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Incremental update of council Merit Badge Counselor list

Situation: YPT 2.0 certs are expiring in significant numbers. I recently uploaded our counselor list and about 30 counselors were rejected because of expired YPT. Now I’m getting emails from them saying “I did the training last night, but I can’t see myself in Scoutbook.”

Question: If I download my counselors from Scoutbook, add 3-5 rows to the downloaded CSV file and then immediately upload the modified file, what will happen?

What I would like to have happen is for the 3-5 records to be quietly added to our list of counselors in Scoutbook without changing the status of other counselors AND without generating a bunch of email messages that will confuse them.


I’m wondering if this might not be addressed with a policy communication to the MBCs from the council.

For example, it’s impractical to assume that there will be same-day resolution of the issue if a MBC has their YPT expire, then retakes it on a Saturday. Likely, the soonest re-upload would be on a Monday. Similarly, it seems like daily uploads of the MBC list would be impractical, given typical workloads, and most folks would understand that. As a person who’s never actually had to do it myself, it seems reasonable to establish a frequency somewhere between monthly and weekly for an updated list to be pushed to the Scoutbook server. Perhaps establish

Personally, it seems reasonable that only those counselors whose status is being changed should actually have their Scoutbook record altered (e.g. new “start” date, etc). Similarly, it seems reasonable that notification emails should only come out when an actual change is made to that counselor’s record (e.g. added/removed badges counseled, positions started, position ended).

I recognize that this likely requires additional overhead compared to simply overwriting the entire list. However, I can see it generating a lot less headache from the perspective of the counselors, who are in many cases not associated with the BSA as a registered leader (other than as a MBC). They’re not used to (or interested in) some of the idiosyncrasies we’ve come to expect from BSA software.

First, you don’t need to re-upload the list when they complete YPT (unless you have been removing them from the list before you upload). Once they complete it, they will show up in MBC search again within a day or so.

Second, reuploading the list will have no impact on MBC who were on the previous list and also on this list. They won’t see a thing.

Ah, so it does already filter the notification list based on the changes made. Sounds like what I was suggesting is already implemented.

In that case, @BobPaver, it does seem like an entirely policy issue. Figure out the frequency with which the council wants to upload the list, and notify MBCs and prospective MBCs that the list is only updated every N days, and that they can expect to appear on the list after not more than that duration.

This is not the behavior of the system that I have previously observed and just now verified.

Apparently my council decided to re-upload our list. I was already on the list in Scoutbook, and none of the badges for which I am registered changed from before. However, I got an email notifying me of the upload. It also reset my visibility.

It’s not intrusive, per se, but since each re-upload resets my visibility to council-wide (as opposed to district-wide), it always requires action by the counselor unless your intent is to be visible at the council-wide level. This is in spite of the explicit statement to the contrary in the notification email.

Hi Charles,

Your council has recently updated its list of approved merit badge counselors and shared that information with unit leaders on Scoutbook.com. Please use your my.scouting.org login to access Scoutbook.com. You can restrict who can see you on the list by clicking on My Account then My Positions.

Merit Badges: Backpacking, Camping, Cooking, Engineering, First Aid, Hiking, Orienteering>

Since you already have a Scoutbook account, there is no action that you need to take at this time. Thank you for everything you do for Scouting and for your support of Scoutbook.

Emphasis added.

My mistake @KennethAdams. I was thinking of the connection search. I’ll remove that comment above. Thanks for correcting me.

@CharleyHamilton That’s how it’s supposed to work. In fact the resetting of availability preferences is a bug that was recently corrected. I know your MBC position has always been messed up. So, I wonder if this has more to do with that than scoutbook expected behavior. Of course, if others are experiencing their preferences resetting or if it happens again, we definitely have an issue.

Oh, no! I’m the problem child again still… :rofl:

I’ll ping some other folks in my unit who have previously been set to unit-only visibility to see if their visibility changed, too.

ETA: OK, I’ve now had several folks from my unit confirm that their “Unit List” visibility was reset to “Council List” visibility, and at least one other who was set to “District List” was also reset to “Council List” as I was. I followed-up by searching all MBCs within 10 miles of 92011, and other than those of us who I know have reset our visibiltiy, they’re all showing up as “Council List”.

I suspect that the “resetting visibility” bug has not been fully squashed, @jacobfetzer. It’s like a cockroach. You step on it, but it just scuttles away when you lift your foot, to live another day. :wink:

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Thanks to all for your replies.

It has been our council policy to update our own MBC lists and Scoutbook monthly. In ‘normal’ times that has worked. We’ve had some unhappiness recently and people are using Scoutbook to see if their applications have been processed, etc. And Scoutbook doesn’t have the answer. Things will smooth out over time, but I’m trying to make people happy now.

My conclusions from the preceding messages are that:

  • Scoutbook sends emails when updated even if nothing changed.
  • YPT expiration handling is unclear. For example, if the YPT of a counselor already in Scoutbook expires, is that counselor removed from the list thus requiring a subsequent reload, OR is the counselor’s record retained and ‘reactivated’ when the YPT certificate is renewed. My experience is that Scoutbook does not accept MBCs with expired YPTs at the time of upload.

My only involvement with Scoutbook is the maintenance of the Merit Badge Counselor list. I understand that the powers to be are more concerned about user facing features that directly impact the scouting experience.

Nevertheless, we shouldn’t be aggravating our Merit Badge Counselors with systems that don’t work as expected. I’ve ‘screwed up’ when I’ve moved forward based on my expectations of Scoutbook’s behavior only to find out that Scoutbook and I were not on the same page.

I am exceedingly frustrated. There are many of us who are using trial and error, trying to understand Scoutbook. It’s difficult and time consuming.
Our experiments can be embarrassing when Scoutbook sends emails to all the counselors saying they’ve been dropped, leading them to think that their registration as a Merit Badge Counselor was dropped. Or they get redundant messages.

I’m going to reassure my counselors and suggest they not use Scoutbook to verify their Merit Badge Counselor status. Is there a reasonable way to verify one’s Scout data on scouting.org?

Then I’ll consider breaking the news about the problems with unit-only and district-only visibility which never worked well, even before Scoutbook.

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For existing MBCs, if their YPT expires, then they will be hidden from the MBC search. They will become visible again after their YPT is current again.

Log into My.Scouting, and from the menu in the upper left select My Profile. Active positions are shown in the second block.

I’ll add to what @KennethAdams noted that this will only show whether or not an adult is currently registered as an MBC, not what badges they are approved to counsel by the council.

Adults can also verify their own training status at my.scouting.org by clicking on the person icon in the top right corner, then selecting My Training from the drop-down.

Thank you, @CharleyHamilton and @KennethAdams.

I am seeking advice and will post under a new topic.

Not just you @CharleyHamilton but our troop has also had similar experiences with specific adults being “the problem child” as far as their MBC status being continually “messed up.”

And yes, there has been and still is an issue with visibility reset of MBCs from the beginning. This year I’m winding down in our troop but suddenly a few months ago other units started contacting me to run MBs despite my “unit only” designation. Renewal is coming up next month so this issue may become the “last straw” on top of our council merging with two others. Interesting times.

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