I am “just” a Cubmaster, so my experience as a leader with Scoutbook from a leader standpoint is totally different, but…
My older son is a First Class Scout, and I wanted to share how we use Scoutbook from his perspective as a kid and my perspective as a parent.
My son struggled when he crossed over. He went from 100% all in as a Webelos/AOL, to lost and confused and losing interest just a few months after joining his troop. I watched from a distance to see if it was maturity or anxiety… just to see how he would adjust to the new environment.
After a while, when he’d been “stuck” at Tenderfoot for about a year, he came to me and asked to quit Scouts. Of course, I told him I accepted his decision, but I wanted him to explain to me what led him to that choice. We made a list of the things he still enjoyed about Scouting, and another list of the things that were bugging him. There were a ton of things he enjoyed, but the number one thing that was bothering him was that he didn’t feel like he was making any progress. He wanted to advance ranks, but felt like he was going nowhere. (We also talked about if advancing was the only reason to be in Scouts, and he agreed it wasn’t, but that was his goal, and he felt like he couldn’t get anywhere).
I asked why Webelos/AOL was different, and the answer was that his den leader kept a huge poster chart that showed their achievements and what they had left to accomplish.
For him, it was all about visualization.
That night, I showed him his little brothers’ Scoutbook account (his troop used it, but not regularly). His brothers were both AOL (twins) and I am their den leader, so he could see what they had checked off on each Adventure and each Elective, as well as the entire rank.
The ability to see the progress really spoke to him, so we logged into his Scoutbook and inputted all the requirements signed off in his book by leaders for 2nd and 1st class. Just looking at it in the book made him feel overwhelmed that there was so much to do, but the colorful little wheel in Scoutbook showed him he was 60% done with 2nd Class and 35% done with 1st Class. Just visualizing it like that made all the difference, and he suddenly loved Scouting again.
I hoped I wasn’t stepping on any SM or AC toes, but I know that this little thing got my son really excited and really motivated again. Since this tiny change, he’s more involved, more social with other scouts, and excited to be a part of things again.
After every troop meeting/activity, we’d sit down and enter his achievements in so he could see the percentage go up and up and up. He finished 2nd Class in just a few more weeks - and 1st Class about two months later. Now he is working on Star and is just as excited about seeing the percentage wheel go up each time he completes requirements for his merit badges.
I imagine this is one of the reasons why the programmers made it so Scouts and parents can enter achievements and “approval” is required by a leader.
Some kids get motivated differently, and I’d bet there are tons of kids (especially in this digital/video game age) that are motivated and feel a greater sense of accomplishment by the visual representation of their progress that Scoutbook gives them.
A few weeks ago, one of my younger sons (who cross over this week) joked that their older brother is just addicted to the percentage wheel, not to the achievements, the skills learned, or the knowledge gained. He quickly corrected them, saying that is wasn’t the wheel itself, but knowing and having real concrete proof that he was making progress towards his goals.
Sorry for the long ramble - I just wanted to share another benefit of allowing Scouts/parents to enter their achievements into Scoutbook.