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Record keeping and BOR

I am an AC and need help with a question regarding when to conduct a BOR. I understand that when a Scout is ready, however my problem is the SM or ASM are not updating the paper book of the Scout or Scoutbook before the SM request the BOR. I have taken this SM word before and have conducted BOR only to find out the Scout did not have enough Merit Badges /or meet all the requirements and it took several months after the BOR was conducted before the Scout met the requirements. Had another case when they requested a BOR and during the BOR I realized we had already conducted a BOR for this Scout at this rank. I have asked the SM and ASM to update the Scouts paper book or SB prior to requesting the BOR. And I was told as long as they say it was completed it was completed. I don’t know what to do because I don’t know if all the requirements have been meet. And when I go in SB to try to sign off it get the message because all the “requirements” have not been marked as completed. Am I wrong for asking that this be done prior to conducting the BOR? Any suggestions would be great.

well this is where you sit Chair and SM down and flat out say - if “X + Y” are not done we deny BORs. and let them figure it out. ??? As an SM I make sure all is in order before I ask for a BOR. Scouts have to ask for SMC a week in advance so I can print History report to review with them. Now not all requirements will be in SB - BUT they have the book which is (as a SUAC member- is my official record) - but MBs will show to review and tenure.

Just tell the Chair and SM you need this to do your job easily and efficiently


We will do BoR and SMC on the same night, but the scout must have all requisite signatures.
Scouts … Love … Paperwork.
We then do our best to catch up in SB that night if not earlier. Abusing the AC is not acceptable!

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Like Donavan stated the youths handbook is the official record until the rank is earned (SMC for Scout/BOR for T-ft to Life / EBOR for Eagle) and properly entered into SB. If the youth looses the book or it is severely damaged, the youth obtains a new book and as much information that is available in SB and/or troop records is entered into the new/replacement book.
[As AC (2 units) I keep a 3-ring binder (for each unit) with a sheet for each scout as a backup and for use when at a location w/o access to SB, etc]
The only exception to NOT having a filled out book is for Eagle BORs where all the information has been entered and verified by the local council on the Eagle Application. (Also District Advancement Chair).
The book has to be up to date with all entries completed for the rank except BOR before the CC, SM or myself allow a BOR to happen.
We do SMC’s both before the BOR date or on the day of the BORs. The SM keeps the CC informed of when he expects to need BORs and we usually schedule BORs for the regular meeting the week before the Scheduled COH. Other than EBORs or special circumstances BORs are held on regular meeting nights [we meet every week including summer, except school holidays and week of summer camp)

I’m the AC for two troops. I have been very lucky so far in that our SMs are very conscientious with regards to rank requirements and would be horrified to have incorrectly told a scout they were ready when they were not. I track MBs, time in rank/leadership, and unit/scout reported service hours in our advancement tracker, so I at least know if a scout has not met those requirements when a BOR is requested. That said, I must rely on the SM to verify all other requirements have been met before advising the scout to request a BOR. Even so, the first thing I ask for when the scout reports for their BOR is their handbook. Any questions or missing items must be resolved before I will start the BOR. It doesn’t happen very often, and it is usually resolved by the scout digging out the blue card that was never turned in. Also, most of our BORs are conducted the same day as the SMC - we even do them at camp and other scout events. I don’t like making a scout wait longer than necessary.

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I tell our Scouts to snap a picture of the record pages in their handbook every time something is signed off by a leader. That protects them in case they lose their handbook (if only I had a nickel for every handbook I’ve found after a Troop meeting…), and also gives our AC some backup in case something doesn’t make it into Scoutbook in a timely manner.


My troop is not very large and our record keeping was not always the best in years past. When I took over as SM last fall it became really important to have accurate records due to the fact that covid forced us into online meetings and we couldn’t physically sign handbooks for about 9 months.

What I’ve been doing is to print out the Individual Advancement Record for all of my scouts and I bring them to every troop meeting. When a scout asks to have something signed off, the leader signs the scout’s handbook but also dates the requirement(s) on the Advancement Recordt.

I’ve also gotten in the habit of checking quickly to make sure that everything in the handbook that has a sign off date also has a date on the Advancement Record and vice versa when I do a Scoutmaster’s Conference. Basically, we use the Individual Advancement Record like a second copy of the Handbook’s rank requirement pages and double checking that the info in the handbook matches what’s on the Advancement Record takes me maybe 2 minutes maximum.

Then I take the Advancement Records home and enter any new dates or approve items the scouts already entered into Scoutbook. It’s a little bit more work but what that has meant for us is that the handbook and Scoutbook are both up to date.

I also periodically run and download the BSA History Report to keep as a back-up record since that also shows other information like merit badges, awards, positions held, etc.

I’ve told scouts it’s a good idea to take a picture of their pages periodically, but since I don’t know if any of them actually do that, at least I can be reasonably confident that if the handbook is lost, Scoutbook will be up to date.


That is a really good idea.

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