Track tenure for BSA programs separately

Currently, all tenure in BSA programs (at least those included in Scoutbook membership listings) are summed to create a single tenure number, displayed in the “ScoutName’s Memberships” view.

Since we track tenure in different programs for service stars, can tracking by Scoutbook of the tenure in different BSA programs supported by Scoutbook be added?

For example, a given scout could have:

  • tenure in Cub Scouts (yellow backing)
  • tenure in Scouts BSA (green backing)
  • tenure in Venturing (orange/red backing?)
  • tenure in Sea Scouts (orange/red backing?)
  • tenure in Exploring (???)
  • leader tenure (blue backing) theoretically applicable for youth who transition to adults

This is valuable for units/individual tracking tenure in each program for service stars, as well as for future application by individuals tracking tenure in BSA programs, such as for “veteran” bars.

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This is the purpose of the “Date Joined [program]” data field on each user’s Edit Profile page.

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I don’t know that I agree this is a solution, @JenniferOlinger, as this information does not readily display, unless it’s been added to the reportable data. It also does not include a date the scout joined Cub Scouting so no ready calculation can be made from that information.

In any case, it looks like getting a better display won’t move up the chain to development, so I’m not going to throw a lot more effort behind it.

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Service star backs

version 2021-08-19-C

STEM Scouts

My understanding is that the STEM Scouts units do not normally wear Boy Scout of America traditional Scouting uniforms. The uniform for older STEM Scouts and adult Scouter is a lab coat. There is also an official T-shirt. I have not heard if STEM Scouts wearing service stars. I would propose a white back to match the white lab coat “uniform” or perhaps a color from the STEM Scout badge if they do.

Senior youth and young adult programs


My understanding is that Exploring units do not wear Boy Scout of America traditional Scouting uniforms.

Sea Scouts BSA

I do not remember Sea Scouts wearing Service Stars on the traditional sea Scouting uniforms or the newer Sea Scouts BSA uniform. On the khaki uniform the red back appears to be the correct colored back.

Service Star Red Back History

The red back for Rover Scouts (RS) and Senior Scouts (SS) in the United Kingdom goes back to about 1918.

The Service Star for Rover Scouts is backed with red cloth.

Traditional program service star backs are:

  • Gold backs (No. 63) are for youth Cub Scouting service.
  • Green backs (No. 66) are for youth Scouts BSA service (previously Boy Scout service).
  • Brown backs (No. 67) are for youth Varsity Scout service.
  • Red backs (No. 65) are for youth Venturing service.
  • Blue backs (No. 64) are for adult Scouter service.

Adult Scouter service star back color?

I remember the blue for Scouter backs being a light blue. On my display today it appears to be a dark blue on the Scout Shop catalog page. Has the color changed?

Youth and adult Scouter service may be combined when using the adult Scouter back. See 2014 Scouting magazine article,

BSA References


The STEM Scouts program and and STEM Nova Awards are not the same thing. Do not be confused by the combination of products in the online Scout Shop catalog.

There are two other possible pins/backers for adults who wish to wear pins for each program they participated in.

My thanks to this non-BSA website for historical data.

If a person was a Tiger Cub between 1997 and 2001, he may wear a one year pin with an orange backer. However, the orange backer is not available from BSA National.

If a person was an Explorer/Sea Explorer before Venturing was created in 1999, they may wear a year pin with a red backer. As an aside, if they then joined a Crew or Ship, they may wear a second red backed pin.

My thanks to this Wikipedia page for data about Air Scouts.

I do not know what color to use for Air Scouts (1941-1949) or Air Explorers (1949-1965). After their merger in 1965 into Exploring, red is correct.

Related discussions


@DoiugWright - There was never a separate color for Air Scouts or Air Explorers. So, they would wear a red backing with their service star. That backing covers all youth participation in programs for older youth.

Similarly, those who were Senior Scouts in an outfit between 1946 and 1949, would wear a red backing with their service star.

Senior Scout outfits were created to allow an older-boy unit to be created without choosing a specialization, i.e. Sea Scouting, Air Scouting or Exploring. Within the outfit, individual Scouts could choose the program in which they wanted to participate. A large Senior Scout outfit might have an Air Scout crew, a Sea Scout crew and an Explorer crew. Boys could readily shift from one older-Scout program to another within an outfit without the need to register in another unit.

The primary youth leader of an outfit was called the outfit guide. The unit leader was called an outfit Advisor. Senior Scout outfits choose one of two uniforming options. They could have all their members wear the same uniform or allow their Scouts to wear the uniform representing the program in which they were participating.

In 1949, all Senior Scout outfits had to choose whether to become an Explorer post, a Sea Explorer ship or an Air Explorer squadron.

Senior Scouts who were in outfits are different from Senior Scouts who were in troops. Starting in 1935, boys were considered Senior Scouts when they turned 15. They remained as members of their Boy Scout troop. Air Scout, Sea Scout and Explorer Scout advancement was available to Senior Scouts in troops. In fact, during this era, the type of unit in which a Scout was registered didn’t matter. Any boy who was at least 15 in a troop, ship, post or squadron could earn any older Scout advancement.

When Senior Scout outfits were created in 1946, the option for older boys to participate in Senior Scouting programs within a Boy Scout troop was eliminated. The troop could simply charter an outfit, and the older boys could be registered in both the troop and the outfit, if they wanted to continue offering the senior programs.

Those who were Senior Scouts in troops should wear green backings on their service stars, since they were registered as Boy Scouts at the time.

When the entire older-boy program was reorganized in 1949, all Boy Scouts were now considered Explorers when they turned 14. The Explorer advancement program was available to these boys within a troop. Troops running this program could have both a Scoutmaster and an Explorer Advisor. The older boys typically wore an Explorer, not a Boy Scout, uniform. Explorers in troops could not work on Air Explorer or Sea Explorer advancement. They had to join a squadron or ship to do so. Exploring in troops ended in 1959, when the separate Explorer advancement program was eliminated.

Those who were Explorers in troops were Boy Scouts participating in Exploring. Their service should be recognized with a service star with a green backing.


Thank you for the BSA Scouting history lesson.

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