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Posts posted by ham_solo

  1. The old internet advancement system had a API that other people could use to do automated data, import/export syncs with.

    The new Scoutbook system has no such API and all 3rd party interfaces with BSA no longer exist.

    It is pretty obvious at this point that BSA wants Scoutbook to remain 100% proprietary, and take away any options of interfacing advancement data with and 3rd party tools or websites. 

    To the BSA, you should be using Scoutbook or nothing, even though Scoutbook pales in comparison to many other systems such as Troopmaster, Trooptrack etc.

  2. Notice how national in all the press photos lately is now having everyone tie their neckers at the bottom like the rest of the world scouting does instead of using a slide, and they are all wearing the longer traditional style neckers.  


    eg: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2020/03/05/on-the-100th-year-since-the-19th-amendment-lets-look-how-scouts-stood-with-suffragists/


    I am all for it, I like larger necker sizes, and it really makes US Scouts more in line with the rest of the scouts in the world.

    But it does seem interesting that national seems to have made that uniform decision to set that as a new standard and not even communicated it to anyone(like usual).


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  3. Since, the BSA went back on their promise to provide an import/export method for 3rd party programs like the one we use for our records which we HAD and worked great with the old internet advancement system, I am just going back to paper and will just turn paper forms into the council from now on and not deal with scoutbook at all.

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  4. Holy cow. This also now means it is only safe to go camping or another outing with FOUR instead of 3 minimum.  


    With 3 we had enough of someone got hurt and we had to take them back to camp for a twisted ankle or god forbid a hospital or rangers office or something more serious.  Two could go with the scout and maintain two deep, the 3rd adult could stay with the youth and continue the hike etc.  Now you need 4 to handle those situations. 

    This is killer for small troops  


    And I guess if you read this strict the SPL is not allowed to take control of his troop on a hike or even on a walk to the state park playground or something without at least 2 adults along as well.  

  5. >Two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are required at all Scouting activities, including meetings.

    Hmm, that will be a problem for me as SM when the PLC has their meetings once a month an hour before one of the regular Troop meetings.  Since no other adult leaders are really invited to the PLC meeting, usually I show up and open the door to the church for them to have their PLC meeting, and sit over in the corner of the room while they have their meeting, unless I am asked a question, or feel the need to ask a question, and then I say a few things at the end.  This all happens before any of the rest of the troop shows up and no parents or other adult leaders show up until about the time their PLC meeting is wrapping up.  In a Troop with only a SM, 2 ASMs and a CC this will be a challenge to get another registered leader to show up as well.

    I have always followed the old YPT rules and no one-on-one contact, always have at least multiple youth present at all times etc.  But sometimes there are just not other adults present.  Heck, I can even think of a few meetings where for a little while I was the only adult in the building while the only parent there had to run out or something.  We have so many adults that just drop and go these days.  There are times at summer camp where all the other adults are away and I will wander back to our campsite and be the only adult present when some group of boys is there playing cards or something.  Do the adults now need a buddy system at summer camp to make sure there will never be just one of us anywhere there are scouts in addition to making sure there are multiple youth?

    This creates more questions such as:

    Do I need to start telling the boys they can't have their PLC meeting if no other adults will attend? 

    Do I tell them to call their parents to pick them up if the CC is working 2nd shift and one ASM is sick and the other is out of town?



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  6. Depends on the project. I have had some scouts do project where they needed a couple people who were very detail oriented for say painting very detailed and complicated patterns on a floor and they only invited a few older scouts to help and that was a very legitimate decision I thought by the scout.

    Most other projects where there is lots of heavy lifting, digging, sawing/hammering, or slapping a solid color of paint onto some picnic benches or something then I would suggest pretty much anyone can help with so the whole troop gets invited.

    I even had a scout who did his whole project with him and his friends from NYLT and did use anyone from the Troop, all the guys in that group all helped each other do their eagle projects. 

    As a SM, I just talk to the scout and guide him to see what he thinks is best.

  7. 47 minutes ago, Tired_Eagle_Feathers said:

    Pardon my ignorance, what is a "DE"?


    A rare creature that some of us have actually seen.


    Unlike of course the mysterious Unit Executive which is a mythical creature which has only been rumored to have been seen by some scouters that say they caught rare glimpses of one, but it was always a foggy nite and if you ask me their tales are often a little far fetched.

    • Haha 1
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  8. What I don't get is why are they still talking about releasing the Scoutbook Lite version as well later this year, which was supposed to originally be the free replacement for Internet Advancement, but you would still have to pay for the full Scoutbook. 

