BSA acquires Scoutbook, the awesome web app


With a tap on your phone you can deposit a check, update your family grocery list or share a photo.

Shouldn’t keeping track of a Scout’s advancement be just as easy? The Boy Scouts of America thinks so.

That’s why today the BSA announces it has acquired Scoutbook, the revolutionary web app that makes tracking advancement easier, faster and more fun. That means more time for you and your Scouts to enjoy those life-changing experiences they can’t get anywhere but Scouting.

Imagine updating your Boy Scouts’ progress toward a rank or a merit badge with a couple of taps or clicks. Or letting Scouts input and provide proof for their own advancement progress. Or seeing at a glance which adventures your Cub Scouts lack for the next rank. Or knowing which of your unit leaders still need to complete BSA training. Or getting an automatically generated shopping list to make your trip to the Scout Shop a breeze. Or never again wondering whether you’re using the most up-to-date BSA requirements.

And imagine doing it all wherever you are and on the devices you use every day.

It’s all possible with Scoutbook.

Wayne Brock, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive, says that Scoutbook will help the Boy Scouts of America better connect with today’s connected youth.

“Kids today are always on the go, and their communication habits and preferences reflect it,” he says. “More than 75 percent of U.S. children now have access to a smartphone or tablet — a statistic that points toward a significant opportunity for BSA, and one our organization proudly has seized upon. Scoutbook is our latest approach to delivering a more digital experience that is both fun and meaningful for our members.”

Keep reading for more details about this exciting announcement.

Yes, it’ll work on your device

Scoutbook is an app, but it’s a web app. That means you’ll be able to use it if you have an iPhone, Android phone, Windows Phone, BlackBerry — or even (gasp!) your PC or tablet.

There’s nothing to download. You’ll just type the URL,, into your browser on a smartphone, tablet or computer. The secure website knows which device you’re using, so it’ll load in a format that looks great on screens big and small.

Scoutbook lives in the cloud on an encrypted server. That means if your computer crashes or you lose your phone, all that hard work doesn’t disappear.

It also means multiple leaders — and the Scouts themselves — can share in the advancement-tracking duties.

Wait, the Scouts themselves? Yes, one of my favorite things about Scoutbook is that Scouts can use it, too. Scouts can fulfill some of the duties of their position of responsibility, upload photos of their work on merit badge requirements or share how much fun they had on the last campout with a video — all from Scoutbook.

Parents can use it to keep an eye on their son or daughter’s progress toward ranks and awards.

Scoutbook’s tagline is no exaggeration. It really is “the whole Scouting experience rolled into one amazing web app.”

By a unit leader, for unit leaders

Some 200,000 subscribers already know about Scoutbook’s awesomeness. That’s even more impressive when you consider the web app has only been around since 2013.

Scoutbook is the brainchild of Shawn Jackson, a parent and an active member of the Scouting community.

It’s pretty awesome knowing Scoutbook was created by a Scouter. And it makes sense, really. Who better but a real unit leader to solve the advancement-tracking challenges real unit leaders face?

The good news for current (and future!) Scoutbook users is that Jackson isn’t going anywhere. He’ll stay on to direct Scoutbook development, and the BSA’s National Council will work with him to make sure the app’s deployment to Scouts, parents, volunteers and unit leaders goes smoothly.

Technology only works if it, well, works. So the BSA and Jackson are committed to providing a reliable tool that will make your life easier.

Stay updated on the transition to Scoutbook

While the transition occurs, the BSA will share updates on in the days and weeks ahead. Scouting Wire also has a comprehensive list of FAQs.

Stay tuned!

FAQs from the BSA and Scoutbook

These come from Scouting Wire.

What is Scoutbook?

Scoutbook is a web application designed for mobile devices. Scoutbook delivers a suite of easy-to-use Web-based tools that are helpful to Scouts, parents and unit leaders. It enables units to better communicate, update records, track advancement and manage activities.

Which Scouting programs does Scoutbook support?

Scoutbook currently is designed for Cub Scout, Boy Scout. and Venturing units.

Who can register as a Scoutbook user?

Although any adult leader or Scout can register, Scoutbook is designed specifically for registered unit leaders, registered Scouts, and parents or guardians of registered Scouts.

When can I subscribe?

Scoutbook currently is accepting new subscribers. A formal introduction of the application is scheduled for August.

How do I subscribe?

Visit to register.

How much does Scoutbook cost?

There are several pricing options starting at $10 a year. Full pricing information is available at

Is training available?

Yes. Training resources are available once you are logged in at, and additional training is in development.

Who can see my information?

Scoutbook is a secure platform that provides a safe way for parents, Scouts, and leaders to record, track, and manage their Scouting experience. Personally identifiable information will be kept secure. Unit leaders can see Scout advancement information as well as training data on other unit volunteers.

Can I port my third-party unit-management vendor data to Scoutbook?

There will be no need to port data from other third-party vendors because Scoutbook will link to all unit membership data.

Can I still use other third-party unit-management vendors once Scoutbook launches?

Although Scoutbook will be made available to all units, they may continue to choose other third-party applications. However, Scoutbook will be the only unit-management system fully integrated with the BSA database.

What is Scoutbook’s relationship to ScoutNET?

We expect to integrate Scoutbook seamlessly into the BSA’s new membership system later this year.

How do Scoutbook and Commissioner Tools fit into My.Scouting and Commissioner Tools?

Scoutbook is a unit-management web application that will become the one-stop shop for Scouts, parents, and unit leaders to record and manage their Scouting experience. This tool will provide unit members a way to track advancements, unit activities, and unit communications.

