Internet Advancement Highlights

Reporting advancement is a requirement of the Boy Scouts of America. Internet Advancement makes this a simple process. All councils should strive for 100 percent of their units using this functionality.

6.0.0.1 Importance and Benefits of Internet Advancement

Internet Advancement is available to any council using Internet Rechartering. It is for reporting Cub Scout,Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, and Sea Scout ranks;Venturing advancement awards; Webelos activity badges; merit badges; and various other awards available in all BSA programs.

Features in Internet Advancement allow unit personnel to view past advancement reports submitted through the Internet Advancement system and to see the dates their leaders have taken Youth Protection training.

As stated in "Reporting Advancement," 4.0.0.2, all advancement must be reported to local councils. This is important in keeping member records up to date, and it assures an accurate count in the Journey to Excellence performance recognition program. "Unit Advancement Responsibilities," 3.0.0.3, suggests the unit advancement coordinator should use Internet Advancement to accomplish the reporting.

When Internet Advancement is used to comply with reporting responsibilities, it alleviates issues in documenting progress as Scouts submit Eagle applications or transfer from one unit to another within a council. Consistent and constant reporting also assures accurate records for use by commissioners, other district and council volunteers, and the National Council. These are critical in evaluating unit health, adjusting service delivery, and researching changes in programs and requirements.

6.0.0.2 How Internet Advancement Works

Simple and intuitive, Internet Advancement works best from a faster Internet connection using Internet Explorer 6 or higher. Units can enter advancement at any time, print reports, obtain current rosters from the BSA system, and print order sheets for the Scout shop.

This is the Internet Advancement portal home page. There are two types of users at this point: first-time users and returning users. For more information, see "Getting the Most From Internet Advancement," which can be downloaded from http://www.scouting.org/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/resources.aspx.

Units select an advancement processor who is granted access with a council-provided unit ID. It is recommended that units report advancement monthly. They must submit a final annual report each December. These reporting cycles are important because they support local and National Council data collection for the Journey to Excellence program as well as statistical analysis.

Because of documentation requirements, the Eagle Scout rank may not be entered through this system. Neither may nominated recognitions such as meritorious action awards.

Internet Advancement is accessed through the local council's website or from MyScouting. When first-time unit processors enter, they are greeted by a welcome page with instructions and invited to log in and accept a confidentiality agreement.Once they have provided some registration information,they move to an overview page with additional instructions.Returning users skip these steps and go directly to selecting members for advancement.

Benefits of Internet Advancement

  • Provides straightforward and intuitive interface for volunteers
  • Helps in local council certification of Eagle Scout Rank Applications
  • Records ranks, badges, and awards in accordance with BSA advancement rules
  • Consolidates data files to reduce or eliminate record gaps when Scouts transfer units
  • Supports national data analysis for advancement statistics
  • Assures advancement is counted in the Journey to Excellence

If units choose to upload advancement files generated from PackMaster©, TroopMaster©, or ScoutSoft© instead of manually entering information, Internet Advancement will load the unit's roster and then allow upload of new advancement information. When manually entering ranks, you must enter each individual's rank in proper sequence. Once everything is done and verified, an advancement report is printed, signed, and provided to the local council so awards can be purchased.

Councils may continue to accept file uploads created by the commercially available unit-management software applications such as PackMaster©,TroopMaster©, and ScoutSoft©.

Because unit advancement processors access data directly from ScoutNET, deciphering handwriting is not an issue. The system also validates entries against advancement rules and generates error messages when needed. Errors must be corrected before the process can proceed.

Merit badge screen

Activity badge screen

6.0.0.3 Where to Find Internet Advancement Help

The system includes a link to Frequently Asked Questions on every page, as well as an indexed help tool that can be searched by keyword or topic. The presentation"Getting the Most From Internet Advancement,"found at http://www.scouting.org/BoyScouts/AdvancementandAwards/resources.aspx, has been developed by the national Advancement Committee's Webinars and Education Task Force to help in orienting unit and district volunteers on functionality and benefits.It also covers the operating systems and browsers with which Internet Advancement works or does not work.Councils can add local processes and information to the presentation.

Most councils have established "Help Desk"–style assistance. Staff members can answer questions, provide unit access IDs, monitor activity, change passwords, reset profiles and data, and create reports requested by council management for staff and volunteer use.

6.0.0.4 Internet Advancement Miscellany

Important Features of Internet Advancement

  • Secure website with high encryption protects Scouts' information.
  • Report templates prevent errors due to illegible handwriting.
  • Records can be corrected before submitting.
  • Date corrections are allowed.
  • Past advancement reports can be recalled and reviewed.
  • Rosters, order sheets, and advancement summaries can be printed.
  • Records from PackMaster©, TroopMaster©, and ScoutSoft© can be uploaded.

Board of Review Signatures. Because entering rank advancement into Internet Advancement and printing the system-generated Unit Advancement Reports typically occur sometime after boards of review are held, obtaining signatures on the report may not be practical. Therefore,after a board of review is held, it is permissible for board members to sign a completed copy of the Unit Advancement Report found at http://www.scouting.org/forms.aspx. This signed report may then be attached to the Internet Advancement–generated report and submitted to the local council.

Scout Transfers. BSA member identification numbers are unique only within each local council. They are not nationally universal, although it is likely they will become so as the National Council updates its computer systems in the future. Thus, advancement data associated with a Scout's ID number cannot be accessed by any other councils. For this reason, if a Scout moves to a different council, he must obtain either a printout of his advancement from the council he is leaving or a copy of the Internet Advancement Member Summary Report from his old unit.Either of these should be attached to the application used to transfer the youth's membership to his new council and unit. It is important to enter the Scout's name and BSA identification number on the youth application exactly as they appear in the records of the former council.Nicknames and other differences will only delay the transfer process.

Dual Registration. If a Scout has multiple registrations with units in different councils, his advancement records should be maintained in only one of the units. As he passes requirements in any other unit, the information should be relayed to his primary unit so only one advancement record is maintained. It is not possible to electronically consolidate data across different units indifferent councils. If advancement records are maintained in multiple units, then cooperation between the units will be required in order to generate the reports necessary to report and obtain the awards.