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Automatic Scoutbook Update Observations and Questions

The auto update of Merit Badge Counselors in ScoutBook should be a big help.

I’m wondering about a few things:

  • email notifications to Merit Badge Counselors – welcome, status change, etc. Will the councils still have control of the content of those messages?

  • Notifications of the actions taken by the update process. Did it succeed or fail? How many counselors were added, deleted or changed? What errors were encountered? Receiving error messages is obviously important.

  • Our annual Merit Badge Counselor renewal typically takes a long time. I’m concerned about how the auto update will interact with our processes. Is there a way to disable the auto update while the data is flux?

  • Is there a chance that the changes involved will help with duplicate ID issues? I’ve not found definitive documentation on how to resolve duplicate IDs vs. forum posts to try this or try that. Loss of the support services has made this more challenging.

Feel free to add your questions and observations about the auto update.

Here are some answers:

Yes, we are told notifications will go out when they are added/changed. Yes, they should be the same ones the council administrator can edit today.

Unfortunately, you will not get this type of report. It works like the adult and Scout update, which you also don’t get this type of report. You should expect what is in ScoutNET be in Scoutbook within 48 hours, if it isn’t there, the council can reach out to member care, like they do for adults and Scouts being added to Scuotbook from ScoutNET.

This is covered in the FAQ: when a merit badge counselor expires (which happens at the beginning of rechartering) that there will be a 60 day grace period prior to the counselor being removed from Scoutbook, this should give ample time for councils to recharter the MBCs.

There is one that will be implemented with the merit badge counselor update that may have a positive impact on duplicate member IDs. However development is looking into other ways to alleviate this issue separately.

Which recharging are you referring to?

Merit Badge Counselors are registered at the district level. They are not unit Scouters, though they may choose to serve only one unit (except for councils that have discontinued this practice.)

In my old council historically the council was re-chartered on the first day of March. MB annual registration renewal was mid-year.

When the council registers a MBC, they put in an expire date (can’t be more than a year after they register them) Normally it is the council/district charter end date. If the MBC registration expires, then there is the grace period. If the MBC is ended prior to the expires date (which could happen for a number of reasons, including the MBC requesting to be removed from the list,) the system processes the change immediately. Your registrar can probably explain more if you have more questions about membership.

Something related that would be useful as a Council Administrator: adding the last login date to the current mbc.csv download file. Our council is working to encourage more use of Scoutbook, but right now the only way we can measure our effectiveness is to scan the search list manually and see which counselors are connected to scouts.

@WilliamNelson In my limited experience every council has its own way of doing things. Some renew Merit Badge Counselors at recharter time. Other councils renew MBCs at some other time during the year. Renewing MBCs during recharter seems logical in some ways, but it greatly impacts council processing.

Our council always has districts who submit their MBC renewal paperwork (don’t get going about BSA’s inability to leave paper forms behind) late, leaving the council insufficient time to get all the counselors renewed.

I don’t know the details of registration. I do know that it’s major headache for everyone involved.

@KennethAdams I’m curious about the ‘last login time’ to which you refer. Is it the time of last login to Scoutbook? Also, which ‘search list’ are you scanning? I see login date/times in the ‘active users’ download available via the Reports Menu, but Merit Badge Counselors are not included in that list.


I can ask that they be included in the council user reports available to council admins. That shouldn’t be a complicated job for them to do.

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Will error messages continue to appear in the downloaded MBC files? While less convenient, a council could download the files to ascertain the results of the processing.

However comparing a MBC download with Scoutnet data has been extremely difficult as most of the columns in the Scoutbook upload are ignored. I’ve been sending data pulled directly from Scoutnet. There are records that contain different addresses and phone numbers. Some even contain name changes. Because this information is ignored on upload, it’s nearly impossible to use existing computer programs to compare the data to assess the results of the upload.

This raises the question: Will all data in a person’s Scoutnet record be uploaded to Scoutbook on a nightly basis? In other words, if a counselor has changed his/her address, it will be changed in Scoutbook?

Thank you sir, it is much appreciated

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This will work as with any leader change in ScoutNET. Changes will be reflected in Scoutbook within 48 hours (likely 24 hours, depends on the timing.)

If you upload a file trying to change which badges are assigned to different MBCs, and if that file has errors, you will receive errors in the summary report. BUT you will only be allowed to change the associated MBs to a MBC already in SB.

All personal data will be brought in by the ScoutNET to SB upload each night. You will not be able to add new MBCs or change their personal information. If you need to make changes to a MBC personal information, you will need to do that in either ScoutNET or in my.Scouting.org Member Manager. The MBC themselves will be able to make some changes in Scoutbook or their profile in my.Scouting.org. The only thing you will be able to do is assign / remove merit badges with the upload file.

Most of this should already be explained in the FAQ. It should be clear by Tuesday when you see what the download file looks like.

I’m referring the the MBC list highlighted below from the council user’s menu. I am interested in the login dates that are attached to the active users list, but on the list of MBCs.

That list is the same list that any leader can see. It is probably too much information for so much visibility.
What we can change, hopefully easily, is what is limited to the Council Admins:

@KennethAdams Those are the lists that I’m talking about as well. They are really unit oriented so it’s not surprising that the MBCs don’t appear there.

@WilliamNelson I can be dense sometimes! So, if I understand correctly:

So, any changes to Scoutnet data that is relevant to Scoutbook will be propagated to Scoutbook within ~48 hours.

After the nightly updates are active, a manual upload from a district may only change the list of merit badges for a MBC already in Scoutbook.

Thanks for your patience.

I know this is marginally off-topic, but I actually don’t see activity information (e.g. last login) for MBCs when I look them up from My Dashboard -> My Units -> MB Counselor List. I see contact information, how many scouts they are currently working with, and which badges they’re approved to counsel.

Any changes to the MBC in ScoutNET will be reflected in Scoutbook within 48 hours.

The file upload is by the council admin, not by a district. The entire list is uploaded each time. And yes, the CA can only edit an existing MBC in SB, they cannot add MBCs anymore. Instead all registered MBCs will automatically be brought into SB. Personally, I don’t advocate using the file anymore. If you want to make a change, have the Registrar make it in ScoutNET.

@WilliamNelson Thank you. I meant ‘council.’ Don’t know where ‘district’ came from. I totally agree that all changes should go through Scoutnet as we move forward.

I wasn’t clear… I had said that this list is the only way a council admin can tell who is active on Scoutbook as a MBC, but the MBC download list would be the preferred way to deliver that data rather than the public list. Sorry for my lack of clarity.

I’m a district Merit Badge Coordinator and volunteer at council to input Merit Badge counselors. in the Merit Badge section I add the merit badge section, I add the merit badge with only the start date and leave the expired date blank. I fill in the expired date when the Merit Badge Counselor wants to not do it that merit badge anymore or the Counselor doesn’t renew. Is this the best way for Scoutbook?