Commissioner Tools is a module within My. Scouting Tools, which allows volunteers and employees to evaluate unit health and identify units in need of assistance. Commissioners will continue to use Commissioner Tools to monitor the health of their units, but should expect the data to become more robust as more Scouts and unit leaders engage with Scoutbook.

Can I renew my unit’s charter from Scoutbook?

Not at this time. However, we are exploring this and many other exciting features as a part of our longer-term roadmap.

Who is Shawn Jackson? What is his role?

Shawn Jackson is the creator of Scoutbook. He will continue to direct Scoutbook to ensure it continues to serve unit leaders with the same high level of customer service to which current users are accustomed.

Where do I go for answers to technical questions related to Scoutbook?

More information is available on the forums.


      • I would hope that, if they start using this as an official internet advancement replacement, then the cost would be eliminated for fully registered units.

      • Scoutbook can import the info from Scoutnet. Hence everything that is on the Scout/Adult Application comes in as it should. Troopmaster has it as however it is typed in. So, if a Scout is named Edward on Scoutnet, Scoutbook will import as Edward. If Troopmaster has Edward spelled as Eddie, then you end up with two Scouts. Outside of that, it took a few emails to Scoutbook to get the Camping, Merit Badges and Service hours updated. Those are things that Scoutnet does not track.

    • We currently use Troopmaster and export roster/rank info to our SOAR-based troop website. If SOAR allows import from Scoutbook, then we may want to move. What are the advantages of Scoutbook over Troopmaster?

  1. “Can I port my third-party unit-management vendor data to Scoutbook?

    There will be no need to port data from other third-party vendors because Scoutbook will link to all unit membership data.”

    This is simply false. There is a ton of data not tracked in the unit membership data. Campouts? Activity participation? Service hours? Fundraising info? Partial merit badges? Youth leadership tenures? There are MANY things tracked in third party applications that units would expect in any unit management software and having to re-enter that data is onerous and should indeed be imported. While I like many of the Scoutbook features, its reporting is weak currently compared to the industry standard, TroopMaster. If the BSA really wants more units to start using this software, they’ll need to get more functionality into Scoutbook and provide a path for those users already using unit management applications.

    • Yes, David, it seems clear the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) were not based on actual questions that people frequently ask … as the first few questions I had aren’t answered clearly by the FAQ either. It just comes across as corporate PR-speak that touts all the benefits without actually offering any useful details.

    • Troopmaster is great at tracking and reporting on every detail needed to manage a Troop’s advancement.

      Where I find Troopmaster fails miserably is in it’s user interface and data management approach. Using FTP to share a database between desktops, requiring syncing between the desktop and web, and now another layer of syncing with the brand new smart phone apps is just so 1990’s. The UIs on every tool are equally dated.

      I, for one, am looking for a tool where I don’t have to think about syncing between users/applications and where the UI is up to modern standards. If Scoutbook has the ability to record the same type of details as Troopmaster, I’ll switch my troop in a second. If not, I’ll keep me and my Troop muddling through the user experience that is Troopmaster.

      Looking forward to checking it out.

      -Gary S.
      Advancement Chair

      • Gary, I agree the TM interface is outdated and its data management inferior to a cloud-based system. I think with some serious improvements to its reporting capabilities and more LDS-specific functionality, Scoutbook will be a better product. I am concerned about the BSA’s ability to manage this product, however.

    • David: Whatever is loaded into Scoutnet can be sucked into Scoutbook. When converting from Troopmaster to Scoutbook we had to send our TM data to Scoutbook and they helped massaged the data in.

      Being the data nerd I am, I did go through each Scout and update what I needed to do. There is data management when converting. We are about 90% of the way there. We are going to collect the Scouts Handbooks after we print off a Advancement report for all Scouts and error check that way. Scouts will check to ensure what they have is correct and we will then verify via their handbook. This will create conversations with the SM/ASM to ensure everything is correct.

      And yes, Scoutbook is pretty new to the field. They have been very responsive to our needs. Is it perfect? No. Will Scoutbook get there? YES.

      My real question is, and it’s my hope, “Will it be free just like Internet Advancement?” I highly suspect so. It is already a $1 a Scout with parents having a free account to monitor their son.

      Plus, they are rolling in JTE….

      So, if you couple Scoutbook with Commissioner Tools and….the BSA is really making life a lot easier…..

      • Adam, I too had heard that Scoutbook can import TM data. We need more information about what can and can’t be imported from the major players in the third-party unit management systems. A blanket statement that it isn’t needed doesn’t help at all.

        • According to the website ” TroopMaster, PackMaster, ScoutTrack and ScoutManage” is supported for importing. Cubtrails and others are not.

        • If you look on their website they tell you who they can import from. Troop/Packmaster Scouttrack & Scoutmanage. It looks like others like Cubtrails are not included. So, if the database has all the info correctly formatted then it should come in just fine. The one thing that I am aware of is that the account name must be the same as what is in Scoutnet/Internet Advancement or you will get a duplicate Scout. For example if a Scout is named Edward in Scoutnet, but Eddie in Troopmaster, you will get duplicate.

    • David,

      What Scoutbook offers is getting the scouts to take a more active roll in what they need for advancement, along with letting their parents know where they are.

      With any of the other advancement tracking options, you have to print out a report and provide wade through the data to figure out what a scout is missing. This requires getting the advancement chair (or someone else with priviliges) to go into the app, export the report, provide this to the scout in question, probably interpret the data for him.

      With Scoutbook, the scout logs in sees graphically the % he has done towards the next rank. Can check and see (again graphically) what he is miising. Did you notice no ADULTS involved so far. Then the scout can go get his records updated if he ahs things signed off that are not present in Scoutbook. Open a new MB, whatever he needs to do to move forward in rank. Again no ADULTS directly involved at all.

