Record-keeping tips

When tracking your Scouts’ advancement achievements, you could find yourself in a sky-high pile of disorganized chaos. So what do you do as a den leader, Scoutmaster, advancement chair, or even a parent when a Scout needs proof to backup his next rank advancement?

We asked our 10,000-plus Facebook friends for their suggestions on record-keeping techniques. Click through to read their advice.

Take Charge

“Our troop has an advancement chairman who is responsible for keeping all advancement records and keeping our Scouts advised on their status. Anyone charged with keeping advancement records should have a thorough grasp of the advancement guidelines of the BSA.”
Troop 76

Go Digital
“I’ve been keeping records for a pack and a troop for 21 years now, so I’ve used several different methods. I started out with the printed record book from BSA and then, when I got a computer, I built my own record-keeping spreadsheets. Now I use PackMaster and TroopMaster—these programs have made my life much easier!”
Liz Anne Dechert

TroopMaster. The software package allows you to set up ‘roles’ allowing you to have different adult leaders be responsible for particular areas—advancement, membership, activities, training, etc.”
–Tom Morin

“I use the free spreadsheets generated by CubTrax. Love it!”

–Lindsay Foster

ScoutTrack! I would be (more) nuts without it!”
Missie Maddox Dickey

Internet Advancement
“Get to know the BSA’s Internet Advancement feature.”
Chris Anderson

“Our advancement chair receives monthly updates via e-mail from the den leaders and loads the advancement data into Internet Advancement.”
Lisa Durgin

“As a new advancement chair, TroopMaster DotNet works great. Make sure you use BSA’s online Internet Advancement feature to transfer rank advancements and merit badges for each Scout from Troopmaster to council’s site. It’s very easy.”
Christi Stroup Rogers

Troop-Level Records Increase Reliability
“I’m the advancement chair for our troop, and I use TroopMaster. Unfortunately, our council’s Internet Advancement has a lot of bugs in the program, so keeping a copy of our own records isn’t just a nicety, but a necessity.”
–Heather Solomon Cromar

Paper Positives
“We use TroopMaster, and I’m the advancement chair. I also keep paper records that I print out and always have with me. The biggest thing I’ve learned is to keep up-to-date paper records on hand, especially for summer camp. I will print out new records for each Scout before camp starts, that way I know the info is up to date.”
Kurt Larson

Track as a Team
“Each leader tracks everything on ScoutManage and our advancement chair gets the awards”
Jane Hansen

“Den leaders enter achievements into ScoutTrack, and then the achievement chair pulls records to order and distribute badges.”
Karen Kirkland

Know the Requirements
“Always keep the most current copy of the BSA Requirements book. This book comes out every year and not only lists all of the Boy Scout rank requirements, but it also tells (on the inside cover) what changes were made from last year’s rank advancement and merit badges.
Katie Knowlton Marr

Unified Tracking
“Whatever system is settled upon, it is critical that all den leaders commit to using the same. While this change from individualized systems to a collective system was not easy for all, our pack was wonderful in the process. After a year, I think all would judge our decision as a big success. Everyone pulling the oars in the same direction makes the boat go faster.”
David Bacon

A Parent’s Role: Backup System
“I regularly remind Scout’s parents that they must keep their own records at home—blue merit badge cards, copies of the back of their Scout’s handbook, camping logs, etc. This will save a lot of frustration and heartache down the road.”
–Heather Solomon Cromar

“Make sure you always have a backup copy of your son’s records and keep these records in a different place. I learned this when my son went to get his Eagle and needed stuff from more than six years ago for his record.”
Katie Knowlton Marr

Do you have additional suggestions on how to avoid advancement record-keeping headaches?