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Adding scouts before registration goes through - is this a good idea?

I have volunteered to become the advancement chair for my son’s pack in order to get them set up on Scoutbook. (I am a Scoutmaster and am familiar with Scoutbook for my small Troop)

The pack leadership is relatively new and has spent the last several months trying to straighten out all the registrations for the youth in the pack and make sure they are actually registered. I have put all of the Scouts who are in Scoutbook into their appropriate dens.

We now can see whose applications have been processed and whose have not yet made it into the system. There are 55 Scouts in Scoutbook with about 20-30 more Scouts who have submitted applications but are not yet in the system.

Our goal is to get all advancement updated in Scoutbook in time for the rank deadline on July 31st. (Most of our dens have not been active on zoom, so we want to give families all the time they can have to allow their Scouts to finish the rank if they want to)

Here’s my question:

Should I go ahead and add the 20+ Scouts into Scoutbook before they have been processed by the council and risk duplication? Or is it better to push council to get the applications processed?

My preference is not to have to fix duplicates, but I also don’t want to miss entering advancement for the Scouts who are working on it.

We have time, since we can’t meet in person, I think the pack is going to give the rest of the year’s pins, belts and ranks out in the fall.

If it helps, we are not trying to get parents connected on Scoutbook yet - we just want to use it to process advancement from a leadership standpoint. We don’t know when local scout shop will open and we still need the advancement reports to purchase the awards even when it does. (this is my key concern - will I be able to purchase loops, pins, badges for Scouts who have paid their registrations but BSA hasn’t gotten to if I don’t manually put them in?)

I have a phone call with the Pack Committee Chair Thursday night and would like to have a plan in place to suggest to him about how to handle the discrepancy between the applications that have been submitted and who has shown up in Scoutbook.

Thanks in Advance!

Angela,

You can add Scouts to Scoutbook before their registration is processed, however, their name and date of birth must match what is on the application exactly. For example, do not use Joey for the first name if the application says Joseph.

Also, be aware that the Scout will be removed about 60 days from the start date if they are not on the official roster.

I would also ask your council when they expect the applications will be processed. It is not unheard of for a council to lose applications.

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This is why I am a huge proponent of the Online Registration for new Scouts - done in 5 minutes, on Scoutbook the next day

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unfortunately I am fully aware of this. I will ask the committee chair to do a status check on the applications.

It is helpful to know that it only lasts 60 days. I will wait until June to add anyone to make sure their advancement stays in the system on July 31st.

Thanks!

-grammar edit

A few thoughts…

  • Use online applications in the future if you can. As Donovan said, you can send the link to a parent and have the scout approved by council and have them show up in 1 day.
  • If you enter scouts manually, that takes time and you risk duplicates. If you wait, you’ll have to track advancements separately, which also takes additional effort. So pick your battle.
  • You typically don’t need advancement reports for Adventure loops. So you can (and probably should) pre-purchase those at any time.
  • And depending on how persnickety your scout shop is, they might not require your advancement report to exactly match the numbers of rank badges you’re buying. So you might have some wiggle room when waiting for records (or scouts) to catch up.
  • While 7/31 is the (extended) deadline for Cubs to work on requirements for this year, that doesn’t necessarily mean the dates have to be entered by 7/31.
  • That said, that is still several months away, so hopefully it won’t take that long for your council to process the apps. Scouts who are participating should still be officially registered as soon as possible for insurance (and personal sanity) reasons.
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Even with the extended deadline due to COVID-19, I would assume that Guide to Advancement section 4.1.0.4 “Do Your Best” would still apply this summer (if needed by any of your Cub Scouts):

In the same spirit as “Do Your Best,” if a Cub Scout is close to earning a badge of rank when it is time to transition to a new den, the pack committee, in consultation with the den leader and the Cub Scout’s parent or guardian, may allow a few weeks to complete the badge before going on to the next rank. Earning it will give the youth added incentive to continue in Scouting and carry on and tackle the next rank.

I usually prefer to wait until council processes the applications, because then I don’t have to be concerned about duplicate Scouts. A lot depends on how quickly your council processes youth applications and how long you are willing to wait to be able to add advancements for new Scouts. If your council processes them quickly, then waiting might be the answer for you. It kind of all depends on your comfort level about keeping track of advancements for those Scouts outside of Scoutbook until they are added to your roster.

With regard to unregistered Scouts being dropped from Scoutbook after 60 days, you can get around this limitation by changing the Date Started on their den / pack membership in Scoutbook.

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Thanks everyone! I feel like I have a good understanding to process all of this with the Committee Chair. I am glad that the pack leadership is taking care to improve the administration of the pack.

Actually, I just thought of one more question, it is likely that after 20+ applications get processed, there would be some duplicates if I had created Scoutbook accounts for them. However, can I just update the correct accounts with the advancement, and delete the duplicates I made? Or would creating the accounts in Scoutbook actually create BSA numbers for them requiring merging the accounts in order to prevent confusion in the future?