      As far as tracking other things. A scout can track his camping, service and hiking directly in the app. Along with awards, training, leadership.

      You can also enter partial MBs and even start a MB with the app, print a Blue Card, work with a MB through the app. Record pictures video of MB info to show your MBC, etc..

      And from what I understand more to come..

      What I like best is it helps the scouts become more responsible for their own advancement, what do I need, what MB am I missing, etc.. all through a interface that gives them visual feedback on what is needed todo. Lets face it expecting an 11-18 year old to parse a pdf report to figure out what requirements are missing is not a reasonable approach.


      • You say that you have to look through reports to see what the scout needs to complete a rank? Why don’t you just look in his book?
        Also, I am curious about the privacy settings – who sees whose information, advancement or otherwise?
        How long has this software been available for units to use?

        • DJ,

          Good questions:

          1) You are able to look at ONE report that automatically summarizes what would be in the back of ALL of your Scouts’ Handbooks. With a large Troop, it would take you much more time to comb through all of the paper Scout Handbooks. Scoutbook IS the digital version of the Scout’s Handbook.

          2) Scoutbook has very good privacy settings based upon the roles that the User is in. (i.e. Scouts can see mainly themselves. Parents can see themselves and their Scouts. A Scoutmaster can see the entire Unit, etc.)

          3) Scoutbook has been in small-scale use from 2013 and has grown very quickly to over 200,000 users by the date of this announcement (as the article notes above). There are likely many times that many users now as traffic has dramatically increased since the BSA Announcement.

        • Again no ADULTS directly involved at all. This statement concerns me. In our troop the SM and Adv Chair are both involved when a scout opens a MB and what about the MBC? should they not be involved? I am not convinced a scout should have an open ended invitation to update their scout record based on what they believe they have accomplished, I am thinking some monitoring needs to be done

        • @Brian ….nothing and I don’t care what people say can replace the handbook and pride iwhen I sign and the smiles and pride in my little tigers eyes when I sign their handbook. A click of a check box won’t change that ever.

          Buuuuuut…..what I use it for its awesome again it links all the dens and your leader training. And the reports and just the resources that you can find, scoutbook has given me more time to actually train and mentor instead spreading time filling out forms. My 2 cents

  2. We love Scoutbook! It is user-friendly, inexpensive, and all encompassing. Technical support is awesome, too! So glad to hear this!

  3. “Or letting Scouts input and provide proof for their own advancement progress.”

    I’m not a fan of that.

    Integrate it with the Internet Advancement system?

  4. David Parker, scoutbook does have the ability to track all of that info. Having used Troopmaster and Scoutbook. I prefer Scoutbook.

    • Jonathan, you missed what I was trying to say. My post was really about being able to import data from current unit management systems. I’m well aware of its current functionality, but to make the statement that no import is needed assumes that anything that a unit wants to track is in the BSA’s system. This is simply not the case.

      • Correction to my comment:
        “I’m well aware of its current functionality, but to make the statement that no import is needed assumes that anything that a unit wants to track is in the BSA’s system. This is simply not the case.”

        Should have read: “I’m well aware of its current functionality, but to make the statement that no import is needed assumes that anything that a unit wants to track is in the BSA’s system and this is simply not the case.”

        I actually like Scoutbook and hope it will see wide use.

      • I know MANY units that have imported their info from all kinds of third-party Scouting Trackers. We have 3 units on Scoutbook. Our Pack had data from ScoutNET and we started there in Scoutbook (which has SO MUCH MORE). Our Troop had data that came from Troopmaster and we TOOK OFF in Scoutbook from there. Our Venturing Crew is in the Scoutbook Beta and we built it from scratch (being a new Crew). All methods were as painless as can be when dealing with so much data. (It will be as good of a start as your current data is in your current system).

        • Scott, I had heard the same thing about Scoutbook’s ability to import. I trust that this part of the FAQ will be updated with more accurate information.

  5. The biggest question that wasn’t answered in the FAQ: Will BSAS be rolling this out for free to all units as part of its acquisition, or will the subscription fees stay in place?

  6. Congratulations Shawn and all of those who forged this relationship and this new transition to Scoutbook integration into the future of our Scout program! It is always a great challenge to integrate “new” systems that are set in a “different paradigm” than the previous norm — ESPECIALLY when you are an organization of MILLIONS with an infrastructire that goes back more than a Century. There will be bumps in the road (i.e. the server transition in past weeks leading up to this announcement). As Scouts and Scouters, we should endure through them and even EMBRACE them as the BSA and Scoutbook open new doors that improve communication and tracking starting with our youngest (Tiger Scouts and their families) all the way through the 20-year-old Venturers, Explorers, and Sea Scouts. Soon, hopefully, our Unit Leaders, District Leaders, Council, Area, Regional, and even National Leaders will be able to directly “tap in” to instant communications and feedback straight from “the hands” of our BSA Members.

    Congrats again to all! I, for one, hope this is just THE FIRST of many future coordinated initiatives for which our BSA Leadership (both volunteer and professional) accept nothing less than tools that facilitate our ability to MOVE FORWARD as the greatest youth Leadership Organization in America.

  7. I’m a huge fan of Scoutbook. It has its usability foibles (that’s my field, so I notice them), but it head and shoulders about everything else I’ve tried. I’m excited, and secretly hoped for a while that something like this would happen.

    Has BSA looked in to the possibility of open sourcing something like this? I know of many technically minded scouters that would love to participate in a development community to get some half-way decent internet services from national. I, for one, would be willing to participate. (I still maintain that national is at least a decade behind the times in Internet-enabled services … which in Internet-years is as good as a century.)

