In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, science-fiction humorist Douglas Adams had his characters look for the answer to “the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything.”
But, of course, that’s not the ultimate question–at least if you’re a Boy Scout leader. For us, the ultimate question is “What does ‘active participation’ mean?” … or “Must the Scoutmaster conference be the last step before a board of review?” … or “Is there a time limit for completing merit badges?” … or “Can a Scout be denied a board of review?” … or something entirely different but still advancement related.
Fortunately, those questions–and many more–are answered in the Guide to Advancement, now out in a new 2015 edition. This free, 100-page publication will tell you everything you need to know to administer advancement in your troop–and to correct your district or council advancement committee when they need it.
There’s lot of great information in the guide, which I find remarkably well organized and easy to understand. But the best information may be the list of frequently asked questions that begins on page 8. There you will find answers to the questions above and many more. If you’ve used the guide before, you’ll also want to flip to page 7 for a list of significant changes since the last edition.
So where can you get the new Guide to Advancement? If you want to read it online, go to http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/guidetoadvancement.aspx. If you want to download it as a PDF document, go to http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf. (By the way, with a little extra effort, you can easily access that PDF on your smartphone or tablet. Click here to learn more.)
While the new Guide to Advancement won’t give you the answer to life, the universe, and everything, it will give you enough information that you’ll be able to follow some important advice from Hitchhiker’s Guide: Don’t panic.