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Advancement questions

A couple scouts are getting ready for BoR. They have already had a SMC and been signed off. I know you can’t add or subtract from advancement requirements and it’s not explicitly stated that Totin’ Chip or Firem’n Chit are required. However, I feel like these are necessary to complete multiple requirements, i.e. Tenderfoot requirement 3d and Second class requirements 2b, 2c, 2d. What are the incentives to get those badges if anyone can handle wood tools and start fires? Can advancement be denied?

no it cannot be denied. You need to read the Guide To Advancement . For BOR’s look at Section 8 but here is one part of it. Purpose and Timeliness of Boards of Review

A Scout who has completed the requirements for any rank (except Scout rank) then appears before a board of review. Its purpose is to determine the quality of the Scout’s experience and decide whether the requirements for the rank have been fulfilled. If so, the board not only approves the Scout’s advancement but also provides encouragement to continue the quest for the next rank. Because the board of review date becomes the effective advancement date, boards should be scheduled promptly as Scouts are ready, or set up on a regular basis that assures Scouts are not delayed in beginning time-oriented requirements for the next rank.

Note that Scouts must be registered through the time they are working on advancement requirements, but need not be registered thereafter or when their board of review is conducted.

As a Scoutmaster (and a unit) I see BOR as not a pass / Fail thing, The Scout has already done everything. The BOR in my unit is a way for the committee to see how the unit is working for the Scouts and what if any changes need to happen. Ex. ? What was the hardest requirement for you? (Scout) The 5 mile hike requirement was real hard cause we did not hike for 9 months. - This is a VERY VALUABLE piece of info for the Troop to see.

Attached are BOR sheets we worked up with example questions for those doing it. When I took over they were totally retesting the scout on everything.

BOR Sheets.pdf (44.6 KB)


How are they doing the requirement if they don’t have those two things though? It states it gives a scout the right to use wood tools and have equipment to start fires. If you don’t have those, then a scout should not be handing them. You’ve just acquired a non-scout sanctioned life skill.

Well if an SM or ASM signed it - then that is a conversation to have with them, not with the Scout. The requirement is signed you cannot erase it. First thing my older scouts do when a young scout says I need to do this knife or fire requirement is ask if they have said award. If not they teach it right there.


@jst1ofthosedays - compare the requirements of the awards and the rank requirements as that may help align them. The Firem’n Chit states this in its intro:
This certification grants a Scout the right to carry fire-lighting devices (matches, lighters, etc.) to build campfires

That’s exactly my point

Totin’ Chit

Demonstrate proper care, sharpening, and use of the knife, saw, and ax. Describe when each should be used.

Use the tools listed in Tenderfoot requirement 3d to prepare tinder, kindling, and fuel wood for a cooking fire.

Firem’n Chip

2c. At an approved outdoor location and time, use the tinder, kindling, and fuel wood from Second Class requirement 2b to demonstrate how to build a fire. Unless prohibited by local fire restrictions, light the fire. After allowing the flames to burn safely for at least two minutes, safely extinguish the flames with minimal impact to the fire site.

Explain when it is appropriate to use a lightweight stove and when it is appropriate to use a propane stove. Set up a lightweight stove or propane stove. Unless prohibited by local fire restrictions, light the stove. Describe the safety procedures for using these types of stoves.

And secondly if the scout is saying they did these requirements without having both the Totin’ chip/Firem’n chit then they are being deceptive. Which breaks the first point in the scout law-A scout is Trustworthy.

@jst1ofthosedays - the firem’n Chit has these requirements

This certification grants a Scout the right to carry fire-lighting devices…

  1. I have read and understand use and safety rules from the Scouts BSA Handbook.
  2. I will build a campfire only when necessary and when I have the necessary permits (regulations vary by locality).
  3. I will minimize campfire impacts or use existing fire lays consistent with the principles of Leave No Trace. I will check to see that all flammable material is cleared at least 5 feet in all directions from fire (total 10 feet).
  4. I will safely use and store fire-starting materials.
  5. I will see that fire is attended to at all times.
  6. I will make sure that water and/or a shovel is readily available. I will promptly report any wildfire to the proper authorities.
  7. I will use the cold-out test to make sure the fire is cold out and will make sure the fire lay is cleaned before I leave it.
  8. I follow the Outdoor Code, the Guide to Safe Scouting , and the principles of Leave No Trace and Tread Lightly!

Fireman and totin chits are not required for anything and many troops dont require scouts to earn them in order to use knives or start fires.

If you wish to require them to cary knives or start fires then so be it but you cannot require it for rank andancement.


Additional requirements where none exist would be counter to the Guide to Advancement


Earning those awards is not an advancement requirement - it is more of a safety / policy issue. Having said that, by the time that they have completed:

  • Scout #5
  • TF #3d
  • SC #2a-2d

they have also completed many of the requirements for the Totin’ Chip and the Firem’n Chit. It wouldn’t take much for them to earn these awards.

I would not assume that the Scouts are being deceptive, because the Totin Chip and the Firem’n Chit are not explicitly part of the rank requirements.


I totally agree that it’s a safety/policy issue and that it’s not an advancement requirement. I guess I’m hung up on the verbiage. If both of the awards give you the “right” to use said tools then you should have them before using the tools. If you don’t have the “right” and you claim you’ve done the requirement, then you are literally the definition of deceptive:

de·cep·tive /dəˈseptiv/

  1. giving an appearance or impression different from the true one; misleading

And also when everyone else is the troop/patrol has earned them. I think it only fair. I do plan on having a conversation with the SM and advancement chair.

@jst1ofthosedays - all I can say is wow. What is your role in the unit ? And have you ever taken time to read the guide to advancement I am actually concerned that you would call the scouts deceptive.


Another possibility to consider is that the Scouts might have actually completed all of the requirements for the Totin’ Chip and the Firem’n Chit, but nobody added the awards in Scoutbook / Internet Advancement.


I’m sorry, since when is it wrong to teach children honesty and integrity? We are supposed to be guiding them, by letting kids skate by and not put in work, you are doing them a disservice.

And no it was not overlooked. They have been on the least number of events/campouts needed for advancement.

@jst1ofthosedays - the rank requirements do not explicitly require the award to have them completed. Otherwise it would state do this and/or earn x.


OK, but I am not understanding how the Scouts are being deceptive? The awards are not mentioned anywhere in the rank requirements. I would take the issue of the possible violation of troop safety policy to the Scoutmaster.


@jst1ofthosedays - I repeat- what is your role in the unit other than extreme gatekeeper?

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A. I DON’T have to to justify myself to you or anyone. This is an open forum and I was asking others opinions.

B. If you are representing yourself as a Scout ( which obviously you’d be doing for advancement), then I cannot fathom how this is misinterpreted. It states…

This certification grants a Scout the right to carry and use woods tools

This certification grants a Scout the right to carry fire-lighting devices (matches, lighters, etc.) to build campfires.

If you don’t have them, you should not be touching them. Literally your just a child and parent starting fires and chopping things down. Obviously they are there for a reason and it’s a learning opportunity.

Based on your logic, I suppose I should also turn a blind eye to the fact that one child has never served as grubmaster, but has miraculously completed

On one campout, plan and cook one hot breakfast or lunch, selecting foods from MyPlate or the current USDA nutritional model. Explain the importance of good nutrition. Demonstrate how to transport, store, and prepare the foods you selected.

I’m sorry I’m looking to keep a quality program and not just turn out Eagle Scouts. I’d like to keep my children mentally awake and morally straight.

@jst1ofthosedays - what is your major malfunction