    Doing so would require a good bit of ownership and coordination on the part of national … several large non-profit organizations have developed open source strategies that have been successful, and might be willing to offer guidance on what it would take to provide organizational support to open source. The LDS church’s mobile apps for doctrinal publications and apps for member directories/calendaring come to mind.

    BSA has the membership necessary to support something like this … are they willing to take advantage of it?

  8. I’ve been scalpel key user since I first saw it advertised on Facebook in 2013. When I started using it for only a dozen or so users and it was very basic. And the short time they’ve been around they have added so many features, the customer service has been awesome, it is one of the best apps or websites I have ever used. I am so excited about this, and truly hope that PSA replaces internet advancement with this.

    In addition to tracking Cub Scout advancement, it also tracks Leader Training, as long as there is a number is entered incorrectly. They are also working on a module for journey to excellence, as well as adult awards and recognitions. In the past they even stated that there will be the ability for users to add in custom awards, so councils and districts and non BSA awards can be added in it as well.

    My only hope is that this awesome grassroots tool, is not messed up, since a corporation has now taken it over.

  9. Our troop uses Troop Webhost and we love it. This article calls it “wildly popular”. I am District RT Commissioner and don’t know of any units in our district using it. BSA should have developed a common interface for all third party software to use to deliver information to their systems. By picking one vendor and purchasing it, BSA has made a big mistake. David Parker’s comments above are not only correct, he understates the problem. We use Troop Webhost for a lot more than just advancements and that will not change anytime soon.

    • JP, as a software guy, I too was concerned about this announcement. I’m sorry, but the BSA has not proven that they are good at developing web applications and especially not on a decent timeframe. As a UC, the Commissioner Tools are an improvement to UVTS, but their roll-out has been slow and plagued with issues. Why not let these software companies innovate and compete instead of trying to bring that in-house at the BSA? Scoutbook is a quality product and I’m concerned about its ability to continually improve and develop new features under the BSA’s umbrella.

    • A large organization can have one of two major information system strategies: 1) develop a first-party application, 2) develop an API that third-parties can use. Twitter, for example, has tried both, although not terribly successfully. They used the second to grow their user base, but have been leaning to the first, to the consternation of external developers, for the past couple of years, and have had to find a middle ground.

      BSA’s problem is that it hasn’t really done either, which got us into the awful state BSA’s technology strategy has languished in for years. (I’ve removed some scathing commentary about how it’s not been clear BSA even *has* a technology strategy.)

      Hopefully, by executing on this, things will improve markedly. Time will tell.

    • I stand by my use of “wildly popular.” 200,000 users is a lot, especially for a web app that debuted two years ago.

  10. Having used TroopMaster & TroopTrack extensively, and tested Scoutbook early on and now again today, I have a few comments so far:

    – Web-based and skinned to be mobile-friendly.
    – Easy-to-use
    – Unit messaging option
    – Event scheduling/recording

    – No financial management option. TroopMaster has TroopLedger, while TroopTrack has financials integrated. This alone would stop me from switching right now.
    – Scouts cannot enter events into calendar (negating “boy-led”)

    • I love a lot of things about the tool, but “robust messaging” isn’t their strong suit. I hope they put some time into that capability quickly. I can’t even message just leaders or just one patrol.

  11. Does anyone know of a software for the new cub scout program? I have a small pack with NO money so we can’t afford the online services and we use the free CubTrax that is a simple excel but man it did it right for us these past 6 years.

  12. This is great news. I’ve been waiting for the BSA to get more involved in the 21st century. I’m excited to check it out.

  13. I have not heard of this software before. I remember when BSA and Scoutmate tried to get units to use Scoutmate. This software was hard to use and eventually was not available. I have used Troopmaster since the early 1990’s. My current troop does not use the web version as we don’t see the need. I will check out this new software before making any decision to switch or encourage units in my district to do so. I serve as my district Advancement Chairman.

    Deeann Fuglaar, Southeast Louisiana Council

    • Ever since dropping Troop/Pack Master with dot net over a year ago if favor of Scoutbook, our four units have never looked back. It is easy to use and feature rich, the pros far outweigh the con’s. As a scoutmaster, the administrative burden is significantly reduced, I love using it.

  14. We had a long conversation just last night at our pack committee meeting about wether or not we should change to scoutbook or keep using scouttrack. Our trial period is about to expire but we decided we would wait and make the decision next week at the leadership meeting. I think its a no-brainer now.

    • Chris I had to make the same decision 9 months ago and I’m so happy with scoutbook. Here is a 10% off code if you choose to go with Scoutbook. Code: Movalscouting

      I talked with scoutbook and asked if I can share the code they told me yes so give it out to everyone you know they won’t mind.

    • Chris, as a Troop Committee chair, I don’t see ScoutBook replacing ScoutTrack just yet.
      Calendar is only 3/4 there, messaging is weak at best and there seems to be no convenient “Bulletin Board” capability.
      Since Boy Scouts are responsible for tracking their own advancement, Troops have far less need for that part. What we need is support running the Troop.

      • Our Troop has been using Scoutbook for about 8 months now. For the “bulletin Board” capability, look for the Troop Forum. There is also a forum for each of the individual patrols. There is a subscribe feature for each thread on the forum so you can stay up to date on any new activity.

        The one big feature (coming soon) that is missing from the calendar is allowing boy leaders enter information into it. I’ve linked the troop and patrol calendars into my google calendar – so activities and campout automatically show up on my personal calendar.

