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MollieDuke

Getting our records from old council

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In the information age, this shouldn't be this difficult. We moved areas 3 times in the past 8 years. Thus, we have 3 separate councils to deal with. Not only are we having difficulty getting my son's records from his previous councils, but we can't get our own training records. All requests fall on deaf ears, I guess. My hubby and I both re-took all online training and were told the certificates would be sent to our new local council office. The district offices say they don't know what online training is (even though we accessed it from the local council's own website). We tried calling National, but they said to go back to the district. Anyone have any advice?

MollieD

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You have my sympathy. I have encountered similar problems but not with three successive councils! BSA recordkeeping is the worst I have ever observed for any organization. If I need records from a previous situation for a tranferring scout, I rely on the previous troop for those records, not his council. So far, thankfully, that has been successful. Good luck.

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I just got back from travelling over Wisconsin, Indinanna, Illinois, and Michigan over the last four days. This is the first forum I've checked tonight and will be my only post for the day.

 

I can understand MollieDuke's frustration, and empathise with it. The records issue and transfers is a difficult one, and part of it has to do with Scoutnet -- but it's a very small part.

 

In terms of transferring between units and even councils, the paper record is the most important. Whether we're talking about a Cub Scout rank advancement or an Eagle Scout required merit badge or anything in between, when the system is followed, there is a record that is acceptable on paper in at least three different places: 1) the Scout's handbook or blue card, etc.; 2) the unit records or copies of the advancement report, 3) council copies stored in the unit file on advancement reports.

 

Those are deliberately listed in order of priority. The breakdown often happens when a kid loses his book, or the unit stockpiles badges and doesn't file the proper paperwork with the council. This is pretty frequent and results in trouble for the transferring Scout. The council is usually blamed for not having the records, but if the troop/pack, etc. never filed an advancement report because they bought a bunch of second class badges from some other council, how is your council supposed to have record of who received it?

 

Packsaddle hit it right on the head, and is not violating any sort of policy -- he goes to the old troop for the records of the incoming/transferring Scout. There's a reason the advancement record for transferring Scouts (I forget the official name for it) does not get submitted to the council service center -- it's a unit to unit form. The council is obligated to keep on file the records submitted to them for a specific period of time. Unfortunately, if the record is never submitted to the council, the council can not keep it on file.

 

Unfortunately, many times, all councils manage to check is whether the recipient of a rank or other advancement is eligible is to check their registration status. Serious scrutiny doesn't come into play until a major advancement -- such as Eagle Scout or Gold or Silver are concerned -- and then it may be too late.

 

Units need to make sure they file the proper paperwork with every badge in order to maintain accurate records at the council office.

 

I'm sorry, Mollie, that you're having trouble with your son's records. My advice is to make sure his handbooks are properly signed and that you encourage every unit he participates with to keep accurate records and file the proper paperwork with the council -- even if you have to recruit someone to do that for the unit.

 

DS

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I am curious about your statement on "on-line training" records. The only online training I am aware of is Youth Protection and Fast Start. And not all councils are participating in those. Is there other online training available somewhere? Also, I've been told that training that occurred prior to the implementation of ScoutNet will not be listed in the computer. I have Scouters with 35 years of tenure, who wear the Silver Beaver and Woodbadge beads...but the "official" printout lists them as "untrained". Go figure. I realize that it takes time and effort to input historical records, but why have a database if the reports it generates are not accurate?

 

The other point Dave makes is that the Scout's handbook/blue card IS the official record, should there be a disagreement, so I've been taught. Problem is that when a scout's book gets trashed or lost and he gets a new one, all of the advancement information needs to be transcribed into the new book. Seldom does this happen, in my experience.

 

Good Luck. I think the best advice is to contact the scout's prior unit leader and keep track of your own training documentation.

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One thing we have always done is to set up a loose leaf binder with the plastic holders they make for baseball cards. This is absolutely perfect for keeping blue cards, rank advancement cards, membership cards for OA, special cards such as BSA Lifeguard, etc. I always made a point of collecting these from my sons at the court of honor where they received them. I also have one for myself where I keep all my training records.

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When I was a scoutmaster our troop would go through its copies of the advancement report and photocopy any with the scouts name on it any time a scout filled out his eagle application or when he moved and transferred. We had and I believe it is still around and thick three ring binder with every advancement report since the troop began 18 years ago. Its not fancy but it works.

I was in the scout office a year ago when a scout came in and was sat down at table with his troops advancement file. It seems that some adult put all of the troops records on a PC, that man moved and took the PC with him. They had thrown out all the records and the scout needed the dates of his Merit Badges for his Eagle application.

Paperwork, paperwork keeps things running smoothly.

 

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WOW! What a load off my mind! You guys are my new best friends and don't even know it! I have my son's signed book and all his cards. In fact, over Christmas break, I got them all out and started organizing them into a scrapbook for him of sorts. It's a Walmart 3 ring 3 inch binder with plastic sleeves for patches like baseball cards go into (archival quality). I also added all the reports/photos/lists/paperwork for all his merit badges he has earned so far. I put his blue cards and award cards into sleeves and made sections for his stuff by Rank/OA/Positions held/Merit Badges/Misc. I just did this so he'd have a memory album of his trail to Eagle, but it seems like it will be a good double duty book. Our old councils used advancement forms as records only. That's why I was trying so hard to get all this stuff. Yipee!!! As for me and my husband, well, we did all that online fast start and "safety" training but couldn't get the certificates. We've decided to persue a more involved path anyhow, so we will have to have more training. We're starting over and moving from there. Sounds like it's going to be the best idea since it seems like we learned a specific council way and not the "scouting" way. I think we need to be re-informed.

 

Thanks for so much info and what a relief!!!

 

Regards,

MollieD.

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