Update, Sept. 24: The response to this announcement has been very positive. To address some of the questions that have been coming in, the BSA has released this list of FAQs.
It’s a bit like learning there’s enough Dutch oven peach cobbler for everyone to have seconds.
It seems too good to be true, but you will absolutely take it.
The BSA announced today that it will make Scoutbook subscriptions free to all BSA units beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Units that already use Scoutbook won’t be charged when they renew their subscription on or after Sept. 1, 2018.
Scoutbook is the BSA’s online unit management tool and helps Scouts, parents and leaders track advancement and milestone achievements along the Scouting trail.
Previously, units paid a small annual fee — up to $1 per Scout per year — to access Scoutbook’s powerful features, which are accessible on any device. By making Scoutbook free for everyone, the BSA can drive program consistency and deepen our movement’s engagement with youth and adult leaders.
The move means everyone can enjoy what more than 1 million users already know: Scoutbook can improve your Scouting experience.
What does this news mean for existing Scoutbook users? How will this affect the future of Scoutbook? Here’s what you need to know.
How will my unit be affected?
- Units with a current Scoutbook account: When they need to renew their subscription this fall, they will not pay any renewal fees, effective Sept. 1, 2018.
- Councils that provide Scoutbook accounts for their units: When they need to renew these unit subscriptions this fall, they will not pay any renewal fees, effective Sept. 1, 2018.
- (Essentially, units — or councils paying for their units — can renew Scoutbook subscriptions in September, October, November or December 2018 at no cost.)
- Units without a current Scoutbook account: They can begin their free Scoutbook unit subscription on Jan. 1, 2019.
Will existing users get a refund?
No. There are no plans to reimburse anyone who has previously paid for a Scoutbook subscription. This change applies only to any new Scoutbook subscriptions effective Jan. 1, 2019, or later — and to any renewing Scoutbook subscriptions that would normally be paid between Sept. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018.
What if a current Scoutbook unit needs to add more Scouts this fall?
Let’s say your pack has a 75-Scout subscription with 15 open slots. You expect to recruit well over that number this fall. Can you add Scouts to your subscription when/if that happens?
Yes, if you have a current Scoutbook subscription, after Sept. 1, 2018, you can renew your subscription (if needed) or add more youth to Scoutbook at no cost.
What should units that don’t currently have Scoutbook do this fall?
Scoutbook will be free to all units beginning Jan. 1, 2019.
In the meantime, watch for the release of Scoutbook Lite for all units later in 2018. This free online tool will provide a slightly different user experience from the full Scoutbook, but it will help your unit track advancements for all your youth members.
How will subscriptions/renewals work in 2019 and beyond?
The need to “subscribe” or “renew” annually will become unnecessary. Once your unit is on Scoutbook, you’ll be set for as long as your unit would like to continue using this free tool.
How will making Scoutbook free affect its performance?
Scoutbook will only continue to improve. The BSA IT and Member Care teams will continue to support Scoutbook with their timely service and quality resources. Scoutbook performance enhancements have been implemented regularly over the years, and its performance is continually monitored.
Where can I get more information about this change in Scoutbook?
First, consult the latest FAQs, available in this PDF.