purchases.
  5. After a scout recieves the award/advancement mark it awarded under the “needs awarding” report.

If you would like to contact me please feel free:


Yeah Awarded is the one “Fly in the ointment” - easier in a troop - I bought a case for the Hut where all advancements go if not picked up at first of month meeting. Then scouts can grab them or I do if I see them at meeting and remember. Or they go to bi-annual COH. I clear all Awarded once or twice a year.

@AnnieButcher’s list is very helpful.

You can also group the Purchase Order (PO), print it out, and use it as a shopping list. If you need to buy some additional items that are not on the PO, you can add them to the “Notes” section.

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If you do the packaging of the awards and someone else, like a den leader, does the actual awarding, then the other person could be the one marking “awarded.” Just remember to check the “need awarded” report early enough to remind the den leaders holding the undelivered awards to get it done before the next round of purchasing and awarding.

One solution for that is to close the Purchase Order after making the purchases. That way, you can tell which items have already been purchased.


As a Assistant District Commissioner I would be more than happy to talk to you concerning this. I encourge you to read two books.

  1. Guide to Advancement - Unit Advancement Responsibilities

Unit advancement coordinators and those who assist them have the basic responsibility to support the unit’s advancement and award program to maximize achievement, and otherwise facilitate a smooth implementation of the process. Specific responsibilities are outlined in the leader literature for each program. The following responsibilities are not all-inclusive, but typical.

  1. Support and facilitate the unit leader’s vision for rank advancement or Venturing awards, providing consultation on the policies and procedures put forth in the Guide to Advancement .
  2. Educate parents, guardians, unit leadership, and committee members on appropriate methods to stimulate and encourage advancement. For example, help build unit programming rich in advancement opportunities, encourage members who are advancing slowly, and post advancement charts.
  3. Help plan, facilitate, or conduct advancement ceremonies. In troops and crews, schedule and support regular courts of honor—quarterly is generally sufficient. Ships will want regular bridges of honor, and packs should make recognition a key part of every pack meeting.
  4. Obtain necessary badges and certificates, etc., and arrange for timely presentation of ranks, adventure belt loops and pins, merit badges, awards, and other recognitions. It is best to obtain and present these as soon as possible after they are earned. They can then be re-presented in more formal settings.
  5. Ensure Cub Scouts advance in rank annually by school year’s end and are recognized in a meaningful ceremony.
  6. Know and understand the advancement procedures for the program served, especially those applicable to Eagle Scout, Summit, and Quartermaster candidates.
  7. Assist the unit leader in establishing practices that will provide opportunities for each new Scout to achieve First Class rank within 12 to 18 months of joining, and Star rank soon thereafter.
  8. Arrange for timely boards or bridges of review, and see that youth who are ready are invited. It is important that youth are allowed to progress when they are ready, and no youth is barred from achieving later ranks due to delays in holding boards or bridges of review.
  9. Maintain advancement records and submit reports to the unit committee. It is appropriate in Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scouts to involve youth leaders in this process.
  10. Use the BSA’s internet portal to report advancement to the local council.
  11. Keep a current and accessible copy of the district or council merit badge counselor list. As needed to fill in, develop and maintain a list of unit merit badge counselors. Note that all merit badge counselors must be registered as such, annually, and also approved through the council advancement committee.
  12. In troops, crews, and ships, work with the unit’s youth leadership to maintain a library of advancement literature, such as merit badge pamphlets and the annual Scouts BSA Requirements book.
  13. Learn about other BSA awards and recognition opportunities that may be helpful in delivering a well-rounded unit program. A good resource for this is the Guide to Awards and Insignia . Awards and Recognitions

Awards and recognitions by definition are not part of the advancement plan. They supplement it in many ways, however, and often lead to increased retention. Some awards and recognitions are for youth members, some for adults, and some for both. Some are earned, while others are presented in honor of service rendered. Awards and recognitions can be administered by a council advancement committee or by other committees or task forces as determined by a council executive board.

For more information about awards, visit Awards Central. Application and nomination forms are available on the Scouting Forms from the National Council page. In most cases, the forms provide details on where to send the paperwork and also list any additional information that might be required. Questions about awards and recognitions should be directed to the National Advancement Program Team at the National Service Center.

