Jump to content
nkaye

Merit Badge / Advancement tracking app?

Recommended Posts

What is the best app for my Scout to track everything??? I feel like we’ve had a couple good ones over the years and then at some point it’s recommended we switch to something else. We are trying to reach Eagle sooner than later and the only thing holding my ADD kid back is tracking/organization and he gets overwhelmed I would love to hear what others are using.  Personal use. Not troop... Thank you!!

I’m sure this is out there somewhere but I didn’t find anything recent after a couple searches. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We like Scoutbook, because it is very visual.  Scouts can use it to keep track of merit badge and rank requirements.  The main thing is that you need to be connected to your Scout in Scoutbook.  However, if your troop is using it, then it wouldn't be strictly personal use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

... Personal use.  Not troop   ...

My absolute first choice ... his paper scoutbook.  Put clips or tabs on the key pages were data is recorded.  ... Get a zippered cover so he can keep blue card and other paper records if he needs them.

My electronic choice is scoutbook.  They used to have an individual account if  your troop doesn't use it.  If they do, ask for your login as a parent.  Then, connect your scout to it.  It has good reports and good tracking.  And, it's BSA's official records.

Edited by fred8033

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scout Handbook for sure. I was (am) ADD before it was a diagnosis. The handbook puts the entire rank on 1 or 2 pages. My SM at each conference would ask me about my goals and we would write expected dates at the top and in margins of the next rank. For example, during 1st class SM confeence we would write at the top of Star page, "goal to achieve around [date]." And similar for mBs. 

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Scout handbook. And a small box for blue cards.

As a backup, save pictures of the signed handbook pages and blue cards to a cloud drive that the scout shares with his parents.

If he is still having a problem seeing the forest for the trees, try a white board with "This month I am working on ..." He would then fill in his short term goals.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, qwazse said:

Scout handbook. And a small box for blue cards.

As a backup, save pictures of the signed handbook pages and blue cards to a cloud drive that the scout shares with his parents.


Great advice on backups (take a picture or scan).  Scout handbooks and blue cards get lost or damaged.
I have also seen some Scouts put merit badges worksheets and blue cards in a 3-ring binder.  Then they have everything that they are working on all together.

 

7 hours ago, qwazse said:


If he is still having a problem seeing the forest for the trees, try a white board with "This month I am working on ..." He would then fill in his short term goals. 
 


My son has ADHD, and this sounds similar to a Kanban board organizational strategy that was recommended to him.  There are different ways to do it, but one way is to use a white board, divide it up into thirds.  Label one third "To Do", another third "Doing", and the final third "Done".  Then use sticky notes to post short term goals under the categories.  Maybe the Scout is working on the Personal Fitness merit badge and wants to start working on Citizenship in the Nation next.  The Scout could put Personal Fitness on a sticky note under "Doing" and Citizenship in the Nation under "To Do".  That type of thing.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/15/2019 at 2:20 PM, Thunderbird said:

My son has ADHD, and this sounds similar to a Kanban board organizational strategy that was recommended to him.  There are different ways to do it, but one way is to use a white board, divide it up into thirds.  Label one third "To Do", another third "Doing", and the final third "Done".  Then use sticky notes to post short term goals under the categories.  Maybe the Scout is working on the Personal Fitness merit badge and wants to start working on Citizenship in the Nation next.  The Scout could put Personal Fitness on a sticky note under "Doing" and Citizenship in the Nation under "To Do".  That type of thing.

I always hate introducing too much tech or too many management or business practices into a kid's life (because simplicity and fun are more important than efficiency), but there's definitely value in this kind of Kanban-inspired practice.

If I were doing that, I might add another column (or maybe even 2) so I could track "Signed Off" and "Awarded".  Just a thought....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/14/2019 at 6:49 PM, nkaye said:

What is the best app for my Scout to track everything??? I feel like we’ve had a couple good ones over the years and then at some point it’s recommended we switch to something else. We are trying to reach Eagle sooner than later and the only thing holding my ADD kid back is tracking/organization and he gets overwhelmed I would love to hear what others are using.  Personal use. Not troop... Thank you!!

I’m sure this is out there somewhere but I didn’t find anything recent after a couple searches. 

The best app is the Scout handbook. 

Edited by perdidochas
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

The best app is the Scout handbook. 

It is a wise man who knows that there is a "best" tool for every job....and who has the critical thinking skills needed to recognize that "newest" isn't the same thing as "best". 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

I always hate introducing too much tech or too many management or business practices into a kid's life (because simplicity and fun are more important than efficiency), but there's definitely value in this kind of Kanban-inspired practice.

If I were doing that, I might add another column (or maybe even 2) so I could track "Signed Off" and "Awarded".  Just a thought....


