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Bug: Scoutbook Trained Leaders Report doesn't sync

From a strictly speculative perspective, @WilliamAbrams, I suspect the logic is something like this:

  1. my.scouting.org is the official interface for national, regional, area, council, and district staff to interface to unit data, like training, that they want to track.
  2. Staff is more familiar with these interfaces, and is most interested in tracking the training associated with “officially” registered positions.
  3. Units are most interested in tracking the functional roles our leaders fill (generally wearing more than one hat), and want an easy-to-use and easy-to-learn interface that our ever-changing leadership can pick up quickly.
  4. Nationals is allocating sparse resources to the large backlog of projects that need doing, and basing it on the priorities that they see as being on top of the list.
  5. Tracking of officially registered positions and associated training is higher on their list than tracking of all functional positions that are being held, officially or otherwise.

I don’t agree with this speculative thought process, per se, but I can see the perspective that would motivate it. If you really want to know why, you could see if someone at your council is willing to reach out to Nationals to get an explanation.

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I do appreciate the perspective and I see the reasoning You make excellent points. I don’t mind my.scouting.org being the system of record, I’m just disappointed that I’ll have to use it to view the training vs. using Scoutbook, which folks in units are already in most of the time, and while being easier to use, also loads and runs faster than my.scouting.org.

As for talking to my Council for answers about anything recording related, hoo boy, that is a good one. I wish my experiences in the past were encouraging in that regard.

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Josh, has this gotten better with the new training programs? I know it’s still complicated. I agree with you but it is. I think it would work fine if there wasn’t such a back log about who’s on the rosters. Ours are never right either. Recharter happens 2 mo
too late and not having the ability to online update positions makes slows the process down so much more.

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This is very depressing, as this simple terrible decision has created a mountain of paperwork, and weeks of work for our pack. Our Pack is in Far East Council in Okinawa, Japan. Our Pack is composed of Active Duty Marines who are on a three year tour. We can see a 50% to 75% turnover annually. It is simply a miracle that this Pack has existed for near 30 years, with deployments, and moves and now to add to the complications being forced to use myscouting.org to check training.

I am committee chair and also Pack Trainer, and I was an Assistant Lion Den Leader leader last year. I assumed incorrectly that the Pack Trainer would be easy since everything is now online. The Lion Den Leader became the Scoutmaster, and a Mom stepped up to be the Treasurer. The entire pack is brand new so I have to make sure 17 new volunteers are all fully trained prior to re-charter.

BTW I have a BS Degree in IFSM, yet the scouting.org is cumbersome at best. Realistically with all the new requirements can’t ask volunteers to print out all of their certificates. Ironically the BSA mobile app still pulls in all of the training. I would tell the scoutbook developers to quite being lazy and go to either myscouting.org or to the mobile app developers and get a copy of the new course codes on digits and simply update. If I can take all the training CS_19 again then updating the course codes would be simple.

Disgusted,

Scott

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Scott - let’s step back to before scoutbook was available how would anyone verify training? How would anyone in the district or council verify training? Yes, you may consider this along with others to be a “simple” fix as it always simple for those who do not have to do the work. The scoutbook trained leader report relied on a screen scrape from scoutnet which incidentally needs to be retired. The decision is not one made by scoutbook but rather national council. The primary training record was and always has been based on the national training programs and links.

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…“it [is] always simple for those who do not have to do the work.” Neither the National Council nor the Scoutbook folks have to do the work of the volunteers, such as Scott, to try to track and motivate their unit-level adults to complete their training. Sure, they can run roll-up reports but ultimately it’s up to the units to complete their training or councils like Alamo Area Council won’t even let volunteers register or units recharter.

Assuming National is stuck in their decision to go backwards to before Scoutbook was available, can we please at least get the sync function (inop button, false syncing message, last synced date) removed so that customers aren’t confused into thinking sync still works? That’s what I’ve been asking since message 3 of this thread.

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Dave - I am a volunteer just like you. I would get trained leader reports from district and council produced from my.scouting so that is the source they are looking at.

Stephen,

Hence the reason I love scoutbook (not everyone does) so much not only from the Information Systems Management (IFSM) side but also from as a youth scout who lost or had scout book destroyed which basically eliminated all my achievements in the late 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

Riddle me this if the scout sync worked great before and I took every online course I could in 2018 and it pulled in all my training using scout sync. Only the following programs have been upgraded Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and new YPT 2019 which is a small portion to all the training offered. Then how would adding those courses to the scrape be that difficult, since it was done previously? It is not like we have to invent the wheel or anything.