        Not sure how you define “Messaging is weak”. Leaders and parents can message (email or posts) other leaders. Boys can leave messages for MBC’s, along with proof of completion (photos, videos, etc). My son is working on his Home Repair MB. As he completes each of the requirements, he takes a picture that he can attach to that specific requirement and describe what he did. When he has his followup meeting with the MBC, they can together review each of the requirements, with pictures attached, to ensure that the requirements were completed. In my book, messaging is very strong.

      • when you sign up for a free trial, there is a unit bulletin board set up, as well as a bulletin board for each patrol. This bulletin board continues if you convert to a paid subscriber. B calendar function is less than a year old, but what Scout book can do has all been implemented in just too short ears by a handful of Scots in Colorado and one scout leader. I have been with Scout book since it was initially released for beta testing, and it is by far the best Scout tracking app available. And it just keeps getting better as they add more and more functionality.

  15. I agree with wildly popular! Using for a year now and loving it. I can also give you a discount code: 10off701 – use it and abuse it! Be aware, you’ll save 10% and I’ll get 10% of whatever you spend, though, so just use mine when you pay and then create your own to share with your friends! Don’t fret about the transition. Scoutbook’s staff has been VERY responsive to bugs. New features take a little time, but calendar is almost done and finance management is in work. Pricing is (currently) based on size of pack and is tiered. We’re paying $1 per scout per year. Adults are free. It is free for a parent/scout to use even if the pack or den doesn’t. I could go on and on because if nothing else, it’s wildly popular with ME! Congrats to the SB team – I’m totally NOT surprised!

  16. Scoutbook is really the best thing that has happened to unit management, ever. I have been using it for about six months and I really can’t imagine trying to operate without it. There are now at least four units in our District using it. This is great news, as long as BSA keeps Scoutbook’s commitment to customer service and communication.

    About two weeks ago the BSA moved Scoutbooks DNS records to its own management. That took the system down for a full day (of course, a Monday because no unit meets on a Monday, right?) The only news that came out of Scoutbook was statement about a service outage on its Facebook page after units became alarmed.

    To the BSA: Scoutbook has been very good about communicating to us the users in advance. I encourage you to proactively communicate with us the volunteers.

  17. It’s important to realize that as the tool stands now, it’s an Advancement tool. Other capabilities like Calendar; troop-wide, patrol-wide, and leader-only Messaging; Bulletin Board seem to not be there.
    So it might replace Internet Advancement, but it doesn’t yet replace our need for ScoutTrack. Unfortunately… As ScoutTrack is still stuck in the web apps of 2000.

  18. Remember IA is for reporting COMPLETED advancement. These other programs have lots of good features and track unit information that I doubt the BSA HQ is interested in tracking.

    I wonder if the BSA did an open competition to let all the 3rd party providers have a shot at this?

  19. I’ve never used Scoutbook, but I have recently started using, which sounds like it’s quite similar to Scoutbook in many respects. I’m pretty impressed so far. And it’s free to use.

  20. All I can say is FINALLY, an app that works! Sure, it’s a little slow, but so far it has everything you need.

    They need to add a place to add external documents for events, like the media release form and the official rules for the Pinewood Derby should be attached to the event in the calendar.

  21. I would like to see the Venturing version roll out a little faster since it was supposed to be released last June.

  22. I just did a comparison of tools out there for my Woodbadge ticket. I liked ScoutBook, but it doesn’t integrate financials. It just didn’t meet what I compiled as requirements for most Troops (I didn’t consider Packs or Crews explicitly). I’ll obediently fall in line, but I >really< hope BSA stays hands off & lets ScoutBook listen to Voice of Customer & prioritize enhancements themselves. I'm thrilled by this, yet concerned BSA will warp a fine development team & product into … well … something like… Hope I'm not being negative about a positive development…

    • Not negative. Your evaluation helps those units who only want tech solutions for financial accountability and are confident that their tracking/communication is OK (after all, a handbook and maybe a paper folder to copy the details from time-to-time as back-up is really all you need with a small group).

      I suspect in the long-run there’ll be away to use membership data to provide the “backbone” for financials (e.g. categories for dues collection, camp payments, etc …), but I can understand the discomfort in promoting that as the “cloud based” solution to every CO’s checkbook!

    • skeptic was working on a financial module, but then bsa announce all the changes to Cub Scouting, and all work on other things stop while they are working to get the new Cub Scouting program ready for the June 1 lunch. Tagalog book has indicated they still intend to release that fairly soon, but have not announced a date.

  23. This article sounded more like a press release than a consumer reports evaluation.

    How about providing a tool that doesn’t cost? Already pay enough in registration fees, Boy’s Life, insurance, 1/3 of my unit’s popcorn sales, and the like.

    I’ve used BSA on the Go for over 3 years now, I can track my whole den’s advancement progress for free.

    • I believe the post was intended to be a press-release. I would not go to the sponsor of a product to get a consumer report, I’d go to the independent consumers to get the report. For a Scoutbook consumer report, see the scoutbook forums.

      I too would love to see Scoutbook be free of charge, but I suspect that if it became free, cost would just increase somewhere else, such as in registration fees. I don’t know how the BSA plans to handle this.

      I’m curious to know if on-the-go can track more than 20 boys?

    • that works for a Cub Scout dad too, but at the truth level on adults should not be tracking the boy’s progress. You won’t be at every meeting, camping trip, true event where a boy might get requirements signed off. So unless you want to go through every boy in the patrols handbook to see what he has signed off each week, then there’s no way bsa on the go would work. Not to mention if your device dies then bsa on the go. It is lost and you have to start all over again and try to remember what was done what wasn’t.

