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Individual Scout accounts - privacy?

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  • Individual Scout accounts - privacy?

    We recently switched to online signups for campouts and events using Doodle (just set up a poll with ability to check things like "yes my parents give me permission to go," "take the money from my scout account" or "I will bring a check to the troop meeting," etc.

    Scouts are checking to take from their scout account, even when they don't have any funds. I suggested giving them online access to their account balance, however the committee consensus has been that each scout's balance should be private, so there would need to be a password for each scout, rather than just having a list of everyone's individual balance.

    What are your thoughts on this? Should their balance be privileged information? Is it really that big a deal for the other scouts to see how much they have (and would they even care)?

    ~Michelle

  • #2
    I think it kind of depends on the size, maturity and dynamics of your troop. But, in general, my gut feeling is that your committee is on the right track. It seems like there's a lot of problems that can arise from a group of kids knowing roughly how "rich or poor" their peers are.

    There may be some other options, though. It sounds like you have a pretty technologically advanced group - could you look into some automated way to email account balances to the appropriate scouts/parents at the beginning of each month? Or, the low-tech way is just to print out a hard copy of an account statement even couple months, and distribute it.

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    • #3
      Yes, their individual account information should be private.

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      • #4
        OH HECK YEAH THE BALANCES SHOULD BE PRIVATE!

        I was one of those scouts who worked every fundraiser I could to afford scouting. I would not want folks to know how much, or how little, I had inthe account.

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        • #5
          Well, technically (see other threads fretting about internal revenue, etc...), the balance is not the scout's. It's the troop's. You have only allocated certain amounts from fundraisers for the scout to use so that he can be properly equipped for the good of the troop.

          That said, I agree with E92. It's a big deal. Some boys are embarrassed that they have money at their disposal (or more properly, have stewardship over troop funds) when others do not. Other boys who have less (or none) might feel defeated by those who do. Having online balances that anyone can browse allows for both categories of unnecessary frustration.

          Anyway, even if scouts don't have a positive balance, they will probably check the scout account option anyway. (It defines our culture.) I would make payment and sign-up a two step process. The treasure contacts the boy about payment options after he signs up and lets the boy know his options based on the allocation in his account.

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          • #6
            No one will complain if each person only has access to his own account.

            No one, that is, except for the people who have to implement such a system. We just publish our list. It's not like the numbers are all that big for anyone. And no one has an easy way to make each balance accessible only to one person, and no one wants to suggest to the treasurer that he should do the work necessary to provide each balance.

            If it was free to make each Scout have an individual account, I'd say to do that. I do not, though, see too much of a strong argument for privacy. Our accounts are all over the place, and they do not correlate at all to how much money a family has.

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            • #7
              Sometimes technology can be a hurdle. Why not just have the Scout in question call the treasurer and say "How much is in my account?". No passswords, no extra work, no privacy issues. I know...old fashioned. But sometimes a pen and paper still works.

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              • #8
                There could be a major problem with the way Oak Tree's unit handles things. If the Scout and his family are contributing personal funds to a "Scout Account" in addition to any allocation for fund raising (which - as I've said time and again but folks are too dang stubborn to learn and won't learn from it until it bites them in the butt - is illegal by tax code and state charity code but apparently Scout's really aren't all that Obedient) is that the unit is now acting essentially as an unlicensed savings bank and even though it's not a licensed bank, you could still be responsible for maintaining the privacy of such accounts just as a financial institution does.

                Keep the information private - if you can't figure out how to do that, then don't even set-up "Scout Accounts".

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                • #9
                  Thanks everyone for your replies, they were very helpful!

                  ~Michelle

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                  • #10
                    >>>>>the unit is now acting essentially as an unlicensed savings bank and even though it's not a licensed bank, you could still be responsible for maintaining the privacy of such accounts just as a financial institution does.

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