Scoutbook now automatically syncs with BSA national advancement database

Scoutbook users are about to love Scoutbook even more.

The BSA’s official web app has always been a great tool for tracking a Scout’s advancement. It makes everything — “from the first knot tied to final hours of service performed” — easier and more rewarding for Scouts and their families.

An important update announced this week makes this essential tool even better. It allows all units with active Scoutbook subscriptions to sync their youth advancement with ScoutNet.

This is huge, but heads up: You’ll need to complete a one-time setup to activate the sync.

Once you do, you can approve advancement within Scoutbook and have it automatically sync with MyScouting/Akela and ScoutNet/PAS (the BSA council tools).

Previously, Scouters needed to generate a .csv (comma-separated values) file from Scoutbook, log into Internet Advancement and upload that file. This was a simple but time-consuming task.

Now all that happens automatically. Scoutbook and the BSA’s advancement systems communicate behind the scenes to make sure each is updated with the latest info.

Once you approve advancement records within Scoutbook, that info gets recorded by the BSA and your local council. This means you can print everything from Scoutbook and take that information to your local Scout Shop to purchase the advancement recognition items you need.

How to sync Scoutbook with the advancement database

To get started, you’ll need to complete the one-time Scoutbook youth advancement sync. Note that this process must be performed by a currently registered key 3 member of your unit.

You should complete this process by Dec. 31, 2017.

Starting Jan. 1, 2018, units with active Scoutbook subscriptions will only be able to approve advancements for Scouts who are in the advancement sync. If you have not activated your unit and/or Scouts within your unit, you will not be able to approve advancements for that Scout or Scouts.

Note that as a unit activates the sync, if there are Scouts who have not yet been registered (entered into ScoutNet or My.Scouting) the unit can unapprove those Scouts and continue the sync for the rest of the unit.  Once registration is complete for the outstanding Scouts, the unit can then approve them and they will be included.

The complete steps are outlined in this handy document.

Things to know about the Scoutbook youth advancement sync

  • In this first phase, only youth advancement records will be synced.
  • Because ScoutNet only tracks completed and signed-off advancements, only “approved” advancements will transfer from Scoutbook to ScoutNet. Partial completions, and items only marked “completed” and not “approved” will continue to be tracked only via Scoutbook.
  • When there is an approved change in an advancement in Scoutbook, it will be reflected in the council records. When the council records change, it will be reflected in Scoutbook. The record with the most recent update date will take precedent.
  • Advancements that require district, council or national approval will not be uploaded from Scoutbook. Instead, they will flow from ScoutNet through to Scoutbook.
  • Scout Shop staff will know that the Advancement Report from Scoutbook and the Advancement Report from Internet Advancement are both certified, and either should be accepted. The bottom of the Advancement Report from Scoutbook looks like this:

What to do if you still have questions

If you have any questions about the Scoutbook Youth Advancement Sync or if your Scouting unit has not received the sync instructions, please send an email to Scoutbooksync@gmail.com.

41 Comments

  1. If you have Scouts that are not yet on your official roster at the BSA, you can approve them after activating sync. You will be able to record completions but not approve anything. Once you have the BSA number, add it to the Scout’s profile then enable Sync for that Scout by clicking on a link that will appear on the Scout’s main Scoutbook page. You do not need to wait until you have the BSA # to approve the Scout as the article implies.

    Ed D.
    Scoutbook User Advisory Council

      • Q,
        There is no restriction on the dates entered in Scoutbook with respect to a Scout’s join date. The only checks in Scoutbook are to make sure the dates line up with requirements. For example, an Eagle cannot earn 2 Palms (except at the Eagle BOR date) that are closer than 3 months apart.

  2. I still like Troop master I’ve been using it for over thirty years and it was the very first program to record advancements

    • There are certainly some great Scouters out there that have put together and have used some great Scouting programs. Those will still exist. Of course, with Scoutbook there are no more middle steps between your Unit’s Approved Advancements/Awards and the Council reflecting those changes. Your Unit Leaders are now right IN SYNC with the BSA Records because your Unit’s Scoutbook record becomes the official BSA record once your Unit validates for the SYNC process.

