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Internet Advancement

Reporting advancement is a requirement of the Boy Scouts of America, and entering it directly into the BSA system through an Internet portal is an easy, accurate way to do so and it ensures that it is done properly. On November 16, 2017, the Executive Board of the Heart of Virginia Council passed a resolution making Internet Advancement mandatory for recording unit advancement for adding ranks, merit badges, and awards for all Heart of Virginia Council units.

As of January 1, 2018, Internet Advancement and synced Scoutbook accounts will be the only manner by which each Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop, Venturing Crew, and Sea Scout Ship is to record its advancement in the Heart of Virginia Council.

This requirement will bring the Heart of Virginia Council in-line with other councils in our area that have already eliminated paper advancement forms to bring Scout records up-to-date. When purchasing all rank badges, except for the rank of Eagle Scout, merit badges, and Venture and Sea Scouts awards the Scout Shop will only accept printouts from Internet Advancement or advancement reports from Scoutbook which indicate that the advancements have been synced to Akela (the new version of Scoutnet)The Scoutbook report will indicate “synced with BSA national database” in the bottom right corner of the report.

Mandatory Internet Advancement for all units will support the council’s incentive for those Gold JTE units that perform an FOS presentation to be able to receive cloth rank badges free of charge from the Scout Shop.

internet advancement

What is Internet Advancement?

Internet Advancement is the Boy Scouts of America’s online program that allows volunteer leaders to report 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. This process can be done from any Internet-connected computer at any time.

The BSA requires units to report this information to the Heart of Virginia Council. When Internet Advancement is used properly, 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 Unit Commissioners, other district and council volunteers, and the National Council.

Use Internet Advancement to do the following:

  • Add ranks, merit badges, and awards for your youth members.
  • Update information on existing advancements and awards (except the Eagle Scout rank which must be submitted using the Eagle Scout Rank Application).
  • Print unit rosters, advancement summary reports, and even temporary membership cards.
  • Obtain ‘Person ID’ number for your leaders, allowing them to complete online training courses.

Ranks must be recorded based on program identification (Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venturing, and Sea Scouts) and in the correct rank and date sequence. Only the Eagle Scout rank cannot be recorded electronically. Other awards such as those for meritorious action, and awards that are controlled by other organizations, must be submitted using the appropriate form(s) and submitted to the Council Service Center.

Benefits of Internet Advancement:

  • Provides straightforward and direct method of reporting.
  • Eliminates issues with deciphering handwriting.
  • Helps in local council verification of Eagle Scout Rank Applications.
  • Records banks, badges, and awards in accordance with BSA advancement rules.
  • Consolidates data files to reduce or eliminate record gaps when Scouts transfer units.
  • Provides important information for evaluating unit health.
  • Supports national data analysis for advancement statistics.
  • Assures advancement is counted in the Journey to Excellence.

Reporting Advancement Directly into Internet Advancement:

  • Eliminates a backlog in advancement records.
  • Alleviates time-burdening paperwork and data entry for council staff and volunteers.
  • Ensures that advancement records are accurate and complete for every Scout.
  • Ensures that advancement is reported only for Scouts who are properly registered with the BSA.
  • Prevents the reporting of advancement for Scouts who are not registered with the BSA.

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 Scoutbook can be uploaded.

How Does Internet Advancement Work?

The unit assigns an adult as the “Unit Advancement Processor” to record advancements.  The Unit Advancement Processor is given access with a council-provided unit ID number. Then the Unit Advancement Processor, prepared with the unit ID number, enters the website as a first time user, and registers themselves and the unit. They are greeted by a welcome page with instructions to log in and accept a confidentiality agreement. The website then allows the Unit Advancement Processor to upload advancement information from third party platforms such as but not limited to:

  • PackMaster
  • TroopMaster
  • Scoutbook

Units can upload files created from PackMaster, TroopMaster, or Scoutbook software or enter information manually. Click here for a PowerPoint titled Getting the Most From Internet Advancement that provides orientation and helpful tips. For a printable version click here.

HOVC Unit ID Numbers

Access Internet Advancement

List of Unit Advancement Processors as of November 29, 2017

How Often Should I Report Advancements?

It is recommended that units report advancement at least monthly with a final, annual report in December of each year. Units must submit anything not yet reported before December 31st of each year. These reporting cycles are important because they support local and National Council data collection for the Journey to Excellence program, and will keep youth membership and advancement records up-to-date. It also makes applying for the Eagle Award or transferring to another council easier.

