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Scouting Forums

Scout Numbers

So, my understanding is Scouts that move get a whole new number- and this is causing troubles in Scoutbook, etc. Why wouldn’t the kid’s number travel with him wherever he goes- like his SSN number. This would continue as an Eagle too. He’d keep that number as an adult. I don’t get this at all. It’s totally screwing up the system and we keep getting duplicate numbers for kids.

The issue is related to a historical decision made a long time ago by the BSA to avoid overlapping BSA IDs between councils by distributing non-overlapping blocks of unique BSA IDs to each council. As a result, the BSA ID didn’t follow scouts or adults who moved from council to council, by design. Advancement for youth and training for adults had to be re-entered under the new council’s newly-assigned BSA ID.

And their choice to not fix it.

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There may be a legal reason, too, that councils cannot access the data of scouts registered in other councils. That’s speculation on my part.

Or at least not to prioritize such a fix over whatever else might be eating those development cycles. It’s not clear (at least to me) how embedded the BSA ID “sets” are in the back-end software that registrars use. Depending on how the “limited set” is implemented, the software may need to be rewritten to some extent to permit the use of a full-spectrum of BSA IDs at any given council.

The East nations should be that the computer system assigns the next available number when a scout signs up. Not a set that each council has. Other organizations manage member numbers that carry through their whole life, this should too. With the almost universal use of Scoutbook and My.scouting.org, the Artificial Intelligence should be assigning a number. Look how much time is wasted in duplicate scouts! The concern is everywhere in this forum that there’s now 2 scouts!
We even get 2 scouts when we get an youth that becomes an adult! And all their scouting history disappears.

Yet, a MBC can access a kids record from a different council when they become connected? And it’s a manual process to clear old connections? I have a scout that moved a year ago and I can see everything with him because I’m still connected as a committee member to his old troop when he has a new troop.

The systems the councils use are designed so that they cannot see any MID outside of their council block. It is not a simple change to move to universal MIDs.

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You can use the Clean Old Connections function from your My Dashboard -> Administration -> My Account -> My Connections to remove connections to Scouts that are no longer in unit you are a leader in or have a child in.

I’m not saying it’s perfect or that everything makes sense to me. I’m only suggesting that their may be more to it than the technical considerations.

Scouts (and Adult Volunteers) can keep their BSA #. When I send in the application, I type in “This is a TRANSFER Scout. This Scout HAS a BSA #. DO NOT give this Scout a new BSA Number.” I work with the District Chair who then passes the information along and so far, we have avoided duplicate BSA #s - which does cause problems. If a Scout or Volunteer does end up with 2 BSA #'s, the accounts can be merged, which causes its own issues. But, at least it can be fixed. It is a lot easier if you have someone in your District to help.

@KerriCox - that typically only works on in-council transfers and multiple registration.

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I have done this multiple times between Councils for Scouts and adult volunteers working with our District Chair.

@KerriCox - that needs some validation as many of us have been under the concept that each council has a pool of MID’s to work from so you have an id in council x then apply in council y and at that point you have two id’s. It is also an understanding that the councils can not see the id of other councils. This is the present understanding.


I find this rather difficult to believe. I am a registrar, and we can’t pull an Member ID number from another council into ours. What we do, is reach out to the old council, and ask for a copy of the Scout or Scouter history, and add that to the record here. My.Scouting accounts are easily managed, Scoutbook accounts are a bit trickier, but multiples can be managed and merged. I would be interested in talking to your registrar to see what is happening.


@KerriCox - I would gather the lack of response lends credence to yours being a claim without evidence.

BSA numbers are isolated to Councils they do not transfer

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I was not aware that numbers are assigned by council and do not automatically transfer with the scout. More “secret” information that members are not made aware of until someone points out the issue in the forum or word gets passed down word of mouth. And who knew that a domain change was being implemented? I sometimes think we have some rogue staff at BSA national office who just kind of do whatever they want and units only get information or input when it becomes a major issue. It amazes me that we are all expected to use this dysfunctional system with little to no training on how to use it and then are expected to constantly be checking the forum to get any information on updates and changes after the changes have been made. The number of hours spent wasted on this system keep piling up and distracting way too much from my ability to directly serve and lead my units.

And is just one of the poor historical decisions made by BSA that we continue to deal with.

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This was announced several times, including via a dismissable notice at the top of Scoutbook for a while. I’m not a big fan of how the rollout went down, but there was enough notice that I was able to warn parents and leaders in my unit about the change prior to the rollout. It still isn’t working right, but that’s not a notice issue, it’s a rollout issue.