Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.
BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

Scouting Forums

Commissioner Tools - Roundtable Attendance, contacts

A suggestion and some questions - admittedly low priority with everything going on, but for the long list of tech improvements.

Recording Roundtable Attendance in Commissioner Tools makes no sense, currently.

District committee members, unit commissioners, chartered organization reps, Council members and guests, do not fit into category by program (Cub, Scout, Venture, Sea Scout), usually. It would be better to have a separate category for non-unit volunteers. Then record how many UCs, CORs, District and Council volunteers are present.

Also, ideally, we would track individual attendance rather than numbers representing units. Almost no one really only represents one unit, not with a pack, a boys troop, and a girls troop, and maybe a crew, all being chartered in the same place. The BT Scoutmaster might be the GT committee chair or the Cub advancement chair. The COR represents all of them. Lots of examples like this. If we could enter names, the system itself knows where they are registered and could sort attendance accordingly. Ideally.

Is it possible to enter a single contact and then include several units? If we have a district event or district wide communication, that one contact affects multiple units. Currently it seems I have to create an individual contact for each unit, so I usually do not for broadcast emails, but only for events or meetings where there is some interchange. Is that the best way to do this?

Why is it that if I do enter a contact, I must enter an assessment. Especially if it is a simple contact, and if the assessment is unchanged, shouldn’t I be able to enter that without having to give the unit a score? A non-assessment contact? Or even just if we click “unit assessment unchanged” there is no need to then click a number, when we may or may not remember what the previous score was since it isn’t visible from that screen?

Finally, though this goes beyond just commissioner tools, is it not possible for a district volunteer to search for an individual scouter throughout the entire district? Often, if someone is at RT and they don’t record their unit, i have to search for them in My.Scouting - but, even as RT Commissioner and District Chair, I can only search within each unit separately, or for district-level volunteers. Why not be able to search the entire district, including all units, at once? Or am I missing something?

A roundabout way for you to search individual Scouters as a District Key 3 is to run the trained leaders report. If you download the CSV (Details), you’ll get the email address of everyone in your district.

This won’t help other unit or RT commissioners who aren’t also Key 3, unfortunately.

I will remind you that the purpose of Commissioner Tools is to record “substantial” activity with a unit. Sending multiple units an email on district events really does not fit into what I would call substantial. Where is the interaction? What did the unit say about the information? Just recording an event is not really a unit contact.

1 Like

Thanks. Tried that, and it was helpful. Less than ideal, but better than nothing!

1 Like

Good point; i was thinking more of those that generated discussion and follow-up, or district/multi-unit events, even online, than simply a newsletter blast, but at least I don’t have to feel guilty about not recording everything!

AJ:
You’ve written a lot here. This would be a lot easier to answer in a face-to-face conversation, but I will try to answer each of your items:
1 - Recording Roundtable Attendance in Commissioner Tools makes no sense, currently.
• District committee members, unit commissioners, chartered organization reps, Council members and guests, do not fit into category by program (Cub, Scout, Venture, Sea Scout), usually. It would be better to have a separate category for non-unit volunteers. Then record how many UCs, CORs, District and Council volunteers are present.
• Also, ideally, we would track individual attendance rather than numbers representing units. Almost no one really only represents one unit, not with a pack, a boys troop, and a girls troop, and maybe a crew, all being chartered in the same place. The BT Scoutmaster might be the GT committee chair or the Cub advancement chair. The COR represents all of them. Lots of examples like this. If we could enter names, the system itself knows where they are registered and could sort attendance accordingly.
A – First keep in mind ‘flexibility” was and is our mantra with Commissioner Tools (CT); we try to maximize the ability to fit all types of User situations while minimizing how much we dictate how to use CT. CT intentionally does not track attendance at RTs by individual. This is both due to the scope of CT, and the perennial desire of many Scouters to have “the system” automatically track their attendance for awards and recognitions purposes. We neither have the IT resources (both storage and CPU) available to devote to this effort nor the people to administer it. (Further, again, this purpose is beyond our scope.) Additionally, there is no easy way to quickly and automatically take RT attendance. We did consider things such as scanning member ID cards, etc., but they slow down getting people in the room, and require hardware and possibly an active internet connection. (Too many hurdles.)
As to a single individual representing more than one unit, you can account for such situations by giving the individual ‘partial’ attendance credit. So, if a COR shows up at RT for 2 troop, 1 pack and 1 crew, the COR can be (optionally) “credited” with 0.25 representation for each unit. This can be done whether the RT is a single session that covers all unit types, or multiple individual program specific RTs.
2 - Is it possible to enter a single contact and then include several units? If we have a district event or district wide communication, that one contact affects multiple units. Currently it seems I have to create an individual contact for each unit, so I usually do not for broadcast emails, but only for events or meetings where there is some interchange. Is that the best way to do this?
A – The Technology Team has addressed this issue in the past and has revisited the decision to NOT permit batch entries several times. The intent of NOT permitting batch entries is to encourage individualized entries specific to the unit that documents meaningful entries with ‘actionable information’…. not things like “unit attended camporee” or “sent RT reminder e-mail.” While many Users have the self-discipline to only log “meaningful” entries, based on past reviews of entries (made by myself and others) there are notable exceptions where some individuals do make literally thousands of entries a year that are little more than “Hi, I wanted to introduce myself….” CT is NOT a medium for commissioners to communicate with their units.
3 - Why is it that if I do enter a contact, I must enter an assessment. Especially if it is a simple contact, and if the assessment is unchanged, shouldn’t I be able to enter that without having to give the unit a score? A non-assessment contact? Or even just if we click “unit assessment unchanged” there is no need to then click a number, when we may or may not remember what the previous score was since it isn’t visible from that screen?
A – The numerical assessment of every logged unit contact is an underlying business rule. We found that when ‘scores’ are not required, there is a large group of commissioners who never ‘score’ their unit, which subverts part of the intention of CT.
4 - Finally, though this goes beyond just commissioner tools, is it not possible for a district volunteer to search for an individual scouter throughout the entire district? Often, if someone is at RT and they don’t record their unit, i have to search for them in My.Scouting - but, even as RT Commissioner and District Chair, I can only search within each unit separately, or for district-level volunteers. Why not be able to search the entire district, including all units, at once? Or am I missing something?
A – Yes, you missed the ability to search for an individual using the mobile app (not available on web version). To do this, at the top of the screen in the mobile app enter their name (first and last*) in the search bar. You do need to spell their name as known by BSA correctly. i.e., no nicknames unless registered as such. (* Actually you can search on just a first name, but in some districts you may be overwhelmed with the number of names returned.)

1 Like

CT intentionally does not track attendance at RTs by individual.

OK, thanks for explaining the flexibility rationale.

The intent of NOT permitting batch entries is to encourage individualized entries specific to the unit that documents meaningful entries with ‘actionable information

Again, thanks for filling in the decision behind this. Looking over some of our contact entries I wonder if our district has been a little overboard in tracking contacts

We found that when ‘scores’ are not required, there is a large group of commissioners who never ‘score’ their unit,

I guess this ties to the previous posts. A lot of contacts we’ve recorded have been exchanges with key-3 and UC about recharter, or registration issues, or some specific question they had, which doesn’t really add or reveal anything about rating the unit. But if it is only major action items or crises, i guess that would affect it more clearly.

you missed the ability to search for an individual using the mobile app

Thanks! I downloaded it, but then found since I’m more likely working at the desktop never really use it. I’ll try that.

2 Likes