Have you ever “googled” yourself to see what you find? Similarly, have you ever searched for your Scout unit on BeAScout.org? Many families will now be using this website to find a pack, troop or crew near them. You can be in control of what they see about your unit when searching. Maintaining your unit’s pin on BeAScout.org could make a big difference. You want to make sure that you can be found and that basic information is given and that your contact information is correct.
When & How it works
When a brand new unit has filled out, paid the $40 annual charter fee, and turned in the initial Unit Application to the council they should be able to find themselves listed on BeAScout.org as a “Comming Soon” unit. If you are still trying to find leaders and youth you want to do at least this part of the process ASAP. At this point, there is very little information and you can’t control it but it can still be very helpful to parents and potential Scouts to know that new units are forming nearby.
Once all the necessary leaders and youth are properly registered, your pin will become “live” and you will have more control over the information listed there. Note – If you turn in all the paperwork at the same time (unit application and other applications) it’s possible to skip past the “Coming soon” stage completely.
In Jan 2019 Scouting Magazine had an article about how to update your pin. After personally helping multiple people through the process recently, I thought it might be helpful to give a little more information, some additional instructions and include some screenshots too.
First, do a little research
Go to BeAScout.org and enter 84057 which is the zip code of the UNPC Scout office in Orem. Click on the red “Find & Apply” button. For some reason, it defaults to packs only so you will want to select the other unit types in the left column and widen the search to 20 miles then click on “Show results”. This search will bring up over 40 units from Payson to Sandy of packs, troops, crews, and a ship. Its a really good selection of pins to look at. Be sure you are in “list view” rather than “map view” for this also.
Now, pretend that you are a parent looking for a Scout unit for your child to join. What information can you find? Which information do they not have that you wish they did? How would this help compare units? Make note of the things you notice both good and bad. Now, look at the pin for your unit. (change the zip code in the top right corner if you need to) How does yours compare? What information needs to be updated or corrected? How can you improve your information and help bring Scouts to your unit?
Then, update your own pin
If your pin is correct and you like the way it is right now – great you are done. But, if you want to change anything about it follow the step by step instructions below. Note – Access to update your pin is available to the unit key 3 (COR, Committee Chair and Scoutmaster/Cubmaster/Advisor) at the very least but it may be possible for others to update. I’m not sure exactly who can and who can’t update this info.
Getting in and started
- Go to my.Scouting.org and login to your account. (This should be the same one you use for YPT & Scoutbook)
- In the drop-down menu (top left corner), go to Legacy Web Tools and select BeAScout. If you have rights to edit the screen should look like the one shown below.
- Starting a the top left let’s look at each section/option.
Options on the left side
- Select the unit you want to work on first if you are in multiple units – If you don’t like the official wording/name shown by default you can change to read differently under “alternate description”. (ie Troop 0509 vs Troop 509 OR Elks Lodge instead of B.P.O.E. OR however you would like to list it)
- Choose “unit” under “Unit Pin Mode” to show your unit’s contact info. Rather than the council’s contact info.
- Be sure to set pin status to “active.” If your unit does not show up on BeAScout in your area this is most likely set to inactive. Make sure it is set to active (Remember to save) and then come back tomorrow and try again. If that doesn’t do it call the council office.
- “Apply Status” – Allows someone to fill out the online application (and pay) right from BeAScout. Your unit will need to decide if it wants this option or not. You will still be able to do online applications sent directly to them later even if you choose not to have this button show on your pin.
- Decide who in the unit is going to be your main contact person and make sure their name is selected and contact info is correct. Further below you will mark which information you actually want to show up on the pin. Address? Phone? Email?
- Do you have a unit website? You can include a link to it here. If your unit does not have a website you might want to take a look at a few who do to see if it’s something you might want to consider.
Information on the right
- The “Unit Meeting Address” is what will determine where it shows up on the map even if you choose not to have it show.
- Additional Unit Information – this is where you can give additional information such as when you meet. (ie – Weekly troop meetings on Th 6-7:30pm and monthly campouts every 3rd weekend) There is a limit of 140 characters so you need to be fairly succinct. List the kind of info that will help parents make a choice. It may save you from having to reply to simple requests of information such as “When do you meet?”
- Don’t forget to hit SAVE in the bottom right corner when you are done. And be aware that it may take up to 24 hours for the updated information to show up. If it’s still not there after 24 hrs call the Scout office and they should be able to help you.
- If you are doing this for multiple units they should each be listed in the drop-down menu at the top. After saving, select another unit and repeat the above steps for each additional unit.
Cub Scout Packs – You may also need to identify your pack’s gender: This is done in Organization Manager (my.scouting main menu). Find the settings tab and scroll all the way to the bottom. The default is boy dens, but you can change that to all girls or a family pack (boy and girl dens). Be sure to enter an effective date or it will not update the pin.
GPS Coordinates – The pin management program will input the GPS for you automatically, however… (This tip comes from my friend and fellow Scouter Joe D.) If you have multiple units chartered at the same location, you will want to use slightly different GPS coordinates to help them each be visible on the map (and not stacked on top of each other). I use Google maps to zoom in on my meeting location and then double click on corners of the building or parking lot area (distinct places near the meeting location). This places a small grey pin on the map. At the bottom of the map there will be a box with an address and/or GPS location (40.362398, -111.744446), when moused over the GPS is a link, click the link. This opens the location in the sidebar and you can then copy and paste the GPS coordinates into the Pin management window.
Other Info available
While the search feature is the first thing parents and Scouts will see there are links to lots more basic information about the different types of Scout units and Scouting in general. BeAScout.org can be a great tool for units and families both. Be sure your information is correct and current so that your unit can benefit from this tool as much as possible.
Also, if you are looking to join or volunteer in a Scouting unit in your area and you don’t see a pin near you, visit www.utahscouts.org/Join and fill out the contact information. A Scouting Professional will contact you and help you find a unit near you!
*Coming soon – What to do with and how to handle all the leads you are going get or may already be getting now that you have it set up the way you like it.
Author: Annaleis Smith is a volunteer Scouter with over 16 years of experience as a Cub Scout Leader, over 10 years as a commissioner, mostly helping with roundtable and a member of the Utah National Parks Council Executive Board. Annaleis has been contributing to The Boy Scout blog for the past 5 years.