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Liz

Let's talk about Unit Numbers

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We are just a few pieces of paper away from starting our new troop for girls, chartered by the local chapter of the Izaak Walton League. It's time to pick a Troop number! The local IWL doesn't have any other Scout units so this is a new partnership. IWL doesn't apparently use chapter numbers (I was thinking of seeing if a matching number was available). Someone suggested we use the date for earth day, which is April 22 (so troop 422) and that seems like the best idea anybody's had so far. 

But I'm told that the BSA is trying to get everyone to use a 4-digit number, and girl troops will all start with #4. The only unit numbers I've EVER seen that use all 4 digits are Venturing Crews (I guess they all start with #2 and I think all the exiting Boy Scout units start with #1? I guess #3 must be for Explorers? I may have that all mixed up...)

The only other girl troop in our District isn't using 4 digits. They are using the same number as the Boy Troop and the Cub Scout pack chartered by the same CO. But... there are a number (no pun intended) of non-compliance issues with that Troop so just because they're doing it doesn't mean it's going to fly. 

The district commissioner seemed to be pretty serious about choosing a number that is 4 digits beginning with 4. Maybe 4422 would be a good Troop Number but I like 422 better. Totally open to other suggestions. 

How would you choose a number and are you being asked to use a 4-digit number for new units? 

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As a District Commissioner, I don’t care what number a unit uses as long as it is available and not in use or reserved. 

Our council tends to try and reserve numbers for a CO for their other units. For example if the has Troop 100, we tend to reserve 100 for the possibility that they will start a pack, Crew or ship.

i have not heard anything about National trying to push 4 number troops beyond their fact that the system requires them. But that just means that Troop 100 is Troop 0100 in their system.

As for girl Troops I have seen several use the next or previous increment if they are under a CO with a boys. So, a girls Troop under the same CO as boys Troop 100, might take 101 or 99.

But there is no set rule that requires it.

So pick a number because it has meaning to your unit or you like it, or pick a random number. It is up to the CO/Unit.

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If they forced it, I would be tempted to pick a three digit number not in use and put that on your uniform and only use the 4 digit one (starting with a 4) for official stuff.  Essentially that is what everyone with a less than four digit number does, they just don't include leading zeros.  

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The four digits for the system is a legacy database issue and nothing more. 

I would just pick a number you want. If it isn’t in use or reserved, I seriously doubt it is a hill and DE or SE wants to die on. 

A DC really has no say in the matter. 

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1 hour ago, mds3d said:

If they forced it, I would be tempted to pick a three digit number not in use and put that on your uniform and only use the 4 digit one (starting with a 4) for official stuff.  Essentially that is what everyone with a less than four digit number does, they just don't include leading zeros.  

That's how my troop handles it, leave out the leading council legacy number off our troop unit patch.

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Been a while since I dealt with this, so bear with me. Because of the old legacy system, EVERY unit has a 4 digit code. The 1st digit was a program code, and the rest was the local council's number.  IF MEMORY SERVES 1= Boy Scout, 2=Sea Scouts, 3=Exploring/Venturing, 4=Cub Scouts. 5= Varsity.  Reason for that was a charter organization owns the local council number. For example  The First Baptist Church of Hometown, MS owns the local number 935. The Troop in the old system was  1935, Pack was 4935, and crew was 3935. 

But all wore 935 on their sleeves.

Hope this helps

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Like everyone else said. The first of the four digits is a unit type, it isn't included when you're putting the unit number on a uniform.  My units are Pack 3099 and Troop 0099, but we're actually Pack and Troop 99.

422, as long as it's not taken, should be fine.  When you're entering a unit number in the system or on an application you'll use 4422, but just put 422 on your uniforms.

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I believe some, if not all, of this is local council practice.  We've always had a 3 digit system.  Nowhere in any document or report that I've ever seen has there been a fourth digit attached.  Our pack and troop have exactly the same number everywhere that I have ever seen - and I get lots of council reports.  We're a pretty large council and so it's not because we're too small a council.

Our council does try it use the third digit to denote district.

One the original question - I'd just ask a few people locally in positions at the district and council level - council registrar, district exec, district commissioner, some long time distinguished Scouters, etc...

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My understanding is that all units have 4 digit numbers.  (Look up your zip code at beascout.org and see what I mean.)  However, most units ignore leading 0 or other prefixes.  Some of this is local council practice where they use prefixes to indicate certain things (for example, after a council merger, they might use prefixes to indicate which units came from a particular council).

@Liz  Talk to your council Registrar, but I think it would be fine to have your official number as 4422, but the number that would be worn on your uniforms would just be 422.  This is pretty common from what I have seen.

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2 hours ago, ParkMan said:

I believe some, if not all, of this is local council practice.  We've always had a 3 digit system.  Nowhere in any document or report that I've ever seen has there been a fourth digit attached.  Our pack and troop have exactly the same number everywhere that I have ever seen - and I get lots of council reports.  We're a pretty large council and so it's not because we're too small a council.

The 4 digit number  won't be in the reports, it's part of the metadata or coding..

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Our troop and pack are both 88. Officially 0088 because it has to be a 4 digit number, but we never use the 00 unless filing out an application or rechartering paperwork. 

Our new girl troop is also 88, but council has given female troops a 10 to begin with, so its troop 1088.  There is some debate over weather to use the full 4 numbers

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Our Troops official number is 9009.  The troop was 9 until our local council merged into another council.  The only time we use 9009 is on paperwork, other than that we refer to troop as Troop 9.

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Whatever you pick, just own it and be consistent. I inherited a mess of a Pack number, with a 3-digit number used some places, single-digit used elsewhere. Our Pack flag had 3 digits, uniforms 1 digit, Pack website URL 3 digits, Pack fliers 1 digit. For recruiting and promotional purposes it was a mess, we looked like 2 completely different Packs. 

I know a lot of units use the "unofficial" number, and that's fine as long as you're consistent with it. Don't jump around with the public use of the number so that people know how to identify you. 

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Thanks for the input, everyone. As near as I can tell, regardless of what the DC side-eyes me about, nobody else is actually *using* all 4 digits in their published unit numbers (except venturing crews, as noted previously). So for example there's a Troop 61 that's been chartered by a local church for decades. Two years ago they chartered a Pack 61, and this year they also chartered a Troop 61 for girls. Troop 61 for girls is officially 4061 in the computer but they aren't actually using the whole thing. 

I'll make an argument in favor of using 422 on uniforms (unless someone comes up with a better idea - I certainly haven't thought of anything) even if 4422 is our official number in the computer. I hope they'll just let us do it. 4 digits somehow feels like a lot. And it won't fit on the velcro patch I've got on my den leader uniform for the unit numerals. ;) 

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13 hours ago, Liz said:

...

I'll make an argument in favor of using 422 on uniforms (unless someone comes up with a better idea - I certainly haven't thought of anything) even if 4422 is our official number in the computer. I hope they'll just let us do it. 4 digits somehow feels like a lot. And it won't fit on the velcro patch I've got on my den leader uniform for the unit numerals. ;) 

Carry on with the good work of keeping the BS out of the BSA! What are they going to do? Walk around with sticky fours, grab a scout's sleeve and glue them on?

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