If they are just dummy accounts, deleting them is no big deal, but I really wouldn’t want to generate BSA numbers for them…

If you have already entered some into Scoutbook, then I would leave them for now but double check that the information matches exactly with what is on their application (especially full name and date of birth). In most cases, the Member Update will match up with the correct Scout in Scoutbook. When there is a mismatch, that is when a duplicate can be created.

Right now, they are kind of like a dummy account with no BSA number.

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How does this work in Scoutbook? Do the dens only get advanced when we advance them? Scoutbook won’t automatically advance the dens on 7/31? If we can wait until mid-August to advance the dens, that would be great. I think most of the Scouts will need that time since the families haven’t yet been given much guidance during Stay at Home, they’ve mostly been told, “will try to meet at the end of the month” and then that got pushed back another month.

My assumption is that it is not an auto-advance, but I just want to make sure. Thanks!

In Scoutbook, you need to manually advance the dens. The reason for this is because schools end their school year at different times, so this gives packs some flexibility with advancing their dens.

We recommend starting with Bear dens and working your way down (then Wolf, Tiger, Lion).

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Our pack uses Scoutbook for advancement, communication, and calendaring. Therefore, it is important for families to get connected immediately.

When possible, I enter the new scouts into Scoutbook the same night I get their application. I also add in their adult(s) with all their contact info and have the adults accept the connection right then. Saves tracking them down later. If a scout uses a nickname, put it in the nickname field.

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I have tried to add adults and scouts before their apps are processed and still end up with duplicates. I have been very careful, but it still seems to happen. So, I just try to get them processed ASAP.

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A lot of adults already have accounts. They just don’t realize it.

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That’s especially true if they’ve already taken YPT

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Yes, this is good to know. I just figured it out a few weeks ago. We had a Scout transfer to our pack in January, and our committee member who submits the applications hasn’t done so yet. It seemed to me that the Scout was dropped after 90 days, not 60. I kept adding him back, and he kept getting dropped again. Finally, I just changed his start date. I have no idea when the transfer application will actually be submitted.

Just saying, “use the online applications to prevent this” isn’t enough. Unless something has changed with the system, online applications don’t work for transferring scouts. Since we are a Boy Scout troop instead of a Cub Pack, most of our applications at this time of year are transfers. We have two scouts that we know have been submitted electronically to council by scanning the application and sending to the DE about a month ago and they still haven’t made it into the system. The scouts have almost made Scout rank, but we can’t enter advancement for them since Scoutbook now prevents you from entering even the rank requirements for scouts without advancement sync enabled. Not looking forward to the date where the scouts will be transferred back to the Pack again and we have to transfer them back again.

We used paper “online” applications. For our transfers, the night of the crossover, I brought paper apps for all of the Scouts and a paper app for rank advancement.

Since the unit was not a Scoutbook unit (no system at all), I prefilled out the AOL advancement on the classic paper form. While eating cake, I had the Cubmaster sign off on the advancement. I took a picture and send it to the registrar to process. I also had prefilled in the apps for transfers. I had the parents sign while eating cake, took pictures, and included it with the advancement form.

I tried to make it as clear and clean as possible and the registrar either had pity on me, or was caught up. She was able to process these in about 36 hours.

It is too bad the BSA has such a LARGE HOLE in the work process. If I were them, I would make no additional changes to my.scouting until all manual registration could be eliminated. This hurts productivity of registrars, unit leaders, Scouts, etc.

Those methods for doing paper “online” applications work great during “normal” times. Not during current times where the entire crossover has to take place electronically due to the virus. All we can do now is point them to the application pdf, tell them to fill it out electronically or print it and scan it, then send it back to us. Then print it out on our end and make any alterations that have to be made (i.e. adding missing stuff, Id numbers, signatures) and then forward that to council. Not a huge deal, but when something on council’s end isn’t working right when they aren’t processing the applications, that gets annoying and the fact that those two scouts have almost earned the Scout rank and we won’t be able to enter anything for them until they do process it, is very annoying.

This is not correct. You can mark any ranks, awards or their requirements complete in Scoutbook before the Scout is on your official roster and in advancement sync. The restriction is you cannot mark anything Leader Approved.

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Didn’t know that was the exact limitation, but it is still a problem. I am the Assistant Scoutmaster assigned to the new scout patrol (and troop admin) and anytime I try to “Quick Entry” all the scouts at the virtual meeting that did something it gives me an error that I can’t do it. It never said “Leader Approved” was the problem. Of course I want it to have “Leader Approved” for the other scouts in the patrol that have advancement sync working. Only recently did I figure out that when it gives you this message it not only doesn’t work for the scouts that don’t have advancement sync, the quick entry doesn’t work for ANY of them, unless you unselect the scouts that don’t have advancement sync working. No matter what, it is a pain because VERY soon we will have to tell two scouts that they can’t earn the rank that most of the other scouts in the patrol just earned only because council hasn’t processed their application yet.