While at Summer Camp this year, several people mentioned that blue cards were being phased out by the National Council. We received from the camp a Google Sheet with all of the completed requirements for Scouts. I had the boys go and ask for blue cards to be signed because I had not heard that the blue cards were going away but some were told they could no longer get the blue cards because they were no longer in production. I am wondering if they are confused about the ability to print the blue cards from Scoutbook with the notion of blue cards going bye-bye. Has anyone heard anything different?
As far as I know they are not being phased out. We actually used them yesterday at a district event for about 50 scouts.
In my council the unit is required to provide the Blue Cards for the Scouts at summer camp. The first night of camp, the leaders hold a “Blue Card Signing Party” where the Scoutmaster signs a stack of Blue Cards and the other leaders write our troop number and campsite on the top. The Scouts are then responsible for filling out their name, MB, Unit, Council and District in the appropriate places.
The Blue Cards are signed by the MBC at the end of the week and returned to the unit. The camp keeps a hand written spreadsheet for each MB taught at camp for future reference.
Until the Guide to Advancement says otherwise, Blue Cards are still the official record of a Scout earning a MB.
I did not think they were being phased out, others did, but since you can print them from Scoutbook I wonder if that version is sufficient if it is not on an actual blue card? That printing capability kind of mucks it up a bit.
The Scoutbook Blue Card print function is designed to print only on pre-printed 3 up 8x11 blue cards available from the Scout Shop. It is not designed to print on plain paper.
I do think there could be a needed redesign - for SB units the Unit side (for recording the date in the future) is no longer needed as it would be in when printed.
Not that this would be the first case in the BSA of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing, but the most recent copy of Advancement News talked about blue cards as though they’re still expected to be in use, and gave no indication that the plan is for that to change.
LOL - have run into that a couple of times. I did notice that the Scout shop had a BLANK Blue card so you I am guessing those are designed for printing from Scoutbook and the traditional Fill in Blue Card will still be available too. For being conservation minded, the BSA uses A LOT of paper!
Merit Badge Blue Card Form
As far as I know, BSA is still using the blue card form.
Membership Card Printing Changed
I believe the confusion is coming from councils no longer printing membership cards. Effective January 1, 2019, the BSA stopped supplying the councils with membership card stock and charter certificate card stock. To quote one council about the switch to this “self service”:
This “self-service” functionality allows volunteers to print membership cards and the unit charter certificate in a timely manner and enhances the on-boarding experience for new youth and adults.
Membership Card Printing Resources
Our camp director told me this past summer that this would be the last year the camp was going to work with blue cards. They plan to go 100% electronic record next year and as Advancement Chair I’ll get an electronic report rather than a stack of blue cards.
All other aspects of camp except Med Forms A-C are already electronic including registration, payment, etc.
@RobNesvacil - I suspect it will either be black pug or tentaroo as they both offer reports and exported data on completion and partial merit badges and rank. The tentaroo system will print out blue cards but it is incumbent upon the leaders to ensure that items are correct.
As far as I know the printed version of the “blue card” is still valid. As long as you have all the info from the front and back.
I have never been asked by District EBORs or Council for a Blue Card for a Scout
I would never trust Scoutbook as the sole proof a Scout completed a Merit Badge. It is too easy to delete completed MBs.
The reason the Blue Card has 3 parts is so that there are 3 places one can go to prove the Scout completed the MB.
- The Scout
- The Unit
- The Merit Badge Counselor.
If you only rely on Scoutbook, you have only one place to prove the Scout completed the MB. If something were to happen to the Scoutbook records, there would be no way to prove the MB was completed. Electronic records are great but there must be backup copies.
PLEASE don’t use digitized scouting medical forms. When I went through BSA camp school they specifically stated (also by national per scouting.org) that health forms should not be digitized, scanned, sent by email, or stored electronically. There are a few Q and A’s listed on the following link covering this topic. But https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/ahmr/medical-formfaqs/
Hi Jeremy - our camp does not use digitized med forms nor have they indicated they were planning to do so.
My comment was about everything EXCEPT med forms and blue cards was now electronic …and that blue cards were going electronic next year leaving only med forms on paper which is a good best practice.
Sorry I misread your reply. Have a great day!
I like that there is a triplicate process here. I know some MB’s are done remotely and SB is a good way to do that.
Our Council has stopped using Blue Card for three years now from summer camp. As advancement coordinator I find it to be much better than having blue cards. The council provides a Excel spreadsheet with a lot of info. Each day at camp the leader(me) gets a report of scout attendance the MB, or if the scout was late showing up or didn’t attend. At the end of the week it is complete list of completions, partials or rank completed requirements. So on Friday before I leave camp I review with each scout what he was expecting to earn and if there is discrepancy I can resolve before I leave camp. The soft copy spreadsheet allows me to sort by any field, MB, name or others. It’s easier for other leaders and parents to review what the scouts did. One other good thing is if you have a first year scout working on rank requirements and at the end of the week if that scout did not earn the same as other first year scouts in your troop, what went wrong. I still use Troopmaster (for a couple of reasons) and it make it easier to update multiple advancements. I believe that next year the staff that is at summer camp are going to update Scoutbook so all I’ll get is a report to buy the awards.
We ran into this last summer with a camp our troop attended. Afterwards I discussed it with our council programs director. His take is if the camp does not provide a blue card attach a copy of their record to a blue card and process it as normal.
Our home camp which still uses blue cards keeps an electronic record of merit badges. We can retrieve an electronic copy from the program director if a a blue card is misplaced. I’ve done the same with retrieved cards from our camp.