There are also apps for Kanban, but I prefer a dry-erase board.  This keeps him from wasting time playing with an app on his phone (he can spend time avoiding homework playing with a pencil!).  The key is to not have it be too busy / cluttered.  The more stuff that is on the board, the more overwhelming it can feel.  Although for homework, it might be helpful to have another column for "Turned In".  I can't tell you how many times my kid's homework has been completed on time, but not turned in because he forgot it at home or it's in the black hole that he calls his backpack.  🙄

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

It is a wise man who knows that there is a "best" tool for every job....and who has the critical thinking skills needed to recognize that "newest" isn't the same thing as "best". 

Ahhhh... it is also a wise one who recognizes & respects the different learning/organization styles for different people. He’s 14 and Life rank... he uses his handbook for advancement, no problem. Still looking for an APP for Merit Badges. If the documents Advancement as well that’s a bonus. He productively and appropriately uses his phone as a tool... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, nkaye said:

Ahhhh... it is also a wise one who recognizes & respects the different learning/organization styles for different people. He’s 14 and Life rank... he uses his handbook for advancement, no problem. Still looking for an APP for Merit Badges. If the documents Advancement as well that’s a bonus. He productively and appropriately uses his phone as a tool... 

The blue card is the primary way to document progress on merit badges.

Scoutbook works well for that too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

The blue card is the primary way to document progress on merit badges.

Scoutbook works well for that too.

Yes, we know that. Amazingly well organized binder. Up-to-date Scout handbook...

Just looking for an app someone might use that they like so we might explore and decide if we like it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, nkaye said:

Ahhhh... it is also a wise one who recognizes & respects the different learning/organization styles for different people. He’s 14 and Life rank... he uses his handbook for advancement, no problem. Still looking for an APP for Merit Badges. If the documents Advancement as well that’s a bonus. He productively and appropriately uses his phone as a tool... 

Oh, sure. Son #2 in his late teens started making notes on his iPod and using that in his meetings with counselors. (Thoroughly amusing when the IH held it up to the congregation after he gave the CO his report on the state of the crew!) But, based on his experience and observing many others ...

The best APP that recognizes individual learning/organization styles is

On 8/15/2019 at 7:37 AM, qwazse said:

Scout handbook. And a small box for blue cards.

One thing about the handbook, now that I think of it, is that colors might overwhelm some scouts. If that seems to be the case with a scout, I'd suggest he/she print them from https://www.scouting.org/programs/scouts-bsa/advancement-and-awards/, and build a check-list from those. That does not seem to be the case for your scout, since he's made Life rank already. But, maybe those Eagle reqs on 8x10 paper with notes in the margin might help him focus.

I don't often quote myself, but when I do, it's because the best digital APP that recognizes individual learning/organization styles is to:

On 8/15/2019 at 7:37 AM, qwazse said:

... save pictures of the signed handbook pages and blue cards to a cloud drive that the scout shares with his parents.

If the scout names those photos according to the Rank/MB and date in YYMMDD format, he can quickly sort through and see what he needs to update. He can move old photos to an archive. He can create folders for "Do Now", "Do Sometime", and "Done". Some cloud services do this via user-assigned labels. And the best thing ... he's not constrained by the way any other programmer thinks he should do things. He can also include that list of requirements that he downloaded. And notes that he's made for each MB.

I've dealt with several ADD scouts at this level. The fewer "black boxes" that do their work for them translates into more control they have over tracking their own progress -- and less stress. Note: this can be time consuming. For example, your brain might think to lay things out MB A: Req #1, Req #2, etc ... theirs might order things most-to-least boring, most-to-least difficult, most-to-least scary etc ... I've dealt with parents driven batty by how their scout is ordering things, but when I've sat down and had the scout walk me through his thinking, it often made really good sense and we could build on whatever foundation he laid down to fill in gaps. To my knowledge nothing does this better than the scout rifling through his own blue cards by hand, and the scout-owned cloud-based solution is the second best.

Oh, and we do this for Life scouts all the time. It's the most fun part about being an ASM. Every scout values things along the advancement trail differently. Learinng that gives you a window into where their next move in life might be.

Edited by qwazse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  On 8/15/2019 at 6:37 AM, qwazse said:

... save pictures of the signed handbook pages and blue cards to a cloud drive that the scout shares with his parents.

 

Absolutely agree....but even that cloud drive should be backed up to a LOCAL physical media.  

Quick story:  A few years ago my son was a cute little kid in a Cub Scout pack. One of the parents had a great idea!  "Let's all put our pack  pictures on a photo share site!  It's on the web, so we can all get to it 24/7 and it's backed up so we will never lose all those precious photos!"

It sounded great, so the pack put hundreds of photos out in the cloud via a site called "Webshots".

All was good until one day when Webshots decided to get out of the photo sharing business. They gave site owners 2 weeks to migrate to Shutterfly before they pulled the plug on their servers forever. The day came. The plugs were pulled. 

Our pack's site owner did not get the message in time....

ALL of the pack's photos were gone forever!  The only parents who have their precious memories preserved are those who kept copies of everything on their local hard drives.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×