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Is there a GOOD reason to require a new application when changing troops/crews?

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  • Is there a GOOD reason to require a new application when changing troops/crews?

    After much consideration I am creating a Venture Crew to augment the experiences of my older boys in the Troop. As a Scoutmaster/Cubmaster with over 14 years in scouting I believe BSA and my council knows quite a bit about me. Then WHY OH WHY am I and all my scouts that are simply going to dual register in the new crew as well as the troop required to complete new applications? We have an NSA that can track every phone call I have made over the last 3 years but BSA National can't come up with a simplified process to simply co-register us into the Crew? You start to wonder if National actually likes mounds and mounds of paperwork, but I know my council office would greatly prefer not to process another 15 applications with the exact same data they have had already for years.

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum.

    I think the better question is is there a GOOD reason to create a crew in the first place?
    Unless they want to hunt, shoot pistols, go on horse treks, rock scramble, or fly airplanes, you can do the sorts of high adventure things associated with Venturing with older Boy Scouts.
    Venturing is a separate program, if you don't plan to do anything except use it as an enticing label to do more challenging Boy Scout things, then I don't see any reason to create a crew.

    As to the original question, if "because you're supposed to and you can't become a Venturer without applying to be one" isn't good enough, I suspect nothing will be. Next you'll be asking for a good reason to do the Venturing training.
    Last edited by Scouter99; 01-21-2014, 08:33 PM.

    Comment


    • DeanRx
      DeanRx commented
      Editing a comment
      The GOOD reason to create a crew is that one of the easiest ways to keep boys over the age of 14 interested is to have girls over the age of 14 in the program

  • #3
    First, on behalf of your boys, thanks for your years of service as a scouter.
    Second, on behalf of the young men (and, possibly, women) who missed out on scouting until now, thanks for making yourself available as their advisor.
    Thirdly, like the "dogs love trucks" commercial. Boyscouts love paperwork!

    The simplest solution would be for Packs and Troops become co-ed. Then just make certain activities available to only scouts over 14. That would solve our paperwork problem. But, I'm sure the preponderance of scouters find Scouts UK's strategy to be unpalatable.

    Comment


    • #4
      Separate apps, I was told once, helps ensure that the new group can check up on you in case the old group hadn't done their job.

      In reality, I think it is because the BSA still has not made the adult application online, with the ability to update and add additional positions as needed.

      I have to go fill out yet another form for Merit Badge Counselor, because our District split and my ID did not carry over. That will be my 4th application in the system - Troop, Crew, Pack and Merit badge Counselor.

      Comment


      • #5
        One reason is that the UNIT CO has to approve your membership, not just the BSA. Troops and Crews don't always have the same CO.

        Comment


        • Horizon
          Horizon commented
          Editing a comment
          True - but that could be managed via software easily. An application to become a member of another unit repeats 100% of the information in the prior application. If instead I simply had to update (job information, new cell data, maybe a reference has moved away) and submitted it, then ALL of the Unit COs could get my update and review them.

          Repeatedly filling out identical information (which includes my SSN that sits around on desks at Council) for another role is not what we call Best Practices in the industry. This could be done better and smarter (and online instead of cramming details into a tiny block on the form).

          AYSO does it quite well. All of my data is tied to my identity in their database. Every year I have to review and update it. I then print out a fresh copy and sign it and provide to the Region / Area that I am volunteering for. I do not have to do a separate application for my role as an Asst Coach for one team, a Head Coach for another, or a Referee for a higher level of the organization - because my information has not changed.

        • Scouter99
          Scouter99 commented
          Editing a comment
          So you don't like your SSN sitting on a desk in the council building, but you would like it to be in an online database. Let's think about how many Russian high schoolers are breaking into your council building as opposed to how many are busting into every database they run across.
          Last edited by Scouter99; 01-22-2014, 08:07 PM.

      • #6
        hmmmm, so an application is too much bother to fill out for a seperate unit.


        Makes you wonder if Youth protection training, tour permits and the Guide to Safe scouting are too much of a bother as well.

        Comment


        • Horizon
          Horizon commented
          Editing a comment
          False equivalency.

