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Add Invite Counselor Now function to MB page when accessed by parent

Parents have the ability to invite a counselor on their scout’s MB page via the base add connection functionality. They can see all adults within Scoutbook including MB counselors. Can we enhance this with the “invite counselor now” functionality? This exposes no additional information to the parent. In fact, since it starts as a more targeted search, they are less likely to see unneeded information.

Why would a parent do this task?

This really isn’t a parents’s role, as they don’t have a part in the “lifecycle” of a Scout earring a MB. The Scoutmaster should have a conversation with the Scout and work on selecting (and connecting) the MBC.

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A parent/Scout can only see the names of adults in their unit. Scoutbook does not provide a search capability to look up adults or merit badge counselors for parents or Scouts.

Leaders have this capability and the extension does use that to make it easier for a leader to invite counselors to connect to a Scout

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@Matt.Johnson , thank you for your opinion.

My opinion is as follows:

The parent has a part in the “lifecycle” of every interaction their Scout has with any adult associated with the Troop.

The SM does have a conversation with the Scout and works with the Scout on selecting the MBC and signs the Blue Card both physically and virtually within SB but the Scout makes the final decision on who the MBC will be.

The SM wants the Scout to initiate the contact with the MBC and get the MBC consent to work with the Scout. At this point, the MBC can choose to “connect” themselves in SB with the Scout on this MB. There is no reason for the SM to have to revisit this approval process again.

Should the MBC choose to leave this task to the Scout/Parent, it would be preferable for the Scout to be able to make this connection in SB themselves after the SM has “signed” approval of the Scout working on this MB.

Since SB doesn’t allow this and not all Scouts have the parents permission to use SB and SB does allow the “parent to invite a counselor,” it only makes sense to ease the effort involved just as we do for the SM, MBC or Unit Admin.

My request stands.

If you so choose, your opinion will require a “feature request” in base SB to disable the current parental functionality. If you submit such a request, please copy me on it so that I can weigh in on it as you have on my request.

@DenisBlyth A Scout/Parent CAN connect themselves to a MBC ins Scoutbook IF they know the MBC’s name.

I thought your original request was to provided a search based on the Merit Badge to get Counselor’s names. Can you clarify your request?

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My point is that when the SM had that conference with the Scout, the connection can be made as part of that conversation. No need to revisit as you describe.

I assume you wouldn’t have a parent call the MBC for the Scout, would you? That was my point, it isn’t for the parents to make that connection. That isn’t my opinion I am sharing, as you said, this is the process as laid out in the guide to advancement.

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@GaryFeutz , first I’d like to say thank you for all you have done to enhance SB and help other volunteers over the years!

It may not be intended but with a test scout and parent I am able to use either the MB advancement pages or the Scout Connection pages to a Scout while signed in as the Scout’s test parent. I didn’t think this was possible either but read in a help doc or saw in a video a discussion explaining to parents how to do this. Of course,
I can’t find that doc now.

Assuming this is true, what I am asking is for the parent to be able to use the extensions “invite counselor now” functionality.

Please see my screenshot attachments where the test scout parent has displayed all adults on SB and then in separate tests, invited a Troop 20 counselor, a local Council counselor and a counselor from outside the local Council. I did not hit the update button because I didn’t want to send messages to these individuals but the dialog did warn me when I tried to access counselors who were not approved for the MB and cleared those errors when I chose these counselors.

As I requested in a separate note, it would be great to have the ability to filter the counselors returned to local council, district or troop. Another SUAC member indicated this wasn’t possible because you didn’t have access to this data but in looking under the covers a bit it appears you are referencing the “UnitID” frequently in this process. Is it possible to filter in this way?

@DenisBlyth The screenshots you provided are in fact what Scoutbook is supposed to have for parents and Scouts. They all require you to know the Counselor’s name to initiate the search for them.

I still am not sure what you are asking for. The extension integrates the search for Merit Badge Counselors by badge into the Scout’s merit badge advancement page. This search allows leaders to find and connect counselors that are counseling that specific badge. The difference is finding a counselor when you don’t know their name.

Scouts and parents are NOT allowed to execute this kind of search.This is the part the Scout must talk to Scoutmaster - to find out who is counseling the badge.

