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Buying Awards: Unit Advancement Reports

When your Scouts earn an award or rank advancement, your unit must buy the award/advancement from the Steve Matthews Scout Shop (located inside the Frank Fickett Scout Training and Service Center). You can’t buy awards/advancement online, you must buy them from the Scout Shop. But the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) doesn’t allow our Scout Shop to sell you an award or advancement without proof that your Scout(s) actually earned them. That “proof” is a form called the Unit Advancement Report.


Just so we’re clear:

  • If you have a Unit Advancement Report, you can buy Scout advancement/awards at the Shop.
  • If you don’t have a Unit Advancement Report, you can’t buy Scout advancement/awards at the Shop.

What is a Unit Advancement Report?

A Unit Advancement Report is an official BSA form that lists the name of each Scout who earned an award, the name of the award(s) earned, and the date each Scout earned each respective award. You have a few options as to how your unit may submit this form:

Internet Advancement – this is an online platform operated by the national Boy Scouts of America. You log in to this platform through my.scouting.org (this is the same place where you take BSA online training; from the “Menu” select “Legacy Web Tools” then “Internet Advancement 2.0”). However, the default set up for Internet Advancement only allows your Cubmaster/Scoutmaster/Advisor, Committee Chair, and Chartering Organization Representative to access the system. Don’t worry, though: these folks can give your unit’s Advancement Chair or another volunteer access.

Once you’ve logged in, you can upload your Scouts’ advancement information; this information will then sync with the BSA’s official membership records (usually within 48 hours). Note that the only thing this platform does is record Scout advancement records; it doesn’t perform any other functions. When you’re ready to come to the Scout Shop and purchase awards, you can print a copy of your Advancement Report from Internet Advancement instead of filling one out by hand.

Advantages of using Internet Advancement:

  • It’s free to use
  • You want to manage your unit calendar and communications using a platform other than Scoutbook but still reduce your data entry for advancement records.
  • Your Scouts’ records show up in the official BSA records, exactly as you entered them.
  • You don’t have to wait for our staff to enter the records for you.
  • You can print a copy of your advancement report from the platform instead of having to fill one out by hand.

Scoutbook – this is the Boy Scouts of America’s online tool for managing Scout units. You can use Scoutbook to record and track advancement and awards, as well as your unit roster and calendar. The tool also gives you the ability to group email or text your unit members. You can even track Scouts’ payments to unit fundraising/financial accounts.

You can access Scoutbook through a browser on your computer, tablet, or phone. It’s free to all Scouting units. When your unit uploads Scout advancement records into Scoutbook those records sync instantly with BSA’s official membership records. Like Internet Advancement, you can print a Unit Advancement Report to give to the Shop when you buy awards. But – unlike Internet Advancement – Scoutbook allows you to generate a Purchase Order (PO) that you can email to our Shop; the Shop staff will then begin pulling your advancement order and have it ready when you arrive 24 hours after you email them. Also, Scoutbook units who email a Purchase Order to the Shop may also request that the Shop mail their awards instead of having to pick them up in person.

Advantages of using Scoutbook:

  • It’s free to use
  • You can manage your unit calendar, communications, and financial accounts as well as track and record advancement.
  • Your Scouts’ records show up in the official BSA records instantly, exactly as you entered them.
  • You don’t have to wait for our staff to enter the records for you.
  • You can print a copy of your advancement report from the platform instead of having to fill one out by hand.
  • You can generate a Purchase Order and email it to the Scout Shop, allowing the staff to have already pulled your advancement purchase before you get to the Shop (allow 24 hours before pick up).
  • If you email a Purchase Order to the Scout Shop, you may also request that the Shop mail your awards instead of having to pick them up in person.

Third party unit management software – there are several businesses offering subscription software services that perform different combinations of the features mentioned above. Prices for these companies’ products range from $10 to as much as $80 a year. Probably the best known are Packmaster (for Cub Scout Packs) and Troopmaster (for Scouts BSA Troops); some units in our council have used these products going back to a time before BSA offered Scoutbook as an option.

There are numerous differences between all these products, and you can easily find information online. Here are a few key items to consider when deciding whether your unit should use one of these options:

  • Internet Advancement and Scoutbook are free for units to use; all third party options require a paid subscription.
  • Internet Advancement and Scoutbook offer the ability to seamlessly sync your advancement information with BSA’s membership database; some third party options can produce a spreadsheet file that you may upload through Internet Advancement or Scoutbook with some extra work on your part.
  • When it’s time to buy advancement/awards from our Scout Shop, you can print the required official BSA Unit Advancement Report from the Internet Advancement platform or Scoutbook (you can also generate a Purchase Order in Scoutbook, email it to the shop, and then have your awards ready for purchase when you arrive). Third party options will offer the option to print an advancement report, but it’s not official and you’re going to have to transfer your information by hand to the official BSA report in order to purchase awards.