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How do district and council volunteers get access to the merit badge counselor list in SB?

As the council advancement committee member over merit badge counselors, I need access to the list of merit badge counselors. Similarly, my counterparts (who are on my committee) from each district need access to the list of counselors. In addition, our council lone Scout coordinator needs access to the counselor list. As far as I can see, there is no way to grant this access in Scoutbook.

I assume this is not a problem unique to my council. Every council has responsibility to maintain the merit badge counselor lists and I assume they have volunteers helping with this at the council level and likely in each district.

How are other councils dealing with this lack of access? Is there something I’m just not seeing that would allow our council to grant access to individuals (a position code or other option)? Are other councils exporting the list and sending it around as a PDF, CSV, XLS, etc.?

Any insight or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

*Note: I put this here in the “Using Scoutbook” section in the hopes that there is a solution already and/or to find out how other councils solve this problem. If there is not a current solution / work around, I’ll post a new topic in the Feature Request group.

Northern Star Council has a Venture Crew where they register all Camp Staff. All members of the Council Advancement Committee have been registered a Committee Members of this Crew so that they have access to the Scoutbook MB Counselor Search function. These CAC members do not have connections to the Scouts in the Camp Staff crew.

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The simple answer is SB is a unit tool - not District or Council

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Interesting. I proposed creating a special unit to do exactly this and was told that was a no-no. Is this venture crew a “real” one that they hijacked or did they create a “fake” one just for this?

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Ok, so how then do district and council folks get access to the data that they need?

Merit badge counselors are, by definition, a district level position. Why do they appear in SB if it is not a district or council tool?

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District committee members with the right permissions (unsure which roles though) should be able to access the list of registered MBCs through My Scouting Tools Member Manager or Training Manager. This will give contact info, registration status, training status, but not authorized merit badges.
A couple of partial workarounds that might be helpful:

  1. have the Registrar build a report from ScoutNET. This assumes that the council is keeping the record of authorized badges with the registration record that feeds the Scoutbook list.
  2. have the council Scoutbook Admin run the mbc.csv report. This report will provide BSA Member ID, First Name, Last Name, and list of Merit Badges but not contact info or district.

My council (Garden State) is maintaining a close-hold separate list that is only available to the district merit badge deans/advancement committees. Pretty sure the registrar is producing it as indicated in item 1.

I don’t know the mechanics of the camp staff venture crew. It has been in existence since before I became involved with it.

Interesting. Thanks for the info Kenneth. Exporting reports is another avenue that we’ve considered.

I’ll definitely check into the district committee assignments and see if they can see at least the list of registered MBCs. That would be half the battle at least.

Thanks for the updates edavignon. Definitely something we can look into.

It’s not that uncommon. The OA uses the same work-around for youths-over-18 that want to remain active in the OA.

I am a council Merit Badge Counselor Dean(volunteer) with council authorization for Scoutbook.
The only access would have is to be able to upload the list to Scoutbook and download the MBC list from Scoutbook. This download is in Excel and is only name, ID, and badges… nothing else. They stripped the PII when they started doing the Scoutnet updates.

The only updating that you could do is done by a complete upload (Council wide) of MBC’s. If you load one name you will remove all others as MBC. This should not be necessary since Scoutbook is now doing a nightly leader update.

You should ask for Delegate Key 3 for my.scouting.org to check the district membership list to see if counselors are listed. However, my.scouting.org does not list the badges,
The only thing MBC control after a Council upload is whom they work with example: worldwide, Council, District, and Unit(s) . Yes they can specify multiple units under one sign in and not have multiple accounts.

Please remember access to the MBC list is SM, ASM, Comm Chair, and Advancement chair.

Once council gets everything up to date on Scoutnet it should work, we are still having some issues with expired MBC’s in Scoutbook that are registered with council. We have over 1500 MBC’s in the Council. For the most part when it works, it works well-when it does not work…

Thanks for your reply.