          G2SS is a set of rules we follow.
          Tour Permits CAN be automated a bit. We keep a database of drivers, insurance, etc. that we can easily copy and paste into a tour permit. We have an annual permission slip for our parents to sign to handle medications, etc. We file a new permit because we go to a new place on a new date every month.
          Youth Protection Training is education, and it is good to refresh oneself every couple of years.

          The adult application, however, is just a dataset about the individual. The entry should not require a new carbon triplicate form every time. There should be a standard database in the BSA system to manage my identity, training, current job, etc. I should be required to update it annually as part of rechartering (something the BSA does NOT require). Any unit should be able to pull my data when I apply for a position.

        • qwazse
          qwazse commented
          Editing a comment
          Well BD, now that I think about it, I vaguely remember my MC/Co-Advisor-to-be coming to me with a pre-filled app. All I needed to do was check the info and sign.

          rcrsanow, maybe that's what you should do. Ask the CC to fill out the forms for the the lot of you. That way, the monkey's off your back, and we don't have to ask National to do something for which they will only jack up registration fees and cause more of my youth to decide not to participate.

      • #7
        My son is into his 3rd year as a cub scout
        I stepped up half way through his Tiger year to help as an Assistant Den Leader
        Have held ADL, ACM, CM and now going through yet another application to be CC for our troop.
        Along the way, I filled out I think 4 additional applications to replace "lost" paperwork.
        so in less than three years, I've filled out something like 8 membership applications..... all so I could volunteer.
        I haven't moved.
        I haven't changed phone numbers
        I haven't changed email addresses.
        Yes, it's a stupid system.

        Comment


        • blw2
          blw2 commented
          Editing a comment
          maybe it's a council thing..... I'm told that you do. In fact, I have on more than one occasion asked the question directly to the registrar.....
          Also heard others ask the question at round table and they've gotten the same answer...
          ????

        • Basementdweller
          Basementdweller commented
          Editing a comment
          Depends on your council.

        • Basementdweller
          Basementdweller commented
          Editing a comment
          Depends on your council.

      • #8
        The average American moves every 5 years. That average includes people like myself (one location for 9 years and counting), my parents (29 years and counting), and people that move every few months. Given that BSA needs policies for everyone, it's a different story.

        That said, while they insist that you fill out a new application for each position, it isn't real. When you put in re-charter, you can assign new positions to people. Since the Charter is signed by the Unit Leader, Institution Head, and Council, that is the equivalent of a re-application. Now what I can't figure out is why the Committee Chair doesn't sign the Re-charter, when the Committee Chair is required to approve Adult Leaders during the rest of the year. Also, the COR can sign on behalf of the CO, but doesn't sign the re-charter, I guess once/year they want the boss to sign as well.

        In addition, if you are moving between Units in your CO, or being added, you can "promote" the person from one unit to the other, and everything carries over. I think you still need to fill out an Adult Application though.

        The broken IT systems that BSA uses is startling, but it's part of the financial problems. The lack of integration doesn't help. I don't understand why we can't within myscouting.org and have all the signoffs electronic, but that's the system in place.

        Comment


        • #9
          Horizon your one messed up fellow....shakin my head.

          If the fellow is going to all the trouble to start a new unit.

          Membership applications are the least of his problem or worry. Take the 5 minutes and fill it out.


          Remember all the ruckus a couple of years ago when they first started doing mandatory background checks and everyone, at least in my council, had to fill out new apps.

          My point is if your to lazy to fill out the application again, then maybe your to lazy to be looking at starting a new unit.

          Comment


          • Horizon
            Horizon commented
            Editing a comment
            BD - you are not understanding me. The BSA has a broken process, that is exposing my personal information, and is a waste of volunteer hours. There is absolutely no reason in this modern era to be handing out carbon triplicates each time a role changes within a unit, or a person moves from one unit to another. That requires yet another person to manually re-key data into the system.

            I have a single BSA ID number. That number should have a record of all of my advancement records (from my younger days), my training (per my scouting.org), my addresses and references (updated annually) and my positions (checked against annual charters). Further, it should be periodically used to check for new criminal records or other challenges in the background check. Finally, they should decide to go ahead and start fingerprinting as well (I had to be printed to be a coach for club soccer, to be an instructor at the local university, and to get early access at the airport as well when flying).