A separate publication, the Guide to Awards and Insignia is a central source for building a deeper understanding of the opportunities available.

  1. Cub Scout Leader Handbook.

If you wish to contact me off line please send an email to and I will be more than happy to help.

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My wife is our advancement chair, but I do most of the work for her in scoutbook. She just runs to the store and puts all the awards to together to be award.

Parents or Den leaders should be marking it completed in scout book. Den leaders should be approving it. I often run the approval report to remind them. The advancement chair should run the purchasing report create and close the PO and run the advancement report for ranks. All done now thru scoutbook. Then they typically go to the scout store and pick up the awards, get them in a method your pack prefers to award the little scouters and then run the awarding report and record what was awarded.

I think we all know how to shop, its just familiarizing with scoutbook that would be the training that is needed. I have not yet seen a scoutbook training, (which I think there should be one) on

Us here on the forums that have gone thru it all are always here to help as well.

We have some videos that you might find helpful here:

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You’ll do fine, if you read the Guide to Advancement. It is available for free online.

When the pack plans to present awards, set a deadline in advance, and make sure the den leaders and Cubmaster know. Anything entered into Scoutbook after your deadline will not be purchased for the ceremony.You need time to creat your shopping list and go shopping.

We don’t use the purchase order Scoutbook creates. First, some SKU numbers are missing like the one for the Lion rank. Second, some may be incorrect like the one for the Webelos rank badge, which still shows the SKU for the diamond-shaped badge no longer in use. Third, not everything will be on there. Examples are cards you may present with rank badges and parent’s pins. Fourth, you cannot tell from the PO whether you should be buying the Cyber Chip patch or the recharge pin.

All these problems mean we are more comfortable creating our own shopping list. In addition, we put things on there like Pinewood Derby medals, Blue & Gold patches and Scouting for Food patches that are not in Scoutbook. Our shopping list is kept in a Word document and is updated at least weekly, so it never becomes a big project. It is cross checked against the Scoutbook needs purchasing list. We cross check it one final time when we create the purchase order in Scoutbook. Then, we just print it and head to the shop. We have the SKU numbers on the list, so it is foolproof.

Stay on top of the den leaders to keep Scoutbook current. If you notice time passing with a den leader making no entries, find out what’s happening.

The most important quality you need to do a great job is organization skills. You’ll find a system and a routine that works for you.


If your pack does not have a recently “retired” Advancement Chair, see if there are others who attend Roundtable in your District who have experience. Roundtable is valuable both for those who need to learn from experienced Scouters as well as a forum for the experienced Scouters to share with others.

Scoutnet is not updated to reflect the advancement until you reflect the award was awarded. So update once a year and you have delayed updating Scoutnet the official record.

Steve, as soon as a leader in the unit marks an advancement item (ranks, merit badges, adventures, awards) as Approved overall, then ScoutNET will be updated.


That is not correct. ScoutNET is updated when award is marked approved in Scoutbook. In Internet Advancement, you must use Start Over and Load Roster to see the change. It can often take 24 hours or longer to see the change in Internet Advancement.

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@HeidiKelley Welcome to the wonderful adventure of being an Advancement Chair. I’ve been Advancement Chair for my pack for the past 3 years including a transition from Cub Trails to Scoutbook.

I’ve found it helpful to create a report for each rank (or den in my case since we have so many scouts) to give me a visual cue of where advancement sits. The green, blue and yellow check marks allow me to see the parent approved (green) items that need the attention of the den leader and the leader approved (blue) items that will be awarded shortly. By looking at the report, I can see quickly if the den leader is good to go or if they missed something.

I agree with @DonovanMcNeil’s comments. Using a combination of the custom reports and the Purchase Order (ordered by scout and by den), I communicate to the den leader what awards will be presented and which awards are not yet approved. Our pack meets on Mondays. We have a deadline for den leaders to have awards signed off by the Tuesday before pack meetings so I have time to go to the scout shop to purchase awards.

@JenniferOlinger’s comment is spot on. I’d add that you can’t have two open Purchase Orders at a time.

I’d be happy to help you on your adventure if you need to chat with someone who has been there and done that!