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fred johnson

Scoutbook Acquired By Bsa

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We switched to Scoutbook and dropped Troopmaster.  So much easier.  Plus, the BSA will be stopping the feed to any other application and only use Scoutbook.

 

Source?

 

I have heard the complete opposite...and from someone on the group working on SB at national.

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Agreed.  Simple is good.  Many find TroopMaster and detailed advancement tracking is important.  I don't and it actually scares me as it gets the adults too involved with scout advancement.  I really really like using the paper handbooks for as much as possible. 

Paper handbooks are good, but they can be lost and they can be accidentally destroyed (and due to the cutrate binding), pages can easily be lost. Recording it in a different area just makes sense. 

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Paper handbooks are good, but they can be lost and they can be accidentally destroyed (and due to the cutrate binding), pages can easily be lost. Recording it in a different area just makes sense. 

 

We advise all out kids to take photos of the rank pages frequently. If the book gets lost they have that as backup...unless they lose their phone and don't sync to the cloud often.

 

Our last SPL held a session on cloud-syncing. Got nearly every kid (and some adults) set up. ;)

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Paper handbooks are good, but they can be lost and they can be accidentally destroyed (and due to the cutrate binding), pages can easily be lost. Recording it in a different area just makes sense. 

 

I very much disagree.  ScoutNet is authoritative and can be taken for proof.  Paper scoutbook can be taken as proof.  If you loose a scoutbook, you can re-create major advancements (rank and meritbadge) from BSA ScoutNet.  If ScoutNet is wrong, you can use the book to prove.

 

Really what's going on is the detailed individual advancements.  When we've had a lost or destroyed book, the scoutmaster sits down with the scout and his new book.  Then they review the in-progress rank and discuss the status of each requirement.  If the scout can answer where or when it was done and convince the scoutmaster, then the scoutmaster initializes the requirement as done.  It doesn't take long.  It's a very personal, one-on-one situation that is based on trust and building a relationship.  I'd take that any day over having to maintain a large database of individual requirements that after the rank or merit badge is earned ... just don't matter.  

 

The people who really use those detailed advancement reports are the adults and the parents.  And, IMHO, it perverts the program into adult controlled advancement.  

 

The best way to track individual requirements is in the scout handbook the scout caries and the merit badge paper blue card.  

Edited by fred johnson

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Hmmmm...not sure I agree @@fred johnson. Our unit uses one of those "big databases". It is the only way to keep track of all the things in play. The boys are responsible for reporting their status. The boys are responsible for keeping their book and MB cards up to date. The boys are responsible for checking their "report" to make sure their book matches what is on the report. If not, then the boy is responsible for arranging an SMC to discuss the discrepancies.

 

If done correctly, the scout's book should match the database which is what gets reported in to ScoutNet. Not everything gets in to ScoutNet. Camping, service projects, training, OA, special awards, etc., all are not reported in to ScoutNet. There's limited room to record all the camping, service projects and other "notes" in a handbook.

 

In our unit the scout keeps his book and a record of his book. That gets reported into out DB which goes to ScoutNet. This way the unit DB has back ups of the scouts ENTIRE career, not just what the handbook or ScoutNet records.

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Our troop (youth and adult leaders) focus on program (camping, activities and basic skills).  Advancement is encouraged, but an individual scout basis.  

 

Our advancement chair deals with recording rank and merit badge completion.  That's it.  Nothing else goes into ScoutNet.  Just ranks and merit badges.  He has an "advancement" box.  The box is at every meeting.  At any time, a scout or leader can drop a completed blue card in it.  It also has a little journal.  When someone completes a board of review, the BOR or advancement chairs logs the scouts name, new rank and date.  Once every week or so, the advancement chair opens the box and logs into ScoutNet and enters the merit badges and ranks.  ScoutNet provides PDF reports formatted for the scout shop.  It provides advancement summary reports to email the scoutmaster and his assistants.  We can even email parents pages from it. 

 

There is no need to discuss or resolve "discrepancies" in a non-authoritative / duplicate tracking database.  The book contains the authorized signers signature and is proof.  BSA ScoutNet is the official database.  Everything else is just duplicate.  And we just don't want to record 100 individual small requirements for each scout.  It serves no purpose.  Period.  

 

In our unit, the scout uses his book to track advancement.  Troop leaders track ranks and MBs.  We just don't see much use for tracking every moment of every camp out of every event.  We have calendars.  We have excel files of summer camp.  If we have to find something, we can.  But ya know what, it's the scouts job to manage his career.  We don't need to create extra infrastructure to compensate for the scout's organization.

Edited by fred johnson

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There is no need to discuss or resolve "discrepancies" in a non-authoritative / duplicate tracking database.  The book contains the authorized signers signature and is proof.  BSA ScoutNet is the official database.  Everything else is just duplicate.  And we just don't want to record 100 individual small requirements for each scout.  It serves no purpose.  Period.

Scenario #1: Scout keeps rank, camp out and service info in his handbook. Your advancement chair enters ranks and MBs in to ScoutNet. Scout loses handbook. Is he OA eligible? How many nights camping does he have? How does the scout rebuild his camping record?

 

You Way: Scout sits down for a rather lengthy session to rebuild his entire book including rank, camping and service log.

 

My Way: Scout requests a copy of his TroopMaster report which has all of his camping, service projects, MBs, rank dates, OA status, special awards, etc.

 

Looks like it serves a purpose to me. You may not like it, but it is faster, easier and avoids less problems for the scout.

