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Managing troop advancement

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I have a couple of questions about how different troops "manage" their advancement records and information, and how they report this to the council, and who in the troop (youth or adult) is responsible for this.


First of all, we use Troopmaster. With a small troop, I, as the Scoutmaster have been able to keep Troopmaster records pretty much up to date on my own. I record Blue Cards as they are received, and keep things running smoothly. We consider the scout's official record to be his handbook, but we do like to keep TM up to date.


For those who use TM, how do you move dates/signoffs from a scouts handbook to TM? And who does this in your troops? SM? ASM? Advancement coordinator? Scribe? PL? I like to look at "reports" to view progress by scouts, but if the scout has it signed off in his book but it is not yet in TM, it is sometimes hard for me to accurately judge how the scout may be progressing.


I also want to know how you are reporting their advancement to the council. Do you submit a paper report? Do you email an advancement file? Do you record avancement directly through Scoutnet via MyScouting? Who does this, and how often do you really record this information?


I have enjoyed keeping up with the scout's advancement, but I recognize that with our troop about to more than double in size (all young scouts) that I may need to pass this on to someone else. But I do like knowing that the records as truly as up-to-date as they can be.



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We use TroopMaster.net


The scouts signed handbooks and blue cards for records are the core records, as are forms we have designed for BOR sign off, and the advancement chair enters these results into TM to help us keep track of things. We use TM to generate paper advancement reports to send to the council office to update council records.


If there is a difference between the paper records and TM, we go with the paper.


One good thing about the .net version of TM is that the files are kept on a server, and are accessible to anyone with the correct passwords and permissions. So the SM or committee members can look at the records but have limited permission to change them.


The scribe can record attendance records on TM from a home computer but not change other areas of the program.


We do not however attempt to put each requirement sign off in a scouts handbook or partial MB into TM. We are a large troop and that is too much of a data entry issue for us. We generally update a scouts records when a rank or MB is attained.


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much like sandspur. Most advancement is handled by the advancement chair. He does this when MBs are earned and after BORs when he keeps the scout's handbook for a week. Some things get updated as a group. Five mile hike, swim tests, etc. that may have been done as a group. Although there is a need to make sure that everyone fulfilled the requirement. TM handles the participation and tenure automatically. For upper ranks TM is fairly current, but for lower ranks it can be missing a lot if the scout has not advanced lately. Generally for those scouts an Instructor, PL or (A)SM will sit down and check with them on how they are doing. Occasionally we will update this information but mostly they only need a couple of things so we don't bother. If a scout is taking 6 months or more for each step in T21 then there is some other issue going on.


I've mixed feeling on recording partial MBs. It would be nice if you could indicate particular Camping 9b requirement activities, I make a note in the activity if it does. For the most part, if the scout can't manage his blue card then I'm not opposed to making him repeat the requirement. We generally do enter in partials from summer camp and MB round-up if we get our hands on the information. I'm not convinced the scouts really learn the material at these but I've no idea how I can say, "Sorry, but some of those classes are bogus so we are not going to allow you to take them" without having adults both inside and out of the unit wanting my hide.

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We use Troopmaster.net, although we haven't taken advantage of the multiple users aspect yet. I, as SM, do all of the data entry, including individual requirements as the are earned - IF I am told about them. We have a standing rule that anyone who signs off on a requirement has to give me a note so that I can update TM. I find TM useful to track when a scout starts a MB and who the counselor is. For the MB's I counsel, I do track the partial requirements. We have about 20 active scouts, so it's not too difficult to keep up.

Our Council now requires that all advancements be done online, either from a TM upload or via Scoutnet, and our local scout shop will not set advancements (MB's or rank) without evidence of the report being filed. I do miss the old paper trail.

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Much like sandspur and jet526, we keep things in TroopMaster.net and the advancement coordinator or his backup (both adults) does the sync up upon a Scout's completion of merit badges and ranks. We also sporadically update the rank requirements - more so for the first year Scouts who have an ASM assigned to them, who can do the updates himself. We generate a paper report for the council, generally quarterly before our CoH, that includes the Scouts' earned ranks.

