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What's applicable for Hiking, Camping & Service Logging?

Hello Folks, I have heard varying opinions/understanding of what is applicable for scout logging of hiking, camping & service, do any of you have a definitive answer/resource? I searched online & couldn’t come up with a conclusion. I believe that the logged hiking, camping &/or service has to be via an organized cub scout activity but that may be incorrect.

Also, even if that is the case I am thinking we may be given more flexibility this year due to impacts on scouting due to COVID limitations. For instance JOTT & Camporee’s were allowed to be an individual activity rather than scout group so I’ve logged those hikes & camping in our Internet Advancement.

Thank you for reading & any help you can provide.

As far as I know, there is no “official” definition of what’s acceptable and what’s not for logging activities. The practice we adhere to is:

  1. Only official unit or other activities conducted “under the auspices of the BSA” are logged, either at the pack or troop level, since these
  2. Service activities approved by the unit leader or their designee may also be logged, even if not conducted specifically under the auspices of the BSA

Item 1 is done that way since camping and hiking nights/miles, whether at the pack or troop level, may be counted for some of the national outdoor awards as long as they are conducted “under the auspices of the BSA”.

Item 2 is somewhat more flexible, in that (as far as I know) there is no equivalent award for hours of service, and whether or not hours of service are “counted” for rank purposes is based on the unit leader approval.

For not-yet-implemented logging like cycling miles, stock riding miles, paddling/sailing miles, etc, I anticipate that we will treat those somewhere between Item 1 and Item 2, since those could count toward outdoor awards if conducted “under the auspices”, but can count toward things like merit badges, even if conducted individually (e.g. Cycling MB), at least when conducted once the scout is in Scouts BSA. There are still some logistical items to be addressed.

With regard to “flexibility” derived from the COVID quarantine issues, those variances have been handled as being “under the auspices of the BSA” to the extent that the activities comply with the variances authorized by nationals. Does that word soup make sense? I rewrote it a couple of times, and this was the best I could come up with.

I don’t have a moral objection to logging all activities (unit, subunit, and individual) in all categories. However, it can lead to confusion down the road when trying to review/approve activities. For example, at present, there is no way to mark an activity entry as “Not Approved”, to edit it to make the entry approvable (e.g. wrong information entered), nor to delete it.

The ability to mark something “Not Approved” and have it disappear from the Needs Approval list would be helpful, since it would indicate to the scout/parent that the entry has been reviewed and rejected for some reason (having an optional “Explanation” dialog box would be great), and would eliminate the visual “congestion” that will tend to build up as increaing numbers of activities are added. The ability to edit/correct an entry made by a scout, parent, or other leader would allow the reviewing “authority” (e.g. unit leader) to correct a date or data error in the entry (e.g. 100 nights instead of 10 nights, etc). The ability to delete an entry would be helpful since that would allow for removal of duplicate entries, as distinguished from entries that are “Not Approved” for some reason but are not duplicates. This could be relevant in situations where, for example, two sets of entries were created for the same event, a “group” event by a leader and an “individual” event by the scout/parent. That would allow consolidation of the data under a single event for clearer record keeping.

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Thank you Charley for the detailed & thoughtful reply. You pretty much echoed what my feeling was. Really was hoping there was a BSA based resource that explicitly answered this question but so far that doesn’t appear to be something that exists.

At the risk of putting words in someone else’s mouth, I’m going to argue that this is an application of @Qwazse’s First Rule: “Don’t ask for a rule. You just might get it.” I can see some value to standardizing, but it seems like the boundary cases in this case might be too varied to lend themselves to a single standard. If your unit specifically wants a written standard to point to, your committee could potentially adopt a standard that defines how you use it. That said, IMHO hard-and-fast rules have a tendency to develop lives of their own, often outliving their utility.

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I agree with @CharleyHamilton that using “under the auspices of the BSA” would be a good guide / rule of thumb. There is a pretty good description of “under the auspices” in this article:

Bryan on Scouting: Interpreting ‘under the auspices’ in National Outdoor Awards requirements

Under some circumstances, activities done while a Cub Scout and “under the auspices of the BSA” could count towards some of the requirements for the National Outdoor Awards. For example: conservation service hours done while a Cub Scout and “under the auspices of the BSA” could count towards the NOA award for Conservation.

“Under the auspices” is pretty broad, so if the activity is done as part of a council, district, pack, or den activity, then you could include it in the log. If the activity was done as part of a requirement for a Cub Scout rank, adventure, or award, then you could also include it.

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When in doubt, I ask the PLC to read the requirements in question. Read the relevant pages in the handbook. Then ask them if they think the the activity in question should be applied toward the requirements in question.

I’ve always been impressed with my scouts’ sense of fairness.

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For JTE related camping activity see:

Much of the topic is for 2018-2019. I have updated some of the district related data collection for 2019-2020.

2020 JTE unit scorecards were modified for COVID-19. I do not know yet if Activity Log (IA2) meets JTE data collect needs.

For those responding only with advancement solutions, please be aware that there is also activity data in the Activity Log (IA2) database.

I am currently lost between Activity Logs (IA2) and Internet Advancement (IA), an alternative advancement tracking tool that can be used instead of Scoutbook.

For Activity Logs (IA2) I am trying to find:
a. August 2020 announcement
b. A short presentation that can be used to introduce Activity Logs (IA2) in a roundtable news report.
c. Instructions and help.
d. Available training.
e. Information on and how to generate summary reports at the unit, district and council levels.
f. Who has access? How?

The activity logs are now hosted at and interfaced through scoutbook.scouting.org, sometimes referred to as IA2, since it replaced the old IA system interface. This is the same place that advancement can be logged rather than using the Scoutbook interface (scoutbook.com).

Regarding their use by people in various roles, there are a number of help entries & videos at help.scoutbook.com:

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