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Awarding past year's rank patch after the fact

We have a Scout whose parents said they completed the requirements to fulfill last year’s rank, but for some reason they didn’t mark them as completed in Scoutbook, so they did not receive the rank. They are now asking if the rank can be awarded now, given that they did do the requirements in the correct year. I don’t know if this is possible. Will Scoutbook / Scout Shop allow us to buy a rank patch for the non-current year?
If this is possible, we will have to certainly verify that all the requirements were indeed completed in the correct year.

PS I couldn’t find a topic like this, sorry if it’s been covered before.

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There’s no reason why it couldn’t be awarded. It’s no different than the DL saying they forgot to add the scout to the order form. (An oversight that happened often in the paper-chase days.)

The SB wonks will have to chime in on how to make this retroactive approval work.

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I’m assuming you’re working in Scoutbook (scoutbook.com) not IA2 (scoutbook.scouting.org).

I think that you have to temporarily transfer the scout to the previous year’s den in order to approve these awards. Then, after they are marked Completed, Leader Approved, added to a PO and the advancement report generated, then marked Awarded, you can move the scout back to his or her correct den. There will be some juggling for the advancement chair in order to generate the PO/advancement report, because there’s the possibility of having more than just this scout’s stuff on that PO/advancement report, which could result in confusion later.

You’ll possibly need the Advancement Report to obtain restricted items (e.g. rank patches). I suspect that as long as the advancement report is submitted, it should be fine. Some scout shop staff are more picky than others about actually reading the report. I don’t know if (for example) the scout’s age/DOB shows up on the report. That could flag someone reading closely that he or she is receiving a late award for a previous year.

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In thinking about this, certainly since the prior rank will show up in the advancement page of the scout in scoutbook then you would enter the actual date earned if that is the case. You would then generate that advancement report and shop away. Stuff happens and I would honor the word of akela.


While Cub Scouts do not “go back” and work on ranks designed for earlier grade levels, even if missed due to their time of joining (for example: a Cub Scout joining in the 3rd grade as a Bear would not “go back” and earn Lion, Tiger, or Wolf ranks), this sounds like a different situation.

If I am understanding you correctly, the requirements were completed while the Cub Scout was a member of a previous den level. For example, if the Cub Scout was a member of a Wolf den and completed the requirements for the Wolf rank then, but is now in a Bear den.

If this is the situation, then it sounds like it was just a miscommunication between the parents and the Den Leader. And the Den Leader can approve the rank that should have been approved last year.


Yep, it can be done from a software perspective. Just click on their advancement page and then click the rank and then the adventures.

Personally, I would insist on the parents telling me exactly which requirements were completed and approximate dates for each. A blanket “he did all of it” doesn’t cut it. I’d want to have them specifically say what was done.


i just tested this by approving a current Tiger who joined in September for the Lion rank with a completion date of June 1, 2019. I did not have to move her to a Lion den, and it did not matter that her profile does not show that she was a member of the pack (or the BSA) on that date. The Lion rank she “earned” shows up on the Needs Purchasing report and would presumably transfer to the Advancement Report.

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That’s great, @PeterHopkins. I’m not sure when that changed. When I was a DL several years ago, I couldn’t add advancement for previous years without moving the scouts around. It just didn’t offer the interface.

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Thanks everybody. I’ll be at the committee meeting tonight and tell everybody what you said. I’ll have the DL verify that the scout did indeed do everything in the correct year and, if so, I can pick up the patch for this month’s pack party. Not sure how much of a big deal we want to make of it in front of everybody, we’ll discuss tonight.

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Could that have been a limitation of the “Login [sic] As Den Leader”? I’ve never used it, but heard it doesn’t work the same as when you have pack-level access.

No. I was a DL several years ago (long before DLE was an option).

Since others have posted for answering the easy “yes” it can be done through Scoutbook the only other suggestion is to check his Handbook. If the family used the Handbook and had everything marked off and simply did not use Scoutbook then he should be awarded the rank and adventures. Manually filling out an advancement report for the council to enter would eliminate the need to wrangle his record by the pack.

The biggest problem I have ever encountered is parents trying to sign off requirements with activities “completed” (dated) before the child joined Cub Scouts or the current rank he/she is working on.

For Lion through Bear, this is incorrect. From section of the Guide to Advancement

For Lion through Bear ranks, if the activity is completed outside of the den meeting, the parent, adult partner, or another trusted adult may sign in the Cub Scout’s handbook, indicating the Cub Scout has done their best to complete the requirement. The den leader then records that requirement after consultation with the family or the Cub Scout to confirm completion. If the requirement is completed in a den meeting, the den leader signs the handbook and records the requirement. Den leaders may delegate an assistant or parent who helps at meetings to assist with the approvals. For Webelos and Arrow of Light adventures and ranks, the den leader signs for approval of all requirements, unless the den leader delegates this responsibility.


The Scouts BSA and Cub Scouts BSA standards are different. “earning it” does not apply in the Cub Scouting program. “Doing your best to earn it” does apply in the Cub Scouting program. That needs to be understood by parents, Scouters and Cub Scouts.

So has the Cub Scout tried her or his best to complete the adventure? “Do Your Best” (Guide to Advancement 2019)

Cub Scouts—even those of the same age, grade, and gender—may have very different developmental timetables. For this reason, advancement performance in Cub Scouting is centered on its motto: “Do Your Best.” When a Cub Scout has done this—their best effort possible—then regardless of the requirements for any rank or award, it is enough; accomplishment is noted. This is why den leaders, assistants, and parents or guardians are involved in approvals. Generally they know if the effort put forth is really the Cub Scout’s best.


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For Lions through Bears, it is up to the den leader OR the parents. If Parents mark it complete, it is complete.


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