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Records retention

Hey Advancement Chair and Merit Badge Coordinator types,

How long do you guys keep paper copies of your advancement records? In particular I’m swimming in Troop Copies of Blue Cards for MBs. Is there any reason to hang on to these? For kids still in the Troop I think it might be handy to have just in case the Scout loses their copy.

Once a Scout Eagles, or ages out, is there any reason to hang on to them at that point?

Thanks!

I’m sure that they are of no concern to anyone who is now older than 21.

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Our troop had individual files for every scout and whenever we aged out we were given our files with our records. Still have mine stuck in my eagle binder 15 years later.

I intend to keep them until they age out. Usually, I fail to clean them out until much later.

A couple of years ago, I was going through old troop binders and found a stack of permission slips from a camping trip that was in 1975, so I know I am not the worst at purging old records.

I keep all Charters,blue cards, membership applications, and advancement reports for ever. Medicals are shedred after 1 year unless an injury orrcered that was major and then that medical is attached to the incident report and kept forever.

All of the above help build the unit reunion database later. I have had Scouts who are now 30+ come back and ask for their old records since now they are trying to build their uniforms to go through Scouting with their own kids.

What goes in a Scouts File?

That seems like a lot of cruft… especially if you’re talking about paper records. What’s in those records that is unavailable elsewhere?

  • Charter certificates don’t say anything at all except list the name of the Chartering Organization and the unit’s tenure. There’s no reason I can think of to keep a stack of old ones.

  • Unit blue cards are worthless after Scoutbook has been updated and the badge awarded. They’re doubly-worthless if you’re keeping the advancement reports – there’s no information on the unit blue card that isn’t in the advancement report. Note here I’m talking about the unit copy, not the Youth copy (which the youth should keep until his EBOR) or the MBC copy (which has a recommended retention period of 1 year written on it).

  • Advancement reports really belong to the Scout, not the unit, and you probably shouldn’t be retaining these after the Scout leaves your unit without their permission.

  • Medical forms should be kept until a new one replaces them, and then destroyed.

  • Charter certificates don’t say anything at all except list the name of the Chartering Organization and the unit’s tenure. There’s no reason I can think of to keep a stack of old ones. (Not the charter certificates but the actual charter rosters.
  • Unit blue cards are worthless after Scoutbook has been updated and the badge awarded. They’re doubly-worthless if you’re keeping the advancement reports – there’s no information on the unit blue card that isn’t in the advancement report. Note here I’m talking about the unit copy, not the Youth copy (which the youth should keep until his EBOR) or the MBC copy (which has a recommended retention period of 1 year written on it). I keep the blue cards off site at my house so in case something happens where the database crashes or the church floods (I have this happen) I have a multi backups.
  • Advancement reports really belong to the Scout, not the unit, and you probably shouldn’t be retaining these after the Scout leaves your unit without their permission. I have never heard of the advancement reports belonging to the Scout, Some reports have many scouts on it. So no, to me it belongs to the unit and are part of the historical record for the unit
  • Medical forms should be kept until a new one replaces them, and then destroyed. As stated above I do keep one until replaced by the other UNLESS an MAJOR injury (anything that triggers the reporting requirements (https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/incident-report/) - Anything beyond Scout rendered first aid happens and that medical is attached to the incident report.

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