  3. Been in sync on Scoutbook for about a month now and I can enter something on iPhone drive to the store and the registrar sees it before I get there. Has been very nice for my advancement chair – true 1 hour job now – LOL

    • Donovan, that is GREAT to hear! Most of the Councils are loving the fact that Unit Advancements are now showing up on their records automatically. Sure makes it much easier on the Leaders as well!

    • I contacted National about this around three years ago. “I have a program,” I said, “I want to release it free of charge, open source, so that everyone can use it for free. What sort of API do you have for making my program sync with a Council?”

      National told me that I’d have to pay to license my program, and it was going to be a really hefty license free. I reiterated that it didn’t make sense to charge me for something like that because people obviously needed something like that, and I didn’t want to make a profit — i was releasing it free.

      National reiterated that no pay = no play. So since it would only be a local tracker, I didn’t think it would get much use and my program has sat largely unused since then. So if you want something simpler than Scoutbook (which is a royal pain to use and was part of why I started developing my own program) and free, blame National — you could have had it years ago.

      You still could, if National was willing.

    • Simple to operate – tens of thousands of Unit Leaders claim that it is already the easiest of the systems to use. Of course, everyone has their own opinions and that is part of what makes the BSA so great. Many Councils have made Scoutbook free for the end user. Of course, nothing in life is actually “free” but $1 per Scout PER YEAR is very close.

  4. Our Council is providing Scoutbook to it’s units at the beginning of 2018.
    How should our units handle this syncing process since this article says it must be done by 12/31/17?

    • Bill,

      You will be able to enable sync at any time, even after Jan 1, 2018. After Jan 1, 2018, until sync is enabled you will not be able to approve any awards, advancement or requirements.

    • If you have a Scoutbook unit account now, then you need to activate the sync. You will have the same account when your council pays for it. They will give you a coupon code you can enter to extend your subscription next year.

    • Scouter Bill, that will be a very effective way for your Council to show some outstanding Advancement Numbers this year. Any new Unit that signs up is led right into the process for validating the Unit SYNC so there are no problems there. The Units previously on Scoutbook need to bring their records up-to-date with the BSA to set up SYNC by 12/31/2017.

  5. What about units that are currently rechartering? National shows more scouts than we actually have based on scouts moving up, quitting, moving, etc. We have already cleaned them off of our Scoutbook Records – if we sync with Internet Advancement is that going to reload them into our Scoutbook Account? What will that do for a unit that has a subscription for 40 Scouts. Will we get an error If it adds five more Scout to our Scoutbook records?

    • Gilsonh,

      Sync does not add Scouts to your Scoutbook roster. We do not recommend doing a ScoutNET Import prior to enabling sync unless you are a new unit just starting with Scoutbook. The requirement is all active Scouts on your Scoutbook roster be on your official BSA roster as well. You can have Scouts on your official BSA roster that are not in Scoutbook and still activate sync. If you need more assistance I recommend posting in the Scoutbook forums.

    • I worried about that too – but this is just advancements – not memberships. If council adds a scout to your unit they do not magically appear in SB – you still have to add the scout

    • Gilsonh, the SYNC is not a member sync. It is an Advancement SYNC. Unless you do another import, it will only SYNC Advancement for the Scouts you have listed in your Scoutbook subscription.

  6. It doesn’t work all that great however. It only transferred YPT from my training account. All else appears to be non-existent to Scoutbook, which means manual entry of all of the training that was completed for three separate positions.

    • David,
      If you have the same member ID in your profile in Scoutbook that you are using in MyScouting.org then all the basic training you have in MyScouting will sync when you click Scoutnet Sync on the training page.

