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Scouting Forums

Participating before registered

Seems like a long time from when a scout submits his application to when I see him in Scoutbook. My question is are scouts allowed to attend meetings (currently just video), work on and have requirements signed off, earn credit for activities, work on MBs, etc. before they are registered (show up in SB)?

I am unaware of a national rule one way or the other regarding attendance. If it’s OK for a prospective scout to attend, I can’t see a good argument that a scout who has applied for membership (but is still waiting on paperwork to clear) shouldn’t be able to attend meetings.

Once a scout has submitted an application, our unit treats them as members with regard to crediting work done. It’s not their fault if we or council are slow in handling their application. Generally, I believe that the date joined has matched the date their application was approved by our COR, rather than the date it was processed by council.


Thanks for the quick reply.

What if they haven’t submitted their application yet or if I don’t know if they have?

It’s my opinion that, until an application is completed and submitted to the unit, a youth is not yet a scout. There may be some discretion on the part of the unit as to whether the youth is credited for work between submitting the application to the unit and the unit acting on it (i.e. approval of the application and submittal to council for registration). As I noted before, it’s my opinion that it should not be the youth’s problem if the unit or council are slow in acting on the application. That said, I would say coordinate with your SM and committee to determine the unit policy.

I think I would draw the line at actually working on rank or MB’s. It’s a sad state when we as adults have to cover-our-behinds to mentor our youth but the world is lawsuit happy and the BSA has been inundated with litigation. If a non-registered kid gets hurt at a Scouting that could become messy.

I think attending a few meetings as an observer is fine. I’m more hesitant about camping/outdoor events unless the parents attend and I would see if I could get some kind of waiver drawn up.

I’ve said in the past that I think the BSA should come out with some type of “Free-Trial Membership” where they could try Scouting for somewhere in the 30-90 day range where they could be covered under the BSA liability, work on MB’s and have the full benefits of the program giving both the Scout and parents a good chance to check out the program before diving in on the deep end.

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I Scout is registered at the the time the application is turned in to unit leader - not the time it is entered by council. As far as advancement I would say it is up to leader, but by the rules they need to be registered. As far as insurance and CYA as a leader, that youth is not covered until registered.


I’ve always understood that the day they filled out the application is the day they become a scout. If there not in scoutbook, use the actual scout book. Take it back old school.


As my Pakistani friend reminds me: “You Americans, if you don’t have paperwork, it didn’t happen.”

Get their application ASAP. If they submitted one, the should have their copy. Stay on top of this. There are people who really care about such things.


Yep. It’s all fine until someone gets hurt on a campout. We’ve gone through that before – we used to have a Scout that got injured at literally every single campout…

While it isn’t "fine’ they got hurt, prospective Scouts are covered by insurance even without having a filed application.

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Prospective scouts are covered by BSA’s liability insurance. Always have been. Right now in my council, every council and district event is billed as “bring a friend” to increase recruiting.

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Do we know why the scout has not signed up?
Perhaps it is a financial issues, especially in these times where money is tight for many.
I have always said no youth should be excluded from scouting due to money. If your troop does not offer financial aide or a payment plan, please consider doing so. That may be what is holding back this family.
I’d ask a Committee Member or SM who knows the family to have a conversation with them and see what can be learned.
I agree with the idea of 30-60 days trial membership, especially as National dues continue to rise.

We have had 2-3 Scouts join after they knew they could go on a campout to check it out before committing. So, since they are covered by insurance, your unit can do its own “30-60 day” or “2 campout trial”.

Here is what I found on the BSA Website:

Does the underline sentence mean one event or several? “…A Scheduled activity” seems like one event. It could be interpreted as up to the unit. It can’t be expected that an unregistered Scout can go to several events without paperwork before the BSA would not side with the Unit in the event of injury. I wished it would give a number of how many events or activities before they have to be registered but they don’t .

I’m in the group that says get an application to the Unit leader at a minimum. Personally I want any kid to try Scouting out but the CYA side of me says protect yourself and your unit.

Put the parents in ScoutBook once they have completed the BSA forms and completed YPT. The scout can track his/her records in the paper scoutbook until he/she is linked in ScoutBook. Then the paper record can be copied to ScoutBook from their physical book. <-- they need a physical book anyway.

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One thing to keep track of; the youth cannot earn a MB before the date his application says it was accepted. Otherwise it will effect rank advancement down the lane.

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We keep a signed, dated copy of the application locked away with the unit. As far as we are concerned, once the Scoutmaster receives that application the youth is a scout. Being retired, I usually call council after a couple of days to verify that council has received the application and that it’s being processed. There is absolutely no reason any youth should have to wait to participate with the exception of long distance activities or those that require medical forms. We encourage parents/guardians to fill out parts A&B medical when they do the application, just as a precaution.

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I was told be a DE one event. Another DE recommended I get a signed app before going camping even if no money changed hands. And if an injury occurred to turn the app in and let the troop eat the fee as needed.

It’s a lot cheaper eating a registration fee than a 6 figured lawsuit.

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