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  • Completing BSA Youth & Adult Applications

    Do other people have a lot of drama getting BSA youth and adult leader applications properly filled out and accepted by the council?

    I often wind up fighting ferocious battles getting the paperwork completed correctly. Usually with myself.

    In particular, I don't do well keeping track of little bits of paper.

    I had a new adult leader who gave me there adult leader application weeks ago, but hadn't taken YPT.

    So I explained to her how to do that and followed up with an e-mail. She gave me the YPT certificate Monday, which I stuck in my wallet to avoid losing it.

    The next day I had to spend a couple of hours looking for her completed adult leader application. I finally found the completed application mixed in with blank applications.

    Then I couldn't find the YPT certificate. I'd just thrown out a bunch of old paperwork and I had to sort through every sheet because I thought the certificate might have gotten mixed in with that. It wasn't. Finally I emptied out my wallet completely and sorted through its contents, and found the certificate.

    I'm a martyr to completing Scout applications. Poor as I am at it, I don't trust others to do any better, and to me every one is like GOLD!

    So I have two youth apps and one adult app in my car with YPT certificate, check and everything else fastened together ready to hand the DE at our District Committee Meeting tonight. I figure I am now unable to screw that up.

    And YES, the background authorization is signed. I'm getting better at not missing those details.

    I suppose there are people who do this kind of thing effortlessly and accurately...

    (This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

  • #2
    One thing I found helps is binders. We had one guy nicknamed "Binder Boy" becasue he ahd a binder for everything.

    However, I have the same problem you do, and he helped me with the binder idea which works. Apparently he had the same problem, and binders helped.


    • #3
      Just a note -

      It no longer seems to be required to attach a completed YP training certificate with a new adult application.

      At least National seems to have rolled back their requirement. Your council might do things differently.


      • #4
        In our council everything goes through the online training in regard to YPT. So the biggest hold up is that you take YPT, fill out your app, then have to wait for Council to give the CC a membership number to apply to your training. For me it took about 2-3 weeks over the holidays.

        I have some organizational issues myself and invested in a den box, a heavy duty plastic tool box that can fit awards, clip boards, manuals, supplies, forms, etc. Unfortunately I still struggle with the "everything on the clipboard" filing system. My wife is much better and invests a lot in those large envelopes. I think I'll be going with a small expanding file or something.


        • #5
          On a Scouts email list last week, there was a series of ongoing complaints about JTE paperwork, and other sorts of things that tend to get pushed down to the unit level. So I tossed in my own complaint, about the biggest time-waster I have: handling applications.

          In general, responses ran about 50-50; half agreed with me that there has to be a better way, the other half argued why things have to be done the way they are. As a straw proposal, I had tossed out the idea that registration could be done online, with an online payment to national. This is very similar to other organizations I've joined. Who knows, maybe it is the chartered organization model that needs to be updated?

          But then it struck me -- when I was 11, transferring from a Cub Scout pack to a Scout troop, I distinctly remember my Scoutmaster coming over to our house after school one day (he was a jr high math teacher), and sitting down with my mom and I to fill out a BSA youth application. That was over 40 years ago. The only thing different is the actual form -- it's a lot bigger now, and more information is collected. But the idea is identical, and the form goes in to a council office where it is handled manually, probably much the same way it was 40 years ago (except that now it is scanned into a system). So very few basic improvements in the process in over 40 years?

          Those that disagreed with me all had valid points, but I think they were all prisoners outmoded thinking. For example, some complained that (for adult apps), you need a "wet signature" for background check. But I'm envisioning a process where, after you register online, you could print out a registration certificate that you have to sign and then turn into your CO, for the COR signature, and then up to the council for the SE signature. Why can't that include permissions and CORI and whatever else is needed? It would even have the "wet signature" that is important.

          One guy complained that it would be unfair to have someone register on the national site (if it existed) and then have national collect "unit dues" that many of us have. I asked why national had to be involved in collecting unit dues, and he responded because it is unfair to have families have to pay twice (once to national, and once to unit). But -- I pointed out -- that is exactly what the basketball team one of my sons plays on does -- he registers with the team, for a fee, but then still has to get an AAU card (the national part) before he can participate in tournaments.

          One guy complained that the council offices are already overburdened, so why should they be looking up YPT completion (rather than having us send in hardcopies of online YPT completion)? He completely missed, however, the idea in my original note that said that if council registrars had less of a load, from having to handle ALL applications, then more time would be available for other administrative tasks. In fact, couldn't YPT lookup be part of whatever CORI/background check that goes on now?

          Side note -- yes, I know it's different with brand new adult applications (not having the ID number, getting into the system and all that). There is a world of difference between asking a newly-registering adult to print out a YPT certificate, and asking adults who have been registered for a long time, for their certificate before you can recharter.

