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Inputting rank advancements in Scoutbook

I am the Scoutmaster for a newly formed girls troop. We are linked troop so we share treasurer, committee chair and advancement chair. The way our troop is currently handling advancements is that they wait until all the requirements are complete before entering it into the system. They also put the date that they entered it rather than the date they completed the requirement. Currently we only have the advancement chair entering any of the rank advancements, service hours, etc for all the scouts. We are a small troop so this isn’t a huge time commitment. We do not allow any of the parents or scouts to enter any sign-offs in Scoutbook. While I agree with limiting the amount of people who can make changes it’s still frustrating to see everything blank when I know that the Scout has competed something. Our troop has just started using Scoutbook this year so they are still figuring out how to best use it. I am curious as to how other Scout units handle advancement sign-offs in Scoutbook.

I go off the Book for advancements, that is the official record. Sometimes I enter reqs if I know it just happened or happened in mass (swim test - First class.) Some Scouts enter completions them self just as they would mark the left column of the book saying they are ready for testing. When a rank is done I just mark it done and do not worry about the underlying requirements as National does not care about them.

So it doesn’t matter what the dates are on the individual rank requirements? My understanding was that Scoutbook was to mirror what their handbook shows that way they have a backup in case they lose their book.

once there is a Finish date that is approved - the individual ones are irrelevant from an advancement perceptive other than a few instances like 30 days of physical fitness TF/2nd/1st .

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My troop tries to input into Scoutbook whatever is written in the handbook. I prefer to have the Scouts or their parents enter the data in Scoutbook so the leaders can concentrate on working with the Scouts instead of book keeping.

The only time our advancement chair enters data into Scoutbook is when she is given a Blue Card and the SM did not already enter the completion.

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We encourage Scouts or parents to mark items as “completed” in Scoutbook (some Scouts do not have their own e-mail address for various reasons, so they have to use their parent’s account). This is basically saying that the Scout is “ready to be tested” on one or more requirements. (For example: Scout thinks they know how to tie the “X” knot and is ready to be tested.)

The Scoutmaster or Scoutmaster’s designee tests the Scout, signs off in the Scout’s Handbook, and marks items as “approved” in Scoutbook. If a Scout is not signed off for some reason, the date of completion can be removed and a note can be added underneath the requirement explaining why the requirement was not completed.

Similar to Donovan, we will also sometimes enter requirements - especially if they are done as a group (like the swim test at summer camp for First Class rank).

We frequently will enter items as completed and approved overall. But entering in individual requirements can also serve as a backup just in case the Handbook (or blue cards) gets lost or damaged to the point that it’s no longer legible.

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Just to clarify: as soon as a leader in the unit marks a rank, merit badge, or award “approved” overall, then it is reported to your local council.

The “awarded” status in Scoutbook is more internal to the unit and how they track awarded items (some mark items as awarded as soon as the patch / pin is presented to the Scout, while others wait until a Scout is formally recognized at a court of honor).

As the advancement for the troops and merit badge coucler I usually enter the requirements as they complete them Evan with a smaller troop ( now two with the girls) so much easier to keep track of everything as the kids advance at differnt rates ( exceptions are camp or college badges were I just mark down the end date ( but uselly put in notes ( summer camp) so anybody looking back after several years can see this badge wasn’t completed say on a Saturday but over a 6 day period.

One of the things that the Patrol leaders should be doing is plan activities that get rank requirements signed off as completed. That planning is hard to do when they are ALL blank until after the Board of Review.

I have my scouts sign off requirements in the scout manual with the date the requirement is completed, then either I or and ASM will take the book and enter the dates into Scoutbook. Once a month I’ll produce a report so the Patrol Leaders can see what items they need to plan to do in upcoming meeting/Campouts to get their scouts to their next rank.

It also helps me know when to schedule Board of Review and Courts of Honor.

BTW: scoutbook logs when a requirement is entered and approved; the scouts should be entering the dates as completed not entered.

