BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

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Adding new Scouts to existing Scoutbook events

Yes, I know this has been covered before:



But the responses have been less than helpful… They say to use the Feature Assistant for Scoutbook because Scoutbook doesn’t support this functionality and there is no ETA. Great - Yet another tool to learn how to use because BSA won’t put everything in one place.

This sort of functionality has been present in most, if not all, software since the days of Novell in the 1980’s. If I create a Sales group and give them certain permissions on my systems, then I add a new employee to the Sales group, the new employee then has all the permissions that were granted to the Sales group. That is security 101.

Why wasn’t Scoutbook written like this? Why can’t it be changed easily to utilize Group (Den) based security instead of individual based security?

Being a Scout leader is hard enough and time consuming enough without fighting with antiquated, cobbled together and out of date systems! If BSA really wants to provide an excellent program for youth, MAKE IT EASIER AND LESS TIME CONSUMING FOR LEADERSHIP TO MANAGE THE PROGRAM! That will allow us leaders to spend more time on program and retention rather than fighting with systems and trying to learn new pieces of software!

Scoutbook & BSA - PLEASE LISTEN to your Leaders and fix simple things like this!

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Bill,

I’ve heard of the Feature Assistant and even tried to utilize it before but found it was difficult to know all the things it could and could not do. Maybe it was just me and I should try it again because the featureset it supports is essentially what we all need Scoutbook to do!

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Read the Help Documents for the extension. They’ll answer 99% of your questions.

And I will add that @GaryFeutz can answer any questions you have that go beyond his documentation. I know I truly appreciate the time and effort he has put into making things a bit easier.

@ErikOlson1 If you still have the extension installed, got to the help page
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Extension help documents can be found there. As @Stephen_Hornak has mentioned - I am happy to help describe something better if it isn’t in the documentation and I can add it if I inadvertently missed it.

@ErikOlson1, one thing to remember about Scoutbook, it was created by a volunteer to support their unit. As a result, the original decisions made were different than it it had been for a large Troop. Now that BSA has purchased the product they are going through a major process to not only fit this one app into a larger data management system, but also to upgrade modules, like the calendar and event module to meet a broader audience. This along with other pending improvements is why a number of units continue to use other unit management software in combination with Internet Advancement for the foreseeable future.

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@KenTodd - as always thank you so much for your input and perspective

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Gary,

THANK YOU for taking the time to write, talk up and support the Feature Assistant. I know how much time writing software can take!

The extension must have gotten uninstalled from both Firefox and Chrome, because it wasn’t active. I remember having issues getting it to work last time I tried it, so I’ll have to spend some time and try to get up to speed with it again as the features it provides are worth their weight in gold!

I get that it is an interim solution, but it seems as if Scoutbook isn’t making progress on increasing functionality of the app. In the 2 years the BSA has owned Scoutbook, I would have thought a total rewrite could have been done with most of the required features. After all, it’s not like they are maintaining multiple mobile apps. If you have coded the Feature Assistant in your spare time, surely they could have implements some of these features natively in the app.

Ken,

I get that, but BSA has owned Scoutbook for 2 years now. That should have been enough time to increase the functionality and integrate some of the requested features. To users like us, it appears the only thing they have done is moved it from a desktop to the cloud and improved the stability, not increased the featureset.

Bill[quote=“Bill_W, post:2, topic:126469”]
Additional Features in Scoutbook are available when using this tool. It works seamlessly with Scoutbook and provides extra options right in Scoutbook pages when you are logged in. Note: This tool is Volunteer created and maintained. It is not maintained by BSA. What is it? An extension is an add-on tool that is installed into your browser that can provide some time saving features. This extension is available for Chrome desktop browsers, and the add-on for Firefox browsers both mobile and de…
[/quote]

Bill, I have the Feature Assistant installed and just started playing with it. The featureset is MUCH better than manually editing every event and will certainly save time. HOWEVER, it still requires running through the process for each calendar (Pack, Lion, Tiger, etc.) in Scoutbook each time you want to add new Scouts to an event.

Simply following standard security group protocols within Scoutbook would eliminate all of this.

  1. Create event
  2. Add groups (Dens) to event
  3. Any members of said group (Den) are added to the event. New members added to the group are by default added to the event.

This is the way that securities typically work for local or cloud based systems. I can’t believe that Scoutbook hasn’t taken this step yet!

@ErikOlson1 - if there is one thing I have noticed from your posts it would have to be the solid negativity. This may indeed be your gig…but if you have a better solution please do present that to the scouting family.

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@ErikOlson1, once BSA purchased SB, usage shot through the roof. Moving the app to the cloud was not as simple as it sounds as they had to spend a lot of time tuning as the user based increased exponentially. Picture releasing a major dam into a stream. At that point there were also major changes in the Advancement requirements that had to be dealt with, including creating the ability to select which set of requirements a Scout would use. They continue to be hit by updates made by BSA without providing the IT folks a heads up to even review the needed changes.

It is unfair to say they have done little when the calendar module has not been updated yet. They have updated the Advancement module, and the access control module. I continue to see functionality improvements at least every 6 months.

The functionality improvements always place items that impact a youth reporting/seeing their advancement and awards at the top of the list. They have defined subsequent priorities to work through to major module rewrites along the way.

When BSA purchased SB, they did not have Harry Potter’ wand to transfigure the product overnight, or an unlimited money supply. Leaders who have such concerns should consider why SB? Before switching, every unit should look at the pros and cons and make the best determination for them. For some units, SB is great. For others, it does not meet their needs and they should with what ever other product they use.

