Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method.The Cub Scout follows his Akela (or leader) along the advancement trail. He participates in family activities and den activities to learn new skills and hobbies. The Boy Scout plans his advancement and progresses at his own pace as he meets each challenge. The Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.

A special part of a Scout’s learning adventure, Boy Scouts earn merit badges and Cub Scouts earn belt loops and activity pins which are presented to a Scout when he completes the requirements for a particular subject. There are more than 50 belt loops and pins and over 100 merit badges a Scout may earn. The subject matters range from vocational and careers to introduction to personal development, hobbies, sports, high adventure, citizenship, and life-skills development.

Every belt loop and merit badge is designed to teach the Scout new skills while outwardly encouraging him to challenge himself and have fun in the process. The advancement program offers a range of difficulty over a breadth of subject matters. Boy Scouts are free to pursue any merit badge he wishes. The merit badge itself is a simple embroidered patch, but the intangible end result of earning it it that the Scout gains self-confidence from overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal.