BSA Scout Ranks
Wikipedia - Ranks in BSA
Boy Scout rank badges
Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, Eagle
The program uses a series of medals and patches as emblems. The badge for the Scout rank consists of a simple fleur-de-lis, which symbolizes a compass needle. The needle points the Scout in the right direction, which is onward and upward. The Tenderfoot badge takes the fleur-de-lis of the Scout badge and adds two stars and an eagle with an American shield. The stars symbolize truth and knowledge; the eagle and shield symbolize freedom and readiness to defend it. The Second Class badge features a scroll inscribed with the Scout Motto, with the ends turned up and a knotted rope hanging from the bottom. The knot reminds each Scout to remember the Scout slogan, Do a Good Turn Daily, and the upturned ends of the scroll symbolize cheerfulness in service. The First Class badge combines the elements of the Tenderfoot and Second Class badges. For many years, the First Class badge was used as the emblem of the BSA. Star has a First Class symbol on a five-pointed yellow star, and initially indicated the five merit badges required to earn the rank. Life has a First Class emblem on a red heart, and initially symbolized the first-aid and health-related merit badges that the rank required. Now it signifies that the ideals of Scouting have become a part of the Scout's life and character.
The rank insignia have been around since the beginning. The current design for the Eagle Scout badge was adopted in 1985, with minor modifications in 1986 and 1989. The Eagle Scout medal is of the same basic design as in 1915, with only occasional slight modifications due to changes in manufacturer over time, most recently in 1999. The current design of the other rank badges were finalized in 1990.
For the BSA's centennial year of 2010, special rank badges were available. For each badge from Scout through Life, the badge design is encircled by brown lettering that says "2010 (Rank) Scout", and "Boy Scouts of America". For the Eagle badge, which already had the design surrounded by white lettering ("Eagle Scout"/"Boy Scouts of America") the only change is the addition of "2010" before "Eagle". These badges were available during 2010 only.
For the Eagle Scout's centennial year of 2012, on the Eagle Scout badge only, it states Centennial on the writing around the badge.
Scout was previously a joining badge, but is now considered the first rank, and is earned by completing certain requirements. As of January 2016, the Scout badge has a gold fleur-de-lis on a tan background. The badge is awarded when the boy demonstrates a rudimentary knowledge of the Scouting ideals such as tying a square knot and knowing the Scout oath, law, motto, and slogan.
Tenderfoot is the second rank. A Scout can work on the requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks at the same time, but each rank must be earned in sequence. The badge is awarded when the Scout completes requirements in the areas of Scout craft, physical fitness, citizenship, personal growth and Scout Spirit.
Second Class is the rank above Tenderfoot and below First Class. A Scout can work on the requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks at the same time, but must be earned in sequence. The badge is awarded when the Scout completes requirements in the areas of Scout craft, physical fitness, citizenship, personal growth and Scout Spirit.
First Class is the rank above Second Class and below Star Scout. A Scout can work on the requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks at the same time, but must earn them in sequence. The badge is awarded when the Scout completes requirements in the areas of Scoutcraft, physical fitness, citizenship, personal growth and Scout Spirit. At this point, Scouts stop practicing the Scout skills, and start working on leadership.
Originally, First Class was the all around Scout and the final and highest rank. Later ranks were originally recognitions of earning merit badges beyond First Class, and not properly ranks. Now these additional ranks form a second tier where Scouts can further develop leadership skills and explore potential vocations and avocations through the merit badge program.
Although Eagle is the highest rank and one all Scouts should strive for, the number of Scouts achieving First Class within one year of joining is still one of the key measures of unit effectiveness. Studies purportedly have shown that if a Scout achieves First Class within a year of joining, he typically stays in the Scout program for at least three years. Scouts who do so are purportedly more likely to retain Scout values as an adult and achieve the BSA primary mission of "producing useful citizens".
From 1972 to 1990, the First Aid merit badge was required for First Class rank. After 1990, this was replaced with a series of requirements to demonstrate awareness of advanced first aid techniques, including CPR. A sixth merit badge was added to the requirement for Star rank at that time to maintain its overall requirement of 21 merit badges, and First Aid is still one of the merit badges that is mandatory for Eagle Scout.
Star is the rank above First Class and below Life Scout. It is the third-highest rank. Star is awarded when the Scout serves actively in the troop, team or crew in a position of responsibility for at least 4 months; performs at least six hours of community service; and earns six merit badges (four of which must be required for Eagle Scout rank).
Initially, the Life badge was awarded for five merit badges and the Star badge was awarded for ten. The order was reversed in the 1920s when it was decided that the five-pointed star of Star Scout better represented the five merit badges required for first rank above First Class. That symbolism disappeared when the number of merit badges required for Star was increased to six in 1990.
Life is second-highest rank attainable and ranks above Star Scout and below Eagle. Life is awarded when the Scout serves actively in the troop, team or crew, serves in a position of responsibility for six months, and performs six hours of community service.Another thing a Scout must do in order to achieve Life is earn an additional five merit badges (three of which are required for the rank of Eagle), to make a minimum total of eleven merit badges (including the six previously required for Star). Finally, the Scout must pass a Scoutmaster conference, and board of review.
Life was originally lower than Star, and originally required earning five specific merit badges concerned with health and fitness (First Aid, Lifesaving, Public Health, Personal Health and Athletics). It was changed in the 1920s when it was decided that the five-pointed star better represented the five merit badges required for Star, and the two were switched. Life's heart came to symbolize achievement in health and fitness, as the First Aid merit badge was required for both Life and Eagle for many years.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men.
Requirements include earning a number of merit badges and demonstration of Scout Spirit, service and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and abadge that visibly recognizes the accomplishments of the Scout. Additional recognition can be earned through Eagle Palms, awarded for completing additional tenure, leadership and merit badge requirements.