I’d rather see Scouts enter their own info, as it occurs. Scouts should keep their profiles updated, log their camping and hiking and track their own advancement. I want to see the book/blue card to mark it “approved.”
We can run reports to see which Scouts still need certain requirements and encourage the PLC to add those lessons/events into their plans.
Dates - I’d say use actual dates: I always figured if the date didn’t matter, they wouldn’t ask for it, whether on paper or in a computer. Using actual dates could be handy if (for example) you were trying to figure out OA eligibility and you thought the Scout was close to eligible but a night short in the camping log. If you used actual dates in the Handbook and Scoutbook for some camping requirement, you might see if was missed in the log. Or when (Scout Name B) said they participated in an event with (Scout Name A), you could check and see (Scout Name A) was signed off for an event on a certain date and piece together the evidence to confirm Scout B actually was there. It’s hard to explain in text.

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So if I as advancement chair enter something as approved it is automatically added to the Scout’s record? I am asking because we are used to using TroopMaster and with that we were having to “send to council” before it was added to the Scout’s record. I am no longer able to see the IA that I used to could see and where I would go to check and make sure it is all added to the Scout’s official record.

Total End Dates (not requirement dates) are in the Scout’s National record in the National Advancement Database when APPROVED in Scoutbook - Yes @JeanannGoss

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I prefer scouts and/or parents to enter rank requirements as completed, it does not become approved until the SM or ASM marks it approved. Scoutbook is the official BSA record, so once a rank is marked approved, it’s official. I would highly recommend that rank dates are entered as soon as they are earned. This can become important if a scout is nearing their 18th birthday and counting the days to make sure they have enough time in rank, and leadership time.

@EarlFarnsworth, congratulations on getting your Troop up and operational. As you can see, each unit handles how “Completed” is recorded in Scoutbook a little differently. There is no way to prevent a Scout or parent from marking an individual requirement, or the whole badge, “Complete.” What the unit controls is who can mark the requirement or badge “Approved.”

One thing you wrote bothered me. You stated, “They also put the date that they entered it rather than the date they completed the requirement.” This is a concern for me. This is not a concern for Scout thru 2nd Class, but for First Class through Eagle, Palms, and Merit Badges, this is a disservice to the Scout. The reason is that the Board of Review date for 1st Class - each Palm starts the clock running for the minimum amount of time before the next Bard of Review. If you date First Class 2 months after the Board of Review, then your Scout may not have a Board of Review for Star until 6 months after that date, instead of the prescribed 4 months. You want Merit Badges entered properly as they must be Approved before you hold the Board of Review for the rank they apply.

If one of your Eagle Scout Candidates (currently a Life Scout) handed me their Eagle Scout Rank Application, and the dates on the ESRA, Scouts BSA History / Individual Advancement Report, and Handbook / Merit Badge Cards did not all agree, the Scout would be asked to go back and have their unit correct Scoutbook and bring me corrected documents before I would submit the ESRA to Council for Certification and request authorization to hold the Eagle Scout Board of Review. That is a delay for the anxious Scout, that I ask units to avoid.

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The BOR date IS the date the rank is earned. The dates are supposed to match. We have asked the developers to put in a check so if the BOR date is filled in, the overall completion date must match. This request is in the backlog.

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The BOR date is not always the date the rank is earned. By GTA requirements do not have to be completed in any order. Often we have Star and Life scouts that will reach their time (4 months/6months) on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of the
week. We meet on Monday. We will do the BOR on Monday then on day they hit their time will check that requirement as complete. In this case the completion date is the date later in the week not the BOR date.

This is incorrect. The BOR is always the last requirement completed and is the date the award is earned. The SUAC has consulted with the national staffer multiple times on this and he has always been consistent. There is no earned date for rank, it is always the date of the Board of Review.

