I track it on a spreadsheet.
We award service stars at the June pack meeting, the January pack meeting (the first one after we recharter, so we know everyone getting one has just paid), the Blue & Gold dinner and whenever a Scout is crossing over (even if the Scout earning the service star is not someone crossing over).
I’ve attached a template of the spreadhseet I use with the names changed. It illustrates what we are doing.
First, we had not presented service stars in recent memory before our June pack meeting. So, the first column simply calculates which star was to be presented at that meeting. The date I used for the end date in the calculations was the last day of school in our school district. The actual pack meeting was a few days before. I wanted to make sure I was bringing everyone current through the end of the Scouting year (if you regard the summer as the start of the next year).
Back in the old days, when service stars were more common, they were ordinarily presented at the final pack meeting or court of honor in the spring. Without the benefits of spreadsheets, If you joined in September 1974, then you got a one-year service star in May/June 1975, even though a full year hadn’t elapsed yet.
There was actually some justification for this - at least I am 90% sure of this. There was a blurb - I believe in a 1970s Insignia Control Guide that for Scouts crossing over, the service star awarded by the unit from which the Scout was departing should be rounded to the nearest full year. The difference as a result of rounding is adjusted by the new unit which the Scout is joining.
So, a Cub Scout joins on September 4, 1974. He crosses over to a Boy Scout troop on May 27, 1977. The pack should give him a three-year service star, since his service rounds to three years. The troop should start crediting him with time toward service stars on September 4, 1977, not May 27, 1977.
Another example: A Cub Scout joins a pack on January 2, 1975 and crosses over to a Boy Scout troop on May 27, 1977. When he leaves the pack, he gets a two-year service star, because he was a Cub Scout for more than two but less than 2 1/2 years. His time for determining Boy Scout service stars is calculated using a start date of January 2, 1977.
I really wish I could say exactly where I saw this, but I don’t remember. I need to find it somewhere in my storage closet.
I had always understood service stars to be awarded based on months. So, joining on September 28 is the same as joining on September 1. I think, but I’m not sure, that the old blurb explaining the rounding used months rather than days to determine half a year. I think it said the unit from which the Scout is departing should round up six months or more and otherwise round down. But I’m really not certain.
Nevertheless, an article from modern times in Bryan on Scouting specifically says that you start counting your time from the date (not month) you join Scouting. I had much more complicated formulae in my spreadhseet that treated any date in a calendar month as having been a member for the entire month, but I changed those after discovering the article. The formulae now evaluate the actual dates and finds whether the x year and 6 month anniversary of the Scout’s joining date has been reached. The formulae in the first column are different from the other columns, because service stars were to be awarded through that date for everyone with 6 months or more of service. In the columns that follow, the formulae evaluate which service star the Scout has reached and then check whether that star has already been awarded. If it has, the cell is blank.
I did the best I could to figure out the join dates before 2019. I don’t really know if they’re all correct. I combed Scoutbook to see what the earliest date a requirement was marked completed.
The formulae will return an error is the join date is after the calculation date. So, those formulae need to be deleted. I gray them out. I also gray out future dates of Scouts who transfer out or otherwise leave the pack. The bottom of each column gives me a count, so I know how many service stars are to be presented on that date. After I award the physical service star, I turn the cell green, so I know who hasn’t received their yet.
I’m expecting we will have “Al” cross over on December 16, so I put a calculation in for that date. He will probably have the Arrow of Light by then, and he is already 11. It makes sense to him to be on troop’s charter in 2020, not the pack’s. Oddly, he won’t be getting a service star on that date, but others will. The purpose of doing the calculation on the date of a crossover is to make sure a Scout doesn’t leave the pack, and you still owe him or her something.
If Al doesn’t cross over in December, I can just delete the column, and everything else will adjust. Alternatively, I can change the date. For instance, there’s an outside shot he will cross over in November.
We want to present service stars in January, because it is the middle of the year, and everyone has just paid up, if they rechartered with us. As it stands, if Caleb is the only one with a service star on that date, I might wait until the Blue & Gold in February.
My approach to the Blue & Gold is that it should be festive, and the more awards you can give out, the better. Since Al is not getting a service star in December, I might push all those (along with Caleb’s) to the Blue & Gold. Then again, “Matt” was a couple of weeks short of a year and six months in June, so he got a one-year star instead of two, and I might not want him to wait until February.
At least with this spreadsheet, I can see everything and make choices like this.
If Al never earns the Arrow of Light, he, TJ and Isa will all age out in June 2020. TJ has not been seen in quite a while. He still hasn’t been presented his three-year service star from June. So, I’ll probably delete him when we recharter.
James and Mira transferred to another pack in July.
If I want to add more interim dates, I can insert more columns and copy the formulae, and they’ll work. I just need to check carefully which Scouts are greyed out.
Anyway, feel free to use my spreadsheet.Service Star Template.xlsx (18.5 KB)