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Nathan1001001

Scouting Advancement App

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It strikes me that what you are building is more of a wikihow kind of site than a search engine like google.  A Scout wants to work on a badge, you'll have all the resources there and put together to enable the Scout to go through the process.

I see this as essentially just a modern interpretation of the Scout handbook and merit badge guides.  If someone in their 20's or 30's sat down from scratch to build Scouting, it is unlikely that they would write a 100+ merit badge guides.  Instead, they'd put them all online and have videos and more interactive content.  It just happened to be that when they invented Scouting, a small book make the most sense.  Today it doesn't.  That's not to say there isn't value in those resources - there is.  But, it's not the most obvious format for those materials today in 2020.

Just like a merit badge pamphlet could replace a counselor, so too could this.  But, it really doesn't have to.  The counselor needs to provide more value to the Scout than being just a teller of facts.  

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Sounds kind of similar to the videos that the BSA used to have online for some of the (older) rank requirements for Tenderfoot - First Class.  You can still find the videos at YouTube:

BSA rank videos

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Nathan, poke around this site and look for discussions about merit badges, merit badge fairs, merit badge universities, etc., and the concerns abou them. I think you will see why there is some reticence. You are young with a lot of enthusiasm. I think most of us on this site are older with a lot of cynicism. I think what we need to deal with is that the scouting way  of old  is really an anti app culture, but the scout of tomorrow is likely going to want apps. Somehow, if scouting survives, people like you will need to figure out how to make sure scouting stays both personal and relevant. Good luck. 

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5 hours ago, Nathan1001001 said:

So should I just forget about this idea... seems like people don't really like the idea. 😕

What I've come to understand about Scouters is that we all place different priorities on the eight methods - scouting ideals, patrols, outdoors, advancement, personal growth, adult association, leadership development, and uniform.

What I've noticed with experienced Scouters is that when people start focusing on making advancement easier or better, experienced Scouters tend to start asking questions around whether the improvement to advancement is at the expense of some of the other seven methods.  For example, merit badge mills are great at helping a Scout advance, but they can negatively impact several of the other seven methods - well, except maybe uniforms.  

You've got an innovative idea that experienced Scouters will look at and question whether it will negatively impact the other methods.  I like your idea, but I think you need to be ready to explain how the other methods in Scouting will be improved or at least not be harmed by it.  For example, if your app makes it so that a Scout really doesn't need much assistance from a merit badge counselor, that is a negative impact to adult association.  Having a Scout race through the ranks but never learn how to interact with adults is not a good thing.  So, if this were my idea, I'd look at the other seven methods and honestly assess how they will benefit or otherwise by impacted by it.  I'm a bit of an optimist, so I look at your idea and see that the other methods will be find if the app is done correctly.  But, you have to be ready for those questions as they will come.

So, I would not look at the feedback here as a negative.  Instead it is representative of the feedback you will get around the country to your idea.  I would look at that as a positive and leverage it to tune your ideas.  

Edited by ParkMan
clarified a thought
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I think Parkman nailed introduction of new ideas into the program in general. Seems like new Troop Treasures always had a new better faster way of acquiring the scouts dues and streamlining into the overall system. Yet, the new idea always seem to take the scout out of the process of money management. 

I was talking to my high school teacher son yesterday about the differences of education over the years. I was shocked to learn that students today can't type. He said when his students write a paper, they are most comfortable (and much faster) writing the paper on their phone with their thumbs and transferring it over to an editor for publishing. He said todays students find the comma stressful because it represents finality that they don't use in their socializing 

I can't even imagine it

There is balance for introducing new ideas in an oil-time proven process while maintaining the growth intended by the original design . But, it seems the balance has to endure birthing pains. 

Barry

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17 hours ago, Nathan1001001 said:

So should I just forget about this idea... seems like people don't really like the idea. 😕

It's not that it's not needed.  There is a hole.  I don't see a youth targeted scouting web site that helps youth do scouting.  Many sites exist, but NONE sites are youth oriented.   I agree that a WikiHow or a Wikipedia site would be useful.  I do NOT think it would be useful to create new content.  But a well organized presentation of scouting topics targeting youth would be very helpful.  Then, leverage links to outside youtube and other content. 

Site could have

  • Ideas for:  Meals, outings, games, objectives
  • Resources for:  Planning a camp out, working on merit badges, etc

My only personal request ... don't make it a "here's a checklist for ..." type of site.  We're trying to trigger ideas and make leaders; not award MBAs.

Edited by fred8033
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2 hours ago, fred8033 said:

It's not that it's not needed.  There is a hole.  I don't see a youth targeted scouting web site that helps youth do scouting.  Many sites exist, but NONE sites are youth oriented.   I agree that a WikiHow or a Wikipedia site would be useful.  I do NOT think it would be useful to create new content.  But a well organized presentation of scouting topics targeting youth would be very helpful.  Then, leverage links to outside youtube and other content. 

Site could have

  • Ideas for:  Meals, outings, games, objectives
  • Resources for:  Planning a camp out, working on merit badges, etc

My only personal request ... don't make it a "here's a checklist for ..." type of site.  We're trying to trigger ideas and make leaders; not award MBAs.

I definitely see how this could be really helpful

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How about a section with ideas for helping patrols? I have yet to see a scout oriented site that has anything like that. So, just like menus and activity ideas are concrete examples that scouts can try out, how about specific examples of making duty rosters or solving people problems or just being afraid of screwing up as a new pl. Call it Patrol Life.

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Ideas for agendas for annual planning, PLCs, etc

The only other thing is don't go after a single answer.  Provide ideas / resources, etc. 

As I've come to learn, there are many ways to do scouting.  There is no single answer.  I've found my reason to have my sons in scouting is often very different than the reasons of other people.  The experience I want them to have is very different than what other's envision.

 

Edited by fred8033
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good ideas. I'd start with some of the old info from the 1950s Patrol Leader Handbook. Also, could it be a communication tool for Patrols Leaders around the country to share ideas and commiserate. 

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