  24. BSA just needs to infuse cash, and stay out of SB’s way.

    SB isn’t just advancement. It’s den/pack communication, event scheduling and auto-reminding, RSVPing, attendance tracking, and more.

    I have 19 kids in my Wolf mega-den and keep 31 parents coordinated and informed, using the tool since last October. It isn’t perfect but it’s the best of its kind, and BSA was wise to acquire.

  25. There used to be 8 methods of scouting, with advancement being only one of those methods. With this announcement, I cannot help but wonder if the BSA is doing away with the other 7?

    Will National also be updating the 3 Aims of scouting to be First Class, Eagle, and Brotherhood?

    • I disagree. Making advancement tracking easier will give leaders and Scouts more time to focus on those other seven methods, not less.

    • Scoutbook’s tagline “CONNECT, DISCOVER, ADVANCE” does not even list Advancement first. Given this, it makes one wonder if you a) have given Scoutbook a try, and b) what else you “wonder” about related to scouting. Why would the BSA throw out the fundamental 3 aims just because they purchased what many believe to be the “next generation scout unit advancement software”?

  26. Can this be used by individuals to track their advancements? My son just joined, and does not have a smartphone, but I do. I’m happy to let him use it to track his advancement, and I think that he would use it. However, our troop prefers to use the paper-only method; our SM is very proud of the fact that he has a “dumbphone”, and has already said that he will not be using this or any other software in the near, far, or in-between future.

  27. Hi Laura. You bet! Scoutbook was designed from the ground up to allow Scouts to track their own advancement for free.

    We have different kinds of subscriptions just for your situation. Our family plan will allow you and your son to keep track of his advancement together.

    It may take some time before your unit leaders realize all that Scoutbook can do for them. In the meantime, we hope that all parents and Scouts use Scoutbook to enrich their Scouting experience.

    • Excellent!! I missed the “Family Plan” the first time I went through the page, but there is SO much info over there, that I’m not surprised. I’ll go look again and get him signed up. I know a few of his buddies (and their parents) will be very eager to follow my son’s lead on this.

      • As a third year scouter and soon to be cubmaster, I’m very sad to hear about your SM’s pride in staying out of touch with the youth he leads. Be aware there are two flavors of the family plan – the free plan is one scout/1 parent, while the “Family Plan” is some minimal cost but more than free.

      • Or, is the SM onto a cutting edge technology that works when cell service, and batteries fail, and has a track record of bringing collapsed civilizations out of the dark ages?
        We all have choices, some of us choose to camp instead of pay for a data plan that won’t help us when our campfire is outside the coverage map. As a result, we wind up actually talking with our youth.
        Unplug. The best way to stay connected. 😉

        • Or, there’s more to the situation than I care to discuss here 🙂

          And with respect, I think it’s important to teach the boys that there is a time and place for their smartphones – including when you’re out in the woods – and how to put them away and ignore them when they’re in the pockets.

          Truly, this is a discussion for another board, so I’ll leave it at that.

  28. I didn’t read all the comments here, but respectfully I’m going to be what looks like the dissenting opinion on this one! A year ago our Troop wanted to move away from Troopmaster. It was too difficult for multiple leaders to make updates and the scouts had no access to it at all! We, mainly I, did extensive research into web-based advancement tracking. This included Scoutbook, which actually came in second! However, won out and we are extremely pleased with our decision! Since then, our cub scout pack has also switched over and I’m able to access both accounts from one log in! At the time, it had MANY features that Scoutbook did not, and impressively has made HUGE improvements in the overall product since then! This includes import and export to scoutnet. It also has an apple app and the mobile access, which both are recent updates, which are great! It is so much better of a product, in my opinion!

  29. I tried the free trial of Scoutbook earlier this year and did not find it to be user-friendly. Thinking maybe it was me, I also had 2 of my parents, both IT professionals, take it for a test drive and neither cared for it. We went with a different program that was much more intuitive. I hope there have been improvements since I last logged in…

  30. I am going to echo Bruce’s comments above. As a large unit that finally broke away from Troopmaster we invested a lot of time in research before committing ourselves to the work needed to transfer all our records. Scoutbook was high on our list. We looked at it very hard. We finally judged it as a slick interface, but had some reservations about real functionality. It was OK for advancement, good at “encouragement of scouts”, but lacked some of the better communication and organization functions of other programs. One of our committee members is a senior IT security guy. He ran all the potential programs through some checks. Scoutbook did not do well on security. That was a deal breaker. We landed at TroopTrack and have been quite happy. The guys at Trooptrack have been nothing short of out-standing at customer support and improvement. I really worry that this will kill competitive development which we all benefit from.

    If you judge Scoutbook on simple advancement it is just fine. They do a good job of presenting and “selling” paths to advancement. They understand the impacts of graphics well. So-so on some of the communication functions they appeared so-so. (as with anything this may have changed. It was a year ago we looked at these). We felt as if we still would have to maintain other programs for financial and scheduling events at the time.

  31. Troopmaster has much better reports. Troopmaster tracks many more things than Scoutbook. The BSA is notoriously bad in its IT operations. I see no need to drive the scouts to the net. Their record keeping should be in their handbooks. Scoutbook has a much nicer user interface than troopmaster web, but I’m still not sold on it.

  32. Bryan Wendell… As a District Training Chair, I have ‘shopped’ the different services out there for Troop Tracking Software, and agree that for the money, Scoutbook seems to be the winner! Hopefully they continue to increase value added services to the already impressive list of tasks that the App does.
    ?? — Do you know if there is a portal for people trying to push this from a perspective that it is a BSA owned item? ie, Roundtables and Training sessions for Internet advancement.
    ?? — Is there a District / Council login to get basic info out of the system like Merit Badge Counselor info?