 

 

In our unit, the scout uses his book to track advancement.  Troop leaders track ranks and MBs.  We just don't see much use for tracking every moment of every camp out of every event.  We have calendars.  We have excel files of summer camp.  If we have to find something, we can.  But ya know what, it's the scouts job to manage his career.  We don't need to create extra infrastructure to compensate for the scout's organization.

If you have Excel files you have a secondary system...just like TroopMaster. You just admit to having "extra infrastructure"....it is just Excel and not TroopMaster.

 

We also make the scout responsible for backing up and reporting his scout work. We have a back-up system in case ScoutNet goes down or the scout loses his handbook and does not have a back up. The information has to get in to ScoutNet anyway. Rather than "fat fingering" all that data directly in to ScoutNet we have it in our DB where we can punch a button, get a report and upload to ScoutNet.

 

I've done it your way before. This method we find faster, more efficient and give an added layer of protection in case data gets lost.

Edited by Bad Wolf

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I enjoy using it to keep up with what my son does SO I can stay on the people putting it in YouthManage ( use to be Scout Manage) 

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If you have Excel files you have a secondary system...just like TroopMaster. You just admit to having "extra infrastructure"....it is just Excel and not TroopMaster.

 
The excel files and other are for camp planning and mainly updating the treasurer's records.  (deposit records, etc).  We use Quicken for that and it works well.  Heck, you can effectively tell who attended what by just looking at the scout accounts.  There are many different sources.

But mainly to tell who is OA eligible, etc, we pretty much know immediately.  There are always a few we have to figure out.  But it's quick and easy.  But we are also between 30 and 45 members.  Not that large of a troop.  

 

 

I've done it your way before. This method we find faster, more efficient and give an added layer of protection in case data gets lost.

 

To each their own.  I personally find the tone / attitude of the scouting troop / environment when we just let the scouts manage it.  No reports.  No scouts having to audit their "troop record".  But to each their own.

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... You Way: Scout sits down for a rather lengthy session to rebuild his entire book including rank, camping and service log. ..

Not sure that's a bad thing.

 

But, my brother is not an Eagle because an SM went AWOL with all the troop's blue cards and no other scouter was around to back him up and encourage him to hike over to the next nearest troop and figure out how to reconcile matters. So, I don't see a meticulous advancement chair as a bad thing either.

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Not sure that's a bad thing.

 

But, my brother is not an Eagle because an SM went AWOL with all the troop's blue cards and no other scouter was around to back him up and encourage him to hike over to the next nearest troop and figure out how to reconcile matters. So, I don't see a meticulous advancement chair as a bad thing either.

@@qwazse, there are a few ways to avoid any records problems.

 

First, we tell all of our scouts to keep their handbooks up to date and keep a scan or picture of ALL pages. We also tell them to keep all their blue cards. Partials are kept by the scout. When they get sign off we tell them to scan/photo of those too in case they "get lost in the process" or something. This way, regardless of what happens with the adults processing paperwork, the scout always has his most recent update.

 

Second, the unit has ALL of the scout's records in TroopMaster. The scout knows his camping and service history, as well as all his rank advancement and MB data, also training. These are all important things for the scout to now. It allows them to keep track of their scouting history. We encourage them to keep this same data in their handbook and keep that up to date (with scans/photos) too.

 

Third is ScoutNet. Whether data is entered from the handbook directly in to ScoutNet or imported from TM to ScoutNet, the process of the original inputting must still happen. Using our troop's approach we have a primary (handbook and scout records), secondary (TroopMaster) and tertiary (ScoutNet). We even have a fourth back up since TM is backed up in to a cloud environment. ScoutNet is hosted inside of BSA there's always a chance they could go down. This way we have our secondary back up on TM.

 

We still require the scout to manage his own scouting career and paperwork, we just have a back up plan in case something happens (e.g., fire, flood, natural disaster, etc.). I never want to be in a position of telling a scout with 6 years in the program he cannot make Eagle because of a single or dual point of failure. Too much at stake.

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Not sure that's a bad thing.

 

But, my brother is not an Eagle because an SM went AWOL with all the troop's blue cards and no other scouter was around to back him up and encourage him to hike over to the next nearest troop and figure out how to reconcile matters. So, I don't see a meticulous advancement chair as a bad thing either.

 

I'm sorry for your brother.  His scout leaders did not do right by him.  Leaders screw up and burn out and other ugly things.  That's why there are multiple leaders.  Someone should have stepped up to help resolve the adult-induced problem your brother had.  

 

I was not a scout 30 years ago.  It would be interesting to learn more about how BSA recorded advancement back then.

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I was not a scout 30 years ago.  It would be interesting to learn more about how BSA recorded advancement back then.

I was. In my unit the SM and CC did the following:

  • Scout logged everything (camping, service, rank and MBs) in his handbook.
  • Ranks were signed off during SMC, then BOR (usually same night) and rank was awarded same night.
  • Scout kept and held blue cards. Completed cards were turned in. MBs were awarded at COH.
  • Adults still processed paperwork and went to "scout shop" for awards.
  • Discrepancies? Go back to scout's handbook or troop spreadsheet, then reconcile.

This same process is what my unit uses today but with the data base as back up as opposed to a troop spread sheet.

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I was a scout a little more than 30 years ago, and like @, my SM had roughly the same procedure. For upper ranks he created a file on each scout. Kept it beside his shoe box full of pictures and organ pipes needing repaired.

 

My brother was a scout almost 60 years ago. Some kid not getting a medal would not generate much outcry among the miners, shepherds, and veterans to whom we sold beer.

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