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NACAP - I'm not the only person on here who thinks that National has done a generally lousy job of communication. I'm all for opening up and using new avenues, such as Twitter. But there's no need to pat anyone in Irving on the back for finally discovering a 6-year-old social network, especially not when its primary communications mechanism - scouting.org - is so pitiful.


Nor is there a need, as you did, to castigate your fellow volunteers for spreading misinformation. Consider that if National's publications (and email addresses) were easy to find (and easy to interpret), there wouldn't be so many questions on these forums.


Believe me, I understand what it's like for an institution to revamp its communications systems, especially when most people are not thinking in communications-first terms. They want to do their job - whether it be finance, recruiting, advancement or program - and think of public or customer communications as a low priority. I'm in a project right now redoing my employer's website, and it's posing some significant challenges. But the institution first has to acknowledge that there's an issue, and want to fix it.


Since you're advising the Advancement pros, you might want to suggest that when they put stuff out on Twitter, they include links to the source material. Whoever's in charge started off by tweeting answers to FAQs without bothering to mention what the questions were. Context is king! Also have them watch out for jargon - most parents don't know what the GTA is, and I daresay quite a few Scouters can't keep up with all the acronym babble, either.


Communication is a two-way street. We have a National pro on here who gets his back up every time someone questions or ridicules a safeaty policy. If the advancement staffers - and those advising them - can't take some constructive criticism, then don't ask for it. I critique because I care.




Addendum: As an illustrative example of the problems with National's website, I attempted to locate the GTA without using the search function (which I couldn't, as it was broken) or Google. None of the links on the homepage easily led me to a section for advancement. Selecting the Volunteer tab means you have to then select something called "ScoutSource," which is apparently where National just stashes a lot of information, to eventually get to the GTA. None of it is intuitive.


The average parent or Scouter seeking that document would (a) first have to know that there exists something called the GTA, and (b) know how to search within a website using an external search engine such as Google.(This message has been edited by shortridge)

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Well, welcome NACAP :) If you have been following the thread while trying to register, and I know you have been following some since signing on.. You realize that although it's a great place to hang out, you have to have some very thick leathery alligator skin at times..


As far as I am concerned There's right, there's wrong in what is written.. Where things are not black & white then there's are alot of places that people can make the program their own, and pin their own style to it.. It kindof gets confusing when you are moving from black/white into freestyle, and we can have lots of debates about it.. But I like the freestyle parts because it allow each unit to offer something a little different, and allows both youth and parents to figure out the unit that is closest to what they want out of scouting.



It is great to see how others in different parts of the country do it, but sometimes we get stuck and argueing over those differences. Whose better? What is black & white, what is freestyle.. Why my way is better then your way..


It's fun as long as you go in wearing your allegator hide.


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Oh this makes me giggle.......



So NACAP are you officially authorized to speak as a Representative of the National Organization regarding Advancement issues??????



We all types of folks who claim things on this board......


Me I am just a one of the lowly volunteers you speak ill of, muddling thru a maze of BSA rules and policies....



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Basement...My Claim is valid. I am allowed to and have posted advancement related items on forums authorized by and for the NAC and National Advancement. Sorry if I spoke ill of some folks but if you read the file of what "leaders" have done to scouts which led to in part the writing of the Guide to Advancement and new Eagle Workbook process, you would be aghast.


Shortridge...what have you done specifically to address your issues to any one at National? Sounds like you have some expertise that you should share vuce launching missiles. Spreading mis-information is not an excuse to be used because scouting.org isn't great. Most of the mis-information I see is from the old timers who haven't opened a BSA publication in years, been to any training and live on folklore. If the advancement folks didn't want feedback, they would not have started the two email addresses, the newsletter (that has surveys) and the twitter.


I can provide information on this forum or not, doesn't matter to me. I can stay over on meritbadge.org's forum where the folks don't need to have alligator skin.



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If you think some fairly mild, constructive criticism is launching missiles, you need to spend some more time around here. That's tiddlywinks, my friend.


If National wants feedback, it would do better than just posting email addresses inside a PDF file that's darned hard to locate. Yes, I'm glad they're reaching out now. But there are so many more areas in which they could improve. I'm very glad you stopped by. But don't expect kudos and thanks for finally creating two poorly publicized email addresses and a Twitter account. That's less than the bare minimum of what your pros should have done several years ago, and I suspect you know that.


