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Making Purchases at Walk-in Scoutshop Stores

Is there a special procedure for making rank or adventure loop award purchases at Scoutshops?

I’ve had to replace lost adventure loops and purchased Wolf rank patches for our wolf den flag. I’ve been told by committee members I should not be buying things off-the-shelf and need a P.O. to give to the shop clerk. I’ve never had a problem at either store I’ve bought things off-the-shelf at (numerous times) and was required to show proof. All patches and loops were mixed in with other items in the store, as in, not behind the counter.

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Is your Pack Committee requiring a Purchase Order (PO) for reimbursement? Scout shops are supposed to require an Advancement Report for purchases of restricted items, such as rank patches. However, an Advancement Report is different from a PO. A PO is basically just a shopping list.

Advancement Reports are not required to purchase adventure belt loops or pins.

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Adventure loops are not restricted items. Rank badges are restricted and require an advancement report to purchase. The scoutshop May sell you replacement or duplicate patches without an advancement report though.


My pack committee didn’t know I was making the purchase so didn’t require anything of me. I’m the the den leader so I know who’s earned what and when.

Being that much of the actual earning of adventure loops and ranks are largely on an honor system basis anyhow, I fail to see the need of anything being required proof-wise at stores. I think if anyone in our pack started wearing ranks or loops that were not properly earned it would be noticed pretty quick and would cause tremendous embarrassment once caught. Having gone through the scout system myself, I don’t see how the Scoutshop can really require any proof of earning if I felt the need to replace anything I earned in the past as my achievements were earned before there was digital record keeping.

Yep. I’ve bought replacement badges before, and just showed them an advancement report. They were fine with that at my local scout shop

Scout shops are supposed to require Advancement Reports for restricted items (such as rank patches and certain awards). The reason why is to help ensure that each Scout’s record is complete and accurate. Some councils require electronic advancement reporting, so requiring an Advancement Report at the time of purchase is a way for them to enforce it.

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OK, this confuses me: all the leader training says awards need to be given immediately; in fact, it says you should have the awards on hand at the den meeting where the kids complete the requirement. If that’s the case, how can the shops require a P.O. to get said award if the kids haven’t earned it yet? The same is true for rank awards, last week in my Troop I had 4 kids doing their Board of Review. We had the patches for the next ranks on-hand so they could be awarded at the meeting. This can’t work if a print-out is required to purchase the item. I get that some awards are really big and require proof (Eagle anything!) but this whole “PO from Scoutbook required” seems to violate the practices the leaders are taught. What am I missing?

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Even before Scoutbook came along, Scout Shops were supposed to require advancement reports to sell rank patches, merit badges and some other restricted awards. Immediate Recognition does not always mean handing the Scout the award. In my troop, Scouts are verbally recognized at the end of the meeting for any awards earned that day (ranks, MBs, etc.). We purchase rank patches as soon as possible after the Scout earns them but MBs are physically presented at the next Court of Honor.


For Cub Scouts, the guideline says “advancements should be congratulated immediately and publically”, so you don’t give anything at that time. Belt loops “soon after being earned”, timing would be up to you really. Not sure about you but I’m not ready to bring a load of adventure loops around with me all the time, never knowing who will be at my meetings or if we have time to fully finish things.

Badges and Ranks however should be presented at the next Pack meeting as they are “restricted” as Jennifer and Jacob say and need advancement reports


Thank you, everyone. I’m still new to scouting and within a few months I took the CS leader training and SM training, so I’m probably confusing the messages.

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It’s a good question. There are places in BSA guidance that recommend buying the adventure loops and pins that the den is to work on in advance in order to hand them out immediately. But I find that highly impractical. Many adventures have homework or field trip type requirements that scouts finish at various points throughout the year. So, then, someone would have to hang onto the loops or pins all year without losing them and bring them at the exact right time.

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We have been pretty successful with this in our pack. In October, once our membership numbers have settled, we purchase all of the required loops and pins for every scout, plus make sure that we 2 of every elective. We’ll put in a second order in the winter to restock any electives and other miscellaneous awards earned. Any unused/unearned awards are recycled into the box for next year. Our advancement coordinator checks the Scoutbook reports and bags them up for the den leaders, giving them out at the next pack or committee meeting. This does mean there is a lag of about one meeting between when the awards is earned and awarded, but on the whole it works well for us.

@ajzadrozny, it would be great if we could do that in our pack, but there are two challenges we’d need to overcome.

  1. We run the pack on $28 per Scout per year of dues and add about $700 profit from the sales of meat sticks for a pack with 20 Scouts. Buying all those awards in advance would tie up a lot of money. We are low on cash in October, since the dues for the following year are due in November.

  2. We don’t have our post-recruiting numbers settled in October. We’re in densely populated upper Delaware, and we went to seen Join Scouting Nights at public and charter schools last fall. They were held between early September and mid October. The professional staff tells families they can register and they’re all in for the rest of the year. Not true if they come to our pack. We ask them to pay pro-rated dues for the last few months of the year. Here’s how our membership went last year:

June 8, we had one Scout cross over to a troop, one expelled and the sister of the expelled Scout transfer to a new pack leaving us with 8 active Scouts. We had 5 more we hadn’t seen since February.

September 9, we held our first pack meeting to open the fall and started with 8 active Scouts since two joined over the summer, one at our last pack meeting on June 10, and she earned the National Summertime Award.

By early November, we were at 37 active Scouts, defined as ones we had seen in the fall and a total of 42 on the roster.

In December, we rechartered with 19. We dropped 22 Scouts, and one crossed over to a troop. In January, we had a boy transfer to our pack after moving to our area.

I haven’t a clue when I would pull the trigger on buying loops. Right now, in mid February, all our Tigers have earned their rank, half our Lions are done and the other half are close, a third of our Wolves are done and most are close except for the one who joined in November. I didn’t enjoy the chaos,. but I’ll put up with it, since it more than tripled the size of the pack since June 8.

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I can see how that would be a tough situation for some. A lack of predictability and uneven income is a real challenge.

I am the COR for my Charting Organizations 3 Units. 1 Pack, a Boy Troop and a Girl Troop. The nearest Scout shop is about 70 miles (1 hr & 20 minutes), Council Office is about 85 miles and between 1 .6 hsr to 2 hrs depending upon big city traffic.
The pack uses SB and the Pack Advancement Coordinator sends out messages to the Den Leaders to make sure the all advancement & awards are properly entered into SB. Then about 1 week before the monthly pack meeting reviews SB, creates a PO & Advancement Report, sends electronically to the closest Scout Shop and has the patches & awards, loops, etc mailed to the Advancement Coordinators home. Then at the Pack meeting awards are handed out to the Den Leaders to present to the youth.
The Troops verbally recognize the youth at the end of the current weekly meeting for Ranks (after BORs), Merit Badges & Palms. The advancement coordinator takes the information home and does the entry into SB on in a contemporaneous manner (with in a few days) and just before the Spring & Fall Court of Honors does a final update of SB, creates the hardcopy PO & AR to take to the scout shop to obtain materials for the upcoming COH. Our Council requires the AR for ranks, merit badges, & eagle palms, (or for individuals to obtain replacements proper documentation)

It would be great if Scoutbook had a way to keep track of existing loops/pins already in inventory for the pack. The current system with POs does not easily incorporate whether loops/pins have been previously purchased.


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