    • David, it sounds like you have multiple BSA ID’s associated with your Training Records. This can be cleaned up in your My.Scouting.org account (which is separate from Scoutbook). Scoutbook will pull over your training from your single training record once you have that all set up at My.Scouting.org which maintains each member’s main training records.

      • Some of this confusion is caused by the YPT assigning ID numbers to people who did not sign in before taking the YPT training. The person does the YPT training, prints out the certificate, but the ID on the certificate doesn’t match the adult member’s ID.

  7. David,

    I suggest logging in to my.scouting.org going to Legacy Tools -> Training Validation. Select All Training then in the search field select Member ID and enter your BSA#. I suspect you have training recorded under multiple BSA#s. If so, you will need to contact your registrar to have your training records merged under a single BSA#. This number would need to be used in Scoutbook. If you have more questions, I recommend posting to the Scoutbook forums.

  8. Once again, blindsided by National. Only after I pay for another year of Scoutbook do we learn you HAVE to sync or lose functionality. If changes in ScoutNet update my Scoutbook files, I’m not interested. This used to be a handy double check, but now somebody else can screw up my data without me having something to check against. I was afraid when Scoutbook was bought by BSA they’d find a way to ruin it. This will be as savvy and intuitive as their web site, their mobile app, and their training center. Which means back to Commodore 64 technogy. Is Troop master the best alternative?

    • The sync gives all of us visibility of what is in the Scouts’ permanent advancement record and the ability to make changes. In the long run this is a good thing for every Scout.

  9. Council currently requires Internet Advancement Report be submitted with Eagle Scout Rank Application in order to verify that the application and BSA records are in sync. Will Councils now be FORCED to accept ScoutBook reports in place of Internet Advancement Report for Eagle candidates?
    :-)>

    • Councils can request either the Internet Advancement Member Summary report or the Scoutbook Boy Scout History Report from sync’d units. The Boy Scout History Report in Scoutbook contains the same advancement information as the IA Member Summary report. Councils can write to advancement.team@scouting.org for guidance in this area.

  10. Pretty hard to beat Troopmaster and the web-based system. It has a lot more functionality that Scoutbook without the BSA IT issues. We have been using Troopmaster since 1991 without regrets. Yes, there is a cost, but you get a quality product.

    • We’ve been using TM for several years, and recently upgraded to 2.0. The mobile platform and the new versions are awesome. I haven’t actually used it to submit to the BSA… Going off of appearance, they appear to be way behind in technology, so I don’t trust that it will work without issues.

      • The new versions of TM are awesome. With TM 2.0 you go to the Court Of Honor report then click a Send to Council button. All you need is your Internet Advancement settings and it updates with no issues. You can then print the “official” report from the Internet Advancement site.

        • What happens when IA goes away in favor of Scoutbook Lite? Currently there’s no plan for syncing from third party, so everything would need to be hand keyed in.

  11. When it says that advancements cannot be approved if you don’t sync, does that mean advancements in ScoutBook cannot be approved, or does it mean you can’t enter advancements into Internet Advancement (bypassing Scoutbook)?

    • It means advancements in ScoutBook cannot be approved. Internet Advancement will not be affected at that time.

  12. Our troop is using TroopTrack . We used TroopMaster for about 25 years. Then, we tried TroopWebHost but didn’t like it so, after six months, we switched back to TroopMaster. About three years ago, one of our “IT” guys, evaluated all available software products, including Scoutbook, and reported back that TroopTrack was the best. We’ve been using this for the past two years and it seems to work well.

  13. I have been usinh scoutbook for 3 years well before the BSA took it over. Great program with a minute cost per year. Easy to track your scouts progress and over the years the developers have listened to keep making it better. This recent change is very much welcomed.

    Those looking for free might find it though you have to realize the time and money to make this what ut is cost $ to run.. $2 / scout is very reasonable for what this program does.

    Those using troop master or other programs are obviosly set in there ways and are over looking a tool there scouts can benefit from.

    Big Thanks to SB programmers and BSA for supporting them.

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