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Scout Rank for Scouts BSA

Requirements and Resources

Scout Rank is the first rank earned by a young man or woman upon joining a Scouts BSA troop. The Scout rank requirements help a new Scout learn the basics of Scouting and get them off on a good start on the path to Eagle Scout.

Parent Involvement

If you are a parent and are new to Scouts BSA, you will find it helpful to familiarize yourself with the program so you can support your son or daughter. It is important to understand the role of the parent in this program. It is very different than the role of the parent in Cub Scouts.


Worksheet / Workbook

Check Off Sheet for the Scouts BSA Scout Rank

Notes: The requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks may be worked on simultaneously;
however, these ranks must be earned in sequence. Alternative requirements for the Scout rank are available for Scouts with physical or mental disabilities if they meet the criteria listed in the Scouts BSA Requirements book.

Help with Answers for Scout Rank Requirements

Find specific helps for some of the Scout rank requirements listed below. Some of these resources will just give the answers. Others will provide engaging ways for older Scouts to introduce these concepts to new Scouts.

Scout Rank Requirement 1: Scouting Knowledge

  1. Repeat from memory the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan. In your own words, explain their meaning.
  2. Explain what Scout spirit is. Describe some ways you have shown Scout spirit by practicing the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan.
  3. Demonstrate the Scout sign, salute, and handshake. Explain when they should be used.
  4. Describe the First Class Scout badge and tell what each part stands for. Explain the significance of the First Class Scout badge.
  5. Repeat from memory the Outdoor Code. List the Leave No Trace Seven Principles. Explain the difference between the two.
  6. Repeat from memory the Pledge of Allegiance. In your own words, explain its meaning.

Requirement 1 Helps and Answers

What Is Scout Spirit?

Learn what is meant by the term “Scout Spirit”.

The Outdoor Code

Learn the Outdoor Code and how to follow it on your outdoor adventures.

The Scout Law

Learn some of the history of the Scout Law and see a longer explanation of each point.

Trustworthy Tommy Song

This song will help you memorize the 12 points of the Scout Law

Scout Law Game

This game provides another way to learn the Scout Law.

Red Skelton’s Commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance

This is a nice commentary on what the words in the pledge of allegiance really mean.

The First Class Scout Badge

first class rank badge
  1. The three points at the top of the Fleur de Lis is like the north on an old compass. These stand for the three points of the Scout Oath. (Duty to God, Duty to Others, Duty to Self). Like a compass showing the way to a mariner at sea, these point the Scout in the right direction in life.
  2. The stars remind us of the outdoor aspects of the program. There are two stars, representing to ideals: truth and knowledge.
  3. The eagle represents the United States and stands for freedom, which we should be ready to defend.
  4. The scroll has the Scout motto: “Be prepared.”
  5. The ends of the scroll are turned up like a smile which a Scout should have when doing cheerful service.
  6. The knot at the bottom is a reminder of the Scout Slogan:”Do a Good Turn Daily”.

Scouts BSA Basics Crossword Puzzle

Introduce these concepts with a crossword puzzle.

Scout Law Word Search Puzzle

Another fun way to learn the Scout Law.


These two prayers incorporate the Scout Law:

Scouts BSA Trivia Quiz

Test your knowledge with an online quiz.

Scout Rank Requirement 2: Advancement

After attending at least one Scout troop meeting, do the following:

  1. Describe how the Scouts in the troop provide its leadership.
  2. Describe the four steps of Scout advancement.
  3. Describe what the Scouts BSA ranks are and how they are earned.
  4. Describe what merit badges are and how they are earned

Requirement 2 Helps and Answers

Troop Leadership

A Scouts BSA troop is led by the youth. Learn more about the various youth leadership positions.

The 4 Steps of Scout Advancement

  1. The Scout learns
  2. The Scout is tested
  3. The Scout is reviewed
  4. The Scout is recognized

Scouts BSA Ranks

Merit Badges

Learn about merit badges and see the many badges available.

Scout Rank Requirement 3: The Patrol Method

  1. Explain the patrol method. Describe the types of patrols that are used in your troop.
  2. Become familiar with your patrol name, emblem, flag, and yell. Explain how these items create patrol spirit

Requirement 3 Helps and Answers

The Patrol Method

Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouting movement, believed strongly in the patrol method. That is why this is covered as part of the Scout rank requirements.

