Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
karunamom3

Doing away with blue cards?

Recommended Posts

We had such a hard time with blue cards and summer camp. Most were missing, wrong, not signed (even though all requirements were marked completed), signed digitally, not blue, etc. Even after a leader spent 3 hours at camp a week later to try and straighten it all out there are still issues. 

After discussing with council they are not concerned. They do not like the blue cards and believe scouting is moving away from them. They feel the cards are more trouble than anything. (Not being received, digital signatures, lost, etc) They told us that if everything is recorded properly in Scoutbook then the blue cards are really not needed unless we, our unit, needs them. 

I was quite surprised at this because I have been told from day 1 to save every blue card for Eagle BOR.

Any thoughts on this? 

Edited by karunamom3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most of the summer camps our boys have attended in recent years use some kind of electronic reporting method (sometimes as simple as a spreadsheet emailed to troop). Scoutbook or report, either way it saves you the problems about errors on the cards, unsigned cards, etc. (BTW: Often the unsigned card signals a "partial" --- look at the list of completed requirements).

I do still see the blue cards being used at merit badge university workshops and the like.

My son's eagle coach told him to have proof he earned his MBs, but that a report from Scoutbook would suffice (which is good, because he only has blue cards on maybe half his badges ---- though he did save all the completion cards that he's received when awarded each MB).

image.png.c1b0bfb728ec90610cd9d3b410b3b624.png

 

Share this post


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

Most of the summer camps our boys have attended in recent years use some kind of electronic reporting method (sometimes as simple as a spreadsheet emailed to troop). Scoutbook or report, either way it saves you the problems about errors on the cards, unsigned cards, etc. (BTW: Often the unsigned card signals a "partial" --- look at the list of completed requirements)

My son's eagle coach told him to have proof he earned his MBs, but that a report from Scoutbook would suffice (which is good, because he only has blue cards on maybe half his badges ---- though he did save all the completion cards that he's received when awarded each MB).

image.png.c1b0bfb728ec90610cd9d3b410b3b624.png

 

Good to know that other summer camps are not giving cards. Thanks.

I do know about the partials. So 2 of our boys missed one requirement for Astronomy. Before leaving camp they spoke with the counselor about it. When they learned a leader was going back they got it done and brought the blue cards back. The counselor marked the number as complete but didn't sign. I'm sure it was because he never does. It's all printed on the computer by the office staff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what is the discussion about; scouts and scouters not doing the process correctly, or streamlining the process so scouts and scouters don't have to perform the process correctly. The Advancement guide directs the scout to ask the SM for a list of counselors, and acquire a MB Card (we use white cards) to be filled out for approval by the SM. How does a scouts perform that process without first acquiring the card. Isn't following the process an important life skill? I know by experience that actions of following the processes in the troop are good practices of life skills. Now, I admit summer camps interrupt the process and challenges the practice of the life skill, but shouldn't we try? If Blue Cards aren't getting filled out correctly, somebody is doing it wrong. 

Barry

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Barry, good point. I guess I am asking if anyone else got feedback like this from their councils. It was basically like as long as it is entered into scoutbook, blue cards dont matter and not needed. We were shocked honestly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We still use blue cards.  Our camp sends us a file of electronic blue cards with signatures... we then print and cut out and sign blue cards to keep records.  My hands are still aching with over 120 MBs earned at camp.

Our council did say the paper advancement reports will stop very soon (we use those as well) so I wouldn’t be surprised if they stop using blue cards and switch to Scoutbook only.  We plan to use blue cards until BSA makes an official call.  Scoutbook is nice for advancement records; however, it doesn’t work well when you are remote and outside... paper blue cards work everywhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

Scoutbook is nice for advancement records; however, it doesn’t work well when you are remote and outside... paper blue cards work everywhere.

Precisely!

Same with Scout Handbooks for rank advancement.  I can sign off a scout's completed work on any campout, high adventure base, road trip etc.  No need to worry about flaky internet, lost cell signals, forgotten wifi passwords, dead batteries or all the myriad complications that can occur when scouting is actually an adventure.

Let the advancement chair worry about Scoutbook!  I don't want to even see it, myself....it's a messy complication that wastes my time.

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The issues stated are not blue card issues, they are a result of adults doing what the scouts should be doing for themselves. Barry is spot on. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our council does need look for blue cards at Eagle BOR, we don't even look for the MB cards.  What is on the Eagle application is what is important and all we truly look at, other than the scouts sash to ask them some questions about their favorite MB, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, karunamom3 said:

Barry, good point. I guess I am asking if anyone else got feedback like this from their councils. It was basically like as long as it is entered into scoutbook, blue cards dont matter and not needed. We were shocked honestly

Well, the struggle of bureaucracy can sometimes drive councils to seek a path of least resistance. But, as you seem to already understand, units should resist letting council lead their program astray. 

There are two separate expectations that should be considered; one is that the scouts grow from the experience. I happen to believe this practice is a good growth experience. The other is accurate back records at the scout office. I believe council records are important for long term well beyond the scouts youth experience. I was unit leader before computers and every one of our Eagle scout candidates found several errors on their council records. I'm not exaggerating, everyone one of them. After digital record keeping was brought in to the system, almost ZERO errors where found. So, develop the unit process where the scouts are responsible for maintaining their records, while the unit maintains backup records (ie. digital).  

I do have one experience about this process. We had a scout transfer into our troop from a troop in another state. He was a very fine 16 year old young man who only needed 3 MBs to get Eagle. Where he stumbled was filling out his Eagle paperwork and collecting all the packet information. Our troop puts that responsibility on the scout, but his previous troop didn't even let the scouts hold any of their cards because they didn't trust the scouts. Once we all understood the situation, we helped him where ever he asked and all went well. It's a good skill to practice.

Barry 

Edited by Eagledad
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going by the Guide to Advancement, blue cards are still the nationally recognized standard for the merit badge record (7.0.0.2 About the Application for Merit Badge (“Blue Card”)).  Councils can request a different process for large events (not sure how many councils actually make these requests or if they just do it on their own).  From what I have heard, some councils really scrutinize the blue cards at Eagle BOR time, while others just go by what is in the database (ScoutNet / Scoutbook).  So I guess the answer depends on which council you are in, and could change based on the people involved.

We have Scouts move into / out of the area somewhat frequently, so we try to do the safe thing by making sure that the Scout always gets a blue card.  I like blue cards and Scoutbook, because they serve as backups to each other (blue cards sometimes get lost or damaged, and sometimes computer data gets lost or corrupted).

Sometimes we get an actual blue card.  Sometimes we get a digital blue card from 3rd party vendors such as Black Pug or Tentaroo.  They can be printed on light blue card stock.  I have not heard any complaints about digital signatures.

  • Like 1

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
Sign in to follow this  

×