Very Respectfully,

Scott

Scott - I totally understand your thoughts on this. Yes it did scrape from scoutnet but would fail if the page count exceed 4 if I remember correctly. That was issue one. Then in order to have it show in scoutbook there was a table that had to be updated to make sure items matched if not then they were not imported. The trained leader report and it’s table were created well before the BSA purchase and as such are on a code base that BSA IT wants to migrate off of as it is legacy code like scoutnet. Rather than devote time to work old scoutbook code, they wanted to leverage what is available to council staff and commissioner staff in myst. I trust that explains the why of what is going on.
Beyond that I go back a few years with scoutbook. Back to when it was individually owned and supported.

One other aspect that was helpful with scoutbook sync was that all leaders could see who was trained and who was not at a glance. Marine families this peer pressure to complete training was very powerful. Reminds me of the old Big Bird song, “One of these things is not like the other…Kids can you guess which leader is not trained?”

I am one of the most experienced in the Pack and I have not yet completed one year as an adult volunteer. I have vaguely seen Commissioners, but have little confidence that they can actually fix problems as they rotate in and out much like everyone else, and they do not stay up on the changes as much as those who use it everyday. Our new Unit Commissioner is the Pack old Committee Chair.

Far East Council covers most the continent of Asia, I do not think they will be helpful.

Asia East District - Mainland Japan

Asia West District - South Korea, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan

Asia South District - Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Vietnam, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Cambodia, Bangladesh

Asia Central District - Okinawa

Central Committee’s new paid position (Scout Executive) has zero adult scouting experience much less in dealing with databases as he is a retired police officer.

Our Pack knew we would be struggling this year, we just did not know that BSA was also going make things more difficult as well.

I would love to donate my Friends of Scouting donation to fix this issue if money is the problem, I think the end users would rather see something tangible fixed that they use. We could set up a Go Fund Me Site to fix scoutbook. LOL

V/R

Scott

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Scott - here are a few questions that need some answers?

  1. If you have a leader that needs training where would you direct them ?

  2. If you did not ever use scoutbook or other tracking tool how would you verify training ?

  3. On your council web site what documents exist relating to training ?

  1. If I had a brand new volunteer, my council won’t process the registration until they’re fully position-trained, so I’d enter them into Scoutbook so it would display required training. I’d then have them complete the training either online or in person. Then they would register. Then their position training would show up in my.scouting.org as required. I used to be able to track progress by syncing Scoutbook using the button that’s still there but doesn’t work.

  2. If I didn’t ever use Scoutbook I wouldn’t have to keep suggesting they remove an inoperative sync button. We can ask the “if there were no Scoutbook” but the reality is there IS Scoutbook and many units paid to use it because it worked better than other legacy methods, such as ScoutNET.

  3. It contains links to training events. When they have posted bad links we’ve notified them and they were responsive in fixing them. If an event was cancelled they removed the link. Could we please get the same from Scoutbook, and remove the inop sync button?

I understand you’re a volunteer, too, but I’m guessing SUAC some line of communication and influence on things done by the Scoutbook team.

So allow me to ask a few questions.

  1. Why is the sync button still on the report if there was a conscious decision to disable sync?

  2. Can you see how having a sync button that activates a “sync in progress” message, that then changes the last synced date, could cause customers to think it actually worked?

  3. Could y’all please request removal of the button and a message to notify customers that functionality has changed and there is no more sync?

  4. If SUAC can’t do number 3, who can?

Thank you
VR
David Boles

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We understand and agree that removing the non-supported features is a good idea. It is in the development queue, but I can’t say when it’ll be done.

Another thumbs down. My.scouting.org is clunky, and it is cumbersome to have to deal with more than one system. Surely the SUAC must be sensitive this.

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David,

In reply to:

If new members use the online registration system to register they only needs to have completed youth protection training to register.

Unfortunately waiting until a new member can result in the member being lost if training is not available in a reasonable time.

BSA training rules have been changing

The rules for new member registration and rechartering should be different. They have also been revised several times in the last year. Your council may not be aware of the latest requirement changes and be operating per old rules. I have contacted your council and they are are putting me in touch with your council training chair. I will try to get them up to date.

