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National Outdoor Badge Hours/Miles/Activities

There is already a log for camping nights, service hours, and miles hiked. The National Outdoor Badge for Aquatics, Adventure, and Riding also have similar things that need to be done that would be easier if there was a log.

For aquatics, there could be an “One-the-water” log or simply “Aquatics” log that tracks the number of hours a Scout has spent doing aquatic activities. For riding, there could be a “Riding” log that tracks the miles of riding activities.

And for adventure, there could be an “Adventures” log that tracks the number and type of adventures of a certain activity. For example, a 12-day Philmont trek, covering at least 80 miles would have 4 adventures from the time/mileage requirement, 1 adventure from it being at a high adventure base, and 1 adventure from the 50-miler award (assuming it is earned) for a total of 6 adventures. So, the log would have to have an option to mark 4 adventures for time/mileage, 1 for high adventure base, and 1 for 50-miler.

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Absolutely! There needs to be more logging options and more background updating.


Ditto this concept. The National Outdoor award is a bit unique in that activities as a Boy Scout carry over into Venturing and for this reason Scoutbook should maintain a log of applicable activities. It is not uncommon for a Scout to join a Crew after a period of inactivity and, other than their physical book, this is the only source for their activity data.

And the applicable merit badges should populate as appropriate for this award.

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If you are needing a log that bad for these other things then why not just use the hiking log for it. You can use Ad for adventure, horse or HB for horseback riding and other abbreviations for the various activities. At least until they create the additional logs.

When using a log to track things for a specific award, you can create a zero entry to keep track of the running total for that award. For hours, use the service log; for miles, use the hiking log;for events, use the camping log. You could have several zero entries going on the same log to track different awards.

It could look similar to:
title = running total miles toward NOA hiking segment = 85.03
date = one day after last hike entered in hiking log
miles = zero
notes = Cub Scout hiking - 22.43 miles
…Scouts BSA hiking, 2017 - 12.20 miles; 2018 - 13.15, 2019 - see log

With this method, when the zero entry is not the most recent entry in the log, it is obvious that the log has a new entry and can be reviewed and the zero entry updated with a new date and other data as appropriate.

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While I do agree that this method could work. It would be confusing for many people, especially new Scouts and their parents. That’s why I suggested that there be a separate log for each of these, so that Scouts can start tracking this in their first year and not be confused by it a few years down the road. Also, it would probably be difficult to convert over to that system. I already have 400 hiking miles from just a few years, with plenty of different hiking dates, so it would take awhile for me to convert to the system suggested above.

I would think the goal would be to standardize the log entries in a manner that whoever entered the data could do so without knowing how that data would be later used. If an ASM entered a 5-mile hike (typical for first year summer campers in our Council) it would populate the rank requirement, the HIking Merit Badge and the National Outdoor award Hiking mileage.

But, at the SM conference, there is now a chance to surprise the Scout by telling them about the progress they have made toward an award they probably did not know about. Encouraging them to continue with the Hiking MB, which the Scout may not have known he ‘started’ at Summer Camp.

Note the curious situation where the MB was started at Summer Camp. This has always been a bit of a bother since Scouts may end up working on badges other than the ones they signed up for, due to conditions at camp. I have always thought the best plan was to have the Scout start a blue card upon return and assign a counselor in order to complete the MB.

Well, there’s the hitch. You can’t always stack the requirements up like cordwood. You cannot, for example, complete one five-mile hike and have it count for the Hiking MB and for the Camping MB… So, how do you want Scoutbook to autopopulate from the logbook? Do you apply the hike to the Hiking MB, the Camping MB, rank advancement…?

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I agree with the concern, but this might not be the best example. Hiking MB permits counting hikes for both rank and for that MB, but not for other MBs. Camping doesn’t explicitly have a hiking requirement, although there is the potential for some buried in the options for requirement 9b.

It is a fair criticism, however, that there is a great deal of (potentially complicated) decision logic required to identify what award/MB/rank requirement a given log entry could apply to. For example, my son went on a long term camp that included climbing and rappelling. That could qualify for requirement 9b(6), assuming he didn’t already use another set of long-term nights to satisfy his 20 nights (since you can only count one set).

I find it a lot more valuable to tell the scouts that they need to track these things themselves, rather than simply relying on automating the software to do all of the tracking for them. Part of what the scouts are learning is how to be responsible for setting their own goals and tracking their own progress toward those goals. If everything about the tracking is automated, how are they learning these skills?