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Stephen,

You’re not noticing solid negativity, but solid frustration. Frustration at the lack of improvement in BSA’s systems over my 5 years of involvement, despite a raise in the dues that was supposed to go to IT. There’s no reason there shouldn’t have been solid improvements in ALL of BSA’s systems over 5 years! Example #1; BSA could have moved to Salesforce in 18-24 months and totally skipped writing a new backend for all the items on my.scouting.org!

Example #2; If a volunteer, Gary, was able to write the Scoutbook Feature Extension in his spare time (Which is fantastic, now that I’ve been able to look into it), why couldn’t the professional team behind Scoutbook include that functionality into the core Scoutbook application over the last several years? It makes no sense. Maybe Gary is that good, in which case BSA/Scoutbook should hire him to their team! :slight_smile:

I’m a systems and operations guy and am always looking for a better way to do things. BSA applications are still on paper, circa 1970, which drives me crazy! I’ve suggested multiple times that at least the Adult Applications move to Docusign or some other solution like that, so that leaders can get away from chasing down people (COR, etc.) for paper signatures and to better secure the SSID & other information on there.

It boils down to - Every bit of time that leaders spend dealing with systems, tracking down applications, calling Council, etc. takes away from time that can be spent at their day job or improving the Scouting program for youth. It frustrates me to no end that BSA doesn’t realize that and invest heavily in providing best of class tools for their volunteer leaders! I want to provide the best possible experience to youth under my care, but find myself spending untold hours a year on back-end stuff like Scoutbook, events, etc.

I can state with great certainty that online adult apps will never be available in my council and any in Pennsylvania. State legislators saw to that.

Ken,

We’ve been with Scoutbook for 6+ years now, predating the BSA purchase, so we are well familiar with the features and functionality. The previous Pack leadership thought Scoutbook to be the best solution for us at the time. Because of that, I have no idea what additional functionality other services provide. I only see the holes in Scoutbook. Now that we are using Scoutbook, I would never attempt to move off of it.

I’m disappointed as I really thought that the BSA purchase would provide much needed funds and direction and kick-start development into a best-in-class application. A big part of the dues increase last year was supposed to go to IT systems and should have been able to fund significant improvements in all of BSA’s systems. We’d be happy to continue to pay extra for Scoutbook if the money would go to enhancing the program itself and reducing the number of clicks needed to accomplish tasks.

One of the best, and worst, things that BSA did was tying Scoutbook into Akela. It’s great for day to day stuff, making ordering advancements really simple. However, its really bad when back-end screw-ups affect Scout & adult records, which has happened to us a number of times over the last year. The worst part of the tie-in is a lack of available support. I don’t know about your local Council, but ours sees that an issue has to do with Scoutbook and says they can’t do anything with it. That leaves us emailing for Support with nobody to talk to. It sure would be nice for local Councils to understand that it is all BSA and lend a hand. In their defense, I do know from talking to our COO that the Council portion of Scoutbook is weak and doesn’t provide them much in the way of reporting either.

I understand the challenges of changing Advancements. Heck, that was hard for us leaders who had to constantly keep up with the changes. It’s that lack of heads-up that disappoints me the most. We are all part of one happy Scouting family and should be working towards the good of the overall program. It seems that there are silos at BSA and folks don’t want to help folks in other silos. Program & IT are one you mentioned. I mentioned local Council and Scoutbook. It’s frustrating for leaders to be involved in pissing matches like these.

As a Dad and a Leader, I don’t see the changes you mention. I don’t know that the reporting screen for youth is improved, but then I didn’t think it bad to begin with. My frustration is with the calendar and the work required to manage it to keep parents in the loop. All I know is that I have parents coming to us not being in the loop, not understanding how to use Scoutbook and wondering why it is so outdated. It makes sense to those of us that use it on a daily basis, but to others conditioned by Facebook, Google Sheets, etc. it looks outdated, stale and confusing.

Bottom line, I really wish the functionality of the app could be improved at a quicker pace, even if that meant charging a fee to Packs & Troops to do so, just like it used to be.

Interesting. You can apply for a mortgage or buy a house online, but not fill out an Adult BSA application? LOL Wonder what their logic was in that?

I actually wasn’t asking to fill out the application online, although that would be nice. I was just asking to use Docusign to gather the appropriate approval signatures. Chasing down the COR over the summer, between meetings at her place of work or when she is traveling is just one more burden that can be easily eliminated by using digital signature technology that already exists.

Process would be to turn in the Adult Application to Council as usual but have the approval signatures gathered electronically via Docusign. That would eliminate car trips and work interruptions to gather signatures. Yes, I know the form can be emailed, printed, signed and scanned, but my Adult leaders have been very protective of their information and asked for it not to be emailed.

Little things like this make a big difference when added up among all the units nationally.

Sure, in two years with unlimited resources. As it is, BSA IT has a limited budget and resources that have to be shared among Scoutbook, my.scouting.org, Internet Advancement, and all the other internal BSA IT requirements.

You seem to be applying Dilbert’s PHB logic about projects: “Everything I don’t have to do myself is trivially easy…” So here’s your chance: If you don’t like how SB development is moving, write your own system to replace Scoutbook. You have until August 10, 2021 to present us with a robust, superior product written from the ground up. And it has to be bug-free and meet everyone’s requirements, even if they don’t bother telling you what they are. And it has to be free-as-in-beer and free-as-in-speech.

Then why are you wasting your time here on a discussion board instead working to improve the Scouting Program for Youth!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!??!?!?!!?!?!?!?!

Sorry, but your negativity, whatever you want to call it, has no place here.

@ErikOlson1 - look up the Sandusky law. It has made the recharter process and adult applications a longer process.