Basic position-specific training

BSA is in the process of changing “Position Trained” to “Earning your training strip” because completing basic training does not mean a leader does not need to continue to train.

New Members

All adult members are required to have current Youth Protection training in order to register as a new member (or to renew membership).

New rules for when new members should complete online training

Training through “Earning your training strip” (or “position trained”) is expected to be completed within 90 days.

Before online training volunteers had to complete an in-person course (or courses). – “In person” is still the preferred training method.

The online training requirements for Cub Scout volunteer (CS19) is now (June 2019) divided into:
a. Before 1st meeting
b. Before first outdoor activity
c. Earning your training strip.
For Scouts BSA it is:
a. Before 1st meeting
b. First 30 days
c. Position trained
For Merit Badge Counselors
a. Before 1st meeting
b. Position trained

Current member renewal

All councils require volunteer member’s Youth Protection Training (Y01 for traditional units) to be current in order to recharter. Normally a brand new member can be registered with the charter renewal without basic position training being completed. They are expected to complete basic training within 90 days of registering.

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Bill, I’m used to Councils allowing volunteers to register with YPT, then providing opportunities to train, whether online or in person.

“In 2017 Alamo Area Council, BSA, required that all unit Leaders and Committee members must complete their Position Specific Leader Training in addition to Youth Protection Training to be registered and included in their Unit Charter.” That came straight from the Council in an email on 6 Jun 19. They will not process registrations, at charter time, nor during the middle of the year, without the person being fully position trained.

While Troop Guiding at a local IOLS, I met a leader or two who spoke of problems, including lapsed charters, because their BSA Troops had large turnover (military-affiliated units) and they didn’t have any adults with IOLS, which is required to be position trained for Scoutmaster, therefore the Council wouldn’t approve the adult app. Without a Scoutmaster, the Troop had no leader. Yes, there were plenty of ways that could have been prevented (don’t just have 1 or 2 folks IOLS trained, etc) but at this point, they were in a real bind, due to the Council’s policy.

I’d push back at Alamo Area Council, but I’m in Venturing. Although we don’t have a Crew Advisor right now and the Advisor candidate can’t register, because he isn’t trained, all he needs is 3 hours of online training. He was given a deadline that would require only 10 minutes of training per day. I’m not going to go push the issue to Council, over a guy who won’t commit 10 minutes per day to complete 3 hours of training. And I don’t know the other units’ issues well enough to fight for them.

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There appears to be two solutions:

a. Getting councils to register new members with only youth protection training - That would allow them to use the my.Scouting tools, but their percent of basic position-specific trained direct-contact leaders in JTE would not be a 100%…

b. Change the membership database and JTE program so folks wanting to be volunteers are marked having a probationary status which could be used for selecting or counting them separately. (Assigning a special code does not work since the position and functional role code, if any, is needed to identify what training is needed.)

NOTE: BSA may restrict online training developed, purchased, or leased by BSA, to registered active members only.

Although my opinion, like that of many of the other volunteers; does not matter and will not change the out come to discontinue the leader training report in Scoutbook. When BSA first acquired Scoutbook they advertised it as a one source program for the ground level units to use. The sales pitch seems to have been somewhat successful as the units I’m affiliated with left our 3rd party product and drank the cool-aid. As a Commissioner I’ve encouraged other units to change over as well. Maybe BSA leadership should conciser the needs/desire of the volunteers at the base level of the organization. What will reduce the workload on the unit volunteer and make it easier to focus on the youths needs. Having to go to multiple sites for information/data is STUPID. Fix Scoutbook!

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The BSA is moving towards adding links from Scoutbook to the systems where the data is stored. It should not matter if the training reports are hosted by Scoutbook or another system as long as the user can get there from Scoutbook. If you look at many of the new reports in scoutbook, they are not coming from Scoutbook.com but another site. We are working to get the training reports available to more users and improving what these reports contain. It just takes time given the BSA does not have unlimited money with which to hire developers.

No . Its not better at all. I had to redo nearly all my training for committee cause the training numbers/codes changed and well I have no idea really. Luckily I remembered all the answers from last year and slept through most of it :slight_smile: To be honest I am not 100% sure I can verify on my.scouting.org that I am trained on my position much less anyone else. The boxes and sub-boxes and legacy tools and generally layout of my.scouting.org is like a giant maze.

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