With regard to connecting in Scoutbook - it doesn’t matter who makes the Scoutbook connection - could be the SM, the parent, the Scout, or the MBC. But as a MBC I expect the Scout to reach out to me and ask if I am willing to counsel the badge first - the Scout needs to seek an appointment with me. I would not accept a connection that appeared out of nowhere.

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@GaryFeutz I agree wholeheartedly with the last paragraph of your latest comment. I am suggesting nothing contrary to this, in fact, I am take it a step further and prefer that the scout has had the recommended conversation with the SM & gotten his approval for the scout to take the MB and that he recommended me as at least one of his suggested MBCs.

I quote the first half of the recommended steps for this process so that I may refer to the numbering:

  1. The Scout develops an interest in a merit badge and may begin working on the requirements.
  2. The Scout discusses his interest in the merit badge with his unit leader (i.e., Scoutmaster).
  3. The unit leader signs a blue card and provides the Scout with at least one counselor contact.
  4. The Scout contacts the counselor.
  5. The counselor considers any work toward requirements completed prior to the initial discussion with the unit leader.
  6. The Scout, his buddy, and the counselor meet (often several times).

So in my hypothetical, the scout meets in Step 2 with the SM, they agree for the scout to work on the MB but the scout intended to use his parent for the fifth time as his MB counselor. Parent is approved and fully qualified to teach the MB but the SM thinks it’s about time for the scout to get some experience working with another adult. The SM suggests two or three other MBCs. The SM goes into SB, starts the MB and “signs off” on the scout taking the MB. The SM would now like to be out of the process until the scout has completed the MB with the MBC the scout chooses and returns with a fully executed “blue card” needing his signature. The SM has 70 or so other scouts and 2 or 3 hundred MBs in this cycle.

In step 4 & 5, the scout lets his parent know he will be talking to these other counselors. He contacts the counselor he thinks best but this counselor has just had a death in the family. He contacts the SM’s second suggestion and they agree that they will work together but the MBC is an older guy with great experience in the subject matter who’d just as soon not have to mess with SB.

As you said, “it doesn’t matter who makes the Scoutbook connection.” SB doesn’t allow the scout to do it, the SM has enough going on, the MBC isn’t comfortable with computers but he is a skilled camper with a lifetime of experience he wants to share with the scout, and the parent is available to make the connection, fully informed regarding the scouts activities and communications with other adults
and supportive of the scouts desire to earn the MB and to be able to track his own progress towards this goal.

SB allows the parent to do this but makes him jump through hoops to do it. I previously provided screenshots of the end result of the parent jumping through these hoops to show that SB allowed them to do this and that they could potentially pick counselors from anywhere. I can attach another screenshot of the intermediate page where SB lists the many adults from all over, some of whom are MB counselors and some who are not. The parent can enter any partial or full last name and get a long list he doesn’t need to see.
I wish to provide the parent as well as unit leadership the benefit of your excellent work in one spot only, the scouts advancement page. In regards to MBCs, you say “connect to Scouts without having to mess with Adding Connections”. Parents should be able to use this one step process that avoids the risks inherent in working within a page they don’t understand the potential ramifications of making mistakes within.

Please see the attached for screenshots of what they have to do now versus your streamlined process.

By Troop policy, they will not be allowed to assign MBCs without the SM having already having met with the Scout and providing his approval of badge in SB.

If any further communication is needed, could we do this through DM so I don’t have to be quite so careful in what I am sharing?
Thanks, DenisSB MBCurrent flow.pdf (869.0 KB)

As a leader, you can see information that parents and scouts cannot see.

Parents/Scouts can only see adults on their unit roster (or anyone they are currently connected to). On the connections page, they can search for an adult by name. They have no other ability to see adults from outside their unit.

Leaders have an extra capability to search the merit badge counselor list.

As Ed mentioned - the extension cannot do anything different a user can do by manually navigating screens. It simply scripts all of the mouseclicks and screen navigation. When a parent or Scout log in to Scoutbook, the Scoutbook server restricts what they can see or do. The extension cannot bypass this security. There isn’t any way for the extension to get the information for a parent or Scout to make it easier.

That said, Scoutbook won’t change its access rules for MBC lists, either.

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