A Scout will put an amazing amount of time and effort into his Advancement and Merit Badges, and a very important part of his responsibility is to record and track his own progress. This responsibility contributes to several important life skills, and the following describes the Tools he will use:
A Scout's Recordkeeping Responsibilities and Tools:
A Scout has three vitally important means of recording and keeping his accomplishments, advancements, and achievements throughout his Scouting career:
- The Boy Scout Handbook
- Merit Badge Applications (Blue Cards)
In addition, it is a highly advisable that the Scout establish a binder or other means of storing Blue Cards and photocopies of the completed requirements from their book.
- Make a Back Up Binder: A simple three ring binder is a great way to store Merit Badge Applications (Blue Cards), copies of your completed handbook pages, and patches:
- Use 3 ring binder "baseball card" style sleeves for storing completed Blue cards and patches
- Photocopy or take a digital picture and print pages from your handbook such as Rank Advancement pages, Service Log, and Camping Log, and store them in the binder
- Digital Copies: Scanning and/or taking digital pictures of Blue Cards and completed Rank Requirements and Logs from the Handbook is also a great way to keep a backup of paper records.
The Boy Scout Handbook
There are three important record keeping sections of the Handbook: A scout should take great care to have his achievements signed off on in the book by the appropriate adult leader as he completes them to insure he has a record of his achievements.
- Rank Requirements (Pages 432-443). The official requirements for each rank should be signed off on as they are completed.
- Merit Badge Log (pages 444-445). After completing a Merit Badge Application (Blue Card), the Scout should have the approving leader or Merit Badge Counselor sign both the Blue Card and sign off on the Merit Badge list in the Handbook.
- Camping and Service Logs (446-447). Keeping the Camping and Service Logs complete and up-to-date will greatly assist the scout in completing the Rank Advancements
A Scout should take great care to protect his Handbook from damage or loss, it is the official record of his achievements:
- While the Troop uses Scoutbook as an electronic record of the Scout's career and that data is synced with the BSA's national database, the Scout's paper records are the official record and provide an important backup and ultimately, proof, of a Scout's accomplishments.
- Keeping the Handbook in a protective cover (available at the Scout Shop or Scoutstuff.com) is highly recommended. Keeping the Handbook in a ziplock bag on outings is also recommended.
- Spiral binding will save some wear and tear on the book. A spiral bound version is available for purchase at the Scout Store in Marietta or online at scoutshop.org, or the paperback can be converted to a spiral bound book for minimal cost at an office supply store such as staples.
- Copies and Pictures:
- Making and storing photocopies or pictures of your completed Rank Requirements in a binder along with your Blue Cards (see below) is a quick and easy way to insure you have a backup for your records
- Periodically taking and storing a picture of the entries in the Rank Requirements, Merit Badge Log, Service Log, and Camping Log is an important practice in case of loss of the Handbook.
- As part of the Rank Advancement approval process, the Scout will upload a picture of the completed, signed, and dated Rank Requirements page(s) which will also provide an archived visual record.
Merit Badge Applications (Blue Cards)
- Merit Badge Applications are the official record of these achievements.
- Scouts will need to keep the "Records" portion of the Blue Card throughout their scouting career. Protecting them and keeping them in a safe place is very important.
- Copies and Pictures:
- Keeping a three ring binder with baseball card style sleeves is a quick and easy way to organize and store current and completed Blue Cards. This binder could also store photocopies or pictures of the Handbook pages containing completed Rank Advancements, Merit Badge Log, Service Log, Pages.
- Periodically taking and storing digital pictures of your Blue Cards is an important practice in case of loss.
- As part of the Merit Badge approval process, the Scout will use Scoutbook to upload a picture of the completed Blue Card upon completion which will also provide an archived visual record.
Refer to the "Scoutbook.com" section of this website under "Troop Guide" for information on accessing Parent's and Scout's Scoutbook.com accounts.