A Scout must be registered in your unit and listed on your unit roster in ScoutNet in order to earn advancement. If you have a Scout who is not listed in the ScoutNet unit roster, the unit will need to turn in an application for that Scout. Changes and updates are not officially recorded until the Scout application is submitted to the Council Office.

Advancement reports from Internet Advancement are required to be turned into the Council Office or the Scout Shop to purchase rank patches and merit badges.

Reports Available Through Internet Advancement

Units are able to print reports without needing to contact their District Executive or the Heart of Virginia Council Registrar. These reports include:

  • Current Unit Roster showing active youth and adults.  If a name is missing, the person is not registered with the BSA.
  • Temporary Membership Cards (unofficial) that can be used to show that the youth or adult is registered in the unit.
  • Unit Advancement Summary Report shows ranks, merit badges, and awards for all currently registered youth in the unit; make sure your unit records match the council records.
  • Individual Advancement Report for each Scout; print and share with a Scout who is moving or transferring to another unit or with an Eagle Scout candidate preparing his application.
  • Advancement Report lists each youth member that has new ranks, merit badges, and awards. This is the official Unit Advancement Report to be signed and submitted to either Scout Shop at the Scout Service Center.
  • Unit Awards Summary lists the number of new ranks, merit badges, and awards by name as a shopping list.
  • Advancement Update Summary lists any ranks, merit badges, and awards that were already in the member record and were updated online.
  • Previously submitted Internet Advancement Reports.

To Begin Using Internet Advancement

1.      Select a Unit Advancement Processor. This should be your Unit Advancement Chair.

2.      Obtain your unit’s ’Unit Login ID code’ from Council.  To do this, please click here.

3.      Gather information for advancement, including merit badge advancement records with dates. If you are using a third party software you may create an export file for upload. If you are using Scoutbook it will automatically sync to Internet Advancement and ScoutNet (Akela).

4.      Click here to access the Internet Advancement portal website. We suggest that you “bookmark” the page to return later.

*Please Note: The first time you log into the advancement system, we strongly suggest that you compare the recorded advancements against your records. If your records include advancements that are not recorded, please record them.

After submitting advancements, please make sure that you:

  • Print the Unit Advancement Report from Internet Advancement (you may also want to print a copy for your records). You will need this printout in order to purchase rank patches and merit badges in the Scout Shop. (The Scout Shop also accepts Scoutbook advancement reports which indicate the advancements have been synced to Scoutnet on the bottom right corner of the report).
  • Per the Guide to Advancement (pg. 42):

Because entering rank advancement into Internet Advancement, either directly or via Scoutbook, 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 www.scouting.org/forms. This signed report may then be attached to the electronically generated report and submitted to the local council.

  • Have the appropriate people sign the printed Unit Advancement Report.
  • Purchase your advancements and recognitions. The Scout Shop will collect your unit’s Internet Advancement Report.

Changing Unit Processors

If your unit is using, or has previously used Internet Advancement, the Unit Advancement Processor for your unit can be found here. If you do not see a Unit Advancement Processor for your unit, your unit must designate a Unit Advancement Processor to go into the system and register in order to begin using Internet Advancement. If your Unit Advancement Processor is no longer active in your unit or if the Unit Advancement Processor needs to be changed, you  will need to contact the registrar at the Council Service Center. They will do a reset of your unit’s profile which will allow the new Unit Advancement Processor to register. Don’t worry, resetting the Unit Advancement Processor doesn’t affect any of your unit’s or Scouts’ advancement records.

Help and Assistance

There are trained members at our office to answer questions, monitor activity, change passwords, reset unit profiles and data, delete entry errors, and help make Internet Advancement work smoothly for you. The national office also has a Help Desk that can offer support.

SCOUTBOOK – the Next Generation in Advancement Reporting is Here

ScoutBook is the BSA’s new unit management tool that all units should be moving toward in 2018. Units can now set up their ScoutBook account to sync advancement with the national database. Units that complete this process will no longer have to use the Internet Advancement tool.  ScoutBook also provides tools to track service hours, log camping and hiking activities, send text and e-mail messages, generate permission forms, track RSVPs for activities, and much more.  Parents will also be able to see how their children are advancing.

Help and Assistance with Scoutbook