Page 414 of the Scouts BSA Handbook says:

  1. You are reviewed. hen you have completed all the requirements for a rank (except the Scout rank), you meet with a board of review made up of troop committee members. The board makes sure you’ve completed all the requirements and also talks with you about your Scouting experience.

The Guide to Advancement says:

8.0.0.1 Purpose and Timeliness of Boards of Review
A Scout who has completed the requirements for any rank (except Scout rank) then appears before a board of review. Its purpose is to determine the quality of the Scout’s experience and decide whether the requirements for the rank have been fulfilled. If so, the board not only approves the Scout’s advancement but also provides encouragement to continue the quest for the next rank. Because the board of review date becomes the effective advancement date, boards should be scheduled promptly as Scouts are ready, or set up on a regular basis that assures Scouts are not delayed in beginning time-oriented requirements for the next rank.

Requirements can’t be changed. If the Scout meets the time requirement on a Tuesday and your Board of Reviews are on Monday, the Scout must wait until the following Monday for the Board of Review.

Both the Handbook and Guide to Advancement are clear, the Board of Review is the last requirement completed and the date of the Board of Review is the date the rank is earned.

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We have the Scouts turn their books into me (adwards advancement chair) as soon as something is signed off. I note it and enter it into Scout book with the date earned and hit the space for date entered. Scout book shows the % of the rank that is completed which is helpful. You know how close the scout is to completing the advancement. You can also check who needs what completed and sometimes they all need the same item. Then you can adjust meetings or outings to help complete what needs to be done.

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Also from the Guide to Advancement:

4.2.1.3 The Scout Is Reviewed
After completing all the requirements for a rank, except Scout rank, a Scout meets with a board of review. For Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life ranks, members of the unit committee conduct it. See “Particulars for Tenderfoot Through Life Ranks,” 8.0.2.0. The Eagle Scout board of review is held in accordance with National Council and local council procedures. (emphasis added.)

8.0.0.2 Boards of Review Must Be Granted When Requirements Are Met
A Scout shall not be denied this opportunity. When a Scout believes that all the requirements for a rank have been completed, including a Scoutmaster conference, a board of review must be granted. (emphasis added.)

8.0.0.1 Purpose and Timeliness of Boards of Review
Because the board of review date becomes the effective advancement date, boards should be scheduled promptly as Scouts are ready, or set up on a regular basis that assures Scouts are not delayed in beginning time-oriented requirements for the next rank. (emphasis added.)

Note that Scouts must be registered through the time they are working on advancement requirements, but need not be registered thereafter or when their board of review is conducted.

8.0.1.5 After the Review
If the members agree a Scout is ready to advance, the Scout is called in and congratulated. The board of review date—not that of a subsequent court of honor—becomes the rank’s effective date. (emphasis added.)

4.2.0.1 Scouting Ranks and Advancement Age Requirements
Requirements for the Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks may be worked on simultaneously; however, these ranks must be earned in sequence. For information on boards of review for these ranks, see “Particulars for Tenderfoot Through Life Ranks” 8.0.2.0, especially point No. 7.

All requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle, except for those related to merit badges, must be fulfilled after the successful completion of a board of review for the previous rank.

4.2.3.5 Unit Leader (Scoutmaster) Conference
While it makes sense to hold [a Scoutmaster conference] after other requirements for a rank are met, it is not required that it be the last step before the board of review. This is an important consideration for Scouts on a tight schedule to meet requirements before age 18. Last-minute work can sometimes make it impossible to fit the conference in before that time. Scheduling it earlier can avoid unnecessary extension requests. (emphasis added.)

So the Scoutmaster conference can be held at any time while a Scout is working on a particular rank, but the board of review must be done after all other requirements for a particular rank have been completed.

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Thank you everyone for all the comments. I think I am going to start a discussion with our troop leadership and hopefully change our approach as to how we are utilizing Scoutbook. I would like to see it updated as the requirements are completed so that the parents, scouts, and leaders can look see how the scouts are progressing.