          A couple of guys complained that I was overestimating how many people have access to the internet. But I pointed out that I was about ready to sit down, do my taxes and then file them electronically. I know for a fact the IRS has been encouraging electronic filing, where possible. But the IRS didn't get rid of paper forms, did they? You can still mail those in or drop them off at a service center.

          One of these same guys basically told me that I don't understand, that Scoutnet just isn't as reliable or as usable as what I expect. I'm thinking "Yes! Isn't that what the real problem is?" Why is the BSA clinging so desperately to old outmoded practices and tools? Maybe it is an issue of money or time. It certainly isn't a problem that can't be solved.

          Like I said at the beginning -- handling applications is the biggest single time-waster I have. I would be a much happier volunteer if I knew someone was actually looking at this kind of stuff.



          • #6
            Better idea (simply because someone out there loves paper):

            At the end of the online YPT, bring up a dialogue that asks non-members, "Would you now like to complete a BSA membership application?"
            It would then collect the info online, then let the user print it. It will leave boxes for info that needs pen-and-ink ( signatures, soc for background check, etc ...) , and print the YPT cert in the corner!
            User then turns it in to CC faith the registration fee.

            Get that adult app down to one piece of paper!


            • #7

              For YPT certs that are lost or aren't provided by the applicant, our Council accepts a printout from the "Training Validation" screen in MyScouting. As long as you have a first & last name (that's unique enough to avoid matching multiple Scouters) or an e-mail address, you can typically look up anyone's YPT status. For continuing leaders that you have a member id for (and who have updated their MyScouting profile with that id), it's even easier to look up their online training history.


              • #8
                Our council still requires hard copies of YPT with each app. If a new leader gives me an app without YPT, I ask them to take the course, save the certificate as a PDF, then email the PDF to me. If they look panic-stricken at the thought, I tell them they can also print it and give me a copy. Receiving an electronic copy means I am much less likely to misplace the certificate, and if I do I can print new copy. I also use a briefcase to hold everything scouting that I can cram into it, so I can generally locate new apps if it is misplaced.

                I think the current system could be much improved by assigning a member ID to each new user in system if they don't have one. This ID can be entered on the membership application. It is easy to look up YPT and other training with an ID, it can be nigh impossible without it. I assume this is why my council prefers the hard copy. I think more use and emphasis on the member ID would also be helpful, as IME most leaders don't think it is important.


                • #9
                  How many apps could be avoided, especially on the Scouter level, if they would develop a way to change jobs, or add others, using simply the basic info with an established member number, and do it on-line with a simple release from the local council? I have seen some scouters turn down becoming a district level volunteer officially, simply because the paperwork is so redundant.

                  It likely could also apply to youth either moving to another unit, or co-registering in some capacity.

                  Still, we cannot ever really be up to everyone's perception of inefficiency in the digital, on-line world. There are still some out there without computers. There are those that simply will never grasp the real opportunities, so fall back on outdated formats. And National is still likely too slow in their development of tools and integration to local level; but they really are far better than they were, and actually have useful, if difficult to find, material available on-line.

                  Try to put patience ahead of the frustration. Easy to say; sometimes difficult to do.


                  • #10
                    Hello skeptic,

                    A transfer to a different unit can be pretty simple. There are only two lines to fill out on the youth application if you have your membership number or membership certificate.

                    I keep the recharter as a computer file so I can look up membership numbers easily.


                    • #11
                      qwazse, now you're talkin'! That's the kind of attitude I like to see. :-)

                      We need a BSA Paper Reduction Act of 2012. We can already recharter online, train (mostly) online, and file advancement online. I can reserve and pay for summer camp slots online (our past troop treasurer would have preferred that everyone in the troop log in individually to register for summer camp with our troop -- hey, that's possible, I suppose -- give someone an "event ID" then they could log on, enter the ID, and then pay online -- then they show up on the troop roster for a summer camp slot); we can also register for other events, online, including signing up for specific classes at the annual University of Scouting. We can shop at We can read BSA Handbooks and Fieldbooks online. We can download a current medical form, and actually type into the PDF (actually, this is one of the more promising developments I've seen in the last few years -- I typed the form last year, for my sons and me, and this year, I just plugged in minor updates, printed it out and sent them to our doctors).

                      Why drag the feet with a 40+ year old (at the very least) registration model?

                      (shoutout to Kudu) Maybe we'll even invent a new fake BP/Roland Philipps quote: "Online registration: it's not the only way to join a Boy Scout troop, is A WAY." :-)



                      • #12
                        Same goes fort adult transfer. The form could be a index card sized single piece of paper.

                        All it needs Your name, your BSA ID #, is a "from" unit number and unit type and a "to" unit number and unit type, and check box indicating wether it's a transfer or dual registration.

                        Then a signature at the bottom.

                        There really shouldn't have to be a list ofreferences section, Criminal record section, or agreement of the DRP.

                        That should alrady be in place since you are transfering instead of joining new.

                        If nothing else, the adult application should be like the med forms: broken into sections.
                        And BSA id # box like the youth application has.