  33. With regard to this and other troop/pack tracking and communications software programs, how are people allowed in/kept out? Is there a single webmaster who holds the “keys” of who gets access to what? Or is there a Unit Leader sign-on that is shared by several people? What happens if someone does not pay the bill on time? Is the unit’s data lost for ever? Is there a grace period to restore it?

  34. The ONLY way this will be useful is if:
    a. Internet advancement goes away completely – no duplicate entry of data anymore!
    b. All scout info is automatically populated to ScoutBook as it is in Internet Advancement today (directly from registration records, etc.)
    c. The cost is rolled into dues/registration fees. If it is “optional” for packs and troops to use based on buying it, then it will NEVER replace internet advancement as half the groups will not adopt it due to the cost.

    Someone needs to come out with some real dates here too… “in the fall” is not a timeline. We have dens meeting through the summers and working on rank requirements already. We need to get online with something… one way or the other. Please advise if this is going to be THE system, the one and only system… or if BSA is simply “promoting” another third party application…. We did trials with Cub Trails and ScoutBook earlier, and chose Cub Trails as it was far superior in its interface and usability by parents. As of present time, Cub Trails has not indicated if it will continue to support future changes or not.


    • Agreed on your usefulness criteria. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in August.

      Giving delivery dates to the public is a novice mistake. At best they should have stated which half of which year (i.e., last half of 2015), and within a certain percentage of confidence, but estimates like that typically do not sit well with the public.

      Given that the BSA owns Scoutbook (it’s no longer 3rd party), and the cumbersome nature of existing BSA systems, one can only hope that your criteria will eventually be integrated into Scoutbook.

  35. I find this very disturbing. This will mean that the requirements of rank will be in the hands of anybody in your troop.
    The adv. chair. does not have accurate info. and looses the ability to record advancement!~

    • It doesn’t really work like that. A Scout and anyone you give permission can tell you that he completed something, even providing evidence by attaching pictures, videos, or documents, BUT-it still needs to be approved by a unit leader (sort of like the check box and the signature box next to each requirement in the handbook)
      Here are a couple links explaining the different permission and approval levels:

    • John, not intending a Jeopardy reference but “You should have phrased your statement in the form of a question/”

      Your statement is actually not accurate. In fact, it is exactly the opposite of accurate.

      This is how Scoutbook works (and this is the beauty of Scoutbook as well).

      1) Scoutbook EMPOWERS the entire Unit to be involved in advancement exactly as is appropriate and necessary. The Scout and/or parent can make ONLY completion (think no different than marking completion in the book). The Leaders work together as the Unit decides to APPROVE the Achievements/Advancements as the Scout demonstrated or discusses as normal with Leaders or Merit Badge Counselors, etc. The Advancement Chair has to provide final say to play items on the Purchase Order which is the only way that Internet Advancement can get a file. Your Advancement Chair position lost no power YET it became much more efficient at the same time.

      2) Now, how is this furthermore exactly the opposite of what you’ve stated? Not only does the Advancement Chair retain the same ability to “record Advancement” but also, most all of the Scouts / Parents / Leaders / etc. get to be really good at using Scoutbook (even though they have less authority than you to do the Advancement Chair stuff), so when the Advancement Chair is ready to move on THE UNIT IS NOT IN A BIND TO TRAIN A NEW ADVANCEMENT CHAIR.

      Empowering everyone in the Unit to properly interact with the Unit’s Advancement is a HUGE move forward. And don’t worry . . .

      Since you haven’t had the pleasure yet of seeing your entire Unit’s APPROVED items collated, sorted, and even documented with comments from the Scout, Parents, and Leaders in Scoutbook yet, we’ll just go with an Answer to your Statement rather than wait for you to convert it to a question.

      Stop on by and join in. You will be pleasantly surprised.

    • Good Question, JP.

      There is no such SHORT-TERM plan (to my knowledge) as it is not a possible function of the current Scoutbook platform. It is also doubtful that there will be a future requirement that “All things Scouting” must go through one tool (i.e. – Scoutbook) all of the time.

      However, if you check out the September JTE Webcast with Gary Butler, Bob Scott, and Shawn Jackson, you will hear Gary Butler’s future Vision for the Scoutbook platform. He does see a day when re-chartering, registration, advancement, etc. is handled through Scoutbook. That would likely mean that AT MINIMUM the alternative options for tracking would have to be able to upload to Scoutbook much like they currently upload to ScoutNET and/or Internet Advancement.

  36. We are in an area where not everyone has mobile apps, adults and scouts. This could upset many of the scouts who see others able to do things on the mobile device and pressure those who do not have it into trying to purchase a device. I myself as an adult do not have a mobile device and have used troopmaster for years without problems. Is this going to be required and if so when?

    • Sheila, the mobile app side is nice, and maybe the kids like it better, but for pack and den management, I find the website to be better and easier to navigate. The screens are identical (it’s not an app, per se, but a mobile friendly web page). I do like SB for its intuitive use and pretty graphics. It’s also great for managing advancement. Once they surmount the growing pains and fix the calendar and custom report generating, it will be pretty cool again. I’d suggest signing up for the free trial and checking it out. I rarely use it on mobile.

  37. Not so sure scoutbook is the way. So far they haven’t been able to import only 16 of my 58 boys. When replying to their email saying everything has been uploaded, you get no response. The only page where you can find the help button is on the first page, lots and lots of navigation to get to where you want to go. We are currently using scouttrack and so far I am not impressed with scoutbook.

  38. Scoutbook has the most poorly designed interface that I have ever come across. Every time I use it I feel as if I’m being punished for being a Scout leader. Did the BSA test it before they acquired it?

