By Stephen Kyzer
May 23, 2016

Can’t I Just Buy My Eagle?

Beginning on June 1st, Scout Shops will ask units to show confirmation that all advancements being purchased have already been recorded through Internet Advancement and here’s why.

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?

Recording Advancement

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?

EagleScout2

He is why!

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.

Cubs too!

cub-scout-handcarts

Working hard on advancements

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.

Summary

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.

stephen kyzerAuthor: Stephen Kyser | Advancement Committee, Utah National Parks Council

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12 thoughts on “Can’t I Just Buy My Eagle?

  1. Anonymous

    The concept makes sense for the initial recording of the advancement and the initial purchase. However, is there a procedure that will allow a boy or parent to purchase replacement insignia for a secondary uniform or as a replacement for a lost patch? Will they have to work with Council Services or an Advancement Chair to get a printout from Internet Advancement before a purchase? That also seems a bit much and dependent upon educating parents and boys on what seems an administrative policy.

    Reply
    1. Stephen KyzerStephen Kyzer

      That is a valid concern you have raised. However, do not despair. If you are purchasing a rank advancement or a lost patch as a replacement or for another uniform just let the staff know and you will not have any problem.

      Reply
  2. gt84604

    I’m glad to see that we’re working to improve our record keeping. I do have one question on the implementation, though:

    Suppose we have new Scouts, for whom we have already turned in registration forms, but who do not yet appear in the Internet Advancement system. (This happens often — we had two of these in my unit just in the last month.) Can we pick up awards that they have earned since joining, while we wait for the paperwork to go through so that we can record them in Internet Advancement? Or do we need to wait?

    Reply
    1. Stephen KyzerStephen Kyzer

      New 11 year old scouts is an area which has caused many issues with the advancement system because items get purchased and awarded before a scout ever gets registered. Later on this problem has to be rectified which takes time and the involvement of the National office. So the answer to your question is that you should wait for the scout to appear in internet advancement so the advancement can be properly recorded. To help alleviate the time needed for the registration process get the forms turned in as quickly as possible and the scout office will work to get the scout registered quickly.

      Reply
      1. Leah Overson

        Be sure to click on the “Start Over” button after loading the roster in Online Advancement. That will bring up the latest changes on the newest roster.

        Reply
    2. JNP

      I had this problem before where the boys name was t showing up on my advancement report. Called the council to find out why the youth wasn’t on my records and to find out I just needed to summit what I had started so it would reload the new roaster and guess what his name was in their.

      I am not saying this is your problem but it always worth checking into

      Reply
  3. D

    The more important question is WHY does the council continue to play this back and forth game? 8 plus years I have been involved in scouting and some times “proof” is required and other times it is not. Last time I was in to purchase advancements, no “proof” was required though I did have it; I was told “we no longer require the paperwork.” Now we are back to it being required….can’t the higher up’s make up their mind?

    Reply
    1. Susan CheeverSusan Cheever

      Scouting is a volunteer organization, and I think the Council works hard to support volunteers. I work for the Council and we want so much to give good customer service. A part of that is trusting our volunteers and expecting each of them to do what is required to help the boys. We don’t want to put road blocks up that make it difficult for units to recognize and honor the boys in a timely manner for their advancement, and we know that sometimes situations arise that make it difficult for awards to be recorded online before they are purchased. We tried to allow flexibility for adult leaders to do what worked best for them. Unfortunately, we noticed over time that things were not always being recorded, and when that happened the boys paid the price.

      Reply
    2. Stephen KyzerStephen Kyzer

      There really hasn’t been a back and forth game and I have been working in advancement for 20+ years now. It was only recently that we stopped requiring the “proof” anymore in an effort to reduce paperwork and make things easier based on what we were being told. But we never did advertise that fact – the scout shop just stopped asking. As Susan has pointed out, over time the advancements being properly recorded steadily declined but the purchases were still being made. Only the young men suffer in the long run if this continued so we had to make the change to go back to requiring the “proof”.

      Reply
  4. Heidi Baxter

    I have an 11-year-old scout and a 9-year-old cub and I just want to say THANKS for all of the time and effort you put into making the scouting programs the best they can be! My boys thoroughly enjoy each of the new challenges they face and are learning and growing from each experience. We use scoutbook.com to record/track/update (love it) and we’ve just started using the new Interactive Digital Merit Badge Pamphlets as well (so cool)! Thanks for making this busy Mom’s life SO much easier!

    Reply
  5. Leah Overson

    On an older list of instructions for recording Cub Scout awards from a previous council for someone who has moved into our area, it says to only record the ranks. Is that instruction still valid ?
    For the older Scouts, it says to only record the merit badges earned after the Eagle and only certain Scout ranks. Should I throw the instructions away?

    Reply

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