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Advancement, Awards, and Recognitions

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, is to help youth have an educational, fun, exciting, and meaningful Scouting experience.

A fundamental principle of advancement in Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, Venturing, and Sea Scouting is the growth a young person achieves as a result of his/her participation in unit program.

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Religious Emblems Programs

From the BSA Scout Law -- A Scout is Reverent. He/she is reverent toward God, faithful in his/her religious duties, and respects the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion.

To encourage members to grow stronger in their faith, many religious groups have developed denominational recognitions for youth and adults collectively known as religious emblems programs.External Link  Some of these religious groups have the program pamphlets directly available in their congregation, ward, or diocesan offices, and a handful of the pamphlets are also available through the BSA Supply Group.  A multi-faith non-profit called Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (P.R.A.Y)External Link maintains an excellent website with details about these programs, and also handles the pamphlets and awards for some of the national religious relationships committees.

Boy Scouts of America has approved the medals of these various religious groups to be worn on the official BSA uniform, but the awards are administered and handled by the various religious organizations.  The awards are not sold or obtained through BSA, but with and through the religious group that approves each specific award.



Scout SundayExternal Link / Scout SabbathExternal Link

The Boy Scouts of America designates the Sunday that falls on or before February 8 (Scouting Anniversary Day) as Scout SundayExternal Link and the Saturday on or following February 8 as Scout SabbathExternal Link to partner with religious organizations in celebrating faith and Scouting.  Occasionally, a local congregation may choose to hold this celebration on another date -- each religious group is free to choose a date suitable for the congregation.

Scout Sunday / Scout Sabbath is an opportunity for units to participate in the religious service of their chartered organization by attending services in uniform, conducting a flag ceremony, speaking about Scouting, presenting the new BSA unit charter, and/or formally thanking them for their support throughout the year.  Units might consider having a recruiting information table in the foyer or hospitality area.   This celebration may be a time to present religious emblem awards earned by Cub Scouts, Scouts, Venturers, and Sea Scouts.



Religious Emblems CoordinatorExternal Link

Packs, troops, crews, and ships are encouraged to have a unit religious emblems coordinator -- a unit committee member helping Scouts and families become aware of religious emblems programs and stimulate each member's potential interest in working with his/her own faith group on such programs. 

This unit committee member is generally not a faith-specific awards counselor, but a promoter and encourager who helps families connect/re-connect with their own faith groups for participating in these faith-specific programs (awards counselors are actually appointed by the individual religious groups).



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