  39. I just read through all of the comments as I was just made aware of the program and I failed to see where anyone mentioned e trail to eagle? We started with troopmaster back when you had to use a disk drive and then transferred to e trail when they went to web based. It has been a great program for us with the tracking and reporting plus the interface for advancements. It also tracks special awards and projects, merit badge counselors, and just about anything else that you can possibly think of. It even has a section where you can identify the award or accomplishment yourself for tracking. I would be interested to see how this compares to this program? OBTW we r two LDS troops operating as one even though we use both troop numbers it saves on the adults… Looking forward to some great answers.. I have also been involved with scouting since I was a wolf scout in 1959…

  40. I also failed to mention that e trail also has access for the parents and adults to check over progress of the boys.. But, even after an invite to join very few do and then when they get close to Eagle they are calling us on the phone wanting to know what the boys have to do to get finished up… Imagine that?

  41. My troop is currently using Troop Master and we are researching other software TroopTrack v/s Scoutbook. As we see it there are three important features
    1) Website / Messaging / Calandar events / Troop announcements – multi user , multi sign off functions on website.
    2) Advancements recording and reports for ranks and MB
    3) Integration with BSA database and scoutnet

    What appears at face value is that scoutbook is good at #2 and # 3 and Troop Track is better at # 1 and # 2 .. With Scoutbook being acquired by BSA, do they intend to have more functionality UI interface available like Troop Track does # 1 .. Why should I go with Tropp Track instead of scout book or vice versa. ..

    Any recommendations from troops who has used either software will help. Many Thanks.

  42. I work for a Local Council as the Trading Post Manager – and advancement chairs keep calling asking if their orders are ready to be picked up because they have submitted it thru Scoutbook. The order is never received here in the Office. Where is it going? Is Scoutbook communicating with the Local Council Offices?

  43. Has anyone figured out how to print the Awards To Present Page? I have hard time believing this was overlooked?

  44. I know I am two years late to this conversation, and please understand my post will be somewhat technical and not so flattering to the decision to purchase Scoutbook. So stop reading now if you want.

    The decision and implementation of Scoutbook by BSA seems have been poorly executed. It has been two years, and no real value or functionality has really satisfied the posts on this thread since that time. BSA had the opportunity to survey all of the troop management software, but it seems they selected ScoutBook for politics not functionality.

    Our troop selected Troop Web Host, and have been very pleased with it for 4 years now. I read the comments in this thread, and the lack of functionality is the theme. Most if not all of the desired functionality is already available in TroopWebHost and TroopMaster. Why is it not available in ScoutBook? Several people have expressed their loyalty and satisfaction with TroopMaster and I agree. Over many years and proper feedback from actual users Troop Master continues to serve many troops well.

    One mistake that BSA did 30 years ago with Troop Master was to limit access to scout records to only Troop Master. I understand why they did it, however, the result was 20 year with no competition, a slow moving monopoly app that today does great data work, and terrible connection work. It seems that limiting ScoutBook exclusive access to troop roster, training and advancement data will only serve to limit the capabilities available on the market for troop management. This is not forward thinking, but rather chains the BSA to a solution with limited functionality, and causes everyone using other solutions to resist relying on the BSA as the actual source of truth for the data. The accuracy and timely update of this information WILL suffer as a result.

    Would it have been better, and still can be an option to get a conference of all of the Unit Management Software vendors, and collaborate on as secure and reliable way to make Unit Rosters, Training Records, and Advancement records, available to all the vendors. This approach would enhance the functionality of the existing apps, AND develop a relationship with the ‘boots on the ground’ vendors who know what their customer Units want. The BSA could very effectively respond to those market demands by staying close to this vendor forum, and be the source of record for all of the best solutions rather than trying to be the app vendor, when it is not their core competency.

    Technically the problem is simple. The architecture is a bit more difficult, but it has been done many times at many companies, so it is not ‘new’.

    Most of our smart phone apps use RESTFUL services now. It is not any more difficult to secure Rest Services than it is to secure access to data. But it opens the door for a unit to seamlessly update contact information, and update advancement records in the national datastore, while using many other features like campout planning and scheduling, troop finances and even quartermaster equipment check in and point of sale apps for selling pop corn and other fundraising that directly updates the finance piece.

    A unit could have each scouts current scout account balances, uncompleted requirements, and the next 10 weeks of activities emailed to each scout and their parents every week, while keeping the council and national database current with addresses, emails and phone numbers all using a single mobile friendly app.

    By the way, all the features I just mentioned (except real time integration with BSA) are already available in Troop Web Host.

    As a Principal Enterprise Architect my job is to design architectures for organizations with complexity much higher than the BSA. From my perspective, it is very disappointing that Scoutbook has made no significant technical improvements that bring real value to Scout Units since being bought by the BSA.

    Based on how giving TroopMaster exclusive access to BSA data went last time, I predict thousands of Units will keep their very functional but “not chosen” Unit Management Data up to date as scouts complete advancement requirements, book camping nights and do service hours, and once a year, or just before each Court of Honor, begrudgingly do the extra data entry necessary to update BSA data. Sadly this is how we did it in the 80s.

    Here is what I suggest as an alternative.
    1. Give Shaun Jackson Scout Net Back and let him keep the money you paid him.
    2. Hire one of many talented consulting groups to build a SOA around the current scoutnet and apps to expose the roster, and advancement data as services.
    3. Colaborate with any Unit Management Vendor that wants to come on the design, and architecture of the CRUD methods for this data.
    4. Be the Owners of the Data, and let a market full of great app developers create very functional software for the units.

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