From everything I’ve seen on this thread and others, it sounds like a bunch of work arounds for SB not actually supporting MBCs. Like so many other things in SB, it’s “almost done” rather than being fully usable.

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James,

The problem is not with Scoutbook. The problem is some Councils do not have their MBCs completely registered in ScoutNET. For Councils that list the MBs an MBC counsels in ScoutNET, all changes are automatically reflected in Scoutbook. There is a lag of up to 48 hours for the changes to be propagated to Scoutbook.

For Councils that do not put the MBs in ScoutNET, a member of the Council must upload a list of MBs that the MBCs counsel. This is done on a schedule set by the Council.

My council has over 2500 MBCs with all of their MBs in ScoutNET. When the registrar makes a change to an MBC’s registration, either changing MBs, registering a new MBC or ending a current MBC the changes appear in Scoutbook without any other intervention.

If an MBC does not renew their registration, they will remain in Scoutbook for 60 days to allow time for a renewal to be processed. This is no different the 60 day grace period for unit recharters. If a registrar ends an MBC registration instead of letting it expire, the MBC will be ended in Scoutbook.

Ed A.
As a district commissioner ( and MBC), I’m well aware of the MBC list in my.scouting, and that it does NOT contain the badges themselves. Will this ever be “fixed”? If the badges were available here, it would be as good a solution as allowing district level access to ScoutBook.

I learned of the batch update process for MBC from my council registrar. Are there any plans to allow incremental updates?

Thanks!

Ps I know that national is woefully short on IT staff, so I don’t expect anything soon.
How about allowing us volunteers to contribute? For example, I’m a retired software engineer with some time on my hands.

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The problem I have is definitely with Scoutbook. First off, their sync is hit and miss which is a huge problem for everyone. Secondly, and more importantly, there is no useable system for managing MBCs in Scoutbook which is the only volunteer-facing system available.

In order to be effective, we need to ability for fine-grained access controls. Specifically, I need to be able to grant read access to the MBC list to those who are volunteers at the district and council level.

Basically they either need to actually support MBCs, fully and completely, or they need to back off and not provide any MBC functionality. This half and half model, which they also do in a number of other areas, is worse than useless. It prevents other solutions, that do work, from being used because those in charge (who have no clue about how things actually work) give the simple “just use SB” answer.

John,

Thanks for jumping in. You’ve hit the nail on the head!!!

If BSA would simply allow their army of volunteers to help, we could solve these problems ourselves rather than waiting, interminably, for solutions “from the top”.

If they put SB source in github then volunteers could fork it and create functionality that they could then submit via a pull request. Simple, easy, and zero effort for SB dev team. They just get free, fully functional code, that they don’t have to write!!

Thanks,

  • James

The BSA has stated repeatedly that they will not release the source code to Scoutbook or their various other tools or accept volunteer programmers.

There is an item in the backlog to allow MBs to be updated for MBCs without upload the entire file, however, it does not have high priority. Anyone who can upload the MBC list can download the existing list, modify that list then upload it again. The preferred solution is for Councils to put the MBs that MBCs counsel into ScoutNET. When the data is in ScoutNET, all systems that need access to the MBC list now and in the future can get the data without having to manually update multiple systems.

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It seems like the problem is some councils refuse to adapt their work process.

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Or it’s just not a high enough priority for their limited staff. I know my council registrar does a whole lot more than just process charters and applications, and his only bench is the council office manager (his boss and a former registrar).

@Matt.Johnson That’s not the problem with our council. Our data is in ScoutNET and is being synced (randomly, when it works). Both ScoutNET and the sync process have issues. I’ve seen ScoutNET “lose” people, at random, for many years. I’ve also seen the sync process just drop stuff, again completely at random. Neither is reliable.

In my specific case, the issue isn’t getting the data into ScoutNET nor is it getting it synced to ScoutBook (although we’ve had both issues). My specific concern is granting the appropriate district and council people access to the data. Yet another failing that both ScoutNET and ScoutBook have in common.