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2016 Advancement System Changes

March 11, 2016

The Gold Medal of Achievement (GMA) has long held a position of prominence as the highest award in the Royal Rangers program. Often regarded as the Royal Rangers counterpart to the Boy Scout Eagle Scout award, the GMA is a well-recognized symbol of achievement for boys.

Through the years, the position of the GMA within the Royal Rangers advancement system has changed, as have the requirements to earn the award. The most recent change was released in 2010 when the requirements to earn the award were limited to the completion of the Adventure Rangers advancement trail. This change resulted in the GMA becoming roughly equivalent with the highest awards in Discovery Rangers and Expedition Rangers, which led to the perception that the GMA was no longer an award of special significance.

In 2010 a new award, the Honor GMA, was also created to recognize boys who have completed the entire Royal Rangers program - Ranger Kids through Expedition Rangers. Although this award is highly regarded, it is commonly perceived as being a separate and higher award than the GMA.

To correct this perception, the following changes to the Adventure Rangers advancement system and the GMA were announced by the Royal Rangers national office in March 2016. A timeline for implementation is described below.

Advancement System Changes

  1. The GMA has been removed from the Adventure Rangers advancement trail and moved to a new position in the advancement system that is similar to the historic role and significance of this award. Boys may now earn the GMA by earning the highest award in any TWO age groups (excluding Ranger Kids). Recipients must still meet the minimum age requirement of 12 years & complete the Capstone Project.
  2. A new award has been created known as the "GMA with Merit." Boys may earn the "GMA with Merit" by earning the highest award in any THREE age groups (which may include Ranger Kids).
  3. The Honor GMA award has been renamed the "GMA with Honors" and awarded to boys earning the highest award in all FOUR age groups.
  4. The GMA, the GMA with Merit, and the GMA with Honors are considered to be a single award and are represented on the uniform by the standard GMA insignia. Boys earning the "merit" distinction will wear a single star on their GMA ribbon or medal, while boys earning the "honors" distinction will wear two stars.
  5. The three annual awards in Adventure Rangers have been renamed so as to disassociate them with the GMA. All requirements for these awards remain unchanged (other than the special requirements associated with the GMA).
    • The year 1 Bronze Medal of Achievement has become the Adventure Bronze Award.
    • The year 2 Silver Medal of Achievement has become the Adventure Silver Award.
    • The year 3 Gold Medal of Achievement has become the Adventure Gold Award.
  6. Silver Buffalo awards remain a part of Adventure Rangers, worn on the Adventure Gold Award. Buffalos are no longer associated with any of the GMA series of awards.
  7. The Capstone Project remains unchanged and continues to be required for the GMA.

Implementation & Transition

These changes went into effect in the spring/summer of 2016. Additional details are as follows:

  • Through the end of the year (12/31/16) boys have the option of earning the 2010 GMA (with the Capstone Project) or the 2016 Adventure Gold Award (without the Capstone Project). After 12/31/16 the 2010 GMA will no longer be available.
  • Through the end of the year (12/31/16) boys have the option of earning the BMA and SMA awards or the Adventure Bronze and Adventure Silver Awards. After 12/31/16 the BMA and SMA awards will no longer be available.
  • Boys who have earned the BMA & SMA awards may continue to wear them or wear the new Adventure Bronze & Adventure Silver Awards in their place, but they cannot wear both.
  • Boys who have earned the 2010 GMA may replace it with the Adventure Gold Award, and then count the Adventure Gold Award as one of the two pinnacle awards required for the 2016 GMA. If he qualifies for the 2016 GMA he would wear both the Adventure Gold Award and GMA.
  • Boys who have earned the 2010 GMA will still be considered GMA recipients but must earn the highest award in three age groups to qualify for the GMA with Merit, and all four age groups to qualify for GMA with Honors. That is, the 2010 GMA represents the completion of one age group, not two.
  • Boys who have earned the 2010 Honor GMA may continue to wear that insignia or the GMA with Honors insignia but they cannot wear both.

These changes effectively restore the GMA to its historical position as the highest award in Royal Rangers while giving boys an incentive to continue their advancement progress beyond the GMA to complete the entire program.