So you are an adult Scout leader working with a boy on his next rank advancement. He is finished now and has shown great growth. What is the next step? Do you wonder why you can’t just run down to the Scout Shop and buy rank advancements?
The Boy Scouts of America requires all rank advancements for each youth be recorded into the official BSA database before they are purchased. In order to record these advancements, each unit uses the Internet Advancement program (units may also use a program such as TroopMaster, ScoutBook, etc. and upload that program’s advancement report to Internet Advancement.)
Why is this Required?
It is important to understand the ‘why’ of this policy. The Scouting program is all about the boys, including the advancement program. And it is important for the boys’ future that all of their advancements are properly captured – especially since adult volunteers change, papers are lost, and memories are not always perfect. Here are some other specific reasons for properly recording advancement.
- As a young man prepares to have his board of review for the Eagle rank, his past advancement history is checked and verified by a computer program. If his advancements are not properly recorded, his advancement history must be recreated by his unit. This may require going through merit badge blue cards, his Scout handbook, past adult leader records, etc. This can cause significant time delays and may, in some cases, require a Scout to repeat a requirement because no evidence can be found.
- The local council and district leaders review advancement trends quarterly, and advancement records recorded through Internet Advancement are an indicator as to which units may be struggling a bit with their Scouting program and may be in need of some help from their Unit Commissioner.
The consequences of adult leaders NOT properly recording advancements through Internet Advancement is that boys don’t advance in the Scouting program as easily as they should.
Cub Scouts work hard for their awards, and they deserve to have them recorded. If a Cub Scout moves from one unit to another, he may be required to repeat requirements for advancement he has already earned if his advancements have not been recorded. Also, if a parent wants to create a plaque, shadow box, or trophy skin for a boy that shows all of his awards, that parent will be really grateful to know a complete advancement report for the boy can be printed at the Council office.
Let Us Help You
The majority of the Scouting units in our Council do properly record advancements through Internet Advancement, but there are some unit leaders who have become a little lackadaisical in this area.
Therefore, beginning on June 1st, Scout Shops will ask units to show confirmation that all advancements being purchased have already been recorded through Internet Advancement.
This can be done either by showing the paper copy of the Internet Advancement submission form or by showing the electronic version of the submission form on a phone or tablet.
Our youth are the ones who ultimately pay the price for our lack of proper record keeping. It may be a slight inconvenience for adults, but always make sure that your unit advancement person is recording awards properly and then printing or saving the pdf confirmation. It even comes with a shopping list, which can make picking up a large number of awards much easier.
Together we can work to make a better Scouting experience for those we serve.
Author: Stephen Kyser | Advancement Committee, Utah National Parks Council