Last year we migrated from our old merit badge system to a new one. The old system was based on software that has not been supported in five years and is causing some conflicts on the site. With significant changes being made to the current WordPress code base, it was necessary to implement a new merit badge system so that we wouldn’t run into a situation where that system breaks completely with no way to recover from it.

Last year we hired an engineer to integrate a custom merit badge application we’d created into the Cat Scouts website. It was a very expensive (and time consuming) mistake. Although it technically worked, the solution he provided was a usability nightmare.

So after testing several systems, we took the most popular badge plugin for WordPress–mycred–and integrated it into the site.

Mycred awards points for your activity on the site–logins, comments, photo uploads, video watches, etc. It also enables an admin to award badges and points manually.

However, it cannot integrate with the previous merit badge system. That’s why, at the end of last year, we took each active scout’s point totals from the old badge system and added it to their points in the new system. The points you see on your dashboard are the total of current and old points. Even if you earn additional points in the old system, with the exception of service badges, those points will not carry over to the new system.

You can still see all of the merit badges you earned under the old system under the achievements tab when you view your profile:

You can view your new badges in the left column on your custom dashboard, or from your profile page:

Your current point tally always appears top and center on your custom dashboard:

as well as on the leaderboard displayed at the bottom of the left expandable sidebar under “Activity Leaders.”

Service Badges

Service badges are the exception. You will still insert a redemption code on completion of each month’s service project. This provides the admin with a list of everyone who has completed the service project for a given month. Shortly after the end of each month, we manually add the badge to the new system for each scout who completed the service project.

Merit Badges

Going forward, a little more work will be required to earn merit badges, and they will be more in line with traditional scouting badges. We will continue to award trip badges for everyone who participates in the trips (so long as it wasn’t a flyby where they only posted one or two comments). Trip badges do not earn additional points because you earned points commensurate with your pawticipation in the trip.

Point Rewards

You will eventually be able to redeem the points you accumulate for merchandise in the Cat Scouts Store.

We’re still working the kinks out of that… We set it up in the Cat Scouts store so that you could make a purchase with $$$ or points, but yet another software coding conflict caused some fatal login problems. If we are unable to resolve that issue, we will conjure up a manual process for a limited number of items. When you “purchase” an item with points, those points will be deducted from your running total.