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Scouting Forums

How should Scouts use scoutbook?

Before I keep pushing scoutbook for my Scouts to use, not the adult leaders, I want to make sure what they should and should not be using it for. I’ve searched and not found anything definitive, so my apologies if this is a repeat question. We do use it as the adults, but we are trying to encourage more independence through SB.

The biggest question about it when working on a merit badge, should the scout mark items completed after they do them? I’m having a bit of difference of opinion with some other leadership. Their thought is only the SM, ASM’s, or MBC’s should be marking things “completed”. But my feeling is scouts could be able to mark them “completed” to track their status, and then the leaders marked them “approved.” Which is the correct way of doing this?

After that I want to encourage the scouts to use scoutbook to track their camping, service hours, and hiking. What else would be good for them specifically to use??


Completed means the Scout is ready to be tested. Approved means the Scout was tested and the requirement has been signed off. I encourage all of my Scouts to mark requirements completed when they believe they are ready to be tested.

I want Scouts to use the full capability of Scoutbook and the Scouting App. Since Scouts can’t be restricted on what they can do with their own accounts, I see no reason to make rules telling them not to do something.

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Yes Completed is just like the Scout signing the left column of the Handbook - where they think they are ready

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I agree for the rank advancements, but I’m somewhat less sure/confused about best practice for Merit Badges. We are a new troop, with many new to troop parent volunteers, and I just really want to make sure things are being done correctly.
Example scenarios:

  1. MBC completes, SM approves
  2. MBC completes, approves
  3. Scout completes, MBC approves

Which is the most appropriate?? My thinking is #3, with #2 being an option. But that #1 is not correct.

Also, should an advancements chair approve anything? Rank or badges?

The Scout can still mark MB requirements complete. Either the MBC can approve, or if a leader sees a Blue Card with MBC approval, the leader can mark the requirement approved. For final approval, if the MBC approves first, the leader can approve, otherwise the leader needs to wait for a signed Blue Card.

The reason Scoutbook requires leader approval on the final MB completion is just to acknowledge the MB has been completed and will need to be purchased. We do not want units surprised when an MB just appears on their Purchase Order. Having a leader approve the final MB completion prevents this. Only an MBC can sign off on the actual MB being completed.


Here are (to me) the big things:

  • Scouts should mark items they believe are complete as such. It serves as an indicator and communication means.
  • The danger of a Scout marking things complete is non-existent. Without an adult leader doing more the item is not approved and will not mean anything.
  • Merit badges work is approved by merit badge counselors (and only them).
  • Adults need to lead by example and adapt to the changing world of software. Don’t shove our 1970s software views onto 2020 scouts.
  • If you want to increase Scout ownership of advancement, then increase Scout involvement through this great mechanism.

This is actually one of the most compelling reasons I can think of to move to ScoutBook. I could see myself moving to a model where after completing requirements the person leading the activity instructs Scouts to update their record. And the adults simply approve.


Agreed! I’ve been pushing Scouts to the Scouting app to do this. It’s a little friendlier that the Scoutbook webpage for tracking advancement.

When my son gets a partial blue card, or has a requirement signed in his handbook, we upload a copy of it to Scoutbook and mark the requirements complete. The advancement chair looks at the documentation and marks the requirements approved.

If he loses his handbook or Blue Card, we know where to find the digital backup. :smile:

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