    Now that the full Scoutbook will be free for all, why in the world is BSA still going to waste money on "Scoutbook Lite" version also, and have to maintain a totally separate software product, with a "different user interface" from now until forever that will only be used by a small percentage of units? That sort of thinking is just wasting resources to me and just someone not willing to admit their project is not needed anymore. 

    The only reason for Scoutbook Lite to exist in the first place, was because of the original scheme that the regular Scoutbook was going to continue to be a paid product, and they needed something free to replace internet advancement, because they could not force everyone to pay for the full version.  

    But, now that the full scoutbook is going to be free, what in the world are they thinking?

    /Still plan to continue to use TroopTrack for our troop because it has every feature that people have been asking for years in their forums to be added to Scoutbook(and little if any progress has been made apparently over the years).

  9. Scoutbook Subscriptions will be free starting January 1, 2019

    In an effort to drive program consistency and deeper engagement with our youth and leaders, Boy Scouts of America is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2019, Scoutbook subscriptions will be free to all BSA units.

    Scoutbook (https://www.scoutbook.com ) is an online unit management tool that ensures that you never miss a Scouting moment—from tracking advancements to milestone achievements along the Scouting adventure.

    When units with a current Scoutbook account need to renew their subscription this fall, they will not pay any renewal fees effective September 1, 2018.

    When councils with Scoutbook accounts for their units need to renew these unit subscriptions this fall, they will not pay any renewal fees effective September 1, 2018.

    Essentially, units (or councils paying for their units) can renew Scoutbook subscriptions in September, October, November, or December 2018 at no cost.

    For units currently without a Scoutbook account, they can begin their free Scoutbook unit subscription on January 1, 2019.


  10. I bet $100  he gets it if he appeals to National. 

    I denied one recently for similar circumstances as SM, for a scout who had not been camping since 2014, had not correctly finished 5 eagle merit badges, never served in a position as Life, etc.. but the parents submitted what looked more like a legal brief to Council/National than a request, and in their letter made it sound like all of us leaders were incompetent, etc.  And eventually after even the Council Eagle Committee who performed their investigation and reviewed it did not give their approval, still when they sent it with their non-recommendation to National, the Troop was still overruled by National, and so the Council gave him a board and approved his eagle anyway.  None of us in the Troop were involved in the board, we refused. 

    I got the feeling National and Council just wanted them to go away and gave them whatever they wanted so they would not go to court.

    That is the way it is these days.

  11. Ok, I am totally confused about the current Eagle Plam's requirements of the month.

    Is the 3-month active after eagle requirement gone?  I believe it is still published in the guide to advancement, but I have read in a few places it is gone.

    The requirements for scoutmasters conference and board are gone as well I believe.

    I have a young man who just earned his eagle but I am not sure if I can award him palms right away for the merit badges that qualify or not.    Is there even an official 'form' anymore to submit?   Everything I can find has the old requirements on them.  Or do I just award them and submit them via regular advancement form stuff?

    I gotta say, that this scoutmaster is confused.

  12. US Girl Scouts are actually wrongly named Girl Guides.   They are part of the international Girl Guides  (and scouts), and are actually the only group in that international organization that calls themselves scouts and not guides.  Personally I think is what confuses people.  GSA is following the guides program and is not actually 'scouts for girls'.


  13. Anyone have any scoutmaster minutes about "the WHY" of the Law and Oath?  Why we follow those, why those are important, and why they should care? 

    I feel like we stand up and we say those the oath and law before every meeting, we talk about them sometimes, discuss how they apply in their lives, and talk about them when it comes time to advance and in BOR's... . but I just don't fell like we don't really communicate "the why" to the youth.  

    How did my scoutmaster(s) instill into me these things enough that I carried them with my whole life and still try to live by them today?  Did I just absorb it via osmosis?   I want the boys to feel about the oath and law the same way I did and still do today, but I just am not sure how to do it.

    Any ideas?

  14. 9 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

    I imagine that is precisely how it will go. Which is why I am glad I will have no part in it; thank goodness CO's are allowed to choose how they will proceed so that those who don't want to get involved in this mess can at least continue on their merry way largely unaffected. I will never have to deal with girls in our program. But again and certainly, my heart goes out to those who feel similarly, but don't have the guaranteed protection of their CO's preserving their interests as I know mine will. Such a mess ...