I'm a local volunteer. National has a whole team of paid staffers who are supposed to handle communication. Their expertise far outweighs any advice I could offer. If they want ideas, all they'd have to do is lurk here for a month.

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I should look over at MB.org again. Last time I checked them out (a long time ago), the forum was rarely being used.. You could post something that took days for a single response.


You should stick around. We do have our characters.. But, it's a great place, and what group in scouting does not have their characters..?? Actually for any of us to be in scouting, each one of us is a charater of some sort..(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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I think I'll move on and spend my valuable time on answering questions on meritbadge.org, working with the folks on usscouts.org and assisting the evil professionals at National. If you post something over on the meritbadge.org forum, I'll be happy to help.


I never thought that posting a one liner on what I thought was an informational post would cause the responses Shortridge posted.

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Well, people will argue about things on here.. Just went over to meritbadge.org.. I saw maybe one post from today.. A few for the last few days back..


Still don't think the forum has taken off much.. It may be a more pleasant crowd though..


Still hope you stick around.. I too had a rough entry..


In part, because I came in strong and started out rubbing him the wrong way.. Spent a week needing to give one of the regulars virtual hugs until he settled down. Until then, he was a very grumpy dude, whenever we met up.(This message has been edited by moosetracker)

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Heard a SM Minute:

"A Scout is Friendly...


Friends are patient and kind; not jealous or conceited or proud; friends are not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; friends do not keep a record of wrongs; friends are unhappy with evil, but happy with the truth. Friends never give up; their faith, hope, and patience never fail.


I dont always agree with all Scouts opinions, but I respect people who Do Their Best. We dont all have to agree all of the time. But we do have to be a Friend. Its just part of being a Scout."


-borrowed from http://johnscout.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/scoutmaster-minute%E2%80%94a-scout-is-friendly/


We'd probably all do well to read that before jumping down each other's throats.

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At the risk of being hammered and through the encouragement PMs other members have sent, I thought I would share some information from my discussions with National on Shortridges concerns.


Yes scouting.org needs to be completely reorganized and it is recognized as an issue and in progress. To suggest National "kick butt" is crude and un Scout-like. That approach doesn't work with today's employees. There have also been significant operational changes at the national office over the last few years and feedback suggests that most people these days, are thinking twice before they declare the BSA incompetent. The mere fact that there are email addresses to send in questions on advancement and merit badges is good news. Also this months Advancement News survey specifically targets BSA publications and asks how they can be improved.


Your comments about the use of third party systems are short sighted. The other methods you mention are used but for the sake of the BSAs aims and mission why on earth would National NOT want to take advantage of outside resources? BSAs market covers the generations from young to old, and a wide variety of cultures. Roundtables? They most certainly are used but volunteers must take the time to attend, and in too many cases roundtable programs are so poor they drive people away (separate thread needed). Some will read newsletters, but many won't take the time. The Twitter experiment started to help to fill in the gaps with specific short messages and they are limited in length. Most of those who will follow the new twitter account such as yourself I see are engaged in the advancement processes. The Twitter experiment is not intended to be interactive--just another way to push information out. Keep in mind that there are exactly 3 persons who work in BSA Advancement not the hundreds of posters each on the number of different unofficial forums who want immediate feedback.


Messages sent to advancement.team@scouting.org are the primary method to get a response. I would suggest those that are BSA bashers will get the lowest priority in getting any response.


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I would suggest those that are BSA bashers will get the lowest priority in getting any response


This is just an observation, you can do anything you want with this information:


I think most of the so-called "BSA bashers" you'll encounter are experienced, dedicated Scouters with several years of experience directly serving youth at unit, district and council levels.


After several years of having to fight tooth and nail to glean reliable information from National, having to deal with inconsistent and poorly publicized rules and regulations, and generally being ignored by the policy makers at a National level... well, that's bound to cause some frustration over the years. Some might even "bash" the BSA for treating their paying customers in this way.


It sounds like National is moving in the right direction, with offering some more communication methods, and (hopefully) working on revamping their website. But you can't really blame people for being frustrated right now. And, I think if National is smart, they might try to identify the reasons WHY people are frustrated, and see what can be done to address them. But to continue to ignore frustrated volunteers, as you seem to be suggesting National should or will do - that's only going to create more "BSA bashers."(This message has been edited by KC9DDI)

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