Learn about the the Patrol Method

A patrol is a small group of Scouts BSA within a troop. They elect a patrol leader and function almost like a family within the troop. They divide up the chores to be done and work together as a group to meet their goals. They develop a patrol spirit and take pride in their accomplishments as a team.

A patrol has a Patrol Leader and sometimes an Assistant Patrol Leader. These leaders provide direction to the patrol. All patrol members are expected to contribute though. For example, if the patrol is going camping a couple members might organized the gear, another might purchase the food, and so on. Usually assignments are made via a duty roster so that the jobs are fairly distributed.

A very small troop might only have a single patrol. A large troop will have many patrols. Working within a group of this size ensures that everyone gets to participate and learn leadership skills.

Scout Rank Requirement 4: Knots

  1. Show how to tie a square knot, two half-hitches, and a tautline hitch. Explain how each knot is used.
  2. Show the proper care of a rope by learning how to whip and fuse the ends of different kinds of rope.

Requirement 4 Helps and Answers

Knot Terminology

Before starting knot tying for the Scout rank requirements, it is helpful to know the terms commonly used.

The Six Scout Knots

Download an instruction sheet for six knots every Scout should learn.

How to Whip and Fuse the Ends of a Rope

See step by step instructions for preventing the ends of your rope from fraying.

Scout Rank Requirement 5: Pocketknives

Tell what you need to know about pocketknife safety and responsibility.

Requirement 5 Helps and Answers

Pocketknife Care and Safety Rules

Learn about safety, sharpening, and choosing the right knife for the job.

Whittling Chip certification

When a Cub Scout earns his or her Whittling Chip, that means he or she is ready to handle a knife safely. Cub Scouts earn this certification as part of the Bear Claws adventure.

Pocketknife Safety Quiz

Test your knowledge of knife safety with this online quiz.

Whittling Chip Card Corners

A reader asks about cutting the corners from a Whittling Chip card when the owner commits a safety infraction. This is not actually a BSA policy.

Scout Rank Requirement 6: Personal Safety

With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide and view the Personal Safety Awareness videos (with your parent or guardian’s permission).*

*If your family does not have internet access at home AND you do not have ready internet access at school or another public place or via a mobile device, the Personal Safety Awareness videos portion of this requirement may be waived by your Scoutmaster in consultation with your parent or guardian.

Requirement 6 Helps and Answers

Download How to Protect Your Children from Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide (PDF format)

The Three R’s of Personal Safety and Protection

  1. Recognize situations that place you at risk of being situations that place you at risk of being molested, how child molesters operate, and that anyone could be a molester.
  2. Resist unwanted and inappropriate attention. Resistance will stop most attempts at molestation.
  3. Report attempted or actual molestation to a parent or attempted or actual molestation to a parent or other trusted adult. This prevents further abuse and helps to protect other children. Let the child know he or she will not be blamed for what occurred.

Read more about personal safety

The Buddy System

Of all of the things they can do to keep themselves safe, none is more important than the buddy system. Read more.

The safety awareness videos can be found on the BSA website.

Scout Rank Requirement 7: Scoutmaster Conference

Since joining the troop and while working on the Scout rank, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.

Requirement 7 Helps and Answers

What Is a Scoutmaster Conference?

New Scouts might be a little intimidated by the Scoutmaster Conference, but they should not be. It helps to understand what it is and just think about it as a conversation. Read about it.

More Resources for Scout Rank Requirements

Boy Scout Bingo

Bingo Cards for Scouts BSA (Boy Scout Bingo)

These bingo cards for Scouts BSA help familiarize Scouts with the Scout Law, Eagle required merit badges, some of the fun adventures they can look forward to, ranks, and more. Use them to help new Scouts familiarize themselves with the concepts for the Scout rank requirements.

Book Review: Beginning Boy Scouts

If you know somebody who is new to the Scouts BSA program, then this would be a great resource to give them an overview of the program. Note that this book only covers the Scouts BSA program, not Cub Scouts or Venturing. Also the name reflects that it was written before the Boy Scout program name changed, but the information all still applies.


3 responses to “Scout Rank for Scouts BSA”

  1. Lisa S Avatar
    Lisa S

    The checkoff sheets for the ranks were so helpful to us in the past. Are these archived somewhere? Or am I blind and just not seeing them? Thank you again for all you do for Scouting!

    1. Scouter Mom Avatar
      Scouter Mom

      I didn’t know if they were getting much use, so I took them off the last update. But they are back in now. 🙂 Look in the section with the requirements.

      1. Lisa S Avatar
        Lisa S

        Thank you so much!

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