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We are/are becoming a fairly large troop (60+ after crossover) and have the Troopmaster record keeping functions divided by program area.


We have an "IT manager" who oversees the whole thing, initially enter new Scouts into the system and keeps us current on the tech side. We also have a ScoutTrak account we use for calendar and email management and she manages that system too. She's a high-end database manager for a big corporation, so this is small potatoes for her.


A dad who works with the new scout patrols handles all the T-2-1 requirements.


We have a merit badge coordinator who enters the merit badges, uploads completions to ScoutNet and tracks partials. (Generally, we only track partials which come back from summer camp. Occasionally, if the troop goes climbing, canoeing or something similar we will enter those activities as MB partials even though the boy hasn't officially begun that MB, just so we don't loose the data).


Our Advancement Chairman handles all rank advancements, including ScoutNet reports. We don't usually enter S-L-E requirements until the board of review for those ranks.


The Troop Scribe (youth) enters attendance info.


Occasionally we discover a few holes in the system, like OA records and troop leadership positions. Either myself or the IT person tries to keep up with that.


This really makes is sound much more complicated than it is -- sort of a divide and conquer approach. This way it's a fairly small part of any one person's responsibility.

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Thanks for the replies. Twocubdad, I do appreciate the fact that you have an "IT Manager." I handle HR and payroll DB programming for 8000 employees, as well as teacher certification and other related areas. Handling TM for a troop of 15 is less work than swatting a mosquito (wait--my son is the PL of the Mosquito patrol--maybe that was a bad example).


So, what most of you are saying is that you do not keep a close, up-to-date record of a scouts advancement, as is in the scouts book. Correct? I was looking for a better way to keep up with that.


Only one of you said that you were updating advancement directly with Scoutnet. Any reason the rest of you are not? Again, just curious.


Let me digress on this, but add another question. Do you have your Scribe work closely with your treasurer? I recall when I was troop scribe (late 70s), that I actually collected dues from the members and turned it over to the Treasurer. Is that the way it is still done? We have an involved treasurer, so that would not be so far for us to reach, but we have not had a responsible enough scout to serve as treasurer until very recently, and I want to see that he is engaging in the proper activities.

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T-2-1 we track individual requirements closely. The ASPL for the new Scout patrols uses the "target first class" reports to help plan programs and to make sure no one is falling too far behind. The dad who tracks that for us usually sets up shop in a back corner of troop meetings and asks the boys to bring him their handbooks from time to time. That's the real weak link in the system -- when the boys don't submit their books. We don't have any sort of back channel to track those requirements otherwise.


Beyond 1C we really don't worry about tracking individual requirements in real time. The advancement chairman, who runs boards of review, collects the data during the BOR and updates TroopMaster then.


Financial information is completely separate for us. We collect dues from parents annually, do no fundraising and don't use scout accounts. Paying for food for campouts his handled within the patrol. The couple times per year we have extra fees for activities (I can think of two times in the past year) it is collected by the troop treasurer.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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We would like to to the upload into Scoutnet with the TroopMaster export. We managed to do it once. But the process has issues. If you add a new scout you cannot do it any more until you get his ID number back from council. That is our biggest hold up as we generally pick up a scout of two every quarter which is faster than we get the information back. I try to make sure that Scoutnet is current on our Eagle candidates. If we can get current and stay that way we will use it for filing the advancement report which should save the Advancement Chair some time.


As for updating the requirements more regularly. I'd like to get set up with the TroopMaster web so that we can do it from a smartphone. It is still in beta and I've not tried in on a smartphone. I need to do that when I go in to test drive a Droid.


We do email the history report out every few months so that the scouts have an opportunity to make any corrections.


Our treasurer loves TroopLedger. We are finally getting a handle on what things actually cost and should make our budgeting much better. Dues are annual from the parents and the Scribe is not involved. Activity fees could be handled by the Scribe but are handled by the transportation chair or whoever is chairing the summer camps.

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