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I did pick Hiking because of the ‘special’ situation, probably not unique. While I am all for Scouts tracking rank and MB progress, all too often I see a lack of knowledge concerning other awards or a feeling that they could distract from other Troop activities. Auto-population for these awards would allow an advancement report to show what the Scout has done and allow for some useful guidance.
Case in point, a second year Scout is not planning to do the mile swim. But, looking at the advancement report, one can see the MB work, rafting trip, the 3 canoe trips and the swimming merit badge indicates the scout can complete a big portion of the NOA Aquatics by doing the mile swim at camp.

I guess that I spend a fair amount of time counseling the scouts about these “extra awards” so that they’re aware of them (and know where to look for the requirements). I can see why you value it, based on what you’ve posted, but I still feel like the value attached to learning to find/track this stuff yourself as a scout outweighs the value of getting “one more patch”. I doubt that there’s only one right way to skin this cat, though. Allowing for that flexibility, though, is one of the reasons I’d personally rather see it be less automated.

I certainly see your point. But what about Troops that don’t have someone like you advising the Scouts about the existence of these awards? Perhaps we can compromise with a ‘potential’ advancement report reserved for the Committee Advancement chair?

This will still allow the Scout to discover the award and begin to track their progress.

It also overcomes the problem of the CAC manually verifying potentially years of activity.

I also see this new ‘potential’ advancement report as an aid for trip planning. It can certainly help make the case for an extra aquatic weekend, etc. This info could be used to guide the PLC. Note that the PLC should be planning their year with the Committee so the CAC would be there.

Sorry, it seems everything in Scouting is entangled.

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Scouting does seem to be just like everything else in that regard: an odd contraption that can trace its lineage to Rube Goldberg. :smile:

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Part of the difficulty is that there are different requirements based on the rank, merit badge, or award:

For Second Class #3b., the Scout has to take a 5-mile hike while “Using a compass and map together”.

For Hiking merit badge requirement #4, Scouts also have to “Prepare a written hike plan before each hike and share it with your Scoutmaster or a designee.”

As @SteveCagigas said, the Hiking merit badge also specifies that the hikes used for the Hiking merit badge cannot be used to fulfill requirements for other merit badges (Camping, Backpacking, etc.).

Meanwhile, the National Outdoor Badge for Hiking includes hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing as long as those miles are completed while “under the auspices of the Boy Scouts of America”.

The World Conservation Award specifies that “Requirements for this award must be completed in addition to any similar requirements completed for rank.” So, a Scout would not be able to double count conservation service hours towards a rank and this award.

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I agree that it can be complex - and that is why our modern society has leaned on computers to help us handle the complexity. An eventual solution may end up like a menu of what has been done and how it should be applied.

The areas for improvement remain the many extra awards that currently are not tracked in any meaningful way. Rank and Merit badges themselves are fine, it is the automatic population of those achievements in the other awards such as NOA that could do with some improvement.


@JenniferOlinger While I do agree that this wouldn’t work in a lot of cases due to the wording of requirements for many ranks and merit badges, there could definitely be some ways to work around these issues.

For example, there could be a row of buttons to indicate some of the options of counting the miles traveled towards. If the requirement for the award/rank required a certain condition to be met besides the length of the journey, there could be a feature implemented where a qualified adult could approve the miles for the specific award/rank.

For example, for hiking miles, there could be a Second Class Req #3b, Hiking MB Req #4, and an NOB Hiking button. After entering all of the necessary information, the Scout could click the Hiking MB button. A qualified adult would then ask the Scout for some form of approval from their MB counselor regarding the issue of the planning having been done. After receiving the MB counselor’s approval, the qualified adult would then approve the hiking miles for the hiking MB.

Realistically, if the Scout is working on the Hiking MB through Scoutbook, it is very likely that one of their Troop leaders happens to be their counselor, which would simplify this approval process. Otherwise it is very unlikely that this would be done.

Regarding the National Outdoor Badge, you said that:

The definition of “under the auspices” is “done with the support and/or approval of”. I can’t imagine a situation where any hike would be rejected from consideration for this requirement. Even if this is the case, a hike that doesn’t qualify for this requirement would not be able to qualify for any other requirement and thus shouldn’t be tracked in Scoutbook.

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