            Calling me lazy for pointing out a bad system? I can find better things to do with both my time, and the professionals and volunteers at the district who are dealing with all of these forms from the 1980s.

            My point is that the BSA's antiquated systems is why we got caught with our Scout leaders pants down - and we should fix it. Why the heck would you be protecting such a system?

          • Scouter99
            Scouter99 commented
            Editing a comment
            Actually, it is possible that you may have as many BSA IDs as you have interactions with the office. If, for example, you donate money and you're entered apart from your existing ID, a new ID is generated. The person who reconciles those errors picks which ID to keep when merging the records--if they're ever reconciled.

            You say there's no reason to waste time every time a person's role changes, but you're arguing something that doesn't happen. A person's role within a unit can be changed with a mouse click at recharter.

            Your complaint about your info's security doesn't make any sense. It's more secure on a piece of paper in a filing cabinet than in a database.

            You're asking BSA to keep a database of every person--youth and adult--that ever signs an application forever. In 67 years, my unit alone has registered at least 700 youth (probably more like 800 since scouts who join and drop between recharters don't appear on the rosters), I haven't counted the adults. The idea that BSA should keep the personal, advancement, awards, etc. records of all these people sounds convenient to you because you're so busy that you can't fill out an application once every 4 years, but it is, in the wide view, ridiculous.

            I don't think you have any point about our pants. The highest profile scandals occurred before the era of state or national databases (which is why BSA created its own, ahead of the curve, not behind), and most had no criminal records, anyway, again because in that era charges weren't often filed. You want the names run periodically, but the idea that a person could get arrested and convicted between BSA checks without getting removed in the first place is silly. The same effect is achieved by requiring a person to fill out an application, anyway.
            Last edited by Scouter99; 01-23-2014, 12:38 AM.

          • Basementdweller
            Basementdweller commented
            Editing a comment
            Your not hearing me either.

            I get what your saying.....Creating or transfering to a different unit should be a drag and drop kinda thing on the computer.

            But ya know what, DE's and council folks aren't that honest. Guess how long it would be before legions of ghost units would exist. So explain to me your vision of Johny scout transfering from troop 1 to troop 2. How is the admin taken care of?

            Currently They have a hard copy with signature showing the transfer or new member.

            We have been told that everytime you submit a new application that a new background check is performed.

            Is the system perfect, no. But I would rather have more background checks than less. are they actually doing them, I have no clue.

        • #10
          You guys are cracking me up, and are reflective of why the BSA is so far behind. Scouter99 seems to think that 700 records is a big deal. I had 700 individual records added to a database at work this morning, holding more information on each person than the BSA has on me.

          Scout99 - our pants were down partially because we did NOT have a single, unified database. It was in paper files in HQ, and it was not easily cross-checked. The BSA's own system has out of data information on me - I know this because when we got the Crew going I had to correct information in the training database that was wrong. They had never required me to update my information from 10 years ago. That is a failure in the system.

          I have walked into our Council offices and seen a stack of forms with social security numbers sitting around on a desk. That is not secure - it is the opposite.

          Having multiple IDs for me in the system is failure.. Anyone who does any type of HR, Marketing, Sales, Customer Service software knows that you should be able to pull the complete picture of an individual from within one system.

          Finally, AYSO has figured this out. It is not that hard to update our systems to match current technology. I am not asking for something futuristic - I am asking for something that reflects currently available technology. This would help units and the BSA.

          But we can stick to the carbon triplicates.

          This is not because of the 15 minutes to fill out the form (not 5 - I check with each of my references before listing them to make sure that they are OK with being a reference, I check the dates on other positions I have held and update it just in case someone might be doing their job). My complaint is that this is a bad, broken system that does not follow best practices in security, and in youth protection.

          We can do better. Sorry that the rest of you think that this is good enough.

          Comment


          • Scouter99
            Scouter99 commented
            Editing a comment
            I didn't say 700 records is a problem. You don't want the BSA to hold 700 records, you want them to hold a record on every person that ever joins. Let's start today: That's 3,000,000 records. This year my council added 3,000 youth, let's be generous and say every council adds 1000, that's another million every year. How many adults register for a year never to be heard from again? There's a million more. Every Tiger has to have an adult partner.

            Who is entering this data? Who is updating it if indignant volunteers don't have 5 minutes to fill out a sheet of paper?

            How long will the record be there? 20 years? But then you don't get your youth records like you want. 50? 100?

            What system will they be kept on? A custom system? A custom system to be maintained across a century? A proprietary system? A proprietary system that will be supported in 20, 50, 80, or 100 years?

            You want it to be electronic and thus presumably more secure than a stack of papers on a desk. Secure like Target? or secure like Nieman Marcus? or secure like the South Carolina Dept of Taxation? or secure like our debit cards? or secure like Apple?

            You want it to check backgrounds periodically. So, you want BSA to buy or create a system that interfaces with 50 state criminal agencies, 50 state social services agencies (many hold separate databases for child abuse/neglect which do not overlap with criminal BG checks), federal agencies, and the territories. You want this impossible effort in order to accomplish that which is already accomplished by the paper form.

            You want all this because you cannot believe that when you join another unit you have to apply to it.

            Like BD, I am not saying that the system we have is the best in the world, but your complaints are over the top and your "solution" addresses personal problems.

            As for your personal outdated info, the failure in the system is that when you moved, you didn't do your due diligence and call the council to update yourself, and/or that your unit did not do its due diligence and update you at recharter. Creating a vast national database will not fix that problem.
            Last edited by Scouter99; 01-23-2014, 01:43 PM.

          • Horizon
            Horizon commented
            Editing a comment
            I want to fix a broken system.

            We already have a database of youth registration, with unique BSA identifiers
            We already have a database of advancement, with unique BSA identifiers.
            We already have a database of education, with unique BSA identifiers.
            We already have a database of registered leaders, with unique BSA identifiers.
            We already have a database of donations as well from FOS.

            Background checks are done with a computer, based on information that comes FROM the paper form. That information is then entered INTO a computer for the check.

            We simply need to improve this system to where it cross checks this information. This is not rocket science. Merging these systems is not that difficult. Your fear of millions of records cracks me up - I could pack all of that into my laptop and leave enough room for dutch oven recipes and pictures from Philmont.

            ALL of this data already exists. It exists IN a computer. We don't need to create new data, we just need to improve the system that we are using. This is called user interface, and we can update the UI without needing to make much of a change to the underlying data model. Better yet, we could update the data model to a unified record, and then be able to make tweaks to the interface over time.

            I want all this because the BSA can do better, not just because the annual rechartering, etc process is a pain at times. Your insults and attacks are un Scoutlike and uncalled for.

          • Scouter99
            Scouter99 commented
            Editing a comment
            My attacks? You mean where you moved and blame the council for not knowing because you never told them, but I blame you because the council isn't clairvoyant? There is plenty of room for improvement in BSA IT, none of it will fix that you problem.

        • #11
          This question came up in my (now disbanded) council last fall - we had approximately 20 boys and 4 adults transfer from their old troop to ours when the old troop was disbanded by their CO (their church).

          I wanted to have council do one form with the roster of buys transferring, but we were required to get all new applications. Royal pain in the butt. No good reason to do the individual apps there, when we could have had our CC and COR sign a simple list of transferees. I'm with the original poster on this one.

          Comment


          • qwazse
            qwazse commented
            Editing a comment
            One thing we should be sensitive to: in the past councils have been known to retain unit charters on the books an additional year (in hopes that they'd reorganize), or performed en-masse transfers without any confirmation that members of one unit even knew they had new numbers (among other things). This resulted in grossly inflated membership statistics. Less than 10 years ago I was lighting into a new DE for handing me a list of crews, 1/3 of whom for all intents and purposes existed on paper only.

            I wish it weren't true, but having the CC or COR speak for those 24 members opens the gateway for corruption. There would be no way to tell your DE (who seems to have been adequate in helping the boys actually transfer units) from a slacker DE's performance (who would gladly give those registrations new unit #s without garnering approval from the boys and their parents).
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