    I have a sit-down meeting with my CO next week and hope to get/set some direction.   My own position as SM, and the current position of the other leaders (at least the ASMs and CC) as well as the parents in the Troop I have talked to, right now are not interested in pursuing a girls program and will stick with being a boys only Troop.   

    Our sister Pack with the CO, will probably have girls I think but I have not confirmed it with the brand new Cub master.  They are closely affiliated not only with our CO(church), but also with the neighborhood elementary school where they have all their meetings so I am guessing they will get lots of push for girls to join next recruitment nite at the elementary school.  Most likely the best thing we can do for the girls is find whatever girls troop gets formed in our district or whatever and send the girls that way, just as we have in the past sent them to those couple of venture crews we had in the area before.

    I see girl scouts as experimental, and not every troop needs to do it, heck there are not even enough girls for that.  The most natural thing will be for a couple of troops in each district/council to be the 'girl' troops for now and to send them all there.

  15. > "new, separate girl's program" that was initially promised is frankly an affront

    Or it could actually be that national has actually heard from all those people who were actually planning on doing the girls program which kept saying, that

    a) they will never find enough leaders to staff an entire other girls troop,

    b) most of us forming it will be leaders from the boys troop anyway with a few additional female leaders added

    and c) it will just be a separate troop only on paper to begin with because we can't be in two places at once

    So slowly national will probably have to admit that it is going to be really one program, with separate patrols about as far as it will most likely go, pretty much like the cubs.  It was pretty obvious the original separate program scheme national had was sorta half-baked, especially when they came out with that whole 'linked-committees' stuff.


  16. Should have copied the "UK Scouts" that they switched to when they went co-ed, and just changed to "US Scouts".

    Because we all know that eventually BSA will need change their name to "Scouts of America", "Scouts America", like Scouts Canada, or something similar to the UK as "Scouting Association of the US" , or "US Scouting Association" or whatever anyway in the future, and that will now cause yet another name change for the scouting program again later.

    Shows a bit of a lack of forward thinking to me.

    Oh well, I also see in my crystal ball a future change to the program to move to what all the rest of the world scouting organization members have done already as far as program ages with a more natural progression of either the UK system where they have cubs(7-10)->Scouts(10-14)->Explorers(14-18)->ScoutNetwork(18-25) OR the way it used to be in the UK and still is in lots of places such as Canada with cubs(7-10)->scouts(11-14)->venture scouts(15-17)->rover scouts(18-26), which will eliminate ages with the current Venturing program that conflict with the Scout program and give them more definition to what they fit in.


  17. Read that announcement closely.



    BSA’s Scoutbook Lite, which will replace Internet Advancement, debuts in early 2018

    Scouters experienced in the development of apps or web platforms will be excited to learn that the BSA
    will roll out a number of APIs (application programming interfaces).

    The BSA will release a selection of specific, read-only APIs to Scouting volunteers in the first half of 2018.

    There are no current plans to roll out APIs to third parties.

    The system will no longer support the CSV data file import.




    The things concern me there:
    "read-only API's", and "no...API's to third parties" and "no longer support the CSV data file import"


    Those make me think that BSA is getting ready to give the shaft to all other Troop tracking programs.

  18. Not totally uncommon for a very small troop. 


    Our troop is very small and I can't get enough adult volunteers to staff an actual committee.


    The troop leadership consists of myself(SM), the former SM(now ASM), and one other adult committee member who acts as treasurer and advancement chair.   We are the only 3 of us that have access to the troop funds.   Our rules are we never sign checks for anything that pays to ourselves as reimbursement, we have to show documentation (receipts) to one of the other of us and they have to write the check.  For any large purchases we always notify each other before doing so.   The treasurer rarely pays for anything himself since he does not go on any trips except to summer camp, so he watches the bank statements and gets photocopies of every check from the bank and basically provides additional checks and balances to the two of us that actually have to pay for things on a regular basis.  I am pretty comfortable that our setup provides proper oversight and ensures responsible use of troop funds.


    Our only "committee meeting" is once a year we get together and take the yearly plan the boys come up (eg go to X and do canoeing in July, go caving at Y in March etc), and put actual dates down on paper doing our best to make the dates work with our work schedules, the local school yearly calendar, holidays etc.   I guess this is because the three of us have informal committee meetings almost every week when we talk about whatever issue is going on in the troop.



    If I could actually find enough adults to staff a real committee with a dedicated treasurer, secretary, chairperson, etc like we had back when I was in the pack, it would be great, but that seems to be harder and harder these days.

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