How do district and council volunteers get access to the merit badge counselor list in SB?

It seems to be some sort of interaction between Discourse and the scripts executing on individual machines. I don’t really understand it, to be honest, but it’s a pretty common occurrence for me on these forums. I don’t use Discourse for anything else, so I don’t know if it’s something related to the BSA’s implementation/overlay or just a Discourse-wide issue.

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I’ve used discourse on other sites and not seen this issue. I think it’s related to how BSA implemented it.

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For what it’s worth, I can usually overcome the issue by selecting part of a post to which I want to reply, quoting it, moving to another page within the forums, editing the post to remove the quote and write my reply instead. It’s a kludge all the way around, but it works.

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Speaking as a software developer, zip code centroids are the only rational way to calculate distance between “things” (people in this case) at scale. There’s no way that you could afford the horsepower necessary to calculate a “travel path” (think google maps route) distance between every MBC and whatever point you wanted to compare with (assuming you had already selected a Scout or location as your “origin”).

As someone once said (I wrote this down because I found the last sentence profound) “Zip codes were designed for mail delivery, not for the convenience of geo-spatial programmers, which means that they are not the best source of information. But they are ubiquitous in the US-and ubiquitous and messy beats clean and unavailable any day.”

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Agreed. Something is better that nothing.
As the District Advancement Chair I have used the ability to search from a different zip code than my home address to “find” MBCs in the rest of the district to assist in my role as District Advancement Chair.
I use the zip codes of the towns with active scout troops in the other counties do do the searching.
Messy but it does work.

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@JamesBrown13 the Discourse issue has to do with the length of the post. I’ve noticed the longer the post, the longer it takes to load the reply buttons.

@JamesBrown13 I understand the frustration, however, Ed isn’t incorrect. Scoutbook is a UNIT management tool. While, yes, MBC are District and Council positions, they are in Scoutbook to facilitate the flow of advancement (i.e. blue cards) per GTA. Granted, these positions are IN Scoutbook, however, you will notice units cannot add a MBC position to a leader (because it is not a unit position). This can only e accomplished through Council/District means.

I grasp that you are looking to manage not at a unit level, but District and/or Council. What follows is only my SPECULATION, and has NO root in knowledge of definite fact, only in observation. I feel more tools to provide for this type of management are being made available to volunteers, but not in Scoutbook. This is occurring in My.Scouting. Training Manager provides access to reports of trained and untrained leaders at a District and Council level. Commissioners have access to aggregate membership, advancement, and activities on a District and Council level. All of these are through My.Scouting. I could see an instance in the future where volunteer access could be made available in My.Scouting. Unfortunately, the underpinning database that serves MBC info is one of the oldest and in most need of replacement to properly serve the information through modern means (the previous reports I’ve listed above may now achieve their status in My.Scouting because of upgraded base systems that store this information).

As you mentioned to Ed, no District or Council does everything the same way. Likewise, what we think one piece of software should do may not fit into the larger puzzle of BSA software as it is developed and may become a better fit in another area to provide the functionality that you truly wish. At times, I trust there is a larger vision, than the small piece I see as an end user of Scoutbook and My.Scouting (and the other FAMILY of complementary BSA software).

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This isn’t correct. The unit advancement chair isn’t supposed to do this at all. The MBC is supposed to be suggested by the SM and then agreed upon with the Scout before the Scout meets with the MBC. So, no, no need to verify. The distant summer camp? That is up to the summer camp administration and the advancement committee of that council to assure, in the case of camps, that the MBC process is being followed. So, this big administrative task need not be done since it is being invented as a requirement.

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There is a workaround for district and council volunteers that eliminates use of Scoutbook to get the Council MBC roster. The information originates in your local council. MBC applications and renewals are approved by the Council Advancement Committee forming the position code 42 list. A volunteer with administrative privileges or the council registrar uploads the file and updates as may be necessary.

In the Lake Erie Council that password protected file list is available for download on the council web page. The password is provided by request to the council advancement committee administrator. Valid users include Scoutmasters, district and council advancement committee members.

This system accommodates everyone with a need to know, even those who may be oldthink Scouters.

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@edavignon, I understand I am wondering if something could be done like the features extension program.That was volunteer built and works wonderfully with the Scoutbook Main program.

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@EricAugustine ,

What you are proposing is the very basic version of what I built. I built a password protected tool that will provide a usable web interface to this data. It allows searching, sorting, filtering, etc. Similar to what could be done in Excel, but much nicer and more user-friendly UI (IMHO). My tool includes things that are not (directly) available in Excel such as proximity filter & sort based on zip code.

What we need is for the SB folks such as yourself to get onboard with sharing such tools to the wider community as solutions to problems that SB refuses to address in a timely manner.

You are rashly assuming that any of these things are happening on a regular basis.

When a Scout shows up with a blue card signed by a lifeguard from the city pool, or the PE teacher from school, you have no idea if that person is registered.

Sure, in an ideal world, it wouldn’t be necessary to check. But out here in “reality land” where I practice Scouting, it’s a necessity and a common practice.

YES!!! More of this!!!

How do we get more people like @BenjaminWard on the user advisory council (SUAC)?!?

The feature assistant extension only automates mouse clicks and key strokes to make functions easier. It cannot do anything a user cannot already do manually. These same restrictions would apply to any other extension.

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Out here in reality land blue cards are issued by Scoutmasters, not random MBCs. Funny, how the process works when you follow the program. Don’t be surprised when Scoutbook doesn’t allow one to function when you do something that isn’t Scouting.


Scoutbook was never built to be used in the manner you are describing and, likely, will never be. As others have mentioned several times, it is a unit management tool that was never designed for the kind of searching you are asking for. It may very well be that whatever Scoutbook’s eventual replacement is will have that function (or it will become attached to the same way you can validate YPT registration at any time). But today is not that day.

If there is a concern of the status of the MBC, the Guide to Advancement offers two official options: ask for the MBC to prove registration (the card issued to all MBCs via or submit a request to the Council to review the MBC under Guide to Advancement

Or there’s a third option: call/email the Council in question and confirm status.

I am in reality land too, the reality that a) BSA laid off a substantial portion of its staff b) the people who are here from SUAC and other volunteers are doing their best to help you and c) implying that you, alone are in “reality” is absolutely disrespectful.

A Scout is courteous. I would hope all Scouters are as well.


That is exactly the point of my post. They half-did the MBC support in SB, just like most other features.

And in the very next sentence you say they (the councils) are understaffed. Thus, they shouldn’t have to waste time responding to things that I should be able to resolve on my own. And since BSA is so understaffed, how about we starting allowing our volunteers to help write code? Oh, right, they aren’t interested in that help either, just in whining about how understaffed and underfunded they are.

I didn’t imply that I alone live in reality land. I was simply responding to a disrespectful assertion that I don’t understand how the “real” world works.

And your response is equally disrespectful to me. Please refer to your comments on a Scout is Courteous. I’d also point out helpful, friendly, kind as points to consider.

Edited to add: Thanks to @EricAugustine, @BenjaminWard, @ZacharyMcCarty @MichaelMcGehearty @CharleyHamilton and others on this thread who have offered help, suggestions, and friendly advice.

Could you please point me to the source of this requirement?


Some troops/units do put that burden on their advancement chair or a merit badge coordinator. To my knowledge, however, there is nothing in BSA rules or policies that creates such a requirement.


Guide to Advancement Section 7. The Merit Badge Program fully describes the process. The Unit Leader, aka Scoutmaster, discusses the Scout’s intentions regarding a merit badge, provides the name(s) of an approved counselor(s), and signs the blue card. The recommended counselor(s) are taken from the Council approved list. The Scout contacts the counselor and proceeds.

The Scoutmaster has primary responsibility for the troop advancement program. The troop advancement committee serves in administrative support of that effort. Checking a counselor’s registration for the date the blue card is signed by the counselor is a day late and a dollar short. The exercise but would not change the earned status. The Guide to Advancement again goes into detail addressing those circumstances. However